Chainmail help!

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by NintendoLiam, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    Hi,
    Am wondering what ring size etc is the best for costuming,
    Also any advice on pvc mail also?
    Just really looking to get a realistic medieval looking chainmail for under a tunic for a Ledgend Of Zelda Link costume
    Many thanks RPF
     
  2. JediJayne

    JediJayne Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about PVC but if you're looking for steel or aluminum, check out theringlord.com. They have tons of loose rings as well as kits to make a full shirt, both armor grade and costume grade
     
  3. Joe Pep

    Joe Pep Active Member

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    if you are looking for size itself, I would recommend 14 gauge and between 3/8" and 5/8". It is also important to think about what you are going to use it for. I myself have made full pieces and they have taken quite a while to finish. Also, the type of metal you are going to use, I have used galvanized steel and anodized aluminum. The galvanized is very heavy. If you just want to wear it for a while, I would recommend the ringlord website and there anodized aluminum. surf there website and you will probably find what you want to use. Also, if you have any tech questions once you get there, they will be more than happy to help. I hope that helps you out. Later...
     
  4. SmilingOtter

    SmilingOtter Master Member

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    If you're going to have a tunic over it, and only want it for costuming, I'd consider only making the maille that would be seen. Sew it in as a trim underneath the tunic so it peeks out at the neck, sleeves and bottom of the tunic. It would be lighter, less expensive, and quicker to make.
     
  5. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    Hey smiling otter thats what i was thinking of going for, they used that on lord of the rings for a few suits i found pictures of,
    Ring lord is great but not economical for me being in the uk sadly
     
  6. MaulWalker

    MaulWalker Sr Member

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    I found instructions on making a ring making jig on the Internet many years ago. Basically, screw two short pieces of 2x4 to a longer piece making a long U shape. Drill a hole into each upright that you slip a metal rod the desired diameter of your rings into the uprights.

    I used a pair of vise grips as a handle on the metal rod wrapped the wire around the rod. Slip the wire "spring" off the rod and cut the rings apart using aviation snips.
     
  7. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    hmm sounds good, did you make a full shirt of mail?
     
  8. Zlosk

    Zlosk New Member

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    For costume maille, the best ring size depends on what is most important to you- speed of manufacture, weight, appearance, sound, sturdiness, or price.

    For manufacturing speed, .10" (2.5 mm) x 7/16 to 1/2" (11-12 mm) ID aluminum rings would probably be fastest, but it is going to look really, really big. .08" (2 mm) x 3/8 ID is the biggest I would personally use.

    For weight, aluminum about 1/3 the weight of steel. I made a short-sleeved knee-length .08" x 3/8" ID stainless steel shirt, which weighs 35 lb and has around 16,500 rings. (I'm about 5'-10", 190 lb.) Scaling the ring size by half would halve the weight, but would quadruple the number of rings required.

    For appearance, aluminum can be shiny, matte, or anodized in various colors (before weaving). Galvanized steel will be dull, and will darken as the zinc coating oxidizes. Stainless steel will pretty much be forever shiny.

    Sound is one of things you may not think about, but there is a distinct sound to steel maille that aluminum and titanium do not have.

    For sturdy maille that will not shed rings as you wear it, I would suggest an aspect ratio (AR = ring ID / wire diameter) between 4 and 5. For aluminum, I would try to keep the AR closer to 4, while 5 would be fine for stainless). The minimum possible AR for a European 4-in-1 weave is in the lower 3's, but shirts require tailoring, and therefore expansions and contractions in the weave - an AR of 4 is about as low as you would want to go for tailored items.

    Price - I don't know what's cheapest, but I do know that if you buy your own wire, make sure that it is tempered. When I started mailling, I bought wire that was too soft and was useless. My first shirt was made with galvanized wire that I coiled and cut by hand, and I shall never, ever, do that again. I now get my armor rings from theringlord.com.
     
  9. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    That is a very helpful post thankyou ^^
    I see the ring lord is a brilliant site
    I shall look for something similar in the uk
     
  10. Joe Pep

    Joe Pep Active Member

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    Well, if you are really strapped for cash, this is what I did the first time. I went to the local hard ware store and got a big 5/8" bolt, about two feet in length. I then got some 14 gauge galvanized steel wire and brought them home. Now, this going to take a while and will be hard on the hands, when you are done, you will have strong pair of hands. Hold on to the bolt with one hand and wind the steel with the other. When you feel you have enough on get some wire cutters and cut it. Wind it off the bolt and start snipping your circles. It will take a little practice. Then get with two pairs of pliers, bend the circles together. If you do not have pliers with out teeth use some good tape on the teeth. The teeth scratch the metal after a while. and there you have it. Mind you, it will be heavy, but cheap is cheap. and you can say you made it yourself. I had sold several pieces from this method and it works when you do not have the money or the resources at hand. good luck with your project......
     
