Chainmail Query

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Fian
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Chainmail Query

Postby Fian » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:48 am

Reading that other post about chainmail sleeves reminded me of something that came up before that intrigued me, as with the other one it's about chanmail construction so I'll do my best to explain.

Normally a chainmail shirt will naturally taper in the downward direction giving a better fit to the body. However sleeves are made in the same direction in the T shape, so the sleeves hang on the bias. Now I know that you can taper the sleeves to make them fit better, but is there any reasons why the sleeves would not be reversed so that they hang downwards as well? I have seen a pattern on a sculpture where the shirt was formed with a mantle that just continued all the way down. (I realise this may just have been the sculpter unfortunately)

Has anyone tried it that way, do the sleeves constrict too much with the natural taper? or are there other reasons, other than it's just not the way it's done.

Cheers
Andy


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Biro
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Biro » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:40 pm

My guess - and this is just a guess mind.. is that it's due to expansion.

On the body, it's weight pulls it down, which also pulls the rings horizontally inwards giving a snug fit even if it could stretch to be much wider than the wearer. This gives moving/breathing room and also gives a denser weave making it more likely that any thrusts will hit multiple rings - so providing more protection.

However, on the arms, you would have kind of mail bingo-wings and the bagginess would provide a fair bit of inertia and extra weight - which will slow the arms and make them tire quickly - not what you really want in combat. Instead, you want it fairly tight-fitting and probably with the rings stretched to reduce weight. Having it hang differently means that with the arms by your side, it pulls downwards, but this time stretches the rings apart rather than pulling them in like on the body. It also means there is no expansion around the arms so you can tailor it to fit snugly so you reduce weight and 'flap'. Yes, it means less defence on the arms than the body but it makes sense to me to have more protection on the body anyway..

Anyway. that's my guess. Of course theres no evidence to support it :-)



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Colin Middleton
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:47 pm

You might be right. The other possibility is that it never occured to people to do it that way! If you think of the mail shirt starting off with no or only minimal sleeves, then slowly extending the sleeve down the arm, at what point do you say "hang on, let's try putting the sleeve on this way"?

Looked at from another point of view, you really want the expansion in your sleeve to occur along it's length, so that your cuff doesn't disappear up your arm every time you bend your hand (try that with integral gauntlets and it'll really upset you).

Just random mutterings based on nothing....

Best wishes all

Colin


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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Biro » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:47 pm

Hehe - good point. My integrals look like gorrilla-arms if the mitt is left off and the sleeve just left to hang.



Simon Fryer
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Simon Fryer » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:28 pm

[quote="Colin Middleton"]

Looked at from another point of view, you really want the expansion in your sleeve to occur along it's length, so that your cuff doesn't disappear up your arm every time you bend your hand (try that with integral gauntlets and it'll really upset you).

Colin I hsve seen some patterns for shirts that have the sleeves on with the reverse running, but to be honest the join to the shirt looks a tatty for my liking, as you are joining rings that do not run the same way :? I have also seen a pattern for a shirt that was from an american website that makes the shirt in blocks, and they join the shirt up with 45 defgree angles, once again it looks a bit to odd for my liking, and I would have though that the join, like that of the sleeves being reversed, wouldnt give you a very strong join and I would have thought that if the rings were butted, they would soon pull apart, and end up full of holes.

I made themistake of making my first shirt with only a slightly tapered sleeve, and the join looked real bad, plus, like the other guy said, it was very baggy and the weight sat on the elbow every time you lifted your arm... not good which is why I have taken it apart and am now using a reducing pattern alternated round the sleeve (thanks for the tip Colin) and has made it really easy to move the arm as its not so baggy. Also it will enable me to adjust the sleeve width if needed, when I try it on over my arming jack/gamberson.

Simon



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Colin Middleton
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:55 pm

Don't forget that butted links are a modern development (relatively speaking). There are a lot of designs created for mail in modern times, but I don't think any of them extend earlier than the Victorian era (in Europe anyway).

What happens under the arms when you do the arms as an extension of the body?

Colin


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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Simon Fryer » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:31 am

[quote="Colin Middleton

What happens under the arms when you do the arms as an extension of the body?

