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Konstantin the Red

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About Konstantin the Red

  • Rank
    Journeyman Member
  • Birthday 05/11/1956

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  • Location
    Port Hueneme, CA, USA
  • Interests
    SCA, armouring, firearms, cutlery, f&sf.
  • Occupation
    Cutco Salesman

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  1. Konstantin the Red

    Ring Size Help

    That was a rather poor decision on your book author's part to get into ARs and then throw gauge at you in a context where it's useless, rather than wire diameter measured in the same units as the link inner diameter. Fortunately, this is easily rectified. There are at least a few converter pages where you can enter gauge (and which one) and get diameter, or vice versa. You can google these up. Take notes, or do a little memorizing once you've gotten there. At least one mailler site also has a conversion table in its reading library. (M.A.I.L., I think) If you are located in the States, you're going to encounter in the common metals both Steel Wire Gauge and American Wire Gauge, which is the more elaborate in theory of the two. They divide along materials lines: American Wire Gauge/AWG is electrical, and its gauge numbers relate to currentcarrying capacity. It's used on brass, copper, and aluminum, the common electric wire metals. At the consumer level, most attention to this shows up in electric extension/power cords. All these metals can sometimes be scrounged out of construction dumpsters, which is fun for those with more time than money for the hobby. Steel Wire Gauge/SWG is steel wire, generally something more or less structural, from wire fence to bits of buildings. Springy, higher carbon music wire has its own independent gauge. For maillers, this is also a pretty esoteric material. Few just happen onto it; mostly they have to deliberately go looking. And pay for it. MIG electric welder wire is in diameters, period; doesn't do gauge at all. Thank goodness. Have your desired diameter in mind while you shop for welder wire in steel, aluminum, or (!) titanium. Within a certain span of wire diameters often used by home maillers, a difference of two gauge numbers happens to give a rough parity of diameters: 14ga AWG is close to the wire diameter of 16 ga SWG, et cetera. For calculating, and a lot of the time even for posting on a mailling board, you can save time by not mentioning gauge numbers at all but sticking to diameters. Gauge number is a convenient conversational shorthand but for trying to solve a problem its usefulness tapers off after that.
  2. Konstantin the Red

    Rings and Pliers

    Though chain nose pliers in general, superb at making chain links for necklaces etcetera, don't have the leverage flatnose pliers do for twisting links open or closed. They're even less adequate for working in steel, where you need sufficiently powerful leverage -- don't fear to use slipjoint regular ole pliers on steel links.
  3. Konstantin the Red

    Weighted Maille

    In a given wire thickness and thus a given AR, 6-1 will be significantly heavier than the same area -- square footage -- of E4-1. E8-1 will need a bigger AR to fit two more links through, so the wire goes skinnier for a given link ID. It's a handsome, stripe-ish looking weave but perhaps more decorative than out-and-out effectual. Rule of thumb is to expect 6-1 to be twice as heavy per area, between half again as many links in it (half again as much metal) and that the links will be propped into a steeper link-lie -- a hundred links' worth of row isn't going to go as far around you. That's one reason expansions don't get you as much as with the more open 4-1 weave; you also don't get the same amount of stretch/contract. Keep your shoulder straps as wide as will fit on you, to spread the load of this shirt on your shoulders. A skinny wifebeater style undershirtlike strap will want to dig into your traps muscles, owie. Now you won't have to discover this by experience. Formfitting: okay, what is your chest size (checking your t shirt size is good enough) and your natural waist measurement, at the level of your navel? That is, are you an in-shape dude, star of track and field, lean of waist and broad of shoulder, or is your sixpack more a pony keg? To truly broaden the shoulder and deepen the chest, we're talking either splitting a lot of firewood with a big ax, or resistance training, with weights, featuring a lot of (eventually) heavy bench presses, incline and decline bench presses, military (overhead) presses, and French (same as military except the barbell goes down the back of your neck on the bottom of the rep) presses. Various biceps and triceps exercises also, so your arms stay in proportion to your massive pecs. With these and heavy forearms exercises -- for only heavy exercises develop and grow those dense muscles -- your grip will become so strong that no pickle jar can resist! The kind of development a daily wear mail shirt will give you is more nearly aerobic -- your endurance increases. You will mostly detect this in *not* feeling so exhausted, so spent, at the end of your mailshirt hours. Or you can join the military and do all that with calisthenics in basic training, and gym work after basic. If you go combat-arms, that is. Which will mentally suit you to bear a shirt of mail with conviction. Rrahrr! Allows you to pick up a viking-era sword to go with that short mailshirt, and do so as would a steely-eyed killer of men. Because you'll know more, inside of you, how to do that.
  4. Konstantin the Red

