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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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    http://n/a

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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

    So what were they?

    After flattening, they will definitely want at least a normalizing -- a crude anneal, of heat to red and cool in air. A full anneal is cooling a lot slower, by burying in hot forge ashes or in Vermiculite. This takes hours to cool fully, and it will soften fully too, while normalizing would soften not so much, but enough. Then the overlaps are gooshy enough to pierce.
  2. Konstantin the Red

    How to get the cleanest chainmail

    In galvy steel shirts, merely wearing the shirt in the course of doing mail-armored things takes care of plier gouges in the zinc coating. Zinc is a soft metal, and the mail self-polishes with the wearer's motions -- flattens gouged zinc right down. Note this is specific to galvy.
  3. Konstantin the Red

    How to get the cleanest chainmail

    Another safeguard is filing the plier teeth -- either with a small flat mill-file, or wear out a coarse nailboard. Doesn't take a lot; just break the points off the teeth. It's very easy if you can use a bench vise, harder if you have to hold the pliers by hand, but either way you'll manage. Linesmen's pliers tend not to be as textured as slipjoints, but being rather massive things, they suit larger rings better than small.
  4. Konstantin the Red

    NEWB How to join weaves going opposite direction

    Short answer is use 90-degree join.
  5. Konstantin the Red

    What wire gauge and mandrel size do I need for this?

    Do bear in mind that if you're not worried about the ball being maybe somewhat larger or smaller, it doesn't matter an awful lot just what diameters and wire thicknesses you use. Large, an AR of about 6, and the small link with an AR about 4, though at first glance it seems tighter. Two wire diameters also -- maybe look to 16ga (.063") for the large and 18ga (.048") for the small. The medium sized link in the middle with 5 pairs of small links through it rather than 6 -- I see only one of these anywhere, and may have been done because it was the only way for it to fit smoothly.
  6. Konstantin the Red

    Newb Help with Persian 4 in 1

    I'd say expansion triangles do not need tutes -- just insert that fifth link, as needed, in any quantity needed from just one to a whole bunch. You can think of it as a narrow, columnar rectangle to start off with -- until you go inserting the expansion links. You can build a very narrow expansion triangle or one that flares out very wide very fast. You don't have to be super organized about it -- just stick links in as you go along. Build both expansion arrays at the same time; whatever you add into one, add the same into the other also. Doing both sides' expansion-contraction arrays at once saves you from confusion or forgetting something. A good way to do what organization it does need is to think this way: you're going to have one link up at the very apex, though likely you will put this in the triangle ONLY as you attach the top end of the triangle into the rest of the plain-weave mail. If you like -- this is a way to do it -- make up the expansion triangle or the expansion + contraction array (2 triangles, set base to base) ahead of time, attach these where wanted, then fill in between and around them with plain-weave E4-1. Essentially until the upper half of your torso is mailed. You can relax at that point, as you've done the most elaborate part of making the body of the shirt, and you're on to the sleeves if any and the skirted section at the lower belly and hips. So starting with the one link and/or the two links below that at the apex, now determine how many links across you want the base of the triangle to be -- how wide does it have to get? So you do a bit of division: it has to be X number of link IDs across at the base. You'll need to insert that many extra expansion links within the triangle, from the apex on down to the base. How close together these links will be -- vertically -- depends on how *tall* you want your triangle to be. Most folks go with quite tall, narrow, acute triangles to keep their shirts from looking funny when finished. You've got room in a shirt to work with, what with the Trevor Barker shirt tute's expansion-contraction arrays reaching about from the top of each shoulder over the trapezius muscles down to the neighborhood of the kidneys -- which are higher up than you might think. About the height of your floating ribs at the bottom end of your ribcage. That's plenty enough height to make an expansion triangle starting at two links across and ending up about three finger-widths wide at the bottom, since you will be making two such arrays for the left- and right-hand sides of the back of your mailshirt. 2 x 3 fingers = 6 fingers total; appreciable, but hardly gigantic. All THAT will give you a better shirt torso section than in my M.A.I.L. article, which only describes a tube of mail. Instead, like the Trevor Barker scheme, you want the waist pulled in rather snugger, the chest flaring out some to a maximum circumference. This way you have a shirt inclined more to fit you, slightly lighter weight, and best of all, it won't be so inclined to try and slide down on you through your cinch belt -- a narrowing at the waist resists that, while lying easy about chest and shoulder gives you lots of freedom with your arms, important in a fighting shirt! Expansion arrays, one, two, or more, can come back into the action again over hips and butt, widening things again. Unless you have a giant Arsenio Hall butt (that guy must have been his tailor's despair) you don't need to get wild with this flaring out. Just some, a handspan, for a little more room. Not knowing your waistline and chest measurement, I can't get super specific about how much mail you need to contain either. But if you're not sure what to do at any one spot, err on the generous side, since the mail fabric will conform to your shape, along the resilient direction.
  7. Konstantin the Red

    Armor grade leather??

