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Posts posted by lorenzo

  1. On 10/12/2020 at 11:44 AM, TitaniumMithril said:

    kind of a side comment, but i would love an out-of-the-box welding set up that would weld 20ga-16ga titanium reliably (that doesn't cost thousands of dollars).  i'm sure it can be pieced together, but i'm no electrical (mechanical? industrial?) engineer and don't have the time to invest on researching it.  years ago i tried the chinese one that tlr carried, and i could never dial in reliable power settings.  it eventually just stopped working (surprise surprise), and i just threw out that $200.  

    Yeah, I hear ya, mine failed in the same way.

    I am looking into another welding system that seems to have potential, hopefully it works out well in our workshop. I don't want to get any hopes up but it looks like it could be a sub 1K machine that welds every metal from 24g-12g. If it does perform as advertised we might even start distributing them.

  2. My bread and butter for armour is stainless steel, we use about 20 tons of stainless per year. It's versatile, available in high quality, easy to work with and the cost is reasonable. It's hard to go wrong with stainless.

    I personally really like titanium alloys for the improved strength to weight ratio, but the cost and difficulty in manufacturing makes them impractical for most projects.

  3. On 9/30/2020 at 6:10 PM, bjorn said:

    so I've never heard of that one metal you mentioned... Tantalum? How's that to work with

    I do heartily agree with the hating of aluminum....

    It's very similar to niobium, heavier of course and a little softer. It also tends to be a little brighter and anodizes well.

    It works well for small AR jewelry as long as you're careful not to overstress the material. Unlike traditional jewelry metals it's not easily soldered for strength. It can be welded in an inert atmosphere similar to titanium or niobium.

  4. Start with something cheap and simple, either gravity drip or waxing the coils. You might as well get experience with both really, then you can understand for yourself how they work and what the drawbacks are. That way, when you're ready to move on to something better you'll already have a good idea of what you want.

  5. 21 hours ago, bjorn said:

    Long shots seem to be your specialty huh lorenzo?

    This is an amazing amount of knowledge thank you.

    You're welcome, I'm stuck covering the night shift this week so it's pretty boring. I hardly need any excuse to go do some "work related" research for an hour.

  6. 42 minutes ago, Konstantin the Red said:

    If I like, per Lorenzo, I can squash them with die-/setter-tongs -- with an anneal to allow it.  Such tongs may want a hammer-smack on their reins or a specially designed head and jaws anyway, to get the pent-roof cross section in there. That seems part of the purpose of that little bitty anvil seen stuck in the workbenches in some of the pics.

    That is probably why they used hammer and anvil, the last image indicates either that or direct hammer flattening, but then where are all the hammer flattened rings? So it would make sense to me. It's also possible that hammer flattening was more common earlier, since the tool marks have worn away on most early pieces it's impossible to say for sure.

    Another possible use is for repairs, if a customer brings in a shirt with only a link or two missing in my experience it's difficult to get normal rivet setting tongs in there. It's much easier to put the piece on an anvil and set the rivets with a hammer and punch. I think the 4th image I linked to might be of that sort of work happening since I doubt a customer would normally be waiting otherwise.

  7. The quality of rings flattened with tongs is far higher.  Based on my examination of dozens of authentic pieces in museums around the world there's no doubt in my mind that tongs or some other form of die were used most of the time. I've found no definite evidence for hammer flattening although it's very likely it was also used in some cases. The rings still require annealing between every step.

    Similarly there's not much serious debate between drifting and punching. Drifting is far easier and yields much stronger rings. Most of the authentic pieces I've examined were drifted where the process could be determined at all.

    As a rule of thumb welding is approx 4x faster than riveting for me, but I'm not very practiced at riveting. In any case welded rings are slightly stronger and more consistent. If you want historical accuracy though riveted is the way to go.

  8. Well I agree with Rob, no polishing compound for anodized Al, just some dry walnut or corncob. Rice or even sawdust works in a pinch too. If the factory finish isn't shiny enough the best bet is probably to try an automotive wax or other sealing agent rather than attempting to alter the anodized layer but either way is not ideal.

    Water is necessary for aggressive tumbling, it acts as your solvent and working fluid. The detergent is there as a surfactant to break surface tension and polarize all the little bits of contaminants. Remember that it's not just a physical process but an electrochemical one as well. In fact, the best finish I've ever achieved on mail was by ultrasonic cleaning and then electropolishing. The result was mirror finish rings but it's slow and limited to small batches.

    Ceramic media is generally not cost effective for what I do. I've used it in the past for jewelry and it worked well, but the amount you need to fill a 50 gallon tumbler like mine is ridiculous. Not to mention the man hours and logistical issues involved in separating hundreds of lbs of media from a similar weight of mail, it's a huge PITA.

    Pin shot is easier to separate and less costly but I find as long as the rings are pre-woven they burnish each other in all the necessary nooks and crannies. I do use it for the odd time that I'm tumbling preclosed loose rings.

    Deburring is all about the impact energy, you have to knock loose the oxides and peen down the metal projections. You can also add shot as ballast to small pieces for extra energy. Mason jars work for small stuff, light burrs or soft metals but the jar will break eventually so wrap it in fiber tape first to save your hands.

