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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Apr, 2015 7:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Then there are samples of Renaissance mail made from hardened, medium-carbon steels.....
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Apr, 2015 1:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Rivetted mail         Reply with quote

Bruce Tordoff wrote:
"but there is a scale of authenticity. "


The thing is, Whilst my fellow re-enactment group members and I, strive to achieve high standards of Authenticity, non of us have dysentary, or ground down teeth from eating bread containing grit from the quernstone. Neither do we have headlice, or live in smoke filled hovels. So where do we draw the line in terms of 'Authenticity'


Bruce


No offense, but this is my problem with some (many) re-enactors. What evidence do you have that most people had dysentary, headlice or lived in hovels? I don't know what period you re-enact but I think this "medieval caveman" stereotype is pretty useless. Too many re-enactors repeat stereotypes from Monty Python or Braveheart to tourists all day.

J

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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Tue 28 Apr, 2015 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The fun thing being that two of the Monthy Python cast are quite knowledgeable on medieval history and played the trope straight (though not everyone seems to catch this).
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Apr, 2015 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing I have noted in looking at a lot of prices on weapons and armor in the high to late medieval period, all over Europe, is that while weapons like swords got MUCH cheaper (down to around half a mark in the 15th Century in many German towns) and armor including plate harness and various types of textile and plate armours, got much cheaper as well (down to a few guilders), mail never seems to get cheaper. It ranged from expensive to very expensive. In fact there seem to be certain types of mail which are much more expensive than almost any military kit except warhorses. You could buy a cheap cuirass with pauldrons four or five times over for the cost of one mail shirt in some cases. Unfortunately they don't often give much information about the kit in question so I don't know if some of this is that extra fine type mail that you can't fit a pin through or if it's tempered mail or just ordinary mail.

Which makes me think of a question - Dan, what are your thoughts on tempering mail? Could you get a mail byrnie with some carbon content in it and temper the whole shirt? Wasn't that done in period? I never understood how you would quench that evenly.

J

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Apr, 2015 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Which makes me think of a question - Dan, what are your thoughts on tempering mail? Could you get a mail byrnie with some carbon content in it and temper the whole shirt? Wasn't that done in period? I never understood how you would quench that evenly.

As Mart said, we have examples of mail made from steel that is capable of being hardened and was on some occasions. It only seems to have occurred fairly late - in the Renaissance - and I have no idea how widespread the practice was.

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PostPosted: Tue 28 Apr, 2015 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
Then there are samples of Renaissance mail made from hardened, medium-carbon steels.....


Perhaps fashion over function?

But with good spring temper, it should work. For very light mail, which can fail from having links being cut through, rather than stretched until broken, it can be a good choice. Hardness will help against cutting. But that's not the kind of mail that will keep arrows and crossbows out. Wrought iron can stretch to close to double its length before it breaks - that's a big deformation to suck up lots of energy (though in practice, a link will probably break somewhere before the whole thing is stretched that much). Don't know whether or not hardened steel will beat that, Maybe. The return to wrought iron for armour, when making thick bullet-proof breastplates may well be functional rather than economic, so maybe not.

One problem with hard mail is that it produces more fragments when shot. Have heard that, in the Mahdi war in the Sudan, the Dervishes didn't use the hard mail used by the Egyptian army when they had the chance, because of such fragmentation.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Apr, 2015 3:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To the contrary, the price of mail drops as Dr. Randall Storey's thesis reveals.

http://virtuabis.free.fr/Technology%20and%20M...ngland.pdf

Quote:
Generations of historians believed that with the addition of mail barding in the early thirteenth century the cost of fielding a fully-equipped knight had outgrown the original value attached to knights fees, ....
An additional charge levelled against the high-cost argument contends that the real cost of armaments, especially the hauberk, was actually falling perhaps from the late twelfth century.
-------------
Over the course of the thirteenth century mail barding halved in price to 20s or less, but its adoption still varied due to the vagaries of individual assessments.
------------
M. Strickland has already proposed that the lengthening of the hauberk to include the arms and legs at this time probably reflects cheaper costs of mail.
------------
The evidence presented here suggests that in England prices for arms with high iron and/or steel contents experienced the most drop over the course of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In most cases the prices of substantial arms such as hauberks or iron helms fell to a quarter or even an eighth of their price in 1200. A hauberk for instance which commonly cost 40s in 1200 was often valued for 20s during the early thirteenth century and could be found for 5s in the fourteenth century. In relation to the costs of living, arms which experienced such large price drops may have cost one-sixteenth as much in 1300 as they had in 1200. The reduction in the prices of hauberks may have been heavily influenced by the introduction of new technologies such as wire draw-plates, but the overall trend is corroborated by prices of other substantial arms.