    You build the righthand armor, you could play with the SCAdians, once you equip with a SCAdian helm or helmet. "Helm" being either the bucket with sights, or its lineal descendant, the larger, fits-over-bascinets greathelm, which the bucket-, barrel-, or Topf-helm is sometimes miscalled. The bucket helm is 13th century, the greathelm mostly 14th. The idea was you had the greathelm on while you charged with the lance; once this was done, and with the lance probably broken, you shucked the helm and drew your sword, being able to see better. For a good look at a greathelm, see images of the Pembridge helm, the classic exemplar of c.1376 greathelms. See "Bolzano helm" for a bucket/barrel as the term is defined here. Though a handsome and efficient -- not klunky looking -- good fighting helmet for SCA is the bascinet with a bargrill visor. These are readily available all over the place, starting in the $150.00 range. Bascinets have great upper-head glancing surfaces, and sword strikes tend to skip unless the other chap places them precisely. The bascinet also gives great scope for mail, in its neck-tippet, the camail. Like a barrelhelm, for SCA a bascinet should be of 14ga steel (.0747") for safety and worthwhile durability. We hit too hard now for 16ga mild steel to make it for long. The hat's weight also wards off concussions because your brain can't get sloshed against the inside of your skull.
  8. Konstantin the Red

    Armor grade leather??

    There *are* itinerant SCAdians. In these days of the internet, it's actually easier to manage than it used to be. Even working shifts need not forbid getting in some Creative Anachronist time. SCA's best feature may be its sheer size -- it features many swordplaymates to carry on with.
  9. Konstantin the Red

    Newb Help with Persian 4 in 1

    So: expansions. An expansion is like a piece, a Unit (see above) of E5-1 in a field of E4-1. With the four links in the corners and one in the center, a fifth link is inserted between the two lower corner-links. This extra link hangs slightly lower than the original two. Because the center link is circular, naturally. The following row of links now has one more link to weave to, which makes it longer, expanding things. Every expansion link inserted adds one ID's worth of further length to the linkrow below it. That makes calculating how many expansions you need for the job easy. The great thing about triangular expansion arrays -- the expansions push them into triangular shapes -- is their great flexibility: you can have one link's worth of expansion, or you can add in lots. Making the triangle pretty wide. In .063" wire and 1/4" ID, you'll have all the room you need to insert that fifth (expansion) link. Appreciably tighter mail weave wouldn't have room to insert a full-thickness link. *But* if you really gotta do it, instead of an expansion link, you can insert an expansion hole -- a deliberate flaw in the weave. The simplest way to do (and explain) this trick is to use a twist tie to make like a temporary expansion link inside that cramped center link, then weave the next row on, treating the looped twist tie like it was the expansion link, and weave along normally, and putting in another row or two of links below where the twist tie is to make things stable. Then take the twist tie out; the hole in the weave is nearly invisible. Even if you don't need the trick, it's nice to know if you're making dense mail. Contractions and contraction arrays: they're just expansions turned upside down. Simple, eh? You can weave a contraction into mail weave just by hooking your open link through not two, but three, links in the row above it in the weave. This snugs up everything by one link ID. Or you can make contraction arrays out of expansion arrays by turning either one point up or point down -- that's if you pre-made your arrays. All you need to keep track of is that the links at the wider bases of both the triangles are angling in the same direction -- so you can simply zip them together with one single row of links which will angle in the opposite direction, or link-lie.
  10. Konstantin the Red

