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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

    OMG! My thumb has been numb for a week! (UPDATED 10/23/21)

    You may actually need a bit of medical attention to help speed your recovery. Using bigger, longer pliers may help prevent a recurrence -- more leverage, less effort -- the biggest pliers you can maneuver into the work. That soreness sounds just awful! I really only got soreness across my palms, working in steel wire, never the base of my thumb. That was the sign I was done for the day; starting out, you're really only good for thirty minutes to an hour mailling -- then go do something else until next day when your flesh has healed.
  2. Konstantin the Red

    How do you plan projects?

    Building armor projects doesn't take a great deal of methodical planning -- hardly any, really. Even if they aren't exactly your interest, it takes only a little more experience weaving mail to get you good at planning just about by instinct, and they have a lot in common with what you want to do anyway. Armor pieces in general fall into a few categories, only a couple of which might even be thought of as intricate. Mailshirts are mostly assemblies of a handful of sizes of square and rectangular mail-patches, some of which can be quite large and cover a lot of territory, and what isn't a square/rectangle is a triangular expansion zone, wider at the bottom than at the top -- or upside down to achieve a contraction. Triangular expansion zones zip right together with the plain-weave rectangles. All the funny clever stuff goes on within the triangular expansion, but its three edges all weave on normally. Camails, Mail Coifs, and Bishop's-Mantles can be built with expansions put in so these mail weavings come out circular, by very simple schemes of adding "expansion links/rings" (search site on these) round and round the edges. In themselves such extra links take very little material and no planning, really. Mail Faulds are skirts of mail to defend simply this difficult leg joint, and flare out some from waist to mid thigh, and include a sort of fly, a slit, to close it up so it stays where you wear it. Found with certain eras and styles of plate armor. Chausses are mail leggings held up with belts and suspenders, or else a loadbearing fitted vestlike cloth garment equipped with suspender straps for the mail -- and these do take planning and tailoring. Crusades-era gear. In the same vein are sleeves of mail, invented as defenses of the armpits, and a modular component of Renaissance armored-infantry halfarmor. Mail sleeves take some planning -- and running the mail fabric in open-hang, the grain going straight down the arm, to the wrist, and having slack, extra mail in, to give room to bend the elbow without cutting off your circulation. Art projects like colored inlays seem usually to follow a sequence of constructing the inlay first, often on a sewing cardboard marked with a regular grid (usually 1-inch squares) and you can secure the inlay down on it with masking tape so it doesn't get away from you until you're done making it. Then you fill in the background as needed until you have the whole area woven. For waste of material or time, I'd say not to concern yourself. If you run low on certain links/colors -- get employed, get money, buy them. That might take a while, what with school year going on and your family's going to tell you education's the true priority. (It will pay off for you.) Minimum-wage teen jobs will pay enough to keep you in supplies for mailling. You can always get wire, and coil your own -- I think you can do this by hand to start, and maybe go to powerwinding your mail coils if you're making something big. As for time: handweaving mail is slow. Plenty slow. There's nothing like mailling for teaching you more patience than you ever had before. Use your MP3 player or whatever to help entertain you while you weave. TV is not as good unless you just refuse to look at the TV screen.
  3. Konstantin the Red

    MAIL -- the other site -- and its health

    Good news.
  4. Konstantin the Red

    MAIL -- the other site -- and its health

    Is M.A.I.L. still paralytic and its admin difficult to reach? It's been over a year since anyone could post on that other mail page. Or have I been missing something, like a new url/page?
  5. Konstantin the Red

    Types of Material

    That may be a plating or anodization with tantalum, as it seems too soft and bendable for wear. Some alloy? It gives no physiological reaction, so it's probably very hypoallergenic.
  6. Konstantin the Red

    Coif collar

    Mr. Gore who invented Gore-Tex died a few months back. I don't think it was The Plague...
  7. Konstantin the Red

    Armor Stands

    Making them in patches always sufficed for me. Test fittings, since the shirts were for me only, were just try 'em on, take 'em off, get back to weaving, or zipping on the mailpatch I'd been weaving. It's remarkable just how simple you can go and have mailling still work.
  8. Konstantin the Red

    Armor Stands

    Good job. Seeing all three of them together like that tempted me to quip "Truly I tell you, this day shalt thou be with me in... well, the front hall, anyway!" So, are your shirts all the same link size? I see one shirt has a 4-trapezoids/Bladeturner shoulder section. Are the shirts the end-all, or are they in aid of a larger hobby like a LARP or the SCA? You speak of TRL restocking -- do you like pre-cut or sawn links, then? I'll put in a plug for Cold Steel, too, as having better quality mailorder swords than most. Other arms too. Things been a little dull around here the last couple weeks -- thanks for dropping by.
  9. Konstantin the Red

    Coif collar

    Building a bomb/MacGyver... It was intended to be a cutesy line in a thriller movie, but I think you can "build a bomb out of Bisquick." Maybe not a huge explosive yield per pound, but still combustible. It'd be a flour bomb: aerosolize flour in sufficient concentration inside a closed space, light it with a naked flame, whoomph. They've lost parts of factories (a paper towel factory was one -- dust built up) and whole grain silos this way. It's a matter of the fuel being so finely divided that it burns really fast.
  10. Konstantin the Red

    Does Anodized Aluminum Fade in Sunlight?

