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Michael Long





Joined: 10 Apr 2018

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2019 4:24 pm    Post subject: High Medieval mail - is 16 gauge wire thick enough?         Reply with quote

As I'm looking around at mail suppliers online, it seems that they rarely use any wire thicker than 16 gauge. When flattened into a very thin ring, the greater diameter is usually 1.4-1.8mm, while the lesser diameter (thickness) is so small that it is rarely reported. And this is with internal diameter 8-9 mm.

Reading some of the older threads, I understand that the diameter and thickness of historical mail is difficult to measure, and that it varied greatly.

But I'll just pose the question anyway:

Do you ever think that the mass produced mail available nowadays uses an inner diameter and thickness of ring that is rather skimpy for a stand-along hauberk in the High Medieval period? It is hard to imagine some of this stuff stopping arrows, as the 12th Century knight relied upon it to do.

And if these commonly available rings are on the flimsy side, is there any recourse other than making your own rings or paying top dollar to one of the top craftsmen?
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2019 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The thickness of the wire is the least of the problems with modern mail. A greater concern is how thinly the overlap is hammered.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Arne G.





Joined: 31 Jul 2014

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2019 4:39 pm    Post subject: Re: High Medieval mail - is 16 gauge wire thick enough?         Reply with quote

Michael Long wrote:
And if these commonly available rings are on the flimsy side, is there any recourse other than making your own rings or paying top dollar to one of the top craftsmen?


Sadly, no. Though it isn't all that hard to make decent rings on your own. Obviously, though, it is very time consuming, which is why if you want really good mail and have some coin to spend, you might want to look into some top craftsmen.

Besides Erik Schmid, who else is out there that does this sort of thing?
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Michael Long





Joined: 10 Apr 2018

Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2019 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The thickness of the wire is the least of the problems with modern mail. A greater concern is how thinly the overlap is hammered.


This would be a greater concern for weapons test, as opposed to appearance and weight, correct?

For the sake of speculation, what kind of dimensions would a 12th Century knight want for mail on his chest, right where the lance will hit?

We expect coifs and throat protection to be small internal diameter, but the chest is a large area. Would we see round rings of 2mm with internal diameter 6mm? Areas of 6:1 weave?
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Arne G.





Joined: 31 Jul 2014

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2019 6:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Long wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
The thickness of the wire is the least of the problems with modern mail. A greater concern is how thinly the overlap is hammered.


This would be a greater concern for weapons test, as opposed to appearance and weight, correct?

For the sake of speculation, what kind of dimensions would a 12th Century knight want for mail on his chest, right where the lance will hit?

We expect coifs and throat protection to be small internal diameter, but the chest is a large area. Would we see round rings of 2mm with internal diameter 6mm? Areas of 6:1 weave?


6:1 is attested only for mail standards (collars). I will say that examination of extant hauberks shows that the centre chest appears to have the heaviest rings, but exact dimensions depend somewhat on the internal diameter of the rings. If you had a hauberk with, say ~1/4" I.D. rings, I'd make the center chest 16 ga. and (particularly back and arms) 18 ga. or maybe even a bit lighter.

Just spitballing, though. I'll let the better informed chime in with more precise info.
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Dan Howard




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

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Sep, 2019 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Long wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
The thickness of the wire is the least of the problems with modern mail. A greater concern is how thinly the overlap is hammered.

This would be a greater concern for weapons test, as opposed to appearance and weight, correct?

Unfortunately no. The lapped section has been flattened too much, which makes the lapped section too large, which makes the links look like soda can ring pulls.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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