    For the worst burrs like welded or riveted stuff ceramic media in a rotary tumbler works well, it might be the best option for hobbyists doing small batches but the industry standard is acid.

  9. Tumbling is pretty much necessary for finishing mail, but what you use depends on the metal you're working with and what you're trying to achieve. 

    Walnut shells in a vibratory tumbler will absorb oils and brighten up the finish a bit but if you want to really shine it up you'll need to add polishing compound. If you want to knock off burrs and smooth closures you'll need either an abrasive grit or move to a rotary process to get more burnishing action. Welded or riveted stuff requires a pretty aggressive acid or abrasive to remove oxides.

  10. They've definitely got the low end of the market covered. The high end of the market is pretty well covered by people like myself, knuut, mithrilweaver and Erik Schmid.

    That leaves the mid range market, which is where most hobbyists land and is more often about DIY projects than retail sales.

  11. Dusters with mail mantles work well, though I've never done one. Mail epaulets are a military tradition in many countries.

    Belts can be done for style but leather is almost always better, the best one I made was a very tight weave in welded titanium. Mostly sashes for fashion only, I've made a few hundred of those.

    I've made quite a few halter or bikini tops, those are pretty popular. Half a dozen full dresses, including one for a statue that weighed 500 lbs. Thousands of socks and gloves. Hundreds of full suits.

  12. The great thing about mail armor is that it's infinitely adjustable, I rebuilt my first shirt three times. As you wear it you can just change it to suit if you find it lacking in any one area. With that said, I don't see any major flaws in it's construction.

  13. On 6/29/2020 at 11:41 PM, Konstantin the Red said:

    I don't know if I've said mail pieces seem to have a shelf-life, in the three-way race between corrosion, wearing out, and maintenance/dry storage, of around six hundred years, but that's how it looks.  Mail can get destroyed in battle, corrosion eats the stuff on all its surface area, and knocking off rust and oiling what's left is helpful but more a management than a cure.  Mail pieces definitely older than six hundred years are extremely rare and sometimes only studiable by x-raying concretions with remnants of mail inside.

    I'm fairly certain that the phenomenon you're describing is only a result of the transitional period of armor having ended about 600 years ago. Mail armor has never been accorded a high cultural value and was generally just considered obsolete and discarded or re-purposed at that time. From my discussions with staff at the Royal Armouries it's my understanding that this was common practice even by museum curators up until the mid 20th century.

  14. It may surprise you to learn that the method of construction you propose is traditional in Japan. It's referred to as nanban kusari(or gusari) and came about from Japanese armorers importing european mail and modifying it to Japanese tastes. It was fairly common from about the mid 16th century to the mid 19th century.

  15. I'm not aware of a specific term for the flaps on coifs but perhaps Konstantin will know. 

    Coifs as a rule were only in wide use before plate armor was. During the transitional period they fell out of use in favour of the aventail or camail and were pretty much gone by the time the age of plate armour came about.

  16. 18 hours ago, Konstantin the Red said:

    A rule of thumb for circular mantles for anything is that four expansion links added in per linkrow around yields a flat circle -- a big tin doily -- and three per linkrow gives a shallow cone shape.  Which is quite okay for shoulders.

    Just a quick correction, it's actually six expansions for a flat circle. Less than that forms a cone, more than that forms a ruffle. With a loose AR the difference between 4-8 expansions per link row isn't very noticeable.

  17. Just FYI the part of a coif that covers the shoulders is typically referred to as a "mantle" or when made as a standalone piece without the coif sometimes a "bishop's mantle" or "mail standard".

  18. Please understand that any finish you put on mail will eventually wear off with use, the only thing that will really last is, as Konstantin mentioned, to just polish it and wax or oil it.

    Your first step to getting any type of nice looking finish on your armor should be to strip the zinc off of it. The second step is to tumble or acid etch the metal to a uniform matte finish so that any further coatings will adhere well. 

    Based on your preferences I think you should go with a black oxide conversion coating as it will be one of the longest lasting finishes and also historically accurate. You'd create a russet finish by flash rusting the piece, historically this is done by storing it in damp sawdust with urine, but you can substitute bleach or vinegar. Shake it around to make sure the rusting is even and once you have a uniform coating apply tannic acid, if you're going the historical route, or a commercial rust converter to chemically change the coating into black iron oxide. After that you just seal the coating with wax and you're done, you can use the more historical beeswax but I highly recommend using Renaissance wax instead.

  19. The difference between the AA colors should be almost nil, it sounds to me like you may have received the wrong rings. You should probably get in touch with TRL customer service and see if they can help you get this sorted out.

    Do you have anything that you can use to measure them and confirm? Is it possible that you confused the silver AA with a similar ring? For example machine cut 19g 3/16" BA looks very close but is a different alloy manufactured by a different process and the sizes are slightly different.

    If all else fails I would just try substituting middle column of rings in the weave with 20g 3/16" AA. That should loosen it up enough to work but won't look too different.