    Apparently not, saith Google. You can expect fifty years or more from the stuff.
  11. Konstantin the Red

    New to this looking for pointers

    I think it should be plenty effective for rings. Haven't gotten the urge, though. Re plate: there are a couple of worthwhile pages of instruction on the 'net. Several more that ain't much if you expect the armor to last through being hit. A more comprehensive reference volume is Brian Price's Techniques Of Medieval Armour Reproduction: the 14th Century. This will give you a long leg up on ergonomic plateharness design, ca. 1385-1399. You don't have to reinvent any wheels. Again, you may end up contacting the nearest chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism; there's nothing like trying to use plate armor (especially!) to teach you what actually works, and the SCA has hundreds and hundreds of swordplay-mates. Sticking close to historical shapes of plate components allows you to just wear the plate armor, and not fight your harness as well as your opponent!
  12. Konstantin the Red

    Couple of questions returning to the craft

    In re item A: At least a temporary sidestep is to get links that fine pre-cut from suppliers -- can do? Steel wire, or other metals? -- as you know, they use different gauge systems, SWG and the electrical AWG. It is helpful to also give actual wire diameters, which makes it very easy for us readers to figure which gauge if we even want to! Gauge numbers are mostly a convenient shorthand for conversation; they are more awkward to use in more technical discussions, which is what a lot of mail-site threads devolve into. Galvy steel, baling wire, rebar wire -- often labeled in SWG and you might have to look around to find its measured wire diameter. Which the makers have been drawing the wire to all along. Stainless steel -- often in measured wire diameter, metric or decimal inch. Because thoroughly modern metal, no older than about 1917 AD when stainless was invented. Welder wire -- always diameter; seems they think gauge numbers are too primitive. Even more modern than stainless. Aluminum, brass, copper -- AWG, which gauge system is based on the wire's capacity to carry amps and watts and not overheat. I remember advising one English chap who worked part time for a museum who wanted to draw his own wire -- of about any metal IIRC. That kind of museum. Found out stuff about a drawing bench, several old systems for wire drawing, that is, shop and not drawing mill, and special drawing pliers that you could still get for use in Martha Stewarting your own wire, starting from the steel rod. What's special about those things is the harder you pull on them the tighter they grip the wire end. Superpinch!
  13. Konstantin the Red

    New to this looking for pointers

    Well, Home Depot. They had several sizes. I didn't think I'd need the 5-lb. There are probably good ways to use humungous hammers, perhaps by foot power, making a sort of trip- or helve-hammer to use the biggest muscles in your body, your quads. Digression: Armormaking sheetmetal pounders have found that years of hammering with big hammers by hand takes a toll on their joints -- so they recommend doing what will not wear them out prematurely and give you arthritis in middle age. Footpowered helve-hammers are one solution; for some jobs a hydraulic press would be even better, as *no* part of your musculoskeletal apparatus is involved pushing the metal. (Also no banging noises until you take the piece to the hammer & stakes.) English wheel is pretty easy on you too, though it doesn't bend metal well at the edges of the piece, and is a sinking/dishing process pretty much -- thins metal out at the center of the bowl or bulge you are making, so this tool is best used in shallow, rather than acute, curvatures. Auto fenders, breastplates -- suchlike biggies; not gonna work for elbow cops -- those are way too tight, and require a "raising" technique to really get right: rapping metal down over forms and stakes, noodging its periphery to get smaller and smaller (in theory, thicker too) to bulge the flat metal into a curve -- while not bothering nor stretching nor thinning the center of the piece. Ever so much more cumbersome a shop than for mailling.
  14. Konstantin the Red

    New to this looking for pointers

    What I picked up for a hammer that is just four pounds from the store is a "drilling hammer," intended for driving rock drills à la John Henry. They come in one-pound increments and look like oldfashioned hammers. What really makes them drilling hammers is they are tempered softer than framing hammers and the like so they don't break or chip being hit on the ends of drill rods. Probably they don't throw sparks the way harder hammers can.
  15. Konstantin the Red

    New to this looking for pointers

    I have a biggish anvil that I use -- 72 lb. I suspect a square foot of 1" plate would work as well, though the anvil's hard face (it's a welded anvil) doesn't get worn from this use, and a figure a steel slab likely would, and want regular dressing with a carborundum stone. What I'm doing right now in link flattening seems to call for a hammer of about four pounds' weight. I've used a three-pounder singlejack (baby sledgehammer), which works but sometimes needs more hits. Again, preflattened link ends pretty much never slip off each other, but round-section link ends will plague you that way. And your wire has to be soft enough to be malleable -- do this with squashy wire. Then seek hardening if you really want. This process does not leave tool marks on links needing to be worn off anywhere, and especially so using the softer-tempered 4-lb drilling hammer. It is efficient at flattening out heavier-gauge wire into broad, flat links. Finer-gauge/diameter wire can't spread out that much, not having as much metal to work with. Somewhere in here I'm going to experiment with cup-point nail sets for upsetting rivets with, driving with a light hammer. Smallest available size of nail set, I'd think. Those would leave distinctive toolmarks around the rivet.