    Weighted Maille

    Steel´s your metal then. Not only for density but strength too. Don't even conceal-wear it; put the thing on like a pullover. After doing your exercise thing, remove it in the known manner for removing mailshirts if you build a pullover shirt, which is in many ways really the best way to live with mail's enormous inertia. You bend way over, haul at the neckhole with your hands, and shimmy to help things along. Gravity is your friend; you end up with a puddle of mailshirt on the ground in front of you. Trying to hide it inside a coat lining is rather overthinking things -- go simpler. Ingenuity is plenty cool but not called for here to arrive at your exercise goal. Really, the worst that might happen is somebody would take you for a Creative Anachronist if they see you jogging down the street in a mail shirt. If you want to cover your mail in a windbreaker or warmup jacket, that's fine too. Making it real heavy means weaving Euro-4-1 weave dense. I'd pick a link aspect ratio of 4 for this job -- density of weave with flexibility too. The lowest you can get E4-1 weave's Aspect Ratio, or AR, is 3.2, like the beer -- it doesn't drape, it sort of bends. AR 4 is like wire of .063" diameter in a 1/4" ID link. Not too dreadful tough to weave at home, and also of a rather fine texture when finished. Heavier gauge wire than that, say 14ga .080" wire, needs 5/16" ID, and also feels coarser and rougher. And will be hefty! These will also be smoother than any scale shirt, and wouldn't shred up any clothing from the inside if you do go to the trouble of putting anything over the mail. Something like two sweatshirst worn *under* the mail is enough. If you want, one shirt sleeveless.
  5. Konstantin the Red

    Sulphuric acid

    Wot he sed. Jeeze, guy, you're reckoning on keeping 15 liters of well concentrated H2SO4 and you're antsy about metallic lead?? Further homework is called for. You haven't assessed your risk right. Just don't dip the lead in your orange juice and drink it. Also be glad you're not handling nitric acid. The stuff *can* be handled safely, lab gloves, aprons, tight containers, but spills are savage to living flesh, and highly unrecommended.
  6. Konstantin the Red

    seeking tutorials on chain mail clothing!!!

