Liriel and Rob, I had at the start of this vest considered using aluminum scales, but I ended up going with steel because I kinda liked the idea of at least somewhat effective armor (even if the rings are butted). I was thinking for weight reduction to make the scales stop short and use aluminum rings to make the last 2 or so inches of mail. I think my next vest will follow your plan of aluminum scales though.
As for the welder, damn, are there any other resistance welders out there of similar quality or will I just have to invest in a spot welder eventually?
Paladin, Glad to hear that you've had good experience with this pattern (and that I haven't wasted my time making half a vest already). I'm thinking of using the 3/4 hard stainless steel for the stress points and reinforce them with titanium to make sure that they will rarely need repair. Also thank you for the heads up on the wearing of the vest, I had not stopped to consider what wearing 50 pounds of steel might do to somebody. As for the scale maintenance, I intend to oil them and store them with silica gel, but i'll be sure to scour them regularly.
Thank you all for the help!
I've had very little maintenance with butted, 4in1 scale shirts overall. Though the extra rings add weight, they do reduce slippage. The most common spots for occasional slipped scales are around the collar where you pull it off of you, and the middle of the trunk where you bend over. Depending on your pattern, seams can also be a pain point. For example, a 45 degree seam is normally held together by one ring attaching a pair of scales. You can strengthen that seam by covering it with scales and adding the extra rings to keep them laying straight. Using stiffer stainless steel rings was smart, you'll have fewer slips than with softer metals, and less trouble maintaining the armor.
I was also one of those 'weirdos' that wore steel for larping, since I got more points for the armor than aluminum or plastic. (I usually skipped a shield, so the extra points helped.) You will have to take care to build up to all day wear. Also, you might feel fine for a good while, but by the time you realize you need a break, you're already in for a good deal of back pain and stiffness later. So take the time to condition your core, lower back, and upper back between your shoulder blades for the additional weight. Pay attention to your knees as well. Even if well fitted, you still have to generate more force than you may be accustomed to in order to get in motion, to change directions, and to stop.
Those steel scales are going to require a good bit more maintenance than aluminum or stainless steel scales. Remember to scour and oil them periodically. I also use Windlass Rust Blocker on my old galvanized steel ring and hardened steel scale shirt to extend the time between cleanings.
Agree on that point. Unless the LARP organization specifically requires steel, you'd be far better off with anodized aluminum. With butted rings there is inevitably going to be regular maintenance needed, but putting the shirt on a diet would minimize that.
Unfortunately TRL recently mentioned that the welder was out of stock and there would not be more made, so that's out.