Decreases in the cost of raw materials like iron could bring some cost reduction. However, European mail tends to move from a demi-riveted construction in which half the rings are punched, to all-riveted wire rings. This increases labor costs for assembly during a time when the cost of mail is falling. We can only speculate that water-powered wire drawing mills, combined with better organization and specialization by guilds and shops somehow made for greater efficiency in production.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui


Last edited by Mart Shearer on Tue 28 Apr, 2015 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mark Griffin




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Apr, 2015 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Much that I like the look of even the cheapest riveted mail that's available over most other types (once worn in it starts to get close to some original bits ) for the work i do I swear by my ultra hard butted stainless. Apart from the high end stuff Erik does nothing matches its strength and ability to with stand serious abuse. Some riveted i can pull open with my hands but my skirt is as tough as old nails. Not that its made from nails... I wear it for serious jousting so its an 'authenticity' compromise I'm happy to make.
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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William P




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 1:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
To the contrary, the price of mail drops as Dr. Randall Storey's thesis reveals.

http://virtuabis.free.fr/Technology%20and%20M...ngland.pdf

Quote:
Generations of historians believed that with the addition of mail barding in the early thirteenth century the cost of fielding a fully-equipped knight had outgrown the original value attached to knights fees, ....
An additional charge levelled against the high-cost argument contends that the real cost of armaments, especially the hauberk, was actually falling perhaps from the late twelfth century.
-------------
Over the course of the thirteenth century mail barding halved in price to 20s or less, but its adoption still varied due to the vagaries of individual assessments.
------------
M. Strickland has already proposed that the lengthening of the hauberk to include the arms and legs at this time probably reflects cheaper costs of mail.
------------
The evidence presented here suggests that in England prices for arms with high iron and/or steel contents experienced the most drop over the course of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In most cases the prices of substantial arms such as hauberks or iron helms fell to a quarter or even an eighth of their price in 1200. A hauberk for instance which commonly cost 40s in 1200 was often valued for 20s during the early thirteenth century and could be found for 5s in the fourteenth century. In relation to the costs of living, arms which experienced such large price drops may have cost one-sixteenth as much in 1300 as they had in 1200. The reduction in the prices of hauberks may have been heavily influenced by the introduction of new technologies such as wire draw-plates, but the overall trend is corroborated by prices of other substantial arms.


Decreases in the cost of raw materials like iron could bring some cost reduction. However, European mail tends to move from a demi-riveted construction in which half the rings are punched, to all-riveted wire rings. This increases labor costs for assembly during a time when the cost of mail is falling. We can only speculate that water-powered wire drawing mills, combined with better organization and specialization by guilds and shops somehow made for greater efficiency in production.


would it also be a reasonanle factor that. as time goes on... older maille shirts are continually worn, traded, handed down over the centries even as new shirts were being made. thus it follows perhapos that like with swords. there were simply more of them by the time we reach the 15th century meaning that perhaps it would increase availability
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
To the contrary, the price of mail drops as Dr. Randall Storey's thesis reveals.


Yes, I'm sorry - because I'm usually focused on the era of the fight-books, when I say medieval I tend to focus almost exclusively on the late medieval. From the 8th - 13th Century anything made of iron got much cheaper, do to the exact reason you cited yourself, water-wheel technology and ancillary machines (especially Catalan forge, Barcelona hammer and so on) as well as larger and more efficient bloomery forges and later on (by the 15th C), true blast furnaces. As well as increasingly sophisticated craft guild systems with carefully regulated networks of contractors and subcontractors, especially in the Free Cities and City-States (for iron, Milan, Brescia, Augsburg, Nuremberg prominently)

But in the late medieval period, roughly starting right when that paper ends (around 1350-) most armor seems to get much cheaper while mail remains expensive. For example in Krakow in 1456, in the middle of the 13 Years War, armor and weapons for a lancer (including plate harness and helmet) were listed as 22 złoty, (a złoty is roughly equivalent of 1 nuremberg gulden or 30 Prague groschen) while a single mail shirt could be 20 złoty. Some are listed as high as 150.



As for tempered mail, I'm referring to tempering not hardening. I would imagine hardening might actually cause some problems...?

What is the exact process that produces 'bronzed' mail?

Jean

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William P




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 4:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Mart Shearer wrote:
To the contrary, the price of mail drops as Dr. Randall Storey's thesis reveals.


