Konstantin the Red

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About Konstantin the Red

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    Journeyman Member
  • Birthday 05/11/56

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  • Location
    Port Hueneme, CA, USA
  • Interests
    SCA, armouring, firearms, cutlery, f&sf.
  • Occupation
    Cutco Salesman
  1. What GForce said. When you have too much g-force. G for "Ghurrghn -- get in there!" Needle nose pliers are very wicked for that -- keep away from them. Use the broadnosed types like you said. Twist and shove inward; brute power. For projects like mailshirts that don't really need the most artful ring cuts -- most shirts get their links cut with boltcutters or snips and end up with link ends that look mostly like ><, I horse the ends in together and overlap the points, to where they end up like /\\/ (this view is rotated ninety degrees from the other, accepting a link that ends up slightly out of round -- not so very different from how historical riveted links ended up, tending as they do to bulge where the overlap and rivet closure is. Jewelry-type mail projects of course play by more demanding rules and can afford them. Armor-type projects are nearly as functional -- not fancy -- as a Parkerized .45 pistol. Parkerizing steel produces a rust resistant, though not altogether proof, just better than some, matte-gray finish to it. Twentieth century military. It isn't as much used any more on guns, as coating processes have advanced. It retains popularity in auto parts, how about that.
  2. Sounds like the vid, whenever it arrives, will show a method of twisting the links closed like revving a motorbike, combined with horsing the ends together as you twist, maybe taking a couple of repetitions to get the cut ends to grind together. It doesn't quite sound like that is what you're presently doing to close your rings.
  3. There is another piece of mail that is built like a camail, but is of larger diameter: the fifteenth-century bishop's-mantle. It's a sort of short cape of mail, full circle, hanging to about your elbows. Triangular dags were sometimes used here also, but a quite small number of quite large dags. This is a piece of gear for if you want to do Landsknecht at the Faire, in outrageous particolored and slashed and puffed doublet, hose, and slashed codpiece too. (Very spectacular, very arrogant) This is for if you want to go playing with great big German swords, the armor-cracking, pikestaff-lopping Zweihänder. It gets away with its large size and substantial weight because it's not attached to a helmet, but simply closes close about the neck. It doesn't impair head movement as it would if attached to a helmet. Many Landsknechts wore no other armor, not even a helmet; they'd put a hat on, also decoratively slashed, as was the style of the times.
  4. In that particular area and application, soaking up the impact of a weapon strike is what it bloomin' well does. Works best with the camail large enough to drape over the points of the shoulders. Not too much bigger than that, though, or it becomes appallingly heavy and hardly lets you move your head with freedom -- so, big enough to come to the bottom of your delts at most, and stopping a little short of there is fine. The mail also hangs some inches away from the column of your neck, all round, giving space to absorb incoming energy; plus, it is actively held out there by virtue of hanging off your bascinet. It's like trying to bat your way in, through a steel curtain. Add to this that the sword's trying to drag an increasing mass of the mail in after it, plus the frictive drag over your bony shoulder -- well! It's also a great piece to decorate with contrasting metal, or fringe with dags. You can make triangular dags come out nice and regular this way: a) count how many rings around the edge of the camail you've woven; b) factor this number, unless you find it is a prime number; c) the smaller factor number will be how many links make the base of each triangle, but don't make the base of the triangle that number, but instead, that number minus one (and of open links which you will use to zip the triangles onto the links of the edge; d) the larger number is how many triangles you will have round the edge of the camail. Picking an easy example: a camail whose periphery is 156 links around, factored into 12 x 13. Thirteen triangles, each of which shall fit onto every twelve links of camail periphery. Easiest way is, having figured these thirteen segments of twelve each, that you then weave 11 links onto each twelve-link segment. You've added another link row, with gaps in it. Then just keep filling in the triangles, each linkrow in a triangle being one link fewer than the row nearer the hem of the camail, until finally you have a point at the end, consisting of 1 link. Avoid making up triangles ready made because it's easy to err in your link-lie, and you have to go back and revise things; just make the triangles grow out from the hem. I like odd numbers of triangular dags, so that you can center one dag upon either the front centerline or the rear centerline. (Right and left can just fall where they may.) Whoa, I got a prime number of links round my periphery! No prob -- it's okay to just fudge, and put the extra amount in the center back. Or put in another linkrow including an expansion link or two to get off of that prime number amount, and be able to factor the new number of links as above. Either way, easy peasy.
