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Making LOTR Mithril

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Hey everyone. I need some research help. I got what I think to be one of the roughest commissions ever the other day. Someone wanted me to make a replica of Frodo's Mithril vest from The Lord of the Rings. At first, I almost laughed at the idea. After a while, though, it sounded too cool to pass up, so I can probably kiss the next year of my life goodbye! Anyway, I did some research, and the guy who directed the movie said that, in order to make the maille, they dismantled several butcher's gloves, linked them into a shirt, then spraypainted it. Not as cool as one might think, huh? I plan on using the same format of rings. Problem is, I don't know what size rings are incorporated into Butcher's gloves.I did research, but nothing came up, and I don't want to buy an expensive sample piece. Does anyone here have any ideas? Thanks.

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My thought would be something along the lines of 20Ga 1/8" e4-1. I am working on my own shirt in Galvy in that size. It makes for a nice, open weave in E4-1. I would think if it were made out of SS2018 or BA2018, you would get a similar look to what they show in the movie. I don't know how well Aluminum would hold up on a piece that size though. And you are looking at 60K+ on the ring count. I am skinny, and have figured for ~60K in my own shirt. I am making a short sleeve, and each sleeve has ~7k rings alone. The hard part will be the collar. Without a good image, I couldn't begin to suggest how to make it from memory.

Edited by CGAZMailleMan

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My thought would be something along the lines of 20Ga 1/8" e4-1. I am working on my own shirt in Galvy in that size. It makes for a nice, open weave in E4-1. I would think if it were made out of SS2018 or BA2018, you would get a similar look to what they show in the movie. I don't know how well Aluminum would hold up on a piece that size though. And you are looking at 60K+ on the ring count. I am skinny, and have figured for ~60K in my own shirt. I am making a short sleeve, and each sleeve has ~7k rings alone. The hard part will be the collar. Without a good image, I couldn't begin to suggest how to make it from memory.

Well, I know that butcher's gloves are stainless, so I intend to use that. The collar appears to be some sort of assumedly gold material (Brass, for recreational purposes) simply lining the maille.

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Pictures can be found here or here The second photo suggests that the collar is cloth, but you could probably manage something similar with maybe some e-6, some wire and some soldering. If you look here you'll see that it's held together with hooks similar to a bra. This, which is fan-made and not the original, has gold fabric paint, which seems like it would be a good way to go, unless you're really wanting all metal. The thread about that shirt is here and may give you some ideas. Can't wait to see it when you're done! I mean, you are going to post pictures, right? =P

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I truly desire to make a good E 4-1 shirt someday. I find myself swamped with all the other work that I do that I wonder where the time would come from. I would venture to say if you are going to do the shirt in 20g AWG stainless you are going to want to make sure that you are not getting spring strength because of how brutally hard it is to work with (pliers slipping, rings breaking, etc..). I am truly intrigued, would love to see some progress pics along the way.

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I'd at one point been planning a project like this, but once I really got looking into the logistics of everything I was like "Nope, not happening."

CGaz's 20g 1/8" estimate seems like it could be right, and were I to be you I certainly wouldn't want to try anything smaller p.gif

I wish you well on this noble quest (or fool's errand thumbsup.gif) and second Peach's motion for pics!

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whiting davis is one of the big suppliers of chainmail safty equipment.

They also make aprons, long sleave gloves, Chaps for lumberjack compitions and evning bags.

Sometimes you can find used pieces with or without moth holes on Ebay.

Or just buy the square footage from TRL astart from there bunch quicker then reinventing the wheel.

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Looking at Peach's second picture the collar looks like a piece of ribbon that was painted silver, then had gold hot glue added for the swirls. Personally I'd hunt the ribbon section of your local fabric stores to find one that looks about right. Movie props follow the 10 to 50 foot rule. (if it looks good at X feet, that is good enough) Costumes often need to follow a 5 to 1 foot rule instead.

