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"Riveted" does not equal "Historical"
OK this is so I don't have to post the same thing every time someone tries to claim that this or that riveted mail armour they bought from this or that supplier is "historical".

Firstly, it doesn't matter which supplier you buy the mail from, most come from the same manufacturers in India and Pakistan. The only commercial supplier of mail who attempts to replicate museum examples is Erik D Schmid.

Here is a list explaining why the Indian mail in no way resembles historical mail. It largely refers to wedge-riveted mail but most of the points are also relevant for round-riveted mail. All of the following will make the armour a lot more susceptible to weapons than historical examples (which is why it is completely unsuitable for weapons vs armour testing).

* The thickness of the wire is generally too light for the diameter of the link, making it lighter but less capable of resisting a weapon.
* Holes are made with a punch rather than a drift. This leaves a lot less metal around the rivet to help secure it.
* Rivet holes are either too large or not centred. Both will leave too little material on one or both sides and the link will tear too easily.
* The links are hammered way too thin (probably to make them easier to punch), but this greatly reduces the strength of the link
* Rivets are incorrectly set. If a rivet is not peened tightly, the link will pull apart too easily
* There isn't enough overlap in the lapped section of the link to create a decent join
* Wrong shape rivet hole. Indian mail has rectangular holes. Historical wedge-riveted mail has ovoid holes. Rectangular holes tear very easily at the corners. Circular or ovoid holes are much stronger
* Incorrect metallurgy. Mild steel (or even so-called modern "iron") is not as ductile as bloomery iron and it is more likely to snap upon impact instead of stretching/bending

Another point: BUY GALVANISED MAIL! As noted above, nothing you will buy will have much in common with historical mail. Stripping off the zinc will not make it any more authentic. May as well save yourself the trouble of keeping it clean. You can treat it so that it darkens to look like iron or you can let it darken naturally.
Hey Dan, good key elements there. I have had a thought for some time, though never presented the idea. So perhaps you can help lend a hand.

Now historically there is no shred of accuracy of the mail I wear. It is butted, 10 gauge (AWG), stainless steel, 3/8 ID.
The idea was to have mail that could be hit with a sharp edge and still provide protection (I wear padded garments)

Even though the mail I wear is butted; it will stand up to the test of getting bashed a few times and the rings will not dis-form easily nor break apart easily from a thrust.

Aside from every aspect that makes it histoically incorrect -----------

Does historically accurate mail work in the same manner of strength as the butted mail I wear? (Rings not easily dis-formed / broken)

Or would what I have; be too strong or too weak in comparision to historically accurate mail?
Dan Howard wrote:
it doesn't matter which supplier you buy the mail from, most come from the same manufacturers in India and Pakistan. The only commercial supplier of mail who attempts to replicate museum examples is Erik D Schmid.

Here is a list explaining why the Indian mail in no way resembles historical mail.


What's your opinion on Ulfberth mail? They are a producer in Germany, not not a reseller of Indian/Pakistan stuff. Their products are available through Get Dressed For Battle and Battle Merchant. No, it's not Eric DS quality stuff but hardly anyone can afford that...
I may have been misinformed, but wouldn't treating Galvanized Mail release extremely toxic chemicals? heat treatment is the kind of treatment you were referring to, right?
Sander Marechal wrote:


What's your opinion on Ulfberth mail? They are a producer in Germany, not not a reseller of Indian/Pakistan stuff. Their products are available through Get Dressed For Battle and Battle Merchant. No, it's not Eric DS quality stuff but hardly anyone can afford that...


Flatring Round Rivet-heads
[ Linked Image ]

Some of the rings in the picture are so poorly rivetted, that they will catch on hair and clothing.
Rings are flattened with a piston like tool like in russian байдана. Only Ulfberth rings are smaller and thus provide less protection.

Round Rings Riveted
[ Linked Image ]

No "watershed", and the rivet holes are not centered.

Ulfberth aren't probably reselling Indian stuff, but I see no difference in quality.
I get your point, but do not agree with your conclusion. When "re-creating" armour and weapons we always have problems with authenticity, but there is a scale of authenticity. Our plate armour is of a different quality steel, refined in a different way. Our armourers are generally not as skilled (although that is changing with time thankfully). Our wool is from different breeds, is woven differently and dyed with modern dyes (mostly).

Would you therefore suggest that we buy plate armour like this:

http://www.raisonsbrassband.com/images/Picture%20003.jpg

And make our arming garments out of Nylon?


No-one should claim 100% accuracy. In anything. Ever. I assume your post is railing against people that do, but I would say that you have probably gone too far the other way. I would say this:

Save up and then get as good as you can afford. When someone asks if its "correct" claim nothing beyond the truth.
I believe the first sentence in Dans post explains his intentions.

It's kinda like someone asking you the same question 15 different ways. It would be best to put the facts on the table so that you dont have to explain the same answer over and over.
Zac Evans wrote:
I get your point, but do not agree with your conclusion. When "re-creating" armour and weapons we always have problems with authenticity, but there is a scale of authenticity.


I see this a little differently. There's no scale of accuracy. If something's not accurate, it's inaccurate. :) There is a scale of how far down the inaccuracy ladder things go. With historical weapon and armour recreations, many people like to say that choice A is "more accurate" than choice B. In that case, both choices are bound to be inaccurate in some way. I prefer to use the term "less inaccurate" in these cases as it gets to the real core of it.

In this case, if the method of production and/or materials are not accurate in the mail, the item is inaccurate. Plain and simple. Calling one choice that might be closer to the original "more accurate" might be true. The reality is that it is less inaccurate han another choice.

