Thoughts on scratch-made butted mail
I decided to start getting my 13th century kit into more serious form. One of things I need is mail shirt. I started work on scratch-made butted mail shirt using 1.4mm thick fence wire with 9mm inner diameter, which seems like fairly good approximation of look of authentic mail.

Somebody suggested that buying finished mail might be more efficient as making it is very time-consuming. After some hours I have only quite small patch - I'm wondering how long can whole shirt take - does anyone have experience with this?

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Well, that depends entirely on how much timeyou devote to it - work a couple hours a day while watching your favourite TV show or something - as once you get hang of it, you can really make mail and watch TV at same time. Then you are looking into a month or two ow work, considering the size of the rings you use. However, if you want to invest time and effort into making your own mail, perharps you ought to consider making it riveted instead of butted? Sure, it multiplies the making time at least by 4, but the look will be much better than butted one.
I concur with Artis...

Making an entire mail would require at least one month of serious work (using all the hours you can spare), so if you are not in hurry it would be more historically accurate to make your own riveted mail (good historically riveted mail are very expensive, and cheap ones are worse than butted ones).

Or you can take your time fishing the net for a good one. I found mine on eBay for 50 (pratically little more than the price of the wire) and then used a week or two of work to tailor and improve it (integrated coif, integrated mittens, improved sleeves and girth, 25cm fan with neon... uh, scratch that...). The sleeves are particular important, because commercial mail shirts tend to have the large and windy, with a lot of inutile weight and inertia...

Also, I would recommend a wire a little more thick... perhaps 1,7mm with 10mm rings. I use a lot of 1,5mm/8mm for my gauntlets and even when its stitched to the fabric it tend to shed a lot of rings after a serious battle.

Last but not least, if you prefer scratch all of this and do what you want: maille is a splendid hobby and the most important part is just to enjoy it!
Hi members of our group regularly make hauberks,coifs,chause etc from butted link.An average hauberk takes about 100 hours plus(done in spare time).We use spring steel links we buy from a local spring maker who sets his machine to cut the link at 1 turn ,internal diameter is 8-12 mil.All it takes is time, practice ,pliers and strong wrists lol.
I consider making a mailshirt all by yourself nowadays a complete waste of time. Get yourself a decent hauberk with riveted rings and make some changes, so that it will fit your arms snuggly. That alone will cost some hours.

Have fun,
Now that reasonably affordable riveted mail is available, the only real reason to make it yourself is to do it with practically no available funds, and for the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Having said that, when I made mine, I used 3/8" ID rings (pretty close to what you're doing). The body "tube" of my hauberk is about 122 rings in circumference (60-ring wide sheets for front and back before adding a column on each side to join it), if I recall correctly. It would take me about 25 minutes per row when I was adding length. Once you have a reasonably large section done, such that you can just add to it without the pattern flopping around on you, you can just watch TV and not have to think too hard about what you're doing. :)
I will second (third, fourth, etc.) the comments previously posted. My homemade hauberk took one season of American football while seated in front of the idiot box with a pair of pliers.

Unless you have a shortage of funds, I would recommend any one of the vendors that frequent this forum. Many of them carry Indian made mail at very reasonable prices.

If your funds are very limited ... happy knitting! :)

P.S. Walter, thank you very much for your help previously! If you need anything, just PM me. :cool:
I don't know. I guess it is more comfortable to do such things at home but you might find that working the same or less time at a fairly basic job might be more profitable. There is no money in making mail, even for yourself. I used to make my own mail but in the end prices just kept going down for finished shirts and up for materials and now for a few hundred bucks you can find a riveted mail that is decent (thought the awesome more period correct ones still are a bit costly).

I have wanted to make mail chausses for ages (riveted though) and cannot convince myself to do it as it took me forever. Since few people make such mail garments off the rack I have no other choice though. It took me a month to make a 8 inch by 8 inch riveted mail square, though I used 0 solid links and I was working and doing school. Earlier while I was working full time and going to university full time it took me nearly 2.5 months to make a coif. A few years later I made the skirt, sleeves and much of the back in 4-5 months, still doing the work and school thing about the same.

mail can be costly even if you do not pay for it....

