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    • Re which way the rows run:  European 4-1, and its variants with 6 or 8, pseudo-stretches more one direction than the other.  You want that resilient direction, which I call "row-wise" horizontal on your torso so the mail not only stretches but also contracts down, to conform to your, well, form.  If you have muscles like Ah-nuld, it will show.  If you have a gut, that will show too.  The interaction of your shape, the resilient direction, and gravity will tailor the mail to you.  No rule against helping it along with a bit of waisting, so it won't always annoy you trying to slide through your waist cinch belt, transferring the shirt's entire weight to your shoulders.  That wearies a man, and afflicts him with pains.  Rob can tell you all about that, I think! -- he has a hauberk (lots of mail, like a rain coat). In sum, rows horizontal on your torso, so you can both put on and take off the shirt without trouble, for mail will grab you; it has friction.  Getting into a shirt of mail is pretty straightforward.  Get your arms into it first, find the shoulders of the shirt, raise the whole over your head and let it drop easy.  Getting out again has its secrets.  Fortunately, we have Earth's gravity to help.  Undo that cinch belt that has been keeping *some* of the shirt's weight on your hips instead of *all* of it on your shoulders.  Bend over at the waist; your mail shirt will flop open as you do; you can peek down the whole front of your shirt.  The draggy mail has now let go of your torso and is hanging at its full resilient-direction stretch.  Crossing your wrists on your chest, take hold of the shoulders or collar of the shirt.  Maybe bending a little more, to get gravity helping you, tug the shirt over your head and along, forward, with your arms.  Do the shimmy, to help.  The shirt slides off, over your head, and ends up a silvery puddle of links on the ground in front of you.  It doesn't quite look like you just threw up a shirt of mail, thank goodness. Horizontal rows on your torso.  You can get away easily, and truly historically, with vertical rows on your sleeves.  Long sleeves are easiest and functionally best with their rows vertical.  It's also a total no-brainer, because these vertical rows on your arms' sleeves just continue the horizontal rows upon your shoulders and upper chest -- straight out.  Also down.  Thus, body and sleeves differentiate.  (By using a variant construction or by attaching the sleeves funny, you *can* make the sleeve rows horizontal.  This alignment suits short sleeves best, no more than elbow length.  Elbows need a mail-tailoring that is easiest with the rows-vertical alignment, so you can get a long sleeve without any big trouble -- and even then, you have to taper the things down the forearm to aid control and cut some weight, which is important to swing a sword fast enough.   Sum up/TL;DR:  link rows horizontal on torso from shoulder to hemline for expansion and fit, link rows vertical on sleeves, seamlessly continuing the linkrows off the shoulder, and cooperating with the motion of your elbow if they are long sleeves.  Long sleeves are more complex than simple tubes:  they have a pouchiness for your elbow joint like the heel of a sock -- and the elbow tailoring makes the sleeve hang rather like holding up a sock so you can see it bends in the middle; so does the long mail sleeve.  That elbow tailoring keeps the sleeve from cutting your circulation off when you bend your arm.
    • Maybe.  And maybe not.  Pliers come in a smooth gradation of sizes, so you can easily pick and choose and do well.  To work stainless links, you only need to keep in mind that you should use enough plier, which simply means pliers that are big enough.  9" slipjoint regular ole pliers have enough leverage -- and the broad jaw -- to close links easily.  If you want, you can blunt their jaw teeth a little with a few strokes of a flat file, which you may not find necessary. Titanium pliers you wouldn't want to buy unless you have a lot of dollars and not much sense.  That kind of thing ventures over into non-sparking tools for special purposes -- beryllium bronzes I think -- and mail doesn't need that kind of tech to be workable.  Mailling tools are mainly pretty basic things, particularly at the hobby level.  All of them, including an electric drill and a rather short winding mandrel, would fit inside a medium toolbox with a good deal of room left over.  (Excepting the drill, they'd fit into a *mailing tube.*) Excellent for strength and lifelong durability, if rather bulky at their business end, are linesmen's pliers.  They work well on large enough links. Needlenose type pliers I don't much like for mailling work, except for a couple special uses prepping riveted links.  To open or to close a butted link, you need breadth to the plier jaw; and needlenoses don't give the right grip and they slip.  With slipjoint pliers, to twist a link open or closed, you grab the link right and left, 3 and 9 o'clock, with the cut link-end up at 12 o'clock, looking like =o=.  Making a twisting motion with your pliers like you are revving a motorcycle, about 1/8 of a turn, you bend the link open.  Closing is twisting in the opposite direction.  You've seen it done once, maybe on a YouTube, you're an expert. Now for a tip on Ye Mysterie of Saving Some Tyme, making the butted stuff.  You can weave E4-1 mail together using half pre-closed links and half pre-opened links; they alternate.  Very easy to pick up the knack of it once you're weaving at all; you can then cast links on two rows at a time (two columns at a time if you want to weave in that direction, too) -- maybe it's not really any faster, but it feels good.  The timesaver for butted links is you can still spread them open, all at once, while they are still in the coil, then cut them in the normal manner even spread out like they now are.  Grab the coil at each end and pull, stretching the coil to just a little over twice its original length.  Cut these spread-out twists, just going along the length of this stretched coil.  Stow these preopened links separately because they are tangly like a Barrel of Monkeys game.  To weave them, just dip your pliers into this container and glom up a clump of tangled links and thump the clump on your worksurface so opened links fall off; use those.  