Galvanized maille - need advice

Well I guess it's time to swallow my pride and buy REAL maille. I was going to buy riveted aluminium but I realize, not only do the Indian retailers on eBay offer nothing specific, but they can be difficult to discuss with.

I can spend max $500, more or less and it has to stand up to REAL WEAPONS AND LIVING HISTORY. I'm not speaking of demos or costume outfits, I need real tough maille which takes punishment.

What I need are dealers who make maille to a high standard please help out.

16 gauge
8mm thread
Does flat maille or round maille protect better? Whichever's tougher I'll have.
4-5 pattern (or similar 12th century link structure)
Flat wedge rivets (or round ones as long as they aren't MASSIVE)
As heavy as can be (without being uncomfortable, need authentic weight).

Here is my few questions:

1. Is galvanized maille as protective against rust as they say? Do the links rub together enough to destroy the zinc? Do I need to put ren wax on it to help nuture it?
2. Is galvanized maille produced at a lower quality in general than regular steel? Is a galv shirt and a steel shirt of the same price as useful as one another?
3. Galvanized steel is generally thicker than regular steel, how much more protection and weight does it give me?
4. Is zinc a health risk in the rain, does it absorb your skin, is it safe as long as it's not heated or put in chemicall agents?
5. Is reproduction maille designs to protect against blunt trauma or does it only work to stop cutting weapons?
Galvanised mail is no different to mild steel mail except that it is more resistant to corrosion and has a different colour.
Zinc is only harmful if you breathe in fumes. It is harmless against the skin and won't harm you if it is absorbed. You need a certain amount of zinc for your body to function properly.
You'd need pretty heavy mail for it to be resistant to blunt trauma.
full hauberk
Best you're going to find (at the price) from a very good seller; both around 400usd. These are zinc coated mild steel in 16ga alternating wedge rivet and flat ring construction
Thank you Dan, I had no clue that zinc was able to be used by the body in that way. I thought you had to ingest naturally with food.

Tom are you sure those are zinc? It doesn't say. The only zinc maille hauberks I can find there are butted.
Its generally safe to assume that most GDFB maille is zinc coated for rust protection, but these are some of their higher quality items, so they may not have zinc. The only real difference is that the maille may need to be oiled more often. Based on my 40usd GDFB coif, the zinc coating does wear off after a while, so a light oil is still needed for upkeep on most zinc coated items.
The FindItArmoury maille I own sounds similar to what you need. I recommend that you get internal diameter, external diameter, ring thickness, total weight, and stretched-tight dimensions before you order from any supplier. Some give chest dimensions as "sized for a X inch chest," others as "the chest of this armour has a circumference of X inches."

I assume that by "real weapons" you mean blunted ones wielded by friends. I wouldn't recommend any Indian maille against sharp weapons wielded by someone trying to hurt you. In general, you get what you pay for ...

The disadvantage of galvanization is that its harder to repair with matching rings and rivets.
I have both the GDFB Hauberk and Haubergeon posted above and niether are zinc coated. Anything from them that says "mild steel" isn't the zinc coated version as it is referring to the finish. They are not too heavy, but the full hauberk can be a little tricky to get on over a gambeson. Both of mine are the wedge riveted flattened ring/solid ring. The rings are by no means massive, like the Haubergeon I personally made out of 12 gauge wire (which IS zinc coated) The one I made from 12 gauge is butted but it stands up to a LOT of abuse, never had bent or burst links from a Live Steel fight or slashing and stabbing with blunt weapons. Only thing that burst links was when i tried stabbing it with sharp weapons and shooting arrows at it, but in the end was easily repaired. Slashing at it with sharp swords and knives just nicked the rings but didnt bend or break them. BUT it wieghs 40 lbs which is TWICE the weight of the GDFBs full Hauberk! The 16 gauge butted aventail I made for my viking helm, however was not that strong, it doesnt take much force to burst those links. I could almost bend them by hand. I imagine GDFBs butted maille would be similar unless you get the High Tensile or Stainless versions.
The flattened GDFB links are pretty thin and some were even a little bent from the manufacturer, I havent fought in my GDFB ones yet but I have friends who have and every now ant then repairs need to be done. I think its a good idea to have their riveting tool and a supply of loose links.