TRL sells premade chain shirts of the approprate size rings, so if time is a factor you may want to go that route. If nothing else you can buy the fabric, and build the shirt yourself out of it.

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OK, I took a few quick pictures of my project with my phone. Close up and Wide shot. I know they are not very clear. When I get up from my nap, I will dig out the good camera and try to get some good shots. I blame the POS cell phone camera, and the fact that I have been up for over 18 hours.

The project in the pictures is just the sleeve. It has a total of 7,330 rings so far. That is about 36 hours of actual work into it, and the sleeve isn't even completed yet! Just letting you know what you (may) be getting yourself into.

I would have just posted the pictures here, but they are large, and my computer is acting stupid and won't let me crop them.

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If I might make one suggestion, start with a fairly large piece of the mail fabric TRL sells (mentioned before) rather than cutting up a bunch of gloves and sewing them together. It'll take far less time, the welded fabric will not have the structural weak points along the seams of a pieced together cloth, and if you buy a sheet sizable enough to drape over the front and back of your client, you'll only be required to seam together the undersides of the arms, the sides, and cut out around the neck (which you should also note, the weave looks different around the V neck, as though it was either a slightly looser weave or something else was done to make it visibly different around the collar than the rest of the piece). I agree with the collar itself looking like ribbon or fabric, which is easy enough to come by, but I'd avoid the fabric paint they used. If you have the means, then try to either cast the pattern (which is two images, mirrored and then alternated) or Even take a bit of "creative license" and hammer out some thick brass wire...

I'm not sure if the client is going to be "thrilled" with gold puff paint, or knows if that's what they used, but if you talk to them about it, you might be able to work something out.

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Pictures can be found here or here The second photo suggests that the collar is cloth, but you could probably manage something similar with maybe some e-6, some wire and some soldering. If you look here you'll see that it's held together with hooks similar to a bra. This, which is fan-made and not the original, has gold fabric paint, which seems like it would be a good way to go, unless you're really wanting all metal. The thread about that shirt is here and may give you some ideas. Can't wait to see it when you're done! I mean, you are going to post pictures, right? =P

GOOD GOD! How did you find that?! I looked for three days for reference pics! Wait, don't answer. Knowing me, it was right under my nose...

Anyway, there's a watch-making technique in which they make the band of the watch to look like flexible metal, and I have a friend in that business. That'll probably help in the fabrication of the collar. Also, hell yeah I'll post pics! Well...in a frickin year or so when its done. But, who knows? maybe I can get someone else to help me with the fabrication.

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Or what you could do for the collar, is make it out of even smaller rings than whatever your fabric is, with a rather small AR (or a 6-1 pattern) and use brass to do an inlay of that pattern. It would be more work, but it could be pretty darn cool.

Not authentic, and I'm not sure what your client wants, just an idea.

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GOOD GOD! How did you find that?! I looked for three days for reference pics! Wait, don't answer. Knowing me, it was right under my nose...

Anyway, there's a watch-making technique in which they make the band of the watch to look like flexible metal, and I have a friend in that business. That'll probably help in the fabrication of the collar. Also, hell yeah I'll post pics! Well...in a frickin year or so when its done. But, who knows? maybe I can get someone else to help me with the fabrication.

Just a Google images search for "Frodo's mithril shirt" [= My Google-fu is strong.

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Here, have some close-ups:

http://www.alleycatscratch.com/lotr/Things/Mithril.htm

TRL also sells the same ready-made mesh used to make butchers' gloves (and hence the original shirt(s) from the movie). Look under 'finished chainmail' > 'maille fabric'. That should save you a lot of time.

See, this is why I love this forum. I had no idea about the maille changing direction, or about the split sleeves. Also, this gives me a clear idea of what the collar actually IS. Thanks a lot!

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OK, I took a few quick pictures of my project with my phone. Close up and Wide shot. I know they are not very clear. When I get up from my nap, I will dig out the good camera and try to get some good shots. I blame the POS cell phone camera, and the fact that I have been up for over 18 hours.