  5. It certainly is, mail being distinctly grabby and with much friction. Not that you have to laugh all that hard, tbh. The Creative Anachronists have been acquainted with the technique for decades now. Even better, online, you can call up Medievaltymes' Maciejowski Bible site with all that Bible's illuminations. Go to 2 Samuel (I think; it's one of the books of Samuel) and look for the illo of young David taking a hauberk off. He's bent over and half the 'berk is hanging off over his head, which is concealed in the 'berk. Pic has everything but the shimmy! Sure, a 13th-c. mufflers-&-coif comprehensive mail hauberk is way out of period for King David (early Iron Age), but hell -- in the 13th century EVERYBODY knew armor was mail! Right? So that's what they drew. Happened all the time. Mail's high friction over bodily humps and protrusions is part of why mail camails hanging off bascinet helmets are found to work so well against being struck with swords: they really really soak up the impact of a strike to the side of the neck.
  6. Yep; them's the ones! It might be well to archive their entire contents onsite, in Articles. Otherwise you have to play Boy Internet Detective all night.
  7. Yes, that's the way to go, 4-1. An eleventh century hauberk, used by Normans and everyone else, had knee length skirts, short or half sleeves no longer than the elbow, no integral mail coif. Basically, a shirt, with extension of the hem; a lot like yours. 'Berks of the next century were much more often teamed with mail chausses than Bayeux-date art shows (a few princes were so accessorized), had long sleeves which ended in integral mail mitts, and had a mail coif attached, covering the warrior in one single piece of equipment armoring him from kneecaps to bald spot, a record not equaled since. Nonetheless, they parked a pot-helm on top, first a conical, then a gumdrop or inflated conical, then what is called a saltshaker pot helm, because it looks like the top of a saltshaker. One example is in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, on Arthur's head. These funny hats gave a spaced-armor effect over your skull. I'd put him in galvanized, .063" wire (16ga SWG) and 5/16¨ link ID to help keep weight reasonable, as well as having reasonable speed of progress weaving it. It'll be rust resistant and the wire is stiffer. Try and find a lumberyard or fence-supplies place that sells wire by the pound, for you would need thirty pounds of it or so. In swords, I like Cold Steel's products quite a lot, and not just because they're up the road from here.
  8. I was comparing .048" diameter riveted to .080" butted, which relies on its wire thickness for enough stiffness that its links don't open up too badly when getting hit with rattan batons at least once a week. Right about 5/8 the diameter means 5/8 the weight, link size for link size. A .080" (14ga SWG) haburgeon-type mailshirt tips the scales at about 30 lb. Links of .063" black wire would produce correspondingly heftier mail than .048" 18ga wire would in the same link diameter. While an AR of around 4 is very good proportion, good for general mail purposes, of course an airier AR of 5 or 6 would correspondingly reduce weight overall. Bigger AR's like those in soft baling wire would be best used in riveted links, as these are not constrained so much by AR considerations relating to the stiffness of the wire -- wire for wire, bigger butted links allow them to get bent open more easily.
  9. Aaand such riveted mail needs to be kept from rusting, with light oiling with a rag and tight storage for when it's not mail-schlepping season. Household clothing bins with tight lids are good. Also takes about four times the man hours to weave it, compared to butted mail. And it comes out around half the weight compared to butted 14 gauge (.080") mail. Quite a differeence, and very nice. Also full bragging rights -- I got the real sh... shtuff, here!
  10. Black annealed tie wire, .0631" diameter, then. Annealed, it's very soft, squishy like lead. It's a good feedstock for heavy, hard duty riveted mail, and I use it that way myself. I wouldn't use it for butted links, as it's not stiff enough to hold up, but you can really knock it around in making links and piercing -- drifting the hole open, technically -- for riveting with teensy bits of wire or flattened wire to make "triangular rivets." Well, yes, they're triangular; they look like tiny pizza slices. Pointy end goes in first and is upset, rivet fashion, to clinch the links' overlaps between the upset point and the broad end. General purpose riveted mail is optimally of rather thinner mild steel wire, at around .048-.050" wire diameter. A good balance of weight and protection -- and you pretty much have to go to a welder-supplies shop to get wire that diameter, and anneal it before you form it: hot work. Mild steel welder wire in that diameter or close to it is the stuff you'd want, and it comes springy, so must be softened with a good hot baking.
  11. Lusken, you needn't worry. With mail, a hole in it is a hole is a hole. Hole hum. Very hard to tell, with historic mail shirts etc in museums, holes from hostile or accidental damage from holes from decay, save that decay-holes seem to somewhat concentrate in the skirts and hems. Can't think why, as they really kind of shouldn't -- is this a case of differential preservation? An exhibiting bias for mail shirts and pieces that actually have something of a shape if you hang them up or put them on a mannequin? Quite a few of those old shirts in museums are pretty ragged down near the bottom {eta} yet pretty much intact about the shoulders, with sometimes a bit of tattering on the ends of the sleeves. Mail's not going to preserve in detail the shape of whatever it was penetrated it -- it won't show a square hole like shooting a crossbow quarrel (a word for its head's square/diamond section) into a helmet, to the terminal discomfiture of its wearer. Mail pretty much doesn't have that fineness of resolution.
