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Kristofer Ivarson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Jun 2020

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jun, 2020 6:09 am    Post subject: Help with my mail project greatly appreciated         Reply with quote

Hello all

I'm new to this forum and i would like some advice for an ambitious project I'm about to start. Some 8 years ago i made a mail coif and hauberk to my then 2 year old daughter. It was a test run to get the hang of the procedure. I planned to weld the rings shut because the rings were butted. The wire was 1 mm and the ID 4.6 mm. It was never completely finished but i will include a picture.

Now I'm planning to make a full set of functional armor for me and my two girls (arming coat, coif, full length hauberk, legs, cervellier, barrel helmet, sword and shield etc.) I have made a few test runs with wedge riveted mail on rings 1.5 mm wire, ID 7.4 mm, cut with overlap so they are not ovoid, and given a couple strikes with a piston setup (giving them a half flat/round hybrid rings character). It kind of feels like a best of two worlds scenario when it comes to strength/looks?
I have also tried 1 mm wire with ID 6.4 mm, same procedure. I think they feel weak but it's hard to tell on a small patch.

I would though like a somewhat authentic look for around years 1250-1300. I have tried to pin down a good average ring dimension for this time period. Things being as they are, I can't make a tour around Europe to historical museums and see for myself; Internet pictures only help so much.

So i wonder if my 1.5mm/ID7.4 could fit a 13th century mail or do i need thinner wire with a smaller ID. If so:

What would a historical average be?
Was there confirmed wedge riveted rings or must it be round (I honestly think that the gjermundbu mail rivets looks like wedge riveted in cross section compared to the tofta coif round.)? If anyone has good pictures of both sides of round-riveted links of the appropriate time i would be grateful to see it.
Are flattened rings a viable option or is it only round that matters?
Are my half flattened rings an abomination?

Thank you for taking your time.



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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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Posts: 3,472

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun, 2020 3:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wedge riveting was mainly done by German armourers. They started using them in the 13th century. We have no idea of the size of any mail links during this time period for three reasons:

1. Iron increases in volume as it oxidises.
2. Material is removed during the restoration process.
3. Mail wears down during use. Most of the mail we have comes from the end of its life, not when it was being used.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Graham Shearlaw





Joined: 24 Oct 2011
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Posts: 101

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2020 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While we don't know the exact size of most mail links, we do have some extant armour that's in reasonably good condition.
But the rings can change a lot with in one item, a shirts rings might be 6mm internal diameter an 1mm round at the area around the armpit, but have on the back flatted rings of 13mm external diameter an 1.2 mm thick, while being on the front made of 10mm internal diameter rings from 1.4mm thick wire.

If you then try an build that shirt from 10 mm internal diameter an 1.4mm thick wire, it becomes oddly heavier and the elbows are stiff with the larger rings.
Use the 6mm internal diameter rings an it really heavy an takes for ever to make.
Use the 13mm rings an its much faster to make, lighter but has larger gaps.

An that's one shirt and ignoring any small variations in ring size.
Add in that alot of mail was reused an a piece could an often did have multiple lives, with shirts, being cut up to reuse the mail an often put back together different forms.

Examples of differing ring sizes.
https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-21304.html
https://collections.royalarmouries.org/object/rac-object-1198.html

The following is one of the more useful sites, an well worth a read for the tutorials.
https://www.ironskin.com/tutorials/
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 711

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2020 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vikverir used to have some good photo's of Viking age mail here: http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/hist_mus_oslo_no_viking/

For some reason the gallery doesn't work for me anymore though. Let me know if you want me to post the photo's here (seeing it's a bit earlier than what you are looking for).
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Kristofer Ivarson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Jun 2020

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2020 5:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sorry it taken me so long to answer but thank you so much for your replies. The links to royal armories was spot on. I was afraid that 1,5mm wire was just absurd in historical mail but after finding some measurements from the Birka excavation and the coif and shirt from royal armories provided here i think it'll do. I believe it was in an article i found on Erik D. Schmid's blog - The Journal of THE MAIL RESEARCH SOCIETY - I read that repair links in one mail item was of thicker material than the rest of the mail. Plus i accidentally forgot a patch of galvanized mail in a batch of strong vinegar for a week or two and the 1.5mm went down to 1.4mm. I think that could be a descent simulation for some weather, wear and tear over a couple of centuries.
I know I'll never make the real deal but I'm hoping to make something that a purist wont scowl at even at a close quick glance.
I have seen Ironskin's stuff before and it's really inspirational.

Paul, I can't see the galleries either so I would greatly appreciate if you could post pictures. Any and all would be of help.

If anyone has a picture of a the back side of a round riveted museum piece from 13th-14th century that would be gold. What I'm really after is to know if the round riveted rings look the same on both sides (i.e. domed) or if there can be variations. The Gjermundbu mail just looks wedge-riveted even when ground down. I assume they used coned rivets, rivets with a nail head, or a dimpling rivet technique suggested by Mike Cervantes on Ironskin's webpage?

Are wedge-riveted rings always associated with "watershed"?
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 711

PostPosted: Sat 04 Jul, 2020 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Hansen wrote:
Vikverir used to have some good photo's of Viking age mail here: http://www.vikverir.no/ressurser/hist_mus_oslo_no_viking/


Here you go, hope it's helpful.



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