Yes, I'm sorry - because I'm usually focused on the era of the fight-books, when I say medieval I tend to focus almost exclusively on the late medieval. From the 8th - 13th Century anything made of iron got much cheaper, do to the exact reason you cited yourself, water-wheel technology and ancillary machines (especially Catalan forge, Barcelona hammer and so on) as well as larger and more efficient bloomery forges and later on (by the 15th C), true blast furnaces. As well as increasingly sophisticated craft guild systems with carefully regulated networks of contractors and subcontractors, especially in the Free Cities and City-States (for iron, Milan, Brescia, Augsburg, Nuremberg prominently)

But in the late medieval period, roughly starting right when that paper ends (around 1350-) most armor seems to get much cheaper while mail remains expensive. For example in Krakow in 1456, in the middle of the 13 Years War, armor and weapons for a lancer (including plate harness and helmet) were listed as 22 złoty, (a złoty is roughly equivalent of 1 nuremberg gulden or 30 Prague groschen) while a single mail shirt could be 20 złoty. Some are listed as high as 150.



As for tempered mail, I'm referring to tempering not hardening. I would imagine hardening might actually cause some problems...?

What is the exact process that produces 'bronzed' mail?

Jean


hi, could you maybe explain a bit regarding changes in pricing from the 8th-13th century... howdid prices change and when. im curious about the availability of maille from the 9th to 11th centuries. does the paper you read and reference make much mention to the byzantines and vikings at all if so what does it say about them.

as well as more general trends throughout the entire 8th-13th century period
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
As for tempered mail, I'm referring to tempering not hardening. I would imagine hardening might actually cause some problems...?

What is the exact process that produces 'bronzed' mail?

Jean


Dr. Williams' research shows both slack-quenching as well as a return were used to temper, sometimes more successfully than others.
http://www.erikds.com/pdf/tmrs_pdf_6.pdf

What do you mean by "bronzed mail"? There is gilt mail and latten mail, but I've never heard of bronzed before.

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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 7:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
hi, could you maybe explain a bit regarding changes in pricing from the 8th-13th century... howdid prices change and when. im curious about the availability of maille from the 9th to 11th centuries. does the paper you read and reference make much mention to the byzantines and vikings at all if so what does it say about them.

as well as more general trends throughout the entire 8th-13th century period


The title of Dr. Storey's thesis is Technology and Military Policy in Medieval England, c.1250-1350, so it's safe to say it doesn't deal with Vikings, Byzantines, or the early medieval period.

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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My understanding very generally speaking, was that there was a kind of revolution in automation technology, especially the water mill but also wind mills, tidal mills, and much more sophisticated use of animal power, and machine-augmented human power (like treadmill cranes and so on) which started slowly in the 8th Century but began to accelerate rapidly in the 10th-11th Centuries.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treadwheel_crane

Some of this started under Charlemagne, and later the impetus was continued by the Cistercian Order of monks. They pushed very hard for the spread of the watermill and many other technologies which vastly enhanced all kinds of things from agriculture to textile production. And iron.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cistercians#Comm..._diffusion

From the wiki:

"The quality of Cistercian architecture from the 1120s onwards is related directly to the Order's technological inventiveness. They placed importance on metal, both the extraction of the ore and its subsequent processing. At the abbey of Fontenay the forge is not outside, as one might expect, but inside the monastic enclosure: metalworking was thus part of the activity of the monks and not of the lay brothers. This spirit accounted for the progress that appeared in spheres other than building, and particularly in agriculture. It is probable that this experiment spread rapidly; Gothic architecture cannot be understood otherwise."

Even the 11th Century Domesday census showed something like 5000 watermills in England, and England was not by any means the most developed part of Europe at that time, almost the opposite. Most of these mills were for processing grain but some were used for forges.

Forges with things like automatic (water powered) bellows worked much faster than human powered needless to say. The production of iron increased rapidly as these more formally organized complexes were established

From the 12th -13th Century there were rapid technological advancements, centered on translating Arab and Persian translations of Classical mathematicians and engineers like Euclid, Virtruvius, Archemides and Hero of Alexandria - as well as from the Muslim scholars themselves. This contributed to rapid development in what they could do with all that water-power and led to more and more efficient production of iron (and processing of wood, and textiles, and grain, etc. etc.)


This one is 15th Century

With the water powered trip-hammers and everything it also meant that products made of iron were cheaper too. This dovetailed with many other inventions like the vice and the draw plate (particularly for mail, obviously) and so forth. It all became an order of magnitude more efficient especially in the Free towns with highly organized craft guild organizations which had complex networks of specialists and subcontractors. Whereas before iron production was done mainly in forests, so they would have access to plenty of fuel, as the cities developed they had trade networks so they could have fuel and ore and whatever else they needed coming from hundreds or even thousands of miles away by boat.

