Period Maille

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Colin Middleton
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Re: Period Maille

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu May 27, 2010 12:57 pm

narvek wrote:here you people go: http://curiavitkov.cz/clanek1.html It's in czech, but has pictures:) This guy spent some time experimenting with maille making:) his email for further queries: wothan@curiavitkov.cz

Or lad at Image has his share of knowledge of maille (including spectral analysis of finds etc.)


Narvek, that's fantastic! Are you going to translate it into English so that the rest of us can read it? :wink:

It looks for the kit that he's using that he's working from Burgess' notes. There was a description of them and the ringweave documents on the Mail Research Socity site that Phil mentioned (http://www.themailresearchsociety.erikds.com/). I think that it's got a copy of all the information that I've been able to get hold of in there. Have a look at the documents on there, the Burgess stuff is really quite detailed and clear.

Just as a random asside, I remember being told (in a lecture on medieval armour, I think) that the Romans had mills (I think water powered), which were turning out reasonable quality sheet steel (even in England), but that the technology disapeared from England (and presumably most of the rest of Western Europe) with the collapse of the empire. Obviously it was then re-discovered in the 14th C. Assuming that this is true, is it possible that the romans used punched rings, while 'we barbarians' hammer welded them?


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Re: Period Maille

Postby Merlon. » Thu May 27, 2010 1:20 pm

guthrie wrote: Plus Schmid's site says "Check back soon for more updates.
2-26-2010"


you can access tyhe article via:-
http://www.themailresearchsociety.erikds.com/other_research_articles.html
its the 14th one down



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Re: Period Maille

Postby narvek » Thu May 27, 2010 1:21 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:Narvek, that's fantastic! Are you going to translate it into English so that the rest of us can read it? :wink:

Might do, but only after I finish a paper on social psychology, paper on The Magnificient Seven and Seven Samurai comparison, pass English Language exam and pass Introduction to English literature studies exam. Or rather, I will ask some of them if they would have a translation on hand:)


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Re: Period Maille

Postby Merlon. » Thu May 27, 2010 1:26 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:ek"]
Narvek, that's fantastic! Are you going to translate it into English so that the rest of us can read it? :wink:


Copy the text into Google Translate which will do a reasonable tranalation from Czech, alas it can't do a direct translation of the web page.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby Cap-a-pie » Thu May 27, 2010 1:27 pm

Seems OK now.


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Re: Period Maille

Postby John Waller » Thu May 27, 2010 1:54 pm

Merlon. wrote:
Colin Middleton wrote:ek"]
Narvek, that's fantastic! Are you going to translate it into English so that the rest of us can read it? :wink:


Copy the text into Google Translate which will do a reasonable tranalation from Czech, alas it can't do a direct translation of the web page.


I can't try it out here at work but google chrome offers a translate option when displaying web pages. Might do the trick. It looks like a fantastic piece of work.


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Re: Period Maille

Postby narvek » Thu May 27, 2010 2:01 pm

Warning! Do not use web-based translators on czech texts! Czech uses double or even triple negatives in one sentence, which translators can't understand and usually produce a whole bunch of nonsense:)
You gotta love the language. :crazy:


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Re: Period Maille

Postby Langley » Thu May 27, 2010 2:06 pm

Will everyone be at Tewkesbury? Should we have a get together there and perhaps arrange a weekend of Experimental Archaeology at some point so we can pool examples and knowledge. There was a time at the meetings at teh Wallace that only 3 of us - Steve Sheldon of Forth Armoury in teh US, a guy from the Neterlands whose name, unforgivable, escapes me, David Edge and I formed the maille interest group and now look at the numbers of contributors to this discussion! Fantastic to see this level of interest. At the lecture Nick gave at the Wallace I suspected that if we asked hands up anyone in the room who is not a maille maker we would not have had a forest or raised arms...

Wonder who you spoke to at Boot Camp Colin? It wasn't me - I was busy on the Black Powder safety thing. There must be more maille makers around in the wild than I thought if there were 3 of us there. I would not want to bang my rivetting tongs too often - I suspect it would damage the hinge. I either just squeeze very hard or do as Steve Sheldon does, tap the top of the tongs with a hammer while holding them against a hard surface. One interesting thing from Nick's talk at the Wallace. When you wind wire onto a mandrel and then cut them apart it is difficult to do it unless you open the coil up into a spring a little - unoless you have one of the tools Nick had made based on a find. I pair of cutters with a nick in the blade so you can reach over the first ring and cut the second thus allowing you to create an overlap. I have some photos. Will try to upload.

