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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2016 2:46 am    Post subject: Re: Most authentic(ish) mail for a viking.         Reply with quote

Kristjan Runarsson wrote:
I'm planning to spend an irresponsibly large amount of money on an Ulfberth mail shirt and I don't want to get kicked off the field because my chain mail is the wrong style. Viking age mail seems to have been a blend of round riveted rings made from wire and flat rings punched out of metal sheet. Nobody that I know of makes that style of mail. Ulfberth has four basic styles of mail:
  • Butted
  • Round Rings Dome Riveted
  • Flat Rings Dome Riveted (mixed solid riveted)
  • Flat Rings Wedge Riveted (all riveted)

Nobody seems to make mixed round/flat ring mail these days and the butted mail seems to be inauthentic for the period so that's off the table. The round rings riveted mail looks pretty authentic(ish) but it is heavy. The Battle Merchant RRR version of the shirt I'm interested in weighs 22kg. The Flat Rings mail I'm not sure about. Viking period mail did have some flat rings but they are not as flat as the flat ring mail for sale in this day and age. The flat ring shirts equivalent to the RRR version I mentioned above are significantly lighter with the both versions weighing only ~14 kg as opposed to 22kg for the RRR version and I'm guessing on a hot day in summer I'm really going to feel those 8 extra kilograms of the RRR shirt.

So, my questions are:
  • It's very tempting to pick the flat ring shirts because they weigh less but there is the accuracy concern. Exactly how horribly inaccurate is the flat ring mail from Battle Merchant or other modern vendors? Is this the kind of 'lilliputian soda can ring' mail that people here keep talking about?
  • Which kind of mail is easier on gambesons/aketons, wedge or dome riveted? Or is it the flat joint surfaces on the mail rings that tear up the fabric? I just finished laboriously hand sewing a gambeson because hand sewn garments are a requirement for some events I go to and while I know my precious new gambeson will get torn up I also don't want to tear it up any more quickly than absolutely necessary.


Kristjan, I believe this thread may have gone in a direction not very useful to you. I would not recommend you a round riveted mail if it is made in India. I have a half solid/half round ring round riveted mail from cap a pie UK and while it is of historically accurate construction for early medieval period, (punched solids and rings of round section riveted with round rivets) it is not very well made, rivets stick out on both sides enough to cause little cuts on your skin and garment when you are putting it on and off. Round sectioned rings are also to much flattened where the rivet is so the flattened part is too thin, weak and Sharp adding more discomfort. Dan assured me wedge riveted mail made in India is not much more comfortable or higher quality, although it may be a bit more comfortable since wedge rivets are flatter on the inside of the mail. I would suggest you make yourself a mail shirt out of butted rings plus solid ones until you can afford a European made mail. Andrey galevskiy recently was selling on his facebook page a mail his apprentice made and it looked quite high quality. I don't know if it's sold yet. Anyway, some European makers could make you a mail of quite high quality for a relatively affordable price. You can start your research and saving and in the mean time make your own butted plus solid mail. If you make it out of relatively small (5-6mm inner diameter) rings plus solids, it will be quite durable for regular reenactment use.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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Location: upstate NY
Joined: 10 Nov 2005

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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2016 8:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, getting back on track, if I were you (are you in Europe?), I'd wait for the next Thomas Del Mar auction and get an Eastern shirt (that fits!). Some of them come close to being round rivet flat solids construction, if I remember rightly. To get one you can afford you might have to settle for one with lots of holes which you could patch with butted rings and solids, or maybe buy some round punched links and do it yourself.
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2016 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric S wrote:
James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
The whole description is taken from the old catalogue. If that length is taken hung on a manikin, it's a good length. It's the description of "The comparatively large, heavy construction of the links" combined with the given weight being about the same as a titanium alloy shirt of the same dimensions that has my ears back.


Quote:
The comparatively large, heavy construction of the links that make up this mail shirt suggest that it is reasonably early in date, that is, not later than the beginning of the 15th century.



Can you really have it both ways with large heavy links and a light weight, unless the proportions are of a boy and the manikin is a minature? 2.3ft / 73cm in length and 9.8lbs / 4.4kg???????


