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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Maille Reply to topic
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Brendan Kunkel





Joined: 08 Mar 2015

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu 23 Apr, 2015 8:34 pm    Post subject: Maille         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

Do you guys think that butted maille (high tensile steel as opposed to mild steel), could still protect you in a fight? I realize that riveted maille would be better, but I have butted maille that is made out of high tensile steel. I am assuming (and I am probably wrong) that since most riveted maille is made out of mild steel (which is more likely to be damaged to blows), that butted maille that is made out of high tensile steel might be similar in quality.

Anyways, what do you guys think?
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Fri 24 Apr, 2015 12:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Even high carbon butted links will not protect as well as riveted links but you can improve protection by using a dense weave. Pretty much anything can stop a sword cut but butted mail usually has trouble keeping out points. I have a shirt made of alternating rows of butted and solid links (4mm ID, 1.2mm wire) and it can stop the hardest spear thrust I can manage. I doubt it would stop a mounted lance or a warbow like a heavy riveted weave could but it is pretty good. I have another made completely from butted mild steel links (4mm ID, 1.2mm wire) and it has no trouble stopping knife thrusts. Larger links reduce protective capacity significantly, even with thicker wire. In addition, butted links actually look more authentic than the riveted mail that is available on the market today. The links are too large, too flat, and the overlap way too large. You can tell the Indian-made riveted mail even on TV but you need to get pretty close to tell that mail is only made from butted links.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Kuo Xie




Location: Chicago, IL
Joined: 29 Feb 2012

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Fri 24 Apr, 2015 6:50 am    Post subject: Re: Maille         Reply with quote

Brendan Kunkel wrote:
Hello everyone,

Do you guys think that butted maille (high tensile steel as opposed to mild steel), could still protect you in a fight? I realize that riveted maille would be better, but I have butted maille that is made out of high tensile steel. I am assuming (and I am probably wrong) that since most riveted maille is made out of mild steel (which is more likely to be damaged to blows), that butted maille that is made out of high tensile steel might be similar in quality.

Anyways, what do you guys think?


Sure, I think high tensile butted links could make a decently protective mail shirt. We have some amazing alloys nowadays. But when you take into account the labor involved in weaving that kind of tough wire into mail, I don't think it's any less labor that riveting mild steel links. My fingertips hurt just thinking about it.

Accelerated wear and tear is something else to think about. if a butted link opens up even a little bit, it will rotate itself out of the weave and fall out. When I used to wear butted hauberks I found that they were fine for some period of time, until suddenly a bunch of links would fall out all at once as the links opened past the "tipping point".
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Fri 24 Apr, 2015 7:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Dan,

How does ring size relate to weight and flexibility of an entire shirt? I wonder what the relation between ring size, ring thickness, weight and protectiveness is.
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Fri 24 Apr, 2015 1:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
How does ring size relate to weight and flexibility of an entire shirt? I wonder what the relation between ring size, ring thickness, weight and protectiveness is.

The denser the weave the less flexibility you have. I have a collar made of butted links that is completely rigid. It seems that smaller links are harder to open up even though the wire is thinner. Mail made from smaller links requires a lot more work and is thus more expensive compared to using larger links. If you could get the same protection by using larger links with thicker wire then the smaller links would not have been used historically. I've never tried to work out the relationship between protection, diameter, and wire thickness.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Pieter B.





Joined: 16 Feb 2014
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Fri 24 Apr, 2015 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. I hadn't considered that if big rings with thick wire were equal to small rings that small rings wouldn't have been used.
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Brendan Kunkel





Joined: 08 Mar 2015

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat 25 Apr, 2015 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tested the maille, (with a spear) and just a little bit of the tip got trough, nothing to get through a gambeson, so I feel pretty confident with the integrity of it.

(Incase you were wondering)
http://darkknightarmoury.com/p-3064-full-slee...uberk.aspx
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Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,199

PostPosted: Sat 25 Apr, 2015 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brendan Kunkel wrote:
I tested the maille, (with a spear) and just a little bit of the tip got trough, nothing to get through a gambeson, so I feel pretty confident with the integrity of it.

(Incase you were wondering)
http://darkknightarmoury.com/p-3064-full-slee...uberk.aspx

That stuff is definitely not suited for combat. The links are too big and, even though the text says "high tensile steel", it probably isn't. DKA may not even realise it because a lot of Indian suppliers flat out lie about the materials they use. You'll find that you'll get a lot of "moth holes" during use. It is ok for smacking with a rattan stick but not metal weapons. Many organisations will straight up forbid it due to safety concerns. Note that their description says "Great For Costuming and Role-Playing". Serious armour costs serious money. You can't get what you want for two hundred dollars.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 495

PostPosted: Sat 25 Apr, 2015 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Brendan Kunkel wrote:
I tested the maille, (with a spear) and just a little bit of the tip got trough, nothing to get through a gambeson, so I feel pretty confident with the integrity of it.

(Incase you were wondering)
http://darkknightarmoury.com/p-3064-full-slee...uberk.aspx

That stuff is definitely not suited for combat. The links are too big and, even though the text says "high tensile steel", it probably isn't. DKA may not even realise it because a lot of Indian suppliers flat out lie about the materials they use. You'll find that you'll get a lot of "moth holes" during use. It is ok for smacking with a rattan stick but not metal weapons. Many organisations will straight up forbid it due to safety concerns. Note that their description says "Great For Costuming and Role-Playing". Serious armour costs serious money. You can't get what you want for two hundred dollars.

Dan, that is not okay. I've watched guy's walked in the field wearing 18 and 16 gauge butted suits and watched there rings fly off during the flight, it is just to thin a wire to make up for the lack of structural integrity especially if you wearing with minimal rigid protection (kidney belt and knee cops). I would suggest looking for riveted or welded rings unless you are fined with suits with much higher rings thickness and weave density ( both of which add allot more weight). Here are few links. http://www.weldedchainmail.com/products/ http://allbeststuff.com/ You can also save money and for durablity for saving it for specifc purpose. If you are planning on fencing with like in HemA group, SCA rapier or cut and thrust group, the abilitiy of the to resist pressure and fricition is what is needed, the guage isn't really important becuase teir is no shock becuase don't murder whack each other. if you are doing 13th, fourtenn century persona and planning in wearing a surcoat/cylas regularly in SCA heavy context, you don't need full shirt. But yeah, butted is retty much only for costuming unless is is much heavier and denser. weave. The huge ring is important becuase if any armour can be easiley bypass, it sorta fails to to be armour, it doesn't whether the armour is broked if the guy wearing it is dead.
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