The project in the pictures is just the sleeve. It has a total of 7,330 rings so far. That is about 36 hours of actual work into it, and the sleeve isn't even completed yet! Just letting you know what you (may) be getting yourself into.

I would have just posted the pictures here, but they are large, and my computer is acting stupid and won't let me crop them.

Cool beans, man. Thanks for the concern. Trust me, though. I am well aware that this project will take a chunk out of my lifespan.

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If I might make one suggestion, start with a fairly large piece of the mail fabric TRL sells (mentioned before) rather than cutting up a bunch of gloves and sewing them together. It'll take far less time, the welded fabric will not have the structural weak points along the seams of a pieced together cloth, and if you buy a sheet sizable enough to drape over the front and back of your client, you'll only be required to seam together the undersides of the arms, the sides, and cut out around the neck (which you should also note, the weave looks different around the V neck, as though it was either a slightly looser weave or something else was done to make it visibly different around the collar than the rest of the piece). I agree with the collar itself looking like ribbon or fabric, which is easy enough to come by, but I'd avoid the fabric paint they used. If you have the means, then try to either cast the pattern (which is two images, mirrored and then alternated) or Even take a bit of "creative license" and hammer out some thick brass wire...

I'm not sure if the client is going to be "thrilled" with gold puff paint, or knows if that's what they used, but if you talk to them about it, you might be able to work something out.

Actually, I plan to make this thing look like I just ripped it from the movie screen, and have it be functional. I don't plan on making anything as a prop, so I'm going to use watch-making skills for the collar, using a series of tiny, metal plates with the brass soldered on in the appropriate patterns. It will be quite rigid, and unless you look really close at it, it will appear to be a solid piece of metal. Luckily, I spent a good deal of time in watch-craft as well.

I'm considering the idea of just buying the "fabric" so to speak. However, from the pictures I've seen, TRL's machine-made fabric seems to have an inconsistant ring shape, either coming out bent or square in some places. Also, I don't think my pride will let me....

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really? watch craft eh? Sounds like a very valuable asset on this project. That's actually better than what I suggested. And if you are going to do all butted links, go for it! I'm working on a shirt with 19 ga, and it's going ridiculously slow, but it's not too bad. :)

Post pics when it's done!

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Or what you could do for the collar, is make it out of even smaller rings than whatever your fabric is, with a rather small AR (or a 6-1 pattern) and use brass to do an inlay of that pattern. It would be more work, but it could be pretty darn cool.

Not authentic, and I'm not sure what your client wants, just an idea.

I might keep that in mind as an alternative. Thanks!

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really? watch craft eh? Sounds like a very valuable asset on this project. That's actually better than what I suggested. And if you are going to do all butted links, go for it! I'm working on a shirt with 19 ga, and it's going ridiculously slow, but it's not too bad. :)

Post pics when it's done!

I'll post pics both when it's done and while I'm working. Should be fun!

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As an update on this whole project, I began work yesterday. Holy Hell. This'll take awhile. Good news is that the guy who usually does my powdercoating says that he CAN powdercoat the mail to a silver finish, giving the piece a much more movie-accurate look.

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Have fun. I would suggest getting the DVD box set of your favorite TV show to listen to / watch while you are weaving. What sized ring and what process did you decide on? (Just curious)

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Have fun. I would suggest getting the DVD box set of your favorite TV show to listen to / watch while you are weaving. What sized ring and what process did you decide on? (Just curious)

To get into the spirit of things, there's only one clear choice. I'll be watching the LOTR series while I work, of course! Also, I decided on the stainless 19ga. Pretty sure the mandrel is 1/8, but its been a while since I checked. I actually started last night, and I made a 3/3 inch patch. I think I should probably just focus on making the rings first while I wait for the rest of the materials to arrive from TRL. Pics once I make some real progress.

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