I used to think (based on a comment at the Wallace) that most good maille was made from fairly soft iron wire which you could flatten in a controlled way by putting it in a former. I also had a theory that soft iron works better than hard (brittle) steel as it deforms with a blow thus taking some of the energy out and in addition, gripping the cutting edge so that the maille slides with the blade as it is drawn over the surface. Blades cut as they slide, a saw being an extreme example but Nick said that most of the examples they have are indeed annealed.

I think it was Chris Dobson who referred to one surviving manuscript from the time as an order for 5,000 maille shirts to be delivered in 5 weeks. It was an order on an entire Italian town. Does that imply a mass production facility employing just about everyone in the town or something more like a feudal obligation for the town to pay for the things? I have always found that one intriguing.
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Re: Period Maille

Postby Cap-a-pie » Thu May 27, 2010 9:11 pm

narvek wrote:Czech uses double or even triple negatives in one sentence, which translators can't understand and usually produce a whole bunch of nonsense:)
You gotta love the language. :crazy:


Ah that explains it, mind you It kind of made sense in Google Chrome, but yes an English translation would help when you have time.

Langley - maille interest group sounds like a really good idea. Count me in on that one please. - Oh and the cutters that Nick made work great, major time saving doing it this way, really simple idea and very effective way to cut the overlap.


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Re: Period Maille

Postby guthrie » Thu May 27, 2010 9:14 pm

Merlon. wrote:
guthrie wrote: Plus Schmid's site says "Check back soon for more updates.
2-26-2010"


you can access tyhe article via:-
http://www.themailresearchsociety.erikds.com/other_research_articles.html
its the 14th one down

Thanks, that one works.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby Colin Middleton » Fri May 28, 2010 1:00 pm

Langley wrote:Wonder who you spoke to at Boot Camp Colin? It wasn't me - I was busy on the Black Powder safety thing. There must be more maille makers around in the wild than I thought if there were 3 of us there. I would not want to bang my rivetting tongs too often - I suspect it would damage the hinge. I either just squeeze very hard or do as Steve Sheldon does, tap the top of the tongs with a hammer while holding them against a hard surface.


If I'd known, I'd have tracked you down for a chat! It was a young lady and her father, I think that her name was Sarah. He was working around Dave's forge for much of the weekend, I'm not sure if he was running the arrow head making course. I think that they're friends of Mark's from Cap-A-Pie, from down his end of the woods.

I think that calling me a mail maker is probably being a bit generous. I put the stuff together because I want it to fit, just like I do for much of the rest of my kit, but a title like that implies some real knowledge, not just reading a few books! :D


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Re: Period Maille

Postby Langley » Fri May 28, 2010 1:52 pm

Sounds like we have a core for a group of maille makers (first task - what is the collective noun?). Mark - will you have a stall at tewkesbury? It might be a natural place for everyone to meet up if we decide on a day and time. Alternatively, Gunner's Camp in the Burgundian with the big white piggy on... (See www. wythe-retinue.org.uk for piccy for easy identification)



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Re: Period Maille

Postby Alan E » Fri May 28, 2010 2:10 pm

Langley wrote:... a group of maille makers (first task - what is the collective noun?)....

An armoury?


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Re: Period Maille

Postby John Waller » Fri May 28, 2010 2:35 pm

Alan E wrote:
Langley wrote:... a group of maille makers (first task - what is the collective noun?)....

An armoury?


Surely - A Ring ?


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Re: Period Maille

Postby Alan E » Fri May 28, 2010 5:11 pm

John Waller wrote:
Alan E wrote:
Langley wrote:... a group of maille makers (first task - what is the collective noun?)....

An armoury?


Surely - A Ring ?

"Police recently uncovered a secret ring of maille makers in England. CPS is taking advice as to what charges might be brought" :devil:


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Re: Period Maille

Postby guthrie » Fri May 28, 2010 7:18 pm

How about a "bash"?
After all that is all you do all day, bash metal with hammers.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby Cap-a-pie » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:25 am

Langley wrote: Mark - will you have a stall at tewkesbury? It might be a natural place for everyone to meet up if we decide on a day and time


Yes I will be trading, setting up from Friday Afternoon, so happy for that to be the meeting place. Just need to get a suitable time when everyone is around and not involved in other things.


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Re: Period Maille

Postby Langley » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:39 am

Anyone got a timetable of events yeet? It would be nice to get together Saturday perhaps around lunchtime so if we want to do something we have time to set it up but would like to make sure it doesn't clash with anything exciting.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby Langley » Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:49 am

Just got our timetable for Tewkesbury. Archery competition is 12 noon and battle is at 4 pm so how about we meet at Mark's stall at 2 pm?