    Download that last one, the Trevorbarker -- it's about four pages, mostly typescript. It's a tute that teaches how to reproduce a 15th-c. German mail shirt with long sleeves, about mid-thigh length. Hamburg provenance, and unusually precisely dated and placed for mail -- around 1438 AD. This is armor mail, a pullover thing like nearly all European mail shirts. In that era, mail wasn't in the limelight any more; plate harness had taken over, and the sallet helmet was the latest German fashion in war hats -- the close-helmet was some decades off. This shirt was probably intended for armored infantry combat, and may have had a minimum working life of fifty years -- perhaps even a hundred. Mail wears like iron, you know! It seems they made mailshirts pretty much like this shirt throughout the mail era in Europe. The construction suggests that the shirt was assembled from premade rectangular pieces of mail, with tailoring things such as expansion/contraction arrays and individual expansion links having been inserted between the premade rectangles of plain-weave E4-1 mail. The Trevor Barker recipe will run you through these things -- the handy thing about an expansion array or its mirror image upside-down brother the contraction array being that their edges just zip into the rest of the shirt's plain-weave mail fabric, without having to deal with any fancy custom joining methods. Something they apparently didn't do -- though they might have -- was to insert expansion links throughout a piece of mail in a shirt, changing a rectangle into a conical sort of piece; they found it simpler just to use expansion arrays to flare something out. Mail armor pieces are various. There's the vest-sized byrnie, the Norman short/half-sleeve hauberk, the 12th-13th-century hauberk with long sleeves and an integral mail hood too, and then to save weight the hauberk shrank in the 14th century to the haburgeon, as more and more plate pieces were fitted to the knightly panoply. Plate took over for the big boys, and mail moved to a supporting role, armoring the armpits in a way plate simply couldn't, and armoring foot troops, again in various amounts: a well armored halberdier or billman might sport a breastplate and backplate, and have a mail sleeve for each arm -- modular components! Helmet his head, and he was about as well equipped as anybody for heavy fighting. There was the mail collar, or standard-of-mail, intended to keep your head from getting cut off. Mail coifs were a fairly early feature, eventually getting blended into and integral with the hauberk. Another mail neck protector emerged in the latter fourteenth century, more or less as the bottom half of a mail coif attached to the helmet of the time, the bascinet. This was the camail, and it did a good job of protecting the neck from sword cuts, and sheltered the shoulder and upper back and chest also. There was mail for the legs -- the close-fitted mail chausses, like thick steel stockings. You don't want to build any slack at all into the bottom ends of any mail leggings, because mail's ferocious inertia will slap you stupid in fifteen strides. Armor's supposed to protect you from getting beat up... The hem of a mailshirt at mid- to upper thigh is really plenty enough. There was a sixteenth-century variation on the mail collar that extended down to cover most of the upper body and the upper arms: the bishop's-mantle. A one size fits all piece for the Landsknechts. Big in Germany. There were even mail drawers for the mounted man who wanted to maximize his chances of sons and heirs later. These covered hips, ass, and 'nads, and laced closed with a couple of thongs. These were made of fine mail of small links for comfort.
  7. Konstantin the Red

    Ring size help

    That's the 'Net for ya, huh GAW? That project is just about AR-irrelevant; you could use pretty near anything to build something like that collar. Try anything you like or have a little of just lying around collecting dust. As mail projects that size go, you don't need very many of the larger rings at all. You need the most connectors.
  8. Konstantin the Red

    Ring size help

    Welcome and well come, GAW. Not only that, looks like three different sizes plus yet another for the connectors -- those are maybe 1/8 inch. My guess is 5/16", 1/4", and 3/16" ID. Same scheme would work 3/8", 5/16", 1/4".
  9. Konstantin the Red

    Layering Scales

    Can we actually turn all that into a working link? It doesn't, for whatever reason, let me hightlight and copy it to the browser. A hot link would be fine.
  10. Konstantin the Red

    Ring/jewlery welder

    Welcome and well come, MrMrRubic. This will be interesting to see how it comes out. What materials will you use for your links? I ask because if you're making mail jewelry of silver wire, you only need a jewelers' torch, to join your silver link ends with hard silver solder. Silver's so soft, it needs all the help it can get.
  11. Konstantin the Red

