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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

    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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Konstantin the Red

    Does Anodized Aluminum Fade in Sunlight?

    Apparently not, saith Google. You can expect fifty years or more from the stuff.
  5. 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!
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Konstantin the Red

    New to this looking for pointers

    You can spot this blacksmiths' technique on larger scales, too. Very obviously, in prison bars and window bars in old jails in Western movies. The grid of bars will have the bars in one direction on the grid quite straight; the bars that intersect them perpendicularly all bulge around the straight bars where they meet; the holes were drifted open and the straight bars inserted through these. No metal lost, maximum strength. Probably fusion/forgewelded after insertion to tie everything firmly together -- heated to orange, hit with a hammer all round. So, the town blacksmith doubtless made them. It's also the way the town blacksmith puts the holes through hammer heads.
  11. Konstantin the Red

    New to this looking for pointers

    So far I've had a high percentage of success at my hammer flattening in two stages: first I give the ends a bashing to flatten them out, more spatulate. Then, I overlap the link ends using the final-size mandrel, say 3/8 ID squeezed to 5/16 with a 5/16 mandrel to make the links consistent (well, fairly consistent -- a few still end up culled out, as I tweak the overlaps to be 3/16" long, total -- the link can finish up too small or too large). The flattened overlapped ends thus won't slip off. A heavy but not very fast blow of the hammer here further flattens these ends. Hit too fast and hard and the ends don't flatten, but get a wedge cross section no good for riveting. Failures from the two-step flattening are few, and are usually because an offcenter hammer hit has shot the link at invisible speeds into the lawn. You can always put up a screen or curtain to interdict these leprechaunlike vanishers. 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.
  12. Konstantin the Red

    Other types of armor

    Mail drags on belt loops, so it's super dreadful on jeans and pants generally. Takes like a quarter hour to get the dang thing threaded on. But suspenders, now -- sized just for you since they're not hardly adjustable without resorting to leather thongs and knots attaching the suspender buttonhole-things (this is best with real suspenders that use buttons in the trousers waistband) to the over-shoulder straps done in very small, low-AR links for a fine but dense weave, but leave the single elasticized strap in the back alone because suspenders need a little bit of give to accommodate you bending or sitting -- this might deliver a certain steam-and-metal-punk cachet. Not having to go through belt loops would be a big help.
  13. Konstantin the Red

    New to this looking for pointers

    Welding's enough of a fuss and enough of a time eater that, well, riveting cold links shut isn't much more time consuming if I understand correctly. Either method means climbing a learning curve, so you want to be sufficiently motivated from the git-go. Thing about long-rein tongs to squash the overlaps into a <> section once overlapped and then upset micro rivets pressed through a drifted hole/slit is you still don't have to plug anything in. Or ignite a gas mixture after valving it appropriately.
  14. Konstantin the Red

    NHL Edmonton Oilers Beer Tab Chainmail Armour!!!

    Welcome back!
  15. Konstantin the Red

    Leather edged, fabric lined chainmail shirt

    It's also done that a half sleeve mailshirt is teamed with genuinely protective bracers, either metal or cuir bouilli. (If not something like it in laminated canvas.) The 21st century version of boiled leather -- cuir bouilli -- is "water hardened leather," which is moist vegetable tanned leather very gently baked at about 180F in a kitchen oven. You will want an oven thermometer for the job. It is possible you'll have to keep the oven door open a crack to attain 180F; ovens vary. Don't bake your moistened leather on a cookie sheet; a wood plank or even a wooden form to shape it on is much better and won't scorch your leather -- don't let the leather touch the metal oven walls nor the oven racks. Overheating the leather will shrivel it into something shaped like a pork rind and rock hard. The leather hardens at an internal temp of 167 degrees F. You can bake it from 20-30 minutes to as long as a few hours. You may want to tweak it to its final desired form at about the fifteen-minute mark. The bracers are springy, so you can get into them. Water hardened leather can also be tooled and carved while it's wet, then dyed, before forming and baking. It will keep the tooling when baked. Having baked the leather, you can then paint it if you want. And use sealer. If you need to put riveting holes in the stuff, use a drill. In medieval days, they heated the leather in a vat of steaming-hot water, so the idea got around they were boiling the leather. Not quite. Now we can control the heating more exactly with an oven.
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