  12. If I were working stainless wire, and cutting my own links, I wouldn't use anything less than little bolties -- 8" mini or c. 13" small. Or grind my way through with an abrasive wheel.
  13. What cutting pace would you like to accept? Hand cutting with end-nippers or mini bolt cutters can with proper arrangement deliver about sixty cuts per minute. I usually prefer to cut links with these tools one link per cut-stroke, as trying to take more links per stroke -- more turns of the wire coil -- is unreliable about cutting through the second link of the two. Like it only nips it about half through. Proper arrangement features fixing the cutters business end steeply downwards, one handle anchored and the other end free to swing, with a bucket beneath the cutter to catch links falling as they are cut. You feed the wire coil in at the angle that lets the cutter jaws take a bite and cut the link loose. End nippers come in a couple of basic sizes; for armor weight links in steel you'd want the larger, the "farriers' nipper," about a foot in length. Mini bolties have handles about eight inches long and a compound action hinge to work their jaws. In the hand, they can cut fairly rapidly, for a certain value of 'rapidly.' Set up dropping links into a bucket, the gadget has a cutting rate about twice as fast, in the range of 40 cuts/min to 60, which is probably about the maximum and may possibly not be sustainable over hours. Rob M, you may find this useful. There are other timesavers in butted mail, such as pre-opening half your link supply before even starting to cut the links. You grab either end of a wire coil and stretch it out to slightly over twice its original length, spreading all its links open. Then you cut these stretched coils the same way you cut the regular ones. Attractively, these stretched coils use a different portion of the cutters' edge to cut with, mitigating wear and also avoiding any breakage, which has been known to happen.
  14. Yeah, that "jupon." Like gown, it has over centuries a shift in meaning and in its connotations. But in the war-harness field, it was not just macho, but could be particularly aristocratic too. It was a way to display your heraldry, all over you, and generally both front and back, making an armored man with his visor shut at least as identifiable as a WW2 fighter plane -- with the proviso that this was individual insignia rather than something national -- national insignia existed too, though perhaps in a more subordinate way -- in Christendom, crosses of one sort or another and of certain colors and backgrounds taken together -- e.g., a black cross on a white ground has been associated with Germany about since the later Crusades. Wasn't just something they invented for the occasion of WW1.* The heraldic jupon with your heraldry on it is the original of the "coat of arms," that garment which you put on over everything when you armed. "Coat armour" is a synonymous term. Coat-armour is like a flag -- for a person, rather than a nation. Thus, it is much honored in those places that have it -- A Big Deal. *Other examples of national crosses run such as white X throughout on blue for Scotland's St Andrew's Cross, a red cross throughout on white for England, St George's Cross, the big red X for Burgundy, whose sawtoothish outline is called 'raguly' and the Burgundians' cross therefore was sometimes called the Ragged Cross. French soldiers used a white cross, on I don't know what background, as for soldiers they'd make do with just sewing on a cross of the required color and never mind the field exactly. The crosses on the main sails of Portuguese caravels of the fifteenth and sixteenth century had to do with those knights that had formerly been known as the Templars, until the year that order was suppressed. (The Templars were wiped out in France; over in Portugal they closed shop, and reopened under a new name roughly the next week.)
  15. Oh boy -- the era of cheap mil-surplus blankets is definitely over. They would have worked well, though. And thrift store blankets, if wool, would be a good find. Not too thick and heavy, and wool has a springiness to it. Again, the less poly, the happier the result, sweat-wise. When you find yourself trying to comprehensively work up an entire suit of armour -- a harness -- you do find that building it from the skin out is going to involve considerable cloth. That's the kind of thing they found out over at ArmourArchive.org: cloth under steel, not least in period-type padding for inside a helmet, and in several eras (1350-1420 universally all over Europe; Italy through the fifteenth century; Germany, um, now and then and then again, like, once the 1390's were behind them, when they had jupons over their torso armor like everybody else) cloth over the hard stuff, mostly for style, but possibly treatable for some degree of water resistance. It also had an insignia use. Europe is a dank, chilly, rainy place -- what passes for a drought there would put big cheery smiles on Texas ranchers' faces, contemplating herds of fat cattle.