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What type and what gauge of aluminum should I use

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The chainmail shirt that I will be making will be the first that I have ever done. I am totally clueless on whether or not I should use etched aluminum wore for my rings and what gauge that I should use. This armour I want to be fully functional and able to take a hit or two. The gauges I want to use are 19 and 18 gauge aluminum and I'm going to be using the dragon scale weave. Any suggestions/advice?

~ thanks ^_^

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"Take a hit" from what?

5356 or trl's bright aluminum may work for padded larp style combat with minimum up keep In 1/16" wire 5/16" ID rings.

You will likely loose rings along the armpit as strain tends be greatest at that part of the haulberk.

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Welcome and Well Come Nightingale,


Firstly, 18ga. aluminum is not very strong when it comes to armour. you WILL be replacing rings.


Secondly, there is a reason dragon scale in not used armour. Dragonscale is a tough weave. I dont mean tough as in difficult, though it can get tedious, I mean it is more rigid than than the typical Euro 4in1. Some of the protection of 4in1 is because it dissipates the energy of a blow into making  the maille move, bend and flop around. dragonscale does not bend or flop nearly as well  as 4in1 so the energy that would have been be dissipated goes directly into either you or the rings, causing them to stretch and bend out of shape. this combined with light guage aluminum means you probably have to replace rings for anything stronger than a friendly jab on shoulder, but i guess that depend on how strong your friends are :-P


Thirdly, fitting. since it is not as flexible, it won hug you as well as 4in 1 will, and you need to make the shirt big enough to fit over you largest feature of your figure. I dont know if the is a clean way to do contractions and expansions when dragon scale is hanging "open" (scales pointing up or down. exp. and con. are more discrete when the maille is hanging closed.


Fourthly (is that a word?), repairs: dragonscale is a tighter weave with orbital rings. it can be tough to replace rings in the middle of a sheet.


I am to trying to discourage you from doing this; I just want you to understand what you are getting into, so you can plan accordingly. if you do go through with it, it will be more of a costume piece than armor, but it will be definitely be gorgeous :thumbup:


Material: Bright Aluminum will leave black oxide residue on anything it is worn over. i believe the etched aluminum reduces this, but only until the etching wears off... I have not used it yet so i defer to those with more experience. also pay attention to the temper of the wire that determines the strength of the rings. 



Get a bag each of different sizes (or a small amount of wire of make them) to practice with before you dive in. Get to know the weave and see what you think will be sturdy enough and flexible enough for you. (18ga 5/16 large rings with 18ga 3/16 or 5/32 small rings) should be a good start. Check if you will be able to replace rings in the middle of the sheet. Double check that you have the patience to make a whole shirt from those tiny rings.


Consider using larger wire: (16ga 3/8 large rings with 16ga 1/4 or 7/32 small rings ) they will be stronger and take less rings(=time) to make the shirt.


Consider using Stainless Steel.

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