I personally have made two butted mail shirts a butted coif and an currently working on a riveted Shirt. The first one I made was a Hauberk that I made out of 16 gauge and 3\8 ring diameter and it took about 5 to 6 months with a few weeks where I took a brake from it. The coif I made from 14 1\2 gauge wire and was 5\16 diameter rings and I was able to finish it in two weeks. And the second shirt a Haubergeon was the same as the coif for ring size and gauge and it took about 6-7months witch I also took a few weeks off. I personally like the feeling of making it myself instead of buying it. It does get sickening after about a month of work but if you keep with it and do some every day you'll be done before you know it. Best of luck to you.
:D :D
Mine took nine months on the weekends. Everywhere I went, my bag of maille went with me.

Never again, unless I was doing riveted.
If you decide to continue it is a lot faster to work vertically. So when you start you make about three to four rows vertically and and add on sideways as big as you want the piece and then start working vertically. If you work vertically you can do it so you never have to set the mail down for every ring. Or you can do two rows at a time but you have to have pre-closed rings. Not sure if it is any faster to do it that way. For rived mail it speeds it up considerably.
I would like to stress that you make your own.

I made my own butted shirt out of Stainless Steel 1/4 hard 12gauge SWG 3/8 ID, or in american standards it was 10GaugeAWG. It took me a year and a half. I hand saw'd each ring as well as hand wound the wire into every coil.

Labor Intensive: Check
Alot of my personal time: Check
Frustraion: Check
Fun: Awsome
Experiance: Priceless

You can easily set up a way to cut the rings with a drill/saw blade as well as winding the wire into coils with a drill as well.
As mentioned I did all this by hand. That is what I had availible. I could not find what I wanted online so I made my own.

That shirt came to be around 45lbs of weight and with a suit of armor that is too much weight even to make voiders out of.

At this very moment I am in the study of making my own riveted maille. I have the tools, and am in the process of making a total dollar amount of the tools+materials to make riveted rings. I do believe that butted rings makes you appreciate riveted that much more. Plus you will always have that butted shirt to pass on to your off-spring or someone close to you such as a nephew or son you never had, or son that you had.

The main reason I am making riveted is for the weight reduction. Here is the perfect instruction guide to follow for riveted [url] [/url]

I used Stainless Steel rings of the thickness and small diamater so that the maille would stand up to abuse. And it has been effective for what I needed it to be.

Check out for any and all types of wire you need. Or find a local company to avoid the $25 shipping charge from Canada to America.

All in all I do feel that if you can make it rather than buy it; Make It! If you lack the drive and have the money to spend then buy what you want, but buy top quality. Do not waste your money on crap that you will have to replace in a couple years.

I will end this post with a simple set to remember for the beginner.

Make the best for your personal needs... Or buy the best there is.....................

And I am not talking about a $20,000.00 maille shirt by Eric Schmidt! Unless you are a billionaire, then buy me one too, LoL!?!
I have made butted maille too. For my first projects (2 maille coifs with aventails) I have used 1,5mm wire making rings of 10mm internal diameter then I switched to 1,8mm wire and rings of 9mm internal diameter for the kolontar vest here:;start=0 and now I am making a maille shirt of 7mm diameter rings from 1,8mm wire.
It is a time consuming work and it worth it only if your funds are very limited (as in my case, since in Romania an average salary is about 300-350$ per month now). You are looking ahead to a few months of work :) .
If you are using butted construction and 1,5-1,6mm fence wire, the rings will break open very often after a serious fight so that's why I have switched to 1,8mm. Anyway, if you plan to make a butted maille and you intend to fight in it (even in an SCA event with ratan/wooden wasters), be prepared to carry around with you a small bag of spare rings :) ... you will need them to constantly repair your maille shirt.
If you use rings purchased from a springworks ,you shouldn't need to repair them all that much.We get smallish holes now and again but the links are tempered spring steel and hold together well.

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