    Questions on Riveted Maille Construction

    No worries; there was always that to consider anyway, being an apartment dweller. If they let you use a gas grill on that balcony, that might do the job. If otherwise, well, yeah -- you'd have to totally get determined, playing tricks with your oven. Contemplating riveted mail and its four times the time spent weaving it suggests you have something pretty serious in mind with that mail. Do you play with the Society for Creative Anachronism, or do rebated steel stuff à la HEMA? The former think real riveted mail is darn cool; the latter require it because they are slicing at each other with blunt steel weapons. That soft black tie wire may need a normalization after the flattening stages to get rid of any workhardening that might have developed. We want to keep it from cracking there. It's gotten pretty thoroughly pounded and is now headed toward being fatigued. Heating it red hot fixes that, reshaping mashed microcrystalline structures. Eliminating the fatiguing of the metal lets it get softer and stretchier again, for opening up the rivet hole or slot -- a round hole for a round rivet, a slot, 14th-c-and-later style for triangular rivets. Fatigue is how you bust a paper clip bending it back and forth several times. First it gets rather harder, and then it fractures -- that's what we're trying to escape here as we pierce the overlap zone with a "drift," which differs from a "punch" in not knocking out a slug of the metal where you're making the hole, but instead stretching the metal open, pushing it aside, to make the hole. This conserves metal -- and strength -- right at this vital spot -- there isn't an awful lot of metal to work with! Fortunately, after piercing for rivets, you're done with the rougher steps! I doubt you'd notice if your riveted armor mail were stronger or weaker -- at this level of things, steel is just steel. Simply riveting steel links gives them twelve to fifteen times the strength of butted links of the same diameter and heavier wire anyway. The usual comment is fifteen times the strength of 14ga butted, for 5/8 the weight -- because the wire diameter is a mere .048", contrasted with 14ga's .080". You might be able to get it to half the 14ga stuff's weight, area for area, by keeping the spacer rings thin and economizing on metal that way. There are really marvelous alloys out there in this aerospace age, but they are not commonly made into wire. I do have some titanium wire (exotic welding wire, junked for contamination) and about the only thing I could do with it mailshirt-wise is to make it of butted links; titanium's bizarre working properties show me I can't hammer flatten the stuff -- it fatigues really fast and really weird. Mild, nongalvanized steel will serve you well in all you could realistically ask mail to do. Mail that would yield higher performance from a heat treat needs to start with music wire, get annealed, be worked and woven into mail, *then* get hardened and tempered to a spring temper -- oh, and without getting scaled completely away in oxides, so it's a good idea to do this in an oxygen-free environment. There are modern industrial furnaces that do that, and there are ways a smithy can do it too, burning the O2 into CO2 in the forge before it reaches your metal. Can be done, needs facilities. Round rivets or triangular rivets call for different shapes of drift for their holes; you want the rivet to fit the hole and vice versa to make it strong. For a round-rivet mail link, the drift is like an awl. A flat triangular rivet gets a drift shaped like the blade of a precision screwdriver or a spear point. Thing's only a sixteenth of an inch across at this business end. One of the best things to make a drift out of is a masonry nail, with its pyramidal point ground to shape on a stone. These nails are extra hard and very cheap, you get a bunch of them in a boxful. It's a good idea to make up half a dozen or more at a time so if you bust that tiny point off of one, you don't have to stop but can just grab another. And do a little regrinding later. *********************** In butted mail projects, you could try stainless wire, though it costs more money. It tends to be stiffer, which is favorable for butted mail. Holds together well. Those who get really interested in such things (we've seen 'em here) note that SS is just slightly heavier, link size for link size and area for area -- detectable on a scale, but not likely to be felt wearing it.
  12. Konstantin the Red

    Questions on Riveted Maille Construction

    I might put another brick in the wall of text up there, adding that I do that two-step flattening process so that the overlapping ends, being flattened already, don't slip off each other trying to flatten the overlapped bits onto each other. Frustrating. But taking the flattening in two steps allows me to use very simple, generalist tools. Namely, a hammer, and a hard place. I have an anvil. A slab of 1" steel plate would do as well, except for a propensity to wear. Don't use concrete; it crumbles under this. For handmade links, this extra step isn't much trouble, and time-wise pretty much a wash: with pre-flattening you don't have to be time-consumingly precise getting anything lined up. They're good enough already. Don't hit this overlapped place really hard or fast; let your hammer strike it a bit slow and pretty heavy, with a hammer of about 4 lb weight -- look in the hardware store for a "drilling hammer" this size. Those were John Henry's business end, drilling hard rock for blasting, and these hammers come in 1-pound (SWIDT) increments so you can tailor them to your strength quite well. They are somewhat soft in the head, these hammers, so they don't chip being whacked into drilling irons. The cross section of the overlaps should be flat, like an = sign. Both parts flat. If the parts are triangular in section, like two doorstops stacked on each other, you're trying to hit too hard and fast, and you can't rivet through those pieces of metal. A slowish heavy stroke gives the metal a few hundredths of a second to spread out flat. The flattened overlapped ends bulge out a little bit, putting a lump in an otherwise perfect circle.
  13. Konstantin the Red