Now the GDFB mild steel maille comes SOAKED in oil. I tried a few methods for cleaning (wiping with a cloth, rolling in a bucket of cat litter...) but the only thing that worked was putting it in a tupperware tote, pouring a citrus based cleaner/degreaser and some dish soap, adding water and scrubbing it with a brush, then washing it with a pressure washer. I then hung it up and blasted as much water off with an air compressor then laid them out in the sun. One was done on a hot day and the water dried fast enough that there was no rust at all, the other got a little rusty in spots because it was a cooler day and the water sat on there longer. but a roll in a bucket of sand took the rust off. Its quite a process to clean it when you get it, but Im happy with the GDFB maille. Looks better than butted, definitely tougher than butted of the same gauge, its lighter than heavy gauge maille, and even historic maille needed to be mended and maintained. Its not shiny in color or finish, just a matte grey but I like that look over bright shiny armor.

My zinc coated stuff has never rusted, but once it gets wet (sweat, rain...) it turns a dark grey and it has a strong metallic stink to it that gets on your skin and clothes. I have not tried cleaning the zinc coated maille with the bucket and sand trick, this may polish it and get rid of the oxidized zinc that causes the smell.

So in the end there is pro's and cons to either choice. I personally recommend the riveted GDFB maille unless you can find someone else who makes riveted in a thicker gauge, like in Michael Edelsons awesome testing thread,
I'm sorry people but unfortunately this really isn't helping.

I need people who actually make custom galvanized steel. I don't want mild steel because it rusts. Somebody please answer the my questions and give me links to somebody who makes galv maille.
within your price range, it will be hard to near impossible to find a person to custom make you a maille shirt. The time involved is measured in months, rather than hours like it is for custom sized munition plate armor, and is only cost effective for companies like GDFB because they machine make large sheets of maille. Your only real options are to make it yourself, or buy off the rack. Galvanized steel also can rust and needs to be oiled, and it oxidizes white (which looks terrible and is a pain to clean)

To make it yourself, go to a welding supply place or a metal shop and buy a mile or so of 14 gauge galvinized tie wire. It should cost around $50. Look up how to make a coil winder and have at it for a half a year building your mail shirt. A easier option would be to get one of these more historical GDFB shirts and a bag of spare links and the riveting tool. Take strips of maille out and reconnect the two sides to give yourself a more custom fit.
Johnson T. wrote:
I'm sorry people but unfortunately this really isn't helping.

I need people who actually make custom galvanized steel. I don't want mild steel because it rusts. Somebody please answer the my questions and give me links to somebody who makes galv maille.

What your asking for is not realistic. Custom maille is very expensive, and a good custom maker is probably not going to work in galvanized steel. So no one is providing links to custom galvanized steel makers, because no one has heard of any. If you're willing to go a little over your $500 max, Icefalcon Armoury is a great place to get stainless steel riveted maille that is darkened and looks like mild steel (not offensively shiny like stainless can be). So you get better rust protection than galvanization that WILL last, requires virtually no upkeep, and looks as good as you can expect for about $600-$700. I'll be wearing my Icefalcon stainless steel haubergeon to a living history event this coming weekend.

Here are his various types of maille (for less money, he offers blackened mild steel which offers some rust protection and is cheaper than stainless):
Icefalcon Armoury Maille

Your other options are the GDFB line people have already told you about, or you can go for welded maille, which is not going to fly at living history events. Other than that, if you really want a custom fitted shirt, expect to spend thousands of dollars and wait a long time, or you'll have to make it yourself.

And your questions:

1. Galvanization is effective against rust protection. The links will rub together over time and destroy the zinc coating where the rings make contact. After a long time you will require oiling to protect the maille.

2. Galvanized maille is not lower quality than regular steel, it is regular steel, just with a protective coating that will prevent the oxidization of the steel beneath.

3. It gives you no more protection than regular steel.

4. not unless you burn it off and breathe the fumes

5. maille in general is not designed to protect against blunt trama. The combination of maille over top a padded foundation garment is what protects against blunt trauma. Maille alone will not provide such protection, no matter the type of steel used.
Ian S LaSpina wrote:
5. maille in general is not designed to protect against blunt trama. The combination of maille over top a padded foundation garment is what protects against blunt trauma. Maille alone will not provide such protection, no matter the type of steel used.

It will if it is heavy enough - certainly a lot more than many assume and more than adequate for most situations. This is probably the only advantage butted mail has over riveted mail because it is generally made of heavier links. But heavier riveted mail gives the best of both. Only exposed "hard" parts of the body would be susceptible - head, collar bone, elbow, pelvis, etc. But padding doesn't help much against these areas either.

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