Ok, I had to do some serious digging but here is a Tibetan riveted mail hauberk, it is 24 inchs / 60 cm long and under 9lbs / 4kg in weight, short sleeves with a few rows of butted links extending the sleeves and some butted repair links.

The links are very slender and small, now compare this to the Wallace hauberk that is supposed to be just under 10 lbs yet is described as having large links and has longer sleeves. This is why I doubt the accuracy of the Wallace description.







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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Thu 25 Aug, 2016 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I received a reply from Mr. Sugarbaker regarding the Ashland shirt.
Matthew Sugarbaker wrote:
I only had a bathroom scale. I weighed myself with and without the shirt. It may be a little off but it is a really heavy shirt. Much of the shirt is 14 gage thickness and slightly flattened. An equivalent round wire would be 13 gage. I also was using SWG not AWG which would be around 12 gage equivalent...........The shirt is 47 lbs give or take 5 lbs.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Erik D. Schmid




Location: St. Cloud, MN
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 80

PostPosted: Wed 31 Aug, 2016 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Based on what I know, the Wallace pieces are accurate in terms of their stated weight. The links of A1 are similar to that of the Lyle shirt in Leeds. Very lightweight. Now, A2 is of a heavier construction and comes in at around 20 lbs. All of these shirts have undergone a fair bit of oxidation and corrosion over the years, so their current weight is not a fair representation of their original weight, which I would hazard to say would have been anywhere from five to ten pounds more. Give or take a pound.
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
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PostPosted: Fri 02 Sep, 2016 4:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
I received a reply from Mr. Sugarbaker regarding the Ashland shirt.
Matthew Sugarbaker wrote:
I only had a bathroom scale. I weighed myself with and without the shirt. It may be a little off but it is a really heavy shirt. Much of the shirt is 14 gage thickness and slightly flattened. An equivalent round wire would be 13 gage. I also was using SWG not AWG which would be around 12 gage equivalent...........The shirt is 47 lbs give or take 5 lbs.


Thanks for following up on this Mart. Mechanical bathroom scales are notoriously unreliable, they need to be zeroed in and even then they can give different weights for the same object, having used them in the past I have seen this happen many times which is why I use digital scales now.

The fact that he says that it may be a little off is saying something, not very scientific unfortunately...."give or take 5lbs"...meh.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Fri 02 Sep, 2016 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A postal scale or even a produce scale at the local grocery are more reliable than a bathroom scale, and are generally accessible.

Erik,
Thanks for confirming the Wallace weights. Knowing how the Mann catalog from the 60s often gets ring diameters off, as well as missing the latten construction of A10-11, I always worried about the weights as well.

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Ben Joy




Location: Missouri
Joined: 21 May 2010
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PostPosted: Fri 02 Sep, 2016 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find it funny . . . the very quick jumping to conclusions and making assumptions over the accuracy and/or type of bathroom scale in question for the one shirt and then just taking someone's word that they believe the weights are accurate for the other shirts. As even mentioned, digital scales are reasonably accurate; and no one bothered to ask whether the scale was a basic spring-tension scale or a digital scale, did they? Thusly, you should take the man at his word, and not jump to conclusions and instantly move to discredit him.

However, given the fact that the Ashland shirt was doubly confirmed, straight from the source, to have the equivalent of 12 and 13 gauge links as the overwhelming majority of the shirt's body does still give a great deal of credence to it's weight. Even if it's give or take a few pounds, that's still going to be a massive shirt. I've had a full hauberk in the past out of 14 gauge steel and that shirt was immensely heavy (over 40lbs) even for my short height, so I can certainly believe that stepping up to 13 and 12 gauge would add a few extra pounds to the shirt.

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Jul, 2018 6:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Even if the listed weights are accurate, it doesn't tell us how heavy the armour was when it was in use, nor can we know the initial size of the links. Oxidation will increase the weight and volume of the links. Abrasion during use and the restoration process will reduce the weight and volume of the links. As Erik noted above, the Wallace pieces were likely 5-10 pounds heavier when first made.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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