    Questions on Riveted Maille Construction

    Welcome and well come, Arczuk. You've come to one of the two right places, I'd say -- the other being M.A.I.L. To do riveted, you're going to want some way to heat your links to red to do a crude anneal, also known as normalizing. Heat to red, cool in air. For full, maximum annealting, cool in a steel bucket full of Vermiculite from red heat. This will take over an hour to get done. If it takes four hours, you've probably done simply everything to soften ordinary steel that you could. Got a balcony or outside patio? E-Z P-Z. How about a stove with gas burners, or buying a MAPP torch, perhaps along with some firebrick to build a little corner along three axes -- like a cell in one of those reflectors that work at about any angle of light shining on them. Probably the handiest apartment place to use such a setup is inside the maw of your kitchen oven, on its racks. That is one of two basic recipes for making armor mail, the other being simply to rivet it all, which got a lot more common, for obscure reasons, around the third quarter of the fourteenth century. The Plague, from 1348? Economic reasons relating to production of metal, particularly metal wire (so it got cheap)? We don't know. Before the middle fourteenth, half-riveted-half-solid/punched was much more common. Neither one wiped out the other. You may find I've used the old term demi-clouée for half-and-half stuff onsite. Building mail this way cuts your weaving time in about half, since of course you don't need to rivet all the links. Find a manufacturer to sell you some tens of thousands of spacer rings, if you don't care to go in search of an old Roper Whitney No. 7 1/2 metal punch that you bolt onto a workbench. It gives about a 5-ton push to punch out sheet metal discs of sufficient size. (Roper-Whitney's No.5 Jr and XX models deliver 1.2 tons and that's not enough for punch-outs that are big enough; these punches max out at 11/32".) If you order spacer rings, I suggest getting them not as thick as the wire you're riveting the others out of, to kind of make the crisp corners of the punched rings tuck back into the mail fabric a little. Slightly lightens your mail, too. The fourteenth century also saw the use of the triangular rivet vice some other shape (some were strange little things). Looks like a 1/48-scale slice of pizza for shape and size; pointy end gets pushed through and the wide end clinches things down on that end of the rivet while the pointy end gets upset into a little teensy rivet head with such a tool as either setting pliers (which tool you will have to make from long-handled farriers' nippers/nail pullers -- they look like tongs) or a nail set with a cup-type point. And something to back up that rivet on, to be your anvil while you hammer, if you go the nail-set route. Pliers/tongs would be more convenient. Size: mail links run from about 1/8" ID to maybe as much as 1/2" ID, which latter may have primarily been used to armor warhorses of Renaissance times where mail would have been convenient. The top of the bell curve of diameters was in the range of about 1/4" to 5/16" ID. Within reasonable limits you can go with heavier wire as your links become larger. Mail I've been working on is first coiled around a 3/8" diameter mandrel. They are cut into cheerios and flattened with a big hammer. The flattend links are then squeezed down around a 5/16" mandrel, using needlenose pliers for handy seeing of what I'm doing. Takes about three crimp-squeezes per link to get 'em to this fianalized diameter and hence the ends overlapped. More flattening happens next, of the overlapped ends; now they are ready for piercing for riveting, and there's about 3/16" of the link's circumference to work in. Sometimes I have to twiddle a hand-cut link to get that 3/16", and at this point, incorrectly sized links are culled out and set aside for other use. Softens it temporarily until you do something else dramatic to it again, like case hardening -- an option, but you kind of want a backyard workshed or a smithy to do it in. Bottom line: can be done, needs facilities. Also needs you to get yourself a canister of Cherry Red(tm) compound that makes iron carbides and nitrides to put a hard "skin" on steel. Ultra performance! The specifics of heat treat do depend on the alloy of the steel -- but won't be a concern for you because steel wire is the simpler kind of steel, and only becomes somewhat more complex if you were using stainless wire, which does not anneal as well as plain simple carbon-steel baling wire. Armourers tell us stainless is fiercer, trickier stuff to work. Fortunately, you won't be, as I'll lay out below. If you've decided to use Black Annealed Tie Wire -- baling wire/rebar wire such as you find in hardware stores in 3.5-lb rolls, just as black colored as it says -- it comes very soft already, though you might still need to anneal it after coiling, cutting, pre-flattening and then overlapping and final flattening, before you get round to piercing it to rivet it. Hard is one way for steel to resist damage, but what mail really needs is like the wire it is made of: it needs to be tough more than it needs to be stiff, so it doesn't break and get torn open, at which point it has failed. You don't have to do much of anything demanding to the metal's interior structure; you need to do your part in clinching your rivets. They're reeeeally really eentsy. It doesn't hurt to start by practicing riveting these little links just by themselves for a dozen or two links to master your method. Black annealed tie wire is about half again as thick as such wire would ideally be for building a hauberk out of. The ideal wire is about 1mm/18 gauge SWG, and this baling wire seems only available in 1.6mm/16 gauge. This stout stuff suits the larger diameters of mail links, or links which are very very flattened to spread 'em out good in the flattening phase. It produces a hefty mail, a/k/a "double mail," and is plenty sturdy at a price in weight. To get wire around .050"/1mm/18ga, the easiest way is to get it from a welder supply shop in diameters close to those (they don't do gauges, so ask for your diameter). (Gauge is sometimes not worth the pain) Get welder wire for welding mild steel; you don't need the stainless, unless you really want to go there one day. Welding wire always comes workhardened and springy so it will feed through the welding gun without kinking; you will have to anneal this stuff down to get it cooperative. Some people use a hibachi -- and sufficient ventilation -- for this job.
  14. Konstantin the Red

