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Making rivetted maille

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:27 pm
by duster
I have made a butted maille halberk and am interested in making a rivetted one. I have been on some sites that sell rings. could anyone suggest the best to get. domed or wedge rivetted? also, could anyone tell me if i need one of the special tools that they keep advertising (it looks like a pair or pliers) thanks very much.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:16 am
by Kane101
at TORM this year i watching one of the chaps from Cap-a-pie making the rivited mail it appears that the wedge rivets are the easiest to use. the gent making the armour was just using normal blunt nosed pilers nothing special.
it looked so easy i may have a go myself.

http://www.capapie.co.uk/materials.html

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:42 am
by Langley
Yes wedge rivets are easiest and most common in the real thing. You sure about the pliers? Mark has a tool with a peening hole - a small oval depression into which the point of the protruding wedge fits which gives it the characteristic shape found in rivetted maille. I have one myself made by Steve Sheldon from teh US who was one of the people who attended the Wallace Collection study days in the past and where a small group of us discussed how to get an authentic looking rivetted effect which resulted in that tool. The curator of mailled at the Wallace uses that technique too. Steve's tools have an added refinement in that they have a deeper hole drilled to one side of the head of the pliers which is used to allow you to drive the rivet through until the back is flush with the ring before using the peening hole to produce the dome on the pointed end. You can do it by simply squeezing but you get a better effect striking the back of the pliers with a hammer.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:43 pm
by Colin Middleton
I use a tool similar to the one that Langley described and I think that Mark (at Cap-A-Pie) does too. Certainly he's doing a lot of investigation into them.One thing that I would say on that subject is to be prepared to spend a bit of money on your pliers, you're going to be using them A LOT. Mine are quite stiff and hard to work with (they still do the job). I've borrowed some from some-one else to do work for them and they had some 'spring' to the handle when you squeezed them. It made them much nicer to work with.

Best of luck.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:35 pm
by Biro
I'd definately suggest costing the project first.

A friend of mine decided to make his own butted mail some years back and bought the rings to do it. He'd under-estimated how many rings he needed and ended up spending about the same as he would have if he'd simpy bought an off-the-shelf hauberk.

I just think that for the effort involved, it probably isn't worth the saving. Although I'd definately recommend adjusting what you do buy for fit/authenticity.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:33 pm
by duster
thanks for the tips everyone, ill source some adapted pliers. I know the cost and time involved as i spent ages making my butted hauberk, buying 2mm galvenised wire in 15kg rolls making the rings myself then learning from my mistakes. Took a while and was a real labour of love, i have also made an aventail for a bascinet and a pair of cuisse(sorry about the spelling)
i could probably buy one but like the idea of wearing something i made myself. :crazy:

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:04 pm
by Chris T
From an authenticity point of view wedge rivets are common on most existing suits, but most existing suits are C15th onwards. I do not know what period you are representing, but certainly I believe round rivets are earlier style.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:41 pm
by Cap-a-pie
I have just made another batch of riveting tools, modified pincers with the point ground down, if you are at tewksbury I will have them with all the other bits of maille for sale. Happy to show anyone how they are made though, you just need a good heat source, bench grinder a punch and drill. Would recommend getting pincers with at least 200mm plus length handle and heavy duty. The setting holes as Langley mentions are a definite must when it comes to wedge rivets, makes for a better finish and less chance of the rivet bending.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:24 pm
by Will
Hi,

I have one of Marks riveting tools (definately recomment these, lots easier than my DIY attempt, thanks) and now finishing my maille standard, just adding finishing touches and padding it.
I know there is the standard from the Brit Museum? that has the brass? butted links forming shapes 9diamonds or triangles) around the neck on top of riveted base (not sure if these were added later) and also there are lots of depictions of a dagged line around the base edge.
A while back i think i have seen an effigy with a standard that has some sort of loops or applied shapes standing off the maille that start around the top of the neck and hang down or are fixed to maille close to top of neck near the lining edge, but i can't find it, now that i want it. possibly i saw it online, in one of my books or in a church, just cant remember. I have since seen some with what looks like the leather lining folded down over the top of maille with what looks like a patterned edge detail which looks good but it doesn't look quite like what i was looking for. Or possibly it was some sort of livery collar worn high up on neck that i have mistaken? If anyone has seen any good references to maille standards please may you share with me? After riveting all those boring little wedges i would like to now add some feature details to finish the job.

Any thoughts would be appreciated, ill keep looking in the meantime (and ill add a pic if i find it)
Cheers
W

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:04 am
by Langley
Mark has a theory about dagged line of brass at the base of shirts etc. Water runs down and accumulates at teh bottom. Dagged brass means the place where you get most water is not going to rust. The current design of modified pinchers wiht peening holes comes from a special interesst group who chatted over coffee and often. late into the nigh beer, at and after Wallace Collection study days. It was Steve from Forth armory in the US who came up wiht the design after one of our chats about the records mentioning "Nail tools" in the Grenwich armoury for example. My point was that an inventory which simply called the things "nail tools" sugested either everyone knew precisely what a nail tool was - you would not describe the shpe of a screwdriver on a modern inventory - or it was a trade secret. Look at the iconography - often the mail maker is holding something which looks like a pair of pincers but every one I have seen they are carefully clamped closed or even with the hand over the business end! We felt this was likely to be a nail tool and Steve went off and spent three weeks thinking about what they could be hiding, made a pair (the original ones came from Wal-Mart) sent me first photos of the result then a sample which I took up to compare with shirts in the Wallace and which David Edge also viewed and got excited about. They produce results which are very very close to the appearance of the front and back of the wallace samples. Yes - it takes a long time to make anything. Steve reckoned he got up to 1 ring every 30 seconds making his haubergon. I never got anything close to that but it is immensely satisfying although my mai comes from Mark at Cap-a-Pie nowadays.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:43 am
by Will
Hi Langley,