When you've run out, thump the clump again, rinse, repeat. Your closed links, of course, are stowed separately, and a good many mailers who KISS will spend a bit of time preclosing a stash of raw links all ready to be woven.  Hook a closed link (maybe two, depending on what you're doing) into an opened link, and weave 'em onto the mailpatch. Wot Rob sed, about attaching mailpatches to, well, about anything like a garment, such as the padded underarmour jacket called in various centuries either a gambeson or an arming doublet, which is a more Henry VIII/Elizabethan-era word.  The strong nylon thread they put in leather sewing awls is good, as is Tandy Leather's artificial sinew.  Or ribbon-type dental floss, which is practically the same stuff, but the cord and the artificial sinew also come in several colors.  You'd need to color dental floss with a crayon. Straps, for anything to do with mail? -- special application only, since mail does so much of the structural stuff anyway.  They're okay for making a closure up the front of a mailshirt; you want to locate them such that there is no gap in the mail when the straps are buckled, so cultivate a little overlap if you go this route.  All you really need, actually, is some opening-up of the collar, if present, and if it's made that tight-fitting.  With a slightly bigger neckhole you can get away without it.  Workable mail shirts usually are pullover things -- no chink in your armor that way!  To attach a strap and buckle to mail, I recommend using leather thong through holes punched in the strap and threaded through the mail -- tied off on the inside with the thong wetted with water, then the knot pounded flat with a mallet and something hard to back the knot up.  That way it won't make a lump inside your shirt.  And pretty much refuse to come undone; practice your square knot, not a granny-knot. Lacing using leather thongs was fairly common, because it was smooth and simple.  Done often enough on the inseam side of mail chausses, for that close fit.  The less-armored stripe down your inseam wasn't such a big deal when you were riding across a battlefield on a horse, in a saddle.  Earlyish in the fourteenth century, the legs were the first limbs to get armoured in plate -- because infantrymen  were getting better equipped, and deadlier to mounted men. For underneath mail, leather really isn't going to do much except make you spend lots more money.  Don't get me wrong -- I too believe there are totally gorgeous things you can do to enhance your harness using leather, and I love tooling and carving the stuff -- it is creative, artistic, and it even smells good.  Leather dye smells pretty good too, it's just that it colors your fingertips just as well as your leather, and then it doesn't scrub off, it wears off, and your hands look grubby until it does.  Bleh. What you really want underneath mail is a bit of padding -- about the amount of padding three sweatshirts worn all at once would give, say, three layers on the body and two on the sleeves.  With a pullover, pop-top shirt of mail, have your padding, your gambeson/doublet beneath it be with long, close-fit sleeves.  Otherwise that mail shirt will drag your sleeves into your armpits when you put the shirt on, and you have to stand there picking at yourself. It took a damp, dank, cloudy, chilly place like Europe to make solid steel fighting clothes a practical proposition.  It helped also that they often padded themselves with 100% linen -- that extremely airy and cool cellulosic fiber that wicks heat and sweat off you.  Armored fighters who have used linen gambesons and helmet padding swear they will NEVER use anything else.  It's fairly spendy, and if you find pure linen for less than four dollars a yard you've scored a real deal, but the results are worth it.  (Not that Europe didn't use cotton in the Middle Ages, but it was a luxury import from exotic Egypt, near to silk.)  Next best may be bamboo-blend cotton batting, a sort of rayon-cotton that rides cooler than all-cotton batting.  Batting they make quilts with; it looks like muslin-colored flannel and comes in huge widths.  Cotton breathes, but it also swells up when it gets wet, blocking further breathing until it dries again.  Superb for canvas, even better for waterbags, not super great for the guy trying to avoid overheating while exerting himself banging away with a sword and shield.  Lightweight wool actually works better for wicking heat and sweat.  But damp linen will actually actively chill you.  You can see where you'd want either.
    • For some reason there seem to be damned few pictures of how people attach closures to their mail. I've run lacing through rings and I've used a leather punch to create holes through which rings can be run. I've also punched straps for waxed heavy thread and sewn the straps right onto rings.
    • Maybe I should draw some samples up or find something online to compare it with what I have in my head. But there is a guy at my work, who got me into doing chainmail and I asked him about the ring sizes and difficulties that would come with it. One thing he pointed out was the difficulty of closing the rings with pliers. The pair I have now are like 8 bucks and are cheap. He had the same pair and he said stainless destroyed them. Now I need pliers that have a smaller end with the leverage to bend them. Do they make titanium end pliers or is there something you would recommend to use for is project idea? Regardless of the E4-1 weight difference to the E6-1, I still want to do the E6-1 but I loved the point you made about the weight and using E6-1 for the more vital zones. As for the leatherwork I'm putting into it (thanks for correcting my terminology), and correct me if I'm wrong but your saying not to make a full leather under layer only leather straps? And how do you make one with only leather straps not really sure how to connect it? I could see lacing because of the rings and by implementing a lacing ring but to do it with leather I don't really understand how it would really connect mail to leather. And my last question when making a chainmail armor which way should your weaves run horizontal or vertical? Once again thanks for any input, advice, or help. Ill try to reply daily if I got the time.
