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Mail Project Advice

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:25 pm
by Talen

About a month a go when a friend of my girlfriend's mum found out I had started renacting he gave me a bag of loose butted mail and his old butted mail gloves that he used to use when he was renacting a few years ago. The gloves are brilliant and have helped me alot as I currently do not have any gautlets. I decided to use the loose butted mail he gave me and attempt to make a mail skirt to use either next year or the year after, depending on how I got on with it. So far I think I've been doing ok, once I got past the fiddly bit and the mail started behaving itself I could attach ribbons of mail to make a small sheet. I'm almost at the end of the bag he gave me, but I've been noticing that the mail links keep coming undone where I have been unable to close them properly. No matter how hard I've squeezed the pliers, they won't stay shut. I've been advised to heat them but I'm not sure how to that at home sufficently. I've been considering switching over to riverted mail as the issue with the links coming undone will hopefully be solved by that, but I'm not sure whether to stick with butted for now as I am completely new to making mail, or to just go ahead and start making riverted mail. I met a really helpfully guy on the weekend at TORM whom gave me some really useful tips on riverted mail and the butted mail I'm currently making, but I was also wondering if anyone else out there had any advice and or guidance regarding working with either butted mail or riverted mail please?

Just for info my period is the wars of the roses.

Here are some images of what I have so far... ... =505198253 ... =505198253

Thanks! =)

Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:27 pm
by Rochester
Good luck with the rivetted mail - look forward to years of "hunting the dropped rivet" :D .

For the butted mail, I always twist the ring just that little bit further than closed then it springs back to being closed.


Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:06 pm
by Colin Middleton
You might find that the butted mail is mild steel, rather than spring steel, in which case the weight of it may drag the links open as you move violently. On the other hand, butted links are cheaper and faster to assemble than rivited ones.

If you go down the riveted path, then I recomend working with an old white sheet on your lap. That way you can see the rivets more easily when you drop them. It's a slow, frustrating and fiddly job to make riveted mail, but not actually any harder than making butted (it's just that you keep dropping the rivets). What you will need though is a GOOD pair of mailing tongs. These should have 2 flat faces that meet well. You drill a small 'dint' into the middle of one face (this is where you close the rivet). You may also want to put some small holes into the edges of the face so that you can 'tamp' the ring (put the shaft of the rivet down the hole and squeeze, it flatens the rivet out a bit and closes the link more tightly).

If you go with the butted, listen to Rochester.

Best wishes


Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:20 am
by House of De Clifford
My thoughts would be to go and see Mark at cap a pie, his riveted maille is blooming lush and not expensive. I am going for his 6pm riveted next for my voiders and skirt. Also want a 6pm standard.

Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:43 pm
by Langley
With butted I always found it best to make a spiral by wrapping wire around a former with a hole drilled in one end so you can get leverage by sticking the end of the wire through. Wind a spring like spiral, remove from the former and stretch it out a little. Cut individual rings a little over round - with an overlap in other words. When closing all you need to do is grip in two pairs of pliers and twist a little pastmeeting. The wire heats up a little and when it springs back into line it should meet neatly and harden off again so tends to remain closed - yuou have springiness in two dimensions doing this to hold it closed. As for rivetting, yes, you can start making a spring, cutting rings, de-annealing, flattening in a former (the overlap is vital here - it gives you somewhere to put the rivet), reanealing and assembling as normal and then riveting using the sort of tool described. It is not a quick process and with about 30,000 rings in a shirt, takes a lot of time. Steve from Forth Armoury got up to 1 ring per 30 seconds he told me once. He also persuaded a washer manufacturer to produce some for him. I still have some left from the batch I got from Steve. NOt sure if you can still get similar product to make your own. Far easier to go see Mark from Cap-a-Pie. His stuff is amazing and compares favourably with the real thing from my close examination of examples in Nick's collection at Wallace!

Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:56 am
by Cap-a-pie
House of De Clifford wrote: Also want a 6pm standard.
is that for evening wear
Thanks for the plugs guys :D

Talen, you may be interested in something I am planning for next year, riveted coif kits, and before anyone asks its not going to be just a bag of rings. (That's in the Advanced Maille Makers kit). Anyway - The idea behind this is to have something that is partially done with all the bits included to finish things off. Will keep you posted

Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:25 pm
by Colin Middleton
I suspect that a lot of people will still want the ready made coif, rather than put the effort it. However as I'll be trying to do an early 13th C hauberk with integral coif and ventail, that would be of interest to me. I hate the idea of having to take links off (and maybe even throw them away :o )!

Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:38 pm
by Cap-a-pie
oh yeah don't intend getting rid of the full coifs, its just i'm aware that a number of people want to make something but are perhaps a little hesitant in taking on a big project with the worry that some years later its all still in bags. But certainly ideal for doing what you want

Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:14 pm
by Talen
Thanks for all the advice and help guys. I think as much as I'd like to have a go with riverted mail, I don't have the tools to make it and I don't have the place or the tools to make the tools to make it. When I'm not in rented accom though I will go back and look into it. In the mean time I think I will carry on with the butted as it's eaiser to make by the sounds of it.

Mark that kit sounds like a really good idea, are you planning on selling other similar kits as well? I only ask as from my understanding mail during the WOTR is minimal compared to plate and I'm going to have a helmet soon which fufil that purpose.

Thanks for all the help guys!


Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:09 pm
by Cap-a-pie
Talen wrote:Mark that kit sounds like a really good idea, are you planning on selling other similar kits as well?
No reason why not tbh. Just a case of seeing what interest the coif kits bring.

Re: Mail Project Advice

Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:39 am
by Talen
Cool, I look forward to seeing them =)