  11. BunnyWannabe

    BunnyWannabe Member

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    Another cheap option is to use metal coat hangars (Mommy Dearest would be displeased!) for the wire, this being what an SCA friend of my husband's and mine suggested Downside to it is that it will oxidize fairly quickly but is good for a few wears as well as good for practice so you can save more expensive wire for when you feel a bit more comfortable with the process.. :)
     
  12. closet geek

    closet geek Member

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    Now days you are better off to get one off ebay for around $100 delivered here is a link I just look at.



    I used to fight at ren fairs back in the 90's when shirts would cost you $400 +. Now days they have them made in India for next to nothing. This is how I figured this these days, It will cost you between $20 and $40 for the wire for rings, plus you will need to make the ring winding box and a tool to cut them say between $10 and $20, so that’s between $40 and $60 just in supply’s. Or you can buy them pre made which is faster for around $3 to $4 per 100 and come in aluminum for light weight or steel the way they were made in ye olden days or stainless which stays rust free. It takes between 10000 and 25000 rings to do a shirt depending on your size and the pattern you use so you buy them pre made it will run way more than it’s worth.
    It took me about 3 months to make mine after I studied for a month and made a coif first to learn how. That was working 1 to 2 hr's a night before my hands got tired. And this may not happen to everyone but after I made it and 4 Coifs for me and some friends I ended up with carpal tunnel in both hands (I won’t go in to the price on that one :facepalm)
    So it is satisfying to say that you did it and I am glad I did but If you are just going to use it for costuming do yourself a favor and wait, save and by one of ebay. Well I will get down of my soap box now, good luck.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  13. abaddon1974

    abaddon1974 Active Member

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    If you want to make your own chain in the UK then try Armchair Armoury, Google should find it for you, they have been in the business for years and will probably have what you want.

    Craig
     
  14. Conqueror_Worm

    Conqueror_Worm Well-Known Member

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    Closet geek is right, it isn't as economical to make your own chainmail anymore. I made a hauberk (full length sleeves, shirt went down to my knees) from 14 ga aluminum wire, 5/16" ID rings. I started out with steel, but it was too heavy. I think I used about a half a mile of wire, which I bought in quarter mile spools as electric fence wire from a farm supply store. I think it cost around $60 total. It took me two years to weave it, working off and on. It's still fun, and there are hundreds of different weaves you can learn, but it's more of a hobby than a practical means of producing armor.
    This is the best web site for learning about modern chainmail - M.A.I.L. - Maille Artisans International League - Home Page
     
  15. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    The post by closet geek is perfect!
    I have the funds to purchase that shirt , and it works out about the same as a diy kit from ringlord to me in the uk,

    Can anyone recommend or read any infomation into this?
    many thanks :3
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  16. Whetstone

    Whetstone New Member

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    For what you are looking for relly depends on your taste, and if you plan on doing chainmail as a hobby or if this is a one time thing. If you just want the look of chainmail. PVC works fine, just by the size PVC you want your rings then cut rings off with a scroll saw. Then cut the link so you can feed it through the other rings, just make sure the rings is cut thin enough and the pvc is wide enough to fit. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I have posted a ccouple pics of one of my designs.
     
  17. closet geek

    closet geek Member

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    Let's see if I can help its been awhile. The "Zinc Plated" part means the wire is coated in zinc which will help keep it from rusting. I made mine from zinc wire in 1998 and it’s been lying in a bag in my garage for the last ten years, still no rust. The Zinc Plated rings are steel which feel and sound just like they did in ye olden days. This can get a little heavy but with a little practice you won’t even notice it's there.
    "BUTTED Chain Mail" means that the individual links like the pic below, come together but to but verse's the other two options that are riveted mail which cost "A BUNCH" it looks cool, besides the rings almost never come apart. The other is welded mail. It is almost indestructible but cost :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek :eek
    HAUBERK is olden days for chain shirt, and I have no idea why they call it fancy looks plain to me. Don't buy any shirt with brass rings in the center forming an image such as a cross or shield. The brass looks cool but the links come apart to easy. Now I added six rows at the bottom of min in the form of dags that look cool and there is no stress there so they stayed in place.
    One more thing MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THE SIZE. Some of the cheaper ones run small. For comfort a little bigger is better and is less stressful on the links. Oh by the way you will have to keep an eye on the links from time to time, under stress they will come apart but they are easy to fix. If you need long sleeves you could add them to later. If you read up and learn how to make it using the pattern same as the shirt, you could make sleeve extensions for around $20 and two or three weeks of an one or two hours a night work. I would suggest count the rings around the sleeve, then make a square sheet of rings first the width of the count you come up with, then attach it to the shirt and connect the two sides to gather to form the sleeve you want.

    Good luck. Lazlow AKA closet geek
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  18. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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  19. SmilingOtter

    SmilingOtter Master Member

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    Closet Geek is giving very good advice.
    One thing to keep in mind with the zinc coated (galvanized) maille is that it will over time turn from a shiny steel color to a dark flat gray. If you look at chain link fences, they're galvanized steel, and age the same way. It looks fine for medieval costuming, but I'm not familiar enough with Link's costume to know how shiny his maille is.

    The first pic in CG's last post is a pretty good example, though I'd say that it's not normally as spotty looking.
     
