Chainmail help!

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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
 

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JediJayne

Well-Known Member
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
 

Joe Pep

Active Member
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...
 

SmilingOtter

Master Member
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.
 
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
 

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MaulWalker

Sr Member
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.
 

Zlosk

New Member
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.
 
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
 

Joe Pep

Active Member
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......
 

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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.. :)
 

closet geek

Member
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.
 
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abaddon1974

Active Member
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
 

Conqueror_Worm

Well-Known Member
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
 
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
 
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Whetstone

New Member
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.
 

closet geek

Member
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
 
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SmilingOtter

Master Member
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.
 
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,
 

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