    welding wire

    Spammers usually seem to be trying to sell shoes, or vitamin supplements. We've been seeing them here, on MAIL, sometimes The Armour Archive, which is generally quick to snuff spams.
  15. Konstantin the Red

    Okay, steel does fight back - A new person.

    In humble galvy wire, where I am not concerned with gnawing on the zinc coating with my pliers' teeth, I use regular ole 9" slipjoint pliers. Their broad jaw handles what needs to be done, with plenty of power for the job. Roughed-up zinc also soon gets smoothed off again, the zinc being soft and mail being self-abrasive. The scuffs disappear in short order. What had been an awful chore with needlenoses should now be ridiculously easy. (Needlenoses can have their uses in making riveted mail: squeezing links down around a final sized mandrel, say down from 3/8" ID to 5/16" causing the ends to overlap for flattening and riveting the link shut, and using their conical shape as a quickie go/no-go gauge for getting hand-cut links to gauge out all at close to the same inner diameter, sorting out the too-large or too-small links for other projects and specific purposes. A good artful use is to use an undersized link to help an expansion-link disappear into the mail weave by not letting subsequent rows take a dip in them from how the expansion-link sets low in the basic unit. A small link instead of a regular one tightens things right in there. In gauging link IDs off the needlenose jaw, I may mark the jaw at the one-size-smaller diameter and the one-size-larger diameter -- right now this is a difference right around a sixteenth of an inch greater or smaller than the desired diameter. Which also gets marked so I know what I'm looking at. Fun with colored Sharpies! Hand cutting links may come out a bit sloppy; so far I like to have link ends overlapping 3/16" worth, so I tailor my links to that much overlap, then check the link's ID to see if it shrank or grew, and how much. With all the links for sure gauged to the correct size, my mail is nice and uniform, not all weirdified.)