There are some people who have collected numbers for things like the costs of armor and swords in different periods, and you can certainly see a general trend. I don't know any of the numbers for pre 14th Century off hand but I think I remember that the cost of a sword was something like the cost of 30 cows in Carolingian times, whereas by the early 14th C in Germany (HRE) it was down to half a mark in some places (compared to 2 marks for a cow in Lubeck in 1425 and 6 marks for an Ox the same year). You have to be very careful with the numbers though because regions varied enormously (a sword would generally be more expensive in London than say, Cologne) and also currency itself fluctuated enormously.


As for bronzed mail and other armor, you see that in period artwork quite a bit - it appears to be possible to bronze armor a couple of ways, one by simply raising it to a temper (just below the point when it turns purple). I was hoping to learn more about it myself but there is another myArmoury thread about it here:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...w=previous

Jean

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 9:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
As for bronzed mail and other armor, you see that in period artwork quite a bit - it appears to be possible to bronze armor a couple of ways, one by simply raising it to a temper (just below the point when it turns purple). I was hoping to learn more about it myself but there is another myArmoury thread about it here:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...w=previous

Jean

Quite a few paintings from the later middle ages show mail or plate which is yellow or golden. A few texts mention gilt armour or armour of latoun. How do you know that the artists were trying to represent "bronzed mail"? If you have some texts from the Germanies to add to the discussion great!
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
As for bronzed mail and other armor, you see that in period artwork quite a bit - it appears to be possible to bronze armor a couple of ways, one by simply raising it to a temper (just below the point when it turns purple). I was hoping to learn more about it myself but there is another myArmoury thread about it here:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...w=previous

Jean

Quite a few paintings from the later middle ages show mail or plate which is yellow or golden. A few texts mention gilt armour or armour of latoun. How do you know that the artists were trying to represent "bronzed mail"? If you have some texts from the Germanies to add to the discussion great!


I don't know that, I was hoping to learn something here Happy Apparently both bronze-tempering and lattening was done in the medieval period, though I'm not sure if the latter was done with mail or not.

I also wonder if someone could clarify if blackening or painting armor had any effect on water / rust proofing and if there were any other known means of helping prevent rust used in this period.

J

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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Apparently both bronze-tempering and lattening was done in the medieval period, though I'm not sure if the latter was done with mail or not.


Thom Richardson's thesis provides evidence of latten mail.


Quote:
TNA, E 101/392/14, account of William Rothwell, keeper of the privy
wardrobe at the Tower of London, 9 May 135324 June 1360


clxxiij loricas quarum lxxvj cum coleris de nova factura, iiijxx viij absque coleris de vetera factura, iiij de alta clavatura, iij pro torniamento debilas, j de maille jaserant et j de latone


173 mail shirts of which 76 with collars of new workmanship, 88 without collars of old workmanship, 4 of "high nailing" (all riveted?), 3 for the tournament - damaged, 1 of mail jaserant, and 1 of latten.

Additionally, Wallace Collection sleeves A10-11 are of tinned latten wire.

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Fri 01 May, 2015 3:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
I don't know that, I was hoping to learn something here Happy Apparently both bronze-tempering and lattening was done in the medieval period, though I'm not sure if the latter was done with mail or not.

I am sure not an expert, but I do not see any evidence in that thread that anyone before the 20th century used heating and cooling to give any kind of iron a bronze colour. The idea of running a brass-bristled brush over hot iron to deposit a layer of brass feels 19th century at the earliest, because for most of history copper alloys were expensive and fine wire was expensive and if money was no object you could just use actual brass or bronze. There are all kinds of things which historical artisans did which we will never be able to prove, but just speculating about how we would do something with modern tools and a modern mindset can lead us astray.

There are some sleeves of mail of latoun tinned in the Wallace collection (catalogue numbers A10 and A11 I think) and many more pieces of mail have copper-alloy rings at the edges or use the contrast between ferrous and copper-alloy rings to create a pattern. Thom Richardson's thesis has some examples of plate armour of copper alloy or decorated with copper-alloy plates; Chaucer's Tale of Sir Topas is another source.
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Mark Griffin




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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2015 4:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is anyone aware of any research/testing that has been done on these links re evidence of mercury for fire gilding? On rivet heads its usually a sign that a brass cap was there to carry gold, anyone done xrf testing on these brass/latten links to see if that's the case with them?
Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2015 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if you put linseed oil on steel, and heat it, just like seasoning an iron frying pan, the first couple layers are straw, then it goes a mottled gold/brown before darkening to black.

just a thought...

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