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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Sep, 2006 9:18 pm    Post subject: Tumbling a mail hauberk         Reply with quote

I've been searching for an efficient and easy way to clean my mail. One of the methods mentioned is tumbling the mail in a dryer, with the heating element deactivated. Well, by happenstance I found just such a dryer that a friend uses to soften animal hides. He's not into medieval arms but is an outdoorsman as well as a Wildlife and Parks Officer with a passion for history in general, so he was more than interested when I told him what I wanted to do and very eager to assist. He'd also read my recent article on the Normans and was very interested to see my "stuff". (BTW, he printed that article out and it comes in at 35 pages!)

We put the hauberk in the dryer with a large amount of old rags and let run run for about five hours, with periodic inspections off and on. What was the end result? Well............................................

It didn't remove all of the grime from the mail and I've just spent the better part of three evenings replacing exactly 331 rings that had their rivets pop loose. Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad

All of the loosened rings were of the wedge riveted variety while the round riveted rings, which comprise the majority of the hauberk, came through unscathed. The GDFB coif also came through well but given that its rings are quite a bit heaver I wasn't surprised. Granted, I knew I'd find a few rings that needed replacement and considering the hauberk alone has somewhere around 35000-40000 rings, this isn't even one percent of the total. Still, it was a major pain in the buttisimo replacing them all. At least I found out which rivets could have been set better!

To add insult to injury: while we had the mail tumbling away someone walked in and asked what we were doing. My friend told him we were cleaning the oil off of my mail armor by tumbling it. The individual replied with, "Just spray it down with some brake cleaner." I immediately had a "duh" moment. I tried that this afternoon and it did a good job of removing most of the grime. There's still a bit of oxidation or something that won't go away. I don't know if this is the result of treating the mail with vinegar or what. However, it's not nearly as bad as it was and I can live with it. At least the mail won't spontaneously disassemble when going that route.
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Chuck Russell




Location: WV
Joined: 17 Aug 2004
Reading list: 46 books

Posts: 936

PostPosted: Thu 21 Sep, 2006 3:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

good to know good to know.

a friend ofmine in ohio sprays every mail he owns with brake cleaner. but man, its just as mesy afterwards as the junk thats regularly on it when u buy it.

to be honest i've only cleaned my mail once and thats cause it turned orange with rust. i put it in sand and shook it around in a burlap sack for an evening. then took it out and whipped it all down. i now keep the mail in the burlap sack without the sand. havent had a problem since.
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Shane Allee
Industry Professional



Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Thu 21 Sep, 2006 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Patrick for taking one for the team.

I traded for a shirt that was too small, but I need to clean it up before trying to trade it for a larger size. It has the orange color things going on with it. I'm thinking that I'll try putting it in a canvas bag and driving around with it in my trunk for a few days to see if that works.

Shane
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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Posts: 5,678

PostPosted: Thu 21 Sep, 2006 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chuck Russell wrote:
good to know good to know.

a friend ofmine in ohio sprays every mail he owns with brake cleaner. but man, its just as mesy afterwards as the junk thats regularly on it when u buy it.

to be honest i've only cleaned my mail once and thats cause it turned orange with rust. i put it in sand and shook it around in a burlap sack for an evening. then took it out and whipped it all down. i now keep the mail in the burlap sack without the sand. havent had a problem since.


Good to know but this is a case where hindsight is of little value. Big Grin

I don't get huge rust issues with my mail. Usually just a few spots around the neck region where I've sweated on it during a particularly hot day. I've used sand on several occasions and that's worked fine. The last time I cleaned it I simply oiled the areas with rust, scrubbed it with a stiff bristle brush, wiped it down and called it good. That was easy enough to do but I'd read about the dryer method several times so I thought I'd try it. Naughty, naughty.
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Torsten F.H. Wilke




Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
Joined: 01 Jul 2006

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Thu 21 Sep, 2006 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick, pardon the following, but did you 'member to set the dryer on delicates??? Sorry, had myself rollin' over that... Happy Razz Laughing Out Loud Eek! Surprised Worried Ok, that was really bad humor...