    Newb Help with Persian 4 in 1

    Roger that, xbitgeek. Not really necessary to use a mannequin if you're building for your own self -- then you can be your own mannequin -- but it doesn't hurt anything. You can always build mailpatches, both rectangular and expansion-triangle, and zip 'em on. Since mail is so much like knitting a sweater, it doesn't matter at all which direction you do your weaving in. I think I've woven E4-1 in every direction possible except the diagonal. And maybe you can do that! -- though I couldn't say why. Generating the mail weave in a row-wise direction -- horizontal worn on you, and the resilient direction -- or a columnwise direction -- vertical, and also the non-resilient direction -- both work just fine, so no worries. It varies a little with which way is best for generating a certain shape of mailpiece -- like if you made a belt or part of a belt of the stuff, you'd make it go row-wise, weaving. Part of a shirt -- that, I always start columnwise for just a bit, to establish the vertical height of the patch I'm making. It could be any height at all from three links' worth, to (pick a number out of the air) a couple hundred. Big enough for most things, and also kinda heavy to push around on your workbench, or the living room rug, by the time you're nearly done. I have an article in the M.A.I.L. library describing how I make a rectangular mail patch large enough to wrap entirely around my body, and with slack. That's how I used to do that kind of thing; now I think I'd work a little smaller, for convenience in inserting a triangular expansion array over each shoulder blade and then getting around to filling in between those, and taking care of the over-the- shoulder parts of the shirt, which when all is said and done is a) a rectangle, with b) a neckhole included, offset to forward -- bcs anatomy! -- and c) with expansion arrays reaching up onto the left and right shoulders about the middle of your trapezius muscles, which bend the sides of the rectangle outwards on the rear half of the shoulder rectangle, for that slack in the back I mentioned. But the large rectangle starts out sooooper simple: all I do is make a chain of alternating double and single links, 2 links 1 link 2 links 1 link as long as I like until it's long enough, and I finish it up with 1 link 2 links, stop. I smooth this chain out on the worksurface so all the links lie flat and in good order; nothing twisted: the doubled links angle up one way, the single links angle up the opposite way. That is the columnar-generated part, and is the first three columns of links on one side of a mail patch. Then I build onto the side of that chain. You've spread its length right and left in front of you, so you're probably adding on links to the edge nearest you. You could call it the bottom edge, though it really doesn't matter to the mail fabric. I like to cast links onto this edge of the long chain two links at a time. We call that "speedweaving" and okay, it at least feels like we're going faster, sticking two columns of links on at every go, generating and widening the mailpatch row-wise, along its resilient direction. That resilience won't be any too obvious until you've gotten it about ten links wide, but you'll get there. Probably just about the time your palms start getting sore! The very first of the two-fer links you cast onto that chain is really a three-fer: put two closed links in an opened link, then weave the open link into the edge of that chain, and close it. Now you have a 2-1-2-1 chain with a little L shaped tab on one end -- which is now 3-2-3-1-2-1-2 on down. The inside corner of the tab now presents you with three links to weave an open link through, and you can hang a closed link in it to make up the fourth link, in the fourth corner. Close that central link, and your L tab on the end is now fatter. Continue so on down your chain until you complete a whole chain of 3 links 2 links 3-2-3...2-3 stop. Now it looks less like a chain and more like a strap, doesn't it? Now you get to go back and start all over again! Isn't that just tons of fun? Eventually you've filled in a whole rectangle; part of a shirt. Big or small matters not at all. One way I size how tall the body rectangle is going to be is making that chain of singles and doubles -- another way to think of it is as a chain of "E4-1 Basic Units" as the Bladeturner mailshirt tutor calls them: tiny squares of mail links, four at the corners and one central one woven through the other four, hence 4-in-1 -- which you can see is exactly what's making up that chain -- is to make that chain long enough to stretch from high in my armpit down to the hem of the shirt, say mid thigh. Or, for some tailoring purposes, only going down from armpit to belt line, skirt and hem part to be added on below later. That trick works nicely for hauberks, which are pretty lengthy, descending to the kneecap, and wanting a bit of knowledgeable attention paid (more expansion arrays) to both the skirts and the riders' slits dividing them, so the slits stay slits and don't leave an inverted-V gap aimed right at your crotch. Hauberks are also the biggest and heaviest mail shirts. You are probably planning the more generic sort of shirt, the haburgeon: mid-thigh length or a bit higher, short or half sleeved. More advanced than the vest-like, vest-sized byrnie, which Beowulf wore. Story is, he could swim in it. (!) Strong dude. When building a shirt, avoid thinking of folding over your shoulders like a serape; instead, think in terms of going around you, front, back, and sides -- ending up with a tubelike shape that flares up somewhat wider at the top end right about where you take a chest measurement, the tailor tape under your arms. Then top it off with the shoulder section. No rule against making the shoulder section first thing and draping it on your shoulders to check for fit -- and *then* making the body barrel and zipping its top onto the shoulderpiece's edges, for all of the shirt except its sleeves, short or long. The 14th-century haburgeon had short to half sleeves; the 15th-century infantry or light horse shirt differed in having long sleeves, like a late-model hauberk's. My enthusiasm has made this novella long enough, so enjoy.
  11. Konstantin the Red

