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Posts posted by lorenzo

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Yes, as a rule you want the current as high as possible for as short as possible, this reduces oxidation in the weld.

    Based on the pictures most of your welds are brittle as a result of oxide inclusions in the weld area. Those welds aren't even close to as strong as they should be.

    The weld pressure needs to be applied by the electrodes, using the pliers is wrong. The whole point is that heating occurs where there is the most resistance and you need that to be between the ends of the rings, not between the ring and the electrodes. That means that the contact pressure between the ring and the electrodes needs to be higher than between the ring ends.

  9. You can use the color of the weld to judge the hold time, once it stops glowing it's definitely okay. 1000A @ 1 sec isn't great but it'll work. You should probably clean and degrease the joint on those rings before welding or use a bit of gas to reduce oxidation. Shortening those weld cables might also help.

    The main problem I see with your setup is that those electrodes should be angled to better redirect the force applied by pushing the ring into the electrodes into a force pushing the ends of the joint together.

  10. There's no real benefit to having them closer than about 3 wire diameters apart.

    From the sound of it you're burning up the rings, the weld should happen in a fraction of a second. I use 200A to weld 24g rings, you'll need a lot more than that for thicker wire.

  11. Hey guys, here's a link to the manual for the TRL resistance welders that I built. It has a handy circuit diagram and some pics you might find helpful. As you can probably tell it is essentially just a modified version of one of those harbor freight spot welders that Rob posted. They are more or less as you described them, just a step down transformer. The real trick is to find a beefy enough timed relay at an affordable price to get repeatable results.

    For resistance welding you generally want to keep the output current below 5v. I have seen resistance welders using 12v or even 24v but they spit a lot of sparks and arcs and are hard to control.

    I've built similar setups with TIG welders and they work well, anything that functions at 5A or less is pretty controllable for rings. I highly recommend a solid state HF arc starter though. Scratch start is a pain and you'll burn out an non-solid state HF start in no time. Same idea as the resistance welder, I just splice a timed relay into the pedal controls.

    Once again the timer relay is the key here. The welds at this scale happen so fast that you can't really get consistent results without one. With a good relay you could probably use most welders to get okay results.

    I've also used torch brazing to join rings in the past, it worked really well and looked great but it takes longer than welding.

  12. Lol, it's industry standard for lifting chains, more a rule of thumb than the actual engineering specs and it's based on UTS rather than YS so it's not an apples to apples comparison.

    As for the chainmail industry most operate under ISO 9001 to the best of my knowledge. However, the safety products they make will generally be certified to various standards for international markets. In America it's generally NIJ-0115.00 for body armor, for gloves ANSI/ISEA 105.


  13. On 1/7/2020 at 10:59 AM, Bladeturner said:

    I still have my ring making kit, but after making 120,000 rings for my 1/8" shirt, but I thought those days were behind me, heh.  

    Well, it doesn't hurt to ask TRL and see what they're willing to do.

    Another option would be to use a welder if you have one, regular stainless is plenty strong even with a tack weld.

  14. You have to make a custom order for the spring stainless ones, not sure how it works right now with the change in ownership. When I worked at TRL I would just coil and cut them myself.

    They will be more expensive though, that's the real trade off for lightweight armor. Making your own rings would be the least expensive option there.

  15. There should be fuel flow and pressure adjustments on the torch, maybe play with that to make sure your air to fuel ratio is good.

    Cheap butane torches do tend to break a lot, I've had some success with the Bernz-o-matic ones in the past. Based on this testing video the blazer brand seems pretty durable, might be worth a try.


  16. The best way to minimize weight is to use stronger rings and a larger ring diameter combined with smaller wire gauge. This minimizes the amount of scales per area which makes up the bulk of the weight. 

    For example if you use 18g 5/16 spring stainless instead of 16g 5/16 aluminum the rings will have a similar weight and strength but because of the springback in the steel rings the finished piece will have about 25% less weight of scales.

    Another option is to use split rings, the #7F ones from worthco.com work well with large scales. I haven't used TRL's split rings in a long time but last I did they were pretty terrible.