Quote: The Only Good Rivet Is A Set Rivet! ( Knightly Bob, late 13th Century)
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Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 21 Sep, 2006 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Torsten F.H. Wilke wrote:
Patrick, pardon the following, but did you 'member to set the dryer on delicates??? Sorry, had myself rollin' over that... Happy Razz Laughing Out Loud Eek! Surprised Worried Ok, that was really bad humor...

Quote: The Only Good Rivet Is A Set Rivet! ( Knightly Bob, late 13th Century)

Should have sent out for dry cleaning. Laughing Out Loud

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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Posts: 5,678

PostPosted: Fri 22 Sep, 2006 8:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe I should have used fabric softener? Surprised
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Greyson Brown




Location: Windsor, Colorado
Joined: 22 Nov 2004
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Posts: 790

PostPosted: Sat 23 Sep, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The town where I grew up had a dry cleaners called Camelot Cleaners, and on all their hangers it said "All suits of armor cleaned free." I always wanted to get them to live up to that promise, but I just never got around to it, and they aren't in business anymore. You should check around, and see if any other dry cleaners are making similar foolish promises.

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Jesse Zinn




Location: NC (USA)
Joined: 17 Nov 2003

Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sat 23 Sep, 2006 6:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For what it's worth, George R.R. Martin, in his medieval fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, writes several times about squires and hands tumbling mail shirts, etc. in barrels filled with sand. I have no knowledge whether this is historically authentic or not, however, when I read it, I felt I had heard of it before. I'd love to test it out sometime...

Cheers,
-Jess

Jesse D. Zinn
North Carolina

Hwt w Gr-Dena in ger-dagum
od-cyninga rym gefrnon,
h elingas ellen fremedon."
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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Posts: 5,678

PostPosted: Sat 23 Sep, 2006 8:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jesse Zinn wrote:
For what it's worth, George R.R. Martin, in his medieval fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, writes several times about squires and hands tumbling mail shirts, etc. in barrels filled with sand. I have no knowledge whether this is historically authentic or not, however, when I read it, I felt I had heard of it before. I'd love to test it out sometime...

Cheers,
-Jess


I've used sand-in-a-barrel on several occasions for mail cleaning. It works fairly well, if a bit labor intensive and abrasive. That's one of the few things George-double-R gets right in his books concerning arms and armor (and yes I like the books).


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Sat 23 Sep, 2006 11:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bob Burns




Location: South Indianapolis IN
Joined: 09 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Sep, 2006 10:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Laughing Out Loud Thanks for more mileage on your "Hauberk Happenings" Laughing Out Loud ! What about spraying it with gun cleaner?

Well, not that it would have ever have occured to me to put my hauberk in a dryer, it's a definite don't do on my list now and I do thank you for this terribly funny post which sadly was at your expense and it's probably a very good thing for my health that I was not there for the end result! Laughing Out Loud

Also, I thank you and the information you gave me which prompted me to buy a gambeson and riveted hauberk, arming cap and coif to wear while wielding a sword or sword and shield. It's quite a difference in feeling, both in that it takes much more effort, movements are slowed down, but it also adds psychological vigor and vitality to the whole thing.
My hauberk is the steel riveted dipped in zinc version made by Windlass and weighs 23 lbs, and I tell ya to put the gambeson and the hauberk as well as cap and coif it does not take long to feel the effects of the heat!

Thanks for the laughs!

Bob
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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

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Posts: 5,678

PostPosted: Sat 23 Sep, 2006 11:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You're most welcome Bob. I'm glad my tribulations give you a jolly. Razz Honestly, I wasn't too upset about it as I was fairly sure it would happen to a certain extent. So when it did happen my reaction was more of a "that figures" kind of thing. The entire process with this mail has been a learning experience and apparently it isn't over yet.

My friend (with the dryer) thought we should try putting the mail in a bag and tumbling it that way. The mail might not be thrown around and abused as much if tumbled in that fashion. He has a point but frankly, at this point I'm not eager to repeat the exercise.

Your gambeson is the typical modern poly-fill stuff. I have one as well and they don't breath like natural fiber garments do. In terms of heat dissipation it's like wearing a plastic trash bag under your mail. A good quality gambeson is one of the things on my longterm list.
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