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Re: Period Maille

Postby saxon » Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:43 pm

There is no fixed way of mail making and each master would have had his own way of finishing and riveting the rings. The increase to all riveted is somewhere in the 14th century with varying examples from all over europe - and even Russian examples. Solid links when analysed metallurgically are coiled wire rings which are hammer welded flat. As regards creating an 'overlapped ring' to start with ... who says this is the way it was done ? an ordinary coiled wire ring can be forged at the ends THEN overlapped ........ 10 craftsmen would produce the same end product in 10 different ways ........ I've been making riveted mail for over 20 years and settled on a method that works for me. The use of round wire rivets and wedge flat rivets fluctuates in date and also regions ...... it's very well known that into the late 13th and 14th centuries that mail would have had a production line basis



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Re: Period Maille

Postby Langley » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:45 pm

We still on for meeting up 2 pm Saturday at Mark's stall then everyone? I will bring my toys along. Mark has acquired some softish wire and I want to try my forming block for flattening rings. As to why I think they may have been cut overlapping and flattened with the overlap that is from looking carefully at a lot of rings where the two ends seem to be very even in shape where they meet. It made me think they had been flattened together... I have not been able to get it to work wiht hard rings though so ti is just an hypothesis.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby saxon » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:21 pm

You also have to take into account when examining original mail (i.e over 400 years old) that the overlap and rivet heads will be worn with time, 'newly' made riveted mail can have an almost perfect overlap and riveting but will still have that 'newness' about it ............. very few of the later (late 14th century onwards) flat or half-round section links are perfectly round which is the problem most people try to do today, trying to make perfectly circular links, having restored original items and produced mail in round section, flat section and half-round section you will find that the half-round links are the more difficult to produce perfectly circular .......... even trickier when restoring mail linked with 'theta' links .......... the idea of a mail makers guild is a good one, something that's been needed for a long time ......... I've actually been making and restoring mail of all kinds for a long time, and actually making riveted mail for about 23 years now.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:05 pm

I'm sory that I can't be there, it sounds like it could be a real experience. You must let us know how you get on.

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Re: Period Maille

Postby Lady Willows Retinue » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:40 pm

Just to stir the pot a bit - the Romans also had some evidence of steel maille, particularly from German workshops, so that wasn't going to be nice & soft & easy to work.
Also evidence of Roman iron/steel production from Templeborough near Sheffield, also with a possible identification of a brass/bronze ring (although the excavations of Thomas May were quick, "rescue" digs and much of the finds are still uncatalogued in boxes in the Clifton Museum (remains of furnace walls, coal, metal splashes, etc).



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Re: Period Maille

Postby Hobbitstomper » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:44 pm

It depends on the steel. Steel is just iron with the slag/junk removed and can be very soft.

By the time a piece of iron has been beaten to a rod, drawn in to wire, annealed a few times and generally messed about there won’t be much slag left in it.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby guthrie » Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:44 pm

Hobbitstomper wrote:Steel is just iron with the slag/junk removed and can be very soft.

That accords with no definition of steel that I have ever read or been lectured about. I'm not exactly a metallurgist but have read and heard enough metallurgists over the years to end up with a definition of steel something along the lines of iron with betweeon 0.2 (Ok, had to be reminded how low the 0.2 was) and about 1.5 weight % of carbon.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby zauberdachs » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:58 am

guthrie wrote:
Hobbitstomper wrote:Steel is just iron with the slag/junk removed and can be very soft.

That accords with no definition of steel that I have ever read or been lectured about. I'm not exactly a metallurgist but have read and heard enough metallurgists over the years to end up with a definition of steel something along the lines of iron with betweeon 0.2 (Ok, had to be reminded how low the 0.2 was) and about 1.5 weight % of carbon.


G is correct.

It's also worth pointing out that because the end product, i.e. the maille, is steel doesn't mean it started out as steel. It can be worked as iron and then had the extra carbon added at the end of the process.


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Re: Period Maille

Postby Langley » Tue Jul 13, 2010 10:38 am

Where were you all? Just me, Mark and Gav. Mark brought me some of his new soft iron wire and we tried it out in my former. Because the wire is a thinner gauge than I was using for butted maile my winder made rings a bit less in diameter so they were a loose fit in the former but the experiments showed we could flatten nicely. I pulled the coil out a bit so I could cut the rings with an overlap and when flattened the overlap did start to come out looking right. I need to make a larger diameter mandrel to get larger diameter rings to fit the former better and will post some photos when done. We were encouraged by the preliminary results though.



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Re: Period Maille

Postby zauberdachs » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:42 pm

Personally I wasn't able to go to Tewks this year but Guthrie and myself will be at Kelmarsh if folk want to try again?


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Re: Period Maille

Postby Langley » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:02 pm

Sorry - wont be at Kelmarsh. Doing Berkley and Midlands Festival of History.




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