cheers for the background info, sounds like some good research and practical testing went on.
The dagged brass to help prevent rust is interesting, as last night i saw a few effigies that look to havethe dagged features around the base and also around the top of neck, where i would imagine quite abit of sweat, also some with a leather overlap to top edge giving a protected top edge from rubbing and sweat possibly. If this was mostly to stop rust (and decoration), that may be why some of tehse brass details are just butted on over the top of the maille. I also heard that brass is less likely to wrot points or stitching, so possibly used where any linings attached?
Last night i found some later period ornamented maille with gilded ornamental embelems/ livery, stars and even jewels etc, mostly bishop mantles and probably for parade (turkish and german i think), however i am still looking for a 15thc version that i think i saw.

ps - was the 1 per 30 secs for making the ring as well as fixing in total? I have been opening all the rings in one operation, then linking them with pliers in another, then just riveting. i know its fiddely but hopefully i'm doing more per 30 secs, possibly not though.
Cheers
W

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:45 am
by Langley
Hi Will, I think Steve did the whole operation on individual rings. It is fiddly to try to rivet after you have the ring in the middle of a row or two. Probably why he is not doing rivetted mail from Forth Armoury any more! As to decoration, try to visit the Stibbert in Florence. There is a middle eastern shirt there made of small rings each of which has an arabic letter on and according to the director, the whole shirt is a chunk of the Quran. I was left open mouthed when I saw it. Cannot imagine how long it took to make. Must admit, have not worried too much about decoration though I have a butted boy's shirt which has been decorated by using rings which have been oil blackened to make some lozenges and the effect is very pleasing but as to authenticity... Have been more interested recently in how they worked production. IIRC there is an existant order for 5,000 shirts to be delivered in a very short time scale. It was directed to a town rather than an individual. I have been messing about trying to decide if you could have some sort of Henry Ford setup with someone doing the arms, someone doing squares which get sewn together etc but the patterns seem to be too complex to be made up of individual pieces and get the shape right. One of these days I will actually get round to finishing somethign off rahter than building lots of chunks and trying to connect the jigsaw. It is a fascinating point that has me obsessed though! I actually ended up buying complete skirt from Mark to have something complete!

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:09 pm
by Cap-a-pie
i can't take credit for the brass theory, that was an idea that Nick Checksfield, one of the curators who works at the Wallace came up with. Certainly an interesting idea in my opinion.

Oh there is a good example of a shirt with sections of the Qur'an at the Royal Armouries in leeds, yep talk about jaw dropping.

In terms of tools, last year i found something in a museum which i think might just be a maille setting tool. I was able to look at this up close and get some good photo's and dimensions. I have since sent the photo's to Nick, who thinks i might have something, plus i have also run various tests with a University lecturer in engineering, on the relative merits of its shape and construction.... and it looks promising. Certainly time period fits in well also which is good. At present i am getting a replica made and then the plan is to do some further tests and then if that works, the idea is to see if anyone else has similar tools in other collections which hopefully might be in a better state.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:49 am
by cloudy-cola-corp
another theroy i heard about the brass edges was that it slows the rusting process as copper has a slight natural charge to it so the brass links act as a sacrificial body so that the iron doesn't rust or corrode as quickly. similar to some ships that have large blocks of brass attatched to the hull undernearth the waterline to protect it from corrosion

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:23 pm
by chrisanson
cloudy-cola-corp wrote:another theroy i heard about the brass edges was that it slows the rusting process as copper has a slight natural charge to it so the brass links act as a sacrificial body so that the iron doesn't rust or corrode as quickly. similar to some ships that have large blocks of brass attatched to the hull undernearth the waterline to protect it from corrosion

isn't it copper on ships?

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:26 pm
by guthrie
It's usually zinc on ships, not brass.
The copper bottoms were from Napoleonic era, stopping too many barnacles getting a grip and boring worms from boring into the wood. Copper has been used in antifouling a lot, but they've banned the slow release type because of the effects on local marine life if you have lots of boats sitting around in harbour/ marina.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:41 pm
by Hobbitstomper
The brass theory won't work. Iron/steel in contact with brass and an electrolyte (sweat) corrodes. The steel protects the brass so the edges will stay pretty. At the point where the two metals touch the iron will rust fast.

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:01 pm
by Langley
Good point and shame on me for forgetting my basic electrochemistry and especially what I said about people who design aluminium cylinder blocks with the head held on by steel bolts...

Re: Making rivetted maille

Posted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:40 pm
by Chris T
IMO the origin of the brass ring edging was probably to attach a lining to the mail: copper oxides /carbonates will not attack natural threads to the same extent as ferrous ones, and may even have a preservative effect. If mail was typically lined in earlier periods it may also account for the (apparent, as I personally totally convinced) lack of gambesons or their equivalent in Early Medieval contexts.