Sorry Colin what do you mean? how do \I join it or how does it move?

simon



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Colin Middleton
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Colin Middleton » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:17 pm

I'm strugling to visualise if the under-arm needs a special kind of join to the body, of if there is just a lot of 'filling in' required (and I can't be bothered to dig my mail out and have a look). I think that the links all continue to run in the same direction, you've just got to make sure that they join up properly, but I can't recall.

Kind of just wondering aloud really.

Colin


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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Langley » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:06 pm

Fian - phone the Wallace and ask to speak to their conservator of maille. He is a great guy and will be able to tell you what they found in their analysis done a year or so back.



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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Colin Middleton » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:31 pm

Good call Lanley!

Fian, when you do talk to him, please tell us what he says! :D

Best wishes

Colin


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Fian
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Fian » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:06 am

All good stuff, My own personal thought after reading some stuff on development of armour through the Baltic Crusades made me remember that early mail tended to have short sleeves and it was only over time that longer sleeves started to come into fashion, based on that, they probably just extended from the patterns that had been in use for so long already.

From a practical persepctive, I have seen the 45 degree angle joining everything together pattern, but my problem there especially with butted is that you have sections that are only held together with a 3 to 1 linkage instead of 4 to 1, that amount of weight is likely to rip things apart over time.

Under arms seem to just be a royal PITA, I tried originally to extend out naturally from the shoulders, front and back. Then brought the side of the body up like a flap underneath the arm and used 90 degree links to attach it to the sleeve. That ended up with a huge baggy armpit. So I ripped the flap back into three dags (it was 5 or 6 double rows to the points) and brought all the dags to one point, the outside edges of that attached to the sleeve edges from the front and back and joined there to form the tube of the sleeve proper.

It seems to work quite well so far, it's not baggy and I still seem to have a full range of movement without it catching or tightening too much. I think it'll hold up better over time, given the problems I seem to find when repairing the other armour in the group is that the armpit tends to be trying to pull in 3 different directions but has had that many repairs in the past that i'm not really sure how they started life.

Either way back to the orginal query, I'll see about contacting the Wallace collection, a place I really need to go the next time I'm in London, I just hope there is enough shinies there to keep the missus occupied.


Andy
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Biro » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:26 am

Underarms should be fairly straight forward. You have your tube for the body, with a slit left for each armhole, so if you look at it from the side while pulling the armhole open it will be an upside down teardrop shape. Then if you have the sleeve you are to join with the same amount of links width as the size if the hole, it should fit well. Start to join at the point under the arm, work around the top, down the other side to finish back under the arm where there will be one link that will connect to 5 others. If using butted, double it up. It will still fail at some point, but that's butted.



Fian
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Fian » Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:55 pm

I think it was the way I made mine. I started with a rectangular mantle and made a tabard, then added sides till it joined around my gambeson so instead of a teardrop I had a an upside down U with a flat bottom where the side was. I shall remember that for the next one.


Andy
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Simon Fryer
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Simon Fryer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:32 pm

sorry for the delay in replying, been very busy and not had much time to respond. the way I make my armpits, is to link up the sides leaving plenty of room for the whole sleeve, I start at the armpit and run round the whole io the sleeve. I then link up the rest of the side untill i reach the sleeve, then you end up with 1 ring that is a missmatch, I link in 2 rings to make two 3 in 1s, rather than a 5 in 1. I found that this reduces the stress in the armpit. :)



Fian
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Re: Chainmail Query

Postby Fian » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:11 am

A big thank you to Biro,

I finished off the last bits of my sleeve tonight and redid the underarm join as described, it works an awful lot easier I've got to say than the way i'd been doing it so I undid the other side and redone it that way as well. I would like to have had a pair of slightly bigger rings, one for each side for the 5's so that it stands out a bit better for my demonstrations. But doing it like Simon said with two 3's instead works just as well.

I have dropped an Email off to the Wallace as it'll be a couple of weeks before I'll have a working day at home to spend on the phone.


Andy
Early Medieval Re-enactor, and sucker who made his own chainmail.


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