    Newb Help with Persian 4 in 1

    Jeff, you mean you can find aluminum wire cheaper than you can find galvanized steel? Color me rather surprised. Generally, the way to buy wire most cheaply is in bulk, by weight -- priced by the pound. It's probably a dollar a pound or so for galvy wire, which is perfectly fine for butted mail you intend to get beat on in, say, the SCA sword game. Aluminum is more easily bent, and hence more easy to beat up and grow holes in, too. I wonder what xbitgeek means by 'mold,' as I don't mold anything when I'm weaving mail -- it's all taking wire and bending it, one way and another. A dress-form/mannequin? You can get a good idea what's needed for a shirt for yourself if you put on a hoodie and a sweatshirt, both at once, and then the mail over both. Whatever you've got that's thick; even a light jacket. See if anything's going tight with the mail on. You have enough circumference to your shirt -- and enough slack in the right places -- if you can cross one arm over the other in front of you at the elbows without the shirt binding you. If it does, add more mail in the back of the shirt to give a little more slack. If you're building a longsleeve shirt, you'll want to be able to bend those elbows too, reaching back to touch your opposite shoulders. Along its resilient direction, E4-1 mail pretends to be elastic, because of the way the links are aligned. Since a shirt of mail amounts to a metal chain in two dimensions, it acts like a metal chain when it comes to full tension. At that point, like a tow-chain under load, it stops hard. Ya got no more. So what you're after is to have enough mail to leave a little bit of slack in the mail when your body has come to its limit of motion. Some of that is cut-and-try, but experience shows that about a handspan more width across the back of the shirt at the shoulders than across the chest gives enough slack to give your arms freedom forward, where your anatomy allows it -- our arms don't go as far backward as they do forward, and the sleeves on a mailshirt will have to reflect that.
  12. Konstantin the Red

    Newb Help with Persian 4 in 1

    So, nine days on, what cheer? The archived Trevor Barker shirt how-to, which copies a very complete 15th-century German shirt (from a historically known Ringharnischer resident in Hamburg, no less (he took out a business license there in 1438)) and demonstrates that making a shirt wasn't terribly involved from a layout viewpoint, is a very good recipe for a shirt that works. Others are possible and many modern maillers have undertaken them, but it seems historical shirts did not stray far from what's in the Trevor Barker. What I draw from the thing is that mailshirts were modular. They seem to have been assembled from an inventory of pre-made rectangles, squares, and expansion arrays, all put together as required when an order was placed. With so much of the prep work done beforehand, producing a shirt to fit a client, either personally present or hypothetical for an armory, was quick -- in the end. Assembling the rectangles, etc., was the slow part. Mailshirt sizing seems about like t-shirt sizing, S/M/L/XL. That's figuring a rather generous value of S/M/L to allow for a padded jacket underneath the shirt -- the other component of mail armor systems. A pullover mailshirt needs its slack so you can first get the durn thing on, then can move with freedom and vigor wearing it -- fighting, you know -- and then the business of getting the shirt off again. This features bending way over and wiggling your butt while dragging at the shirt by the neckhole to get all that metal off over your head and puddled on the ground in front of you. Mail is extremely draggy over any body prominence, especially those covered in absorbent, padded quilting. You need to use gravity's aid.
  13. Konstantin the Red

    Cutting smooth small rings.

    Leave the coil on a mandrel while you cut.
  14. Konstantin the Red

    18 gauge 3/16

    It will look like =O=, the equals signs being the pliers jaws either side, and the cut ends up at twelve o'clock.
  15. Konstantin the Red

    18 gauge 3/16

    Lever at the link as you close the ends together with your righthand pliers. You should squoodge that link end more into line with the other to get rid of this. It's difficult to see somebody doing it because it's simultaneous with twisting the link closed -- just adding a small motion in with the other. The tidiness or form of your cut shouldn't affect anything too much. I don't think working the side of the link opposite the link-end cut will do the job -- just try grabbing the link at both sides and shoving the straying end into line with the other side.
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