    • Good to hear back so fast, and thanx for the clarifications.  An armor nerd like me thinks entirely in terms of actually wearing and using the stuff, to whatever end.  To me, that's what makes armor good; it's the same with Lostie, who is an armor maker and who can also be found over on I prefer "leatherworker" over leathersmith, since only very occasionally am I working leather by directly hitting it with a hammer. It's a thing, but it's a specialized technique for just a few certain things.  Smiting, ya know; same root as "smith."  And -- as an armor nerd again -- I stay away from saying "platemail,"  because they work very very differently:  plate is plate, mail is mail, both are sorts of armor, on rigid, one yielding, both extremely tough.  You can garner insider-speak cred by saying "harness" about armor, if you like -- we're certain of its usage from at least the fifteenth century, as in "white harness, a/k/a harnois blanc, a/k/a alwyte (all white) harness" for plate of polished steel, the sort of  thing we see in our minds' eyes when somebody mentions "suit of armor." These terms showed up because of the steel + cloth look of plate harness a generation earlier, about 1370-1400.  Which looked a lot different overall -- the complete metal-man look was a new fashion, even though various uses of fabric, kind of around the edges, did not entirely disappear:  its fashion did change with time. I also find armor that genuinely works also looks a certain particular way -- that such are the ergonomic shapes to fit a hard shell over  a man and such that he can actually fight and maneuver in it.  Poor design of armor literally gets in the way -- see the playing-card hauberks in Braveheart for some of the very worst flexible armor design ever. (They can't move in it.)  In armor's name, please don't do stuff like that. This is by way of explaining that -- and I've BT&DT -- you're at present planning to reinvent the armour-making wheel, and I can tell by what you're planning that the wheel may possibly be of pentagonal design. Which would go really pretty jumpy... They actually got it right with the ancient stuff: they intended it to keep their insides on the inside.  Notes on what worked and what didn't were taken in spilled blood!  I've found what works is to stay close to those ancient models. Mail simply doesn't need a substrate of leather attached; it's already tough enough by itself. A leather jack with some mail panels distributed on it is little use in a fight.  Just looking macho isn't what wins when the chips are down and the steel is drawn. I should like to encourage you to design something that works. Leather components in some kinds of harness are terrific -- in places where the mail isn't.  Forearm bracers, say; or cupping the rather exposed and bony points of the shoulder -- wouldn't want to get those smashed. (We'll need to think more about elbows and knees.)  Leather can even be made quite rigid by moistening it when you've completed your leather part and baking it very gently in an oven at 180-190 degrees F about half an hour to 45 minutes.  Use an oven thermometer.  Your leather piece may be carved, tooled, and dyed before baking it like this; the tooling will remain in the hardened leather, which is sometimes called cuirbouilli, though they weren't actually boiling the leather, just using steaming hot water about the temperature of a cup of hot coffee.  Making it and baking it doesn't even smell up the kitchen. For thickness of leather:  if you don't harden it, leather of 7-8oz would be fine, or maybe 5-6oz; if you do harden you will probably want 9oz weight all the way up to 12oz -- thick stuff is more reliable about not shriveling uselessly in the bake hardening.  Thinner stuff is more flexible. We can teach you, and connect you with tutorials, about how to make mail sleeves work on mail shirts -- there is some connecting-up in the armpit that gets weird, but can be done well and smoothly.  You needn't really have detachable mail sleeves for a mail shirt for any genuine armouring reason.  (Not getting into "mail sleeves" proper just yet; they exist, but are parts of mainly-plate armor for infantrymen, that go after the foe wielding halberds, bills, and pikes.  Whole 'nother critter really.  I think it's neat, you're not considering such things yet; eventually you might want to.) Chausses of mail, armoring the legs, should be wholly independent of the mailshirt, and suspended from either a wide belt or a sort of long vest, which can have a belt to it.  Connecting it to the shirt, if I'm reading you right, means you can't bend over.  It's a lot of weight, so you'll be most comfortable with bearing it over a large area.  Mail on the legs should fit like legwarmers, formfitting and close, all the way down.  If you try and build them like trousers and then walk in them, they will immediately savage your ankles, beating 'em to death -- because mail has inertia, and lots of it.  Make sure the hem of your mailshirt is not hanging exactly at nut-level, for the same reason -- mail will slap you as you walk given half a chance.  Mid thigh is a very good length, just so long as that mail hem stays below your marriage-tackle.  Apart from this sort of thing, I'm afraid I really don't know a lot about chausses or making them work.
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