  20. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    Well links mail in the game is a dark bronze colour but since im going for a more real life link, i think this mail will be great, and closet geeks advice is priceless and I'm sure it will help many many people searching for Chainmail help,
    It looks fine for what i will be using it as
    Would you say the price I posted is fair for the goods?
    Im thinking it will be worth buying as time and getting everything ready would take awhile and cost a fair amount,
     
  21. Daemon324

    Daemon324 Active Member

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    For the links, you could buy just a dowel instead of making or buying a mandrel and make them that way. It's not as great, and it takes more work, but if you want to save a little bit here and there. For just aesthetic, a friend of mine says that 12 gauge is the best for non-combat maille. He's made his fair share of maille, and he's here nearby for me to pass on this tidbit of useful (or not) information.

    He also says that (and I am asking as I'm typing all of this) if you want to keep the brown color, that colored wire would be a good thing consider, even though it's more expensive. This is of course if you want to make your own still. Personally, I would, just so that I could say I made the entire thing.

    But, I'm also a kind of person who sees the who endeavor as worthwhile, and an investment, as it could be a useful skill later. Closetgeek still has very valid information, and is definitely something to consider.
     
  22. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    I would love to make it myself , I will have to really consider all this,
    I am however going to be doing important exams soon , so am trying to limit the amount of time i work on this whilst still making a quality costume,
    Being in the uk , ready made rings are impossible to find, and i see no good way of cutting the rings neatly at home?
    Many thanks again
    The RPF is one of the best resources for everything costuming!
    Truley appreciating all the advice
     
  23. SmilingOtter

    SmilingOtter Master Member

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    I cut mine with aviation snips (they might be called something different in the UK,) after hand winding the coils on a jig that looks much like the one here:
    M.A.I.L. - Maille Artisans International League - Stephen's coil winder - Submitted by Stephen

    Personally, 12 gauge seems really thick, especially for non-combat, unless the diameter was pretty wide. I started with 14, then eventually moved to 16 with an inside diameter of .25 inches. Not great for combat I suppose, but looks good for anything else. Of course, in this sort of thing, there's no "right" size, just what works best for you personally.
     
  24. closet geek

    closet geek Member

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    Great point about the dull look from the zinc, I forgot about that. That is what happens to it over time, same with plain steel+ rust. I have heard of people polishing their mail in a small barrel of sand by rolling it. Mine was used for live steal combat where just about every piece of armor had dents or dulled by the end of the year and had to be polished thru the winter, I was too lazy to worry about the chain mail. Besides that is how it would have been in ye olden days + some rust. Don’t know about the brown. Depending on how much you want to speed you might cheek with a plaiting co. that doze anodizing thou I am sure it would be pricy. OH, Oh, OH, I just thought of something you could go with plain steel and leave out side in the rain for a week or two then it would rust reel good and tada, brown mail. :D But I digress, I have not looked but if you need shinny stage mail you might look into aluminum rings. They did not have this in my day to my knowledge, and it is probably a lot lighter but I am sure it is not as durable and you might have to repair it quite often. Maybe not if your just wearing it for show, you would have to do some research on that.
    But it is out there thou I do not know where or how much.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  25. closet geek

    closet geek Member

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    That how I felt, I went with the 14gaug for mine and it was tuff enough in combat that I only had to fix it once and awhile. The 12 was so hard to cut then you had to use two pair of pliers to bend in to place. The aviation snips are what I used also got mine thru the sears catalog, don’t remember what it cost. Also you will save time and fingers if you use a bolt with course threads instead of a plain rod. What this does is to spread out the rings when you cut them. Which will save you opining them then loop them and reconnect them. I now this seems like a small step but when you are talking between 10,000 and 25,000 ring it adds up quick. And SmilingOtter is right in the end it is about what you think is cool especially with fantasy it can be whatever you want it to. One thing I have learned over the years from making stuff, no matter how perfect you make it there will one jerk, who will bad mouth it, so make it how you want and enjoy. I tend to make up weird stories about the stuff I make when some jerk bad mouths it, you know Lie, Lie, Lie, then giggle like a school girl to myself when they stand there with a dumfounded look on their face. :confused
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  26. closet geek

    closet geek Member

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    sorry about that
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  27. SmilingOtter

    SmilingOtter Master Member

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    As a reminder to everyone, links to live auctions is a no-no... :)
     
  28. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    I think I will go through with buying one,
    Its much simpler for me at this moment,
    and would not so hinder revision etc
    Many thanks for all the advice and help its been amazingly insightful!
    :)
     
  29. closet geek

    closet geek Member

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    Thanks. I must of mised that. I have removed them. Will not happen agin:$
     
  30. NintendoLiam

    NintendoLiam Member

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    removed mine too #^.^#
    thanks again closet for all the help!
    appreciated muchly
     
  31. Engineer

    Engineer New Member

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    Here is a good link for anyone interested in chain maille, including fabricating your own rings. I did it to make the chain maille for a Cersei belt (Game of Thrones).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUrY7uwcYsI
     

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