Maybe that's a semantical argument. :) When I see terms like "more accurate than...." people are often using it as an attempt to justify something rather than calling it what it is.
Chad Arnow wrote:
I see this a little differently. There's no scale of accuracy. If something's not accurate, it's inaccurate. :) There is a scale of how far down the inaccuracy ladder things go.


Okay, so using that new found terminology, is there any mail out there (except Erik's) that is less inaccurate than Ulfberth/GDFB?
Sander Marechal wrote:
Okay, so using that new found terminology, is there any mail out there (except Erik's) that is less inaccurate than Ulfberth/GDFB?


I wouldn't know. I haven't researched mail reproductions. :)
Zac Evans wrote:
No-one should claim 100% accuracy. In anything. Ever. I assume your post is railing against people that do, but I would say that you have probably gone too far the other way. I would say this:

Save up and then get as good as you can afford. When someone asks if its "correct" claim nothing beyond the truth.

Yeah, but Dan's post summarizes the inaccuracies for info, which to an uneducated person in mail like me is quite helpful. If you use something that has inaccuracies, it's good to know where the inaccuracies are. This helps in understanding which compromise your making when obtaining such mail and it also helps you understand where the mail will not behave like truly historical mail. Frequently people make all kinds of conclusions on historical weapons, armor based on reproductions, without realizing that those reproductions are nothing like the originals they are supposed to copy. So all the conclusions are totally off.
J. Scott Moore wrote:
I may have been misinformed, but wouldn't treating Galvanized Mail release extremely toxic chemicals?

Yes. Don't burn off zinc, unless you have a deathwish.
Jeroen Zuiderwijk wrote:
Yes. Don't burn off zinc, unless you have a deathwish.


There is an extensive thread by Patrick Kelly here regarding this topic. It's humorous, frightening and enlightening. :lol: , :eek: , :idea:
Re: "Riveted" does not equal "Historical"
Dan, I've always appreciated seeing your brief reminders about this in various threads, so it's great to see this post which gives useful details for all of us to think more about.

I have two quick specific questions. From your post above:

Dan Howard wrote:
Firstly, it doesn't matter which supplier you buy the mail from, most come from the same manufacturers in India and Pakistan ... All of the following will make the armour a lot more susceptible to weapons than historical examples (which is why it is completely unsuitable for weapons vs armour testing).


From having dealt with contractors in other contexts, I can't help but wonder if there would be at least some differences in quality between the different suppliers, even if minimal. For those of us more interested in performance rather than historical accuracy, are there particular makers/suppliers who you think would perform better than others? I'm assuming that welded mail from Gordon Ostertrom would perform better than the Indian and Pakistani stuff, but for those who might want riveted, do you know if any of the suppliers' mail perform better than others (or would be likely to)?

From your post of 2008:

Dan Howard wrote:
... Otherwise save yourself some trouble and buy galvanised. It works perfectly well for me and even darkens nicely to have the desired hue. The only time I bother with ungalvanised iron and correct riveting is when I need to study a particular aspect of the amror for research.


Would there be any reason for differences in performance of stainless riveted mails compared to galvanised?

Cheers,
Mark T
Andris Auzins wrote:

Round Rings Riveted
[ Linked Image ]

No "watershed", and the rivet holes are not centered.


What exactly do you mean by "watershed"? Google isn't being very helpful.
I'd actually like some clarification on a few points.

First of all, I get the gist of this message, and I get that "more accurate" still means "inaccurate."

But, if all historical mail was either riveted or half riveted half solid, isn't riveted mail "less inaccurate" than butted mail? I say this because I personally believe that showing a spectator how all the links are riveted conveys a strong sense of how much labour goes into mail. Am I off base here?

I'm also curious about the meaning of "watershed" as it pertains to mail.

Also, I'm curious how we know that historical mail was always riveted with the rivet perfectly centered. Is there some source for that? It seems to fly in the face of all the discussions on these and other boards about how the precision and perfection of modern reproductions is often a significant historical inaccuracy.

I'm not trying to be contrary here, I just want to understand more clearly.
There is a lot of dimensional variation (OD varying from 5 to 12 mm, wire diameters also varying relatively proportionately) in European archeological finds, as Dan said in his initial post. Metallurgical chemistry was not nearly as varied. (Uncommonly high purity iron, as compared to period iron work and blades, with sulfur content between 5% to 10%, very favorable to moderate cold forming and work hardening.) There are actually several papers on dimensions and chemical analysis, but I have to go to an external hard drive at this point to retrieve them. I thought some photos might make this easier to discuss in general terms about the "drift" formed hole, typical geometry, and amount of material around rivets in actual archeological finds. These images are from studies of the Birka garrison rings found and the Oslo "Ringweave" article.


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I know that rivet holes were pierced, not stamped. That's what your images show I think. But still... what's "watershed"?

Quote:
There is a lot of dimensional variation (OD varying from 5 to 12 mm, wire diameters also varying relatively proportionately) in European archeological finds, as Dan said in his initial post. Metallurgical chemistry was not nearly as varied.


I'm sure you know your stuff. But I bet that a large part of people are interested in mail that looks right for use in re-enactment and living history, not in US$ 20,000.- museum replciations created from the right kind of hard-to-get bloomery iron. For those people, an analyisis of right dimensions is actually quite interesting. As is the way that rivets were set and how the rings ended up looking.
Could someone please post some decent close-up photos (plus hopefully measurements) of less weathered/deteriorated maille found in UK and/or Scandinavia dated from 800-1000 AD. I would be extremely interested to compare them visually with the photos of reproduction maille on this thread. Thanx! (still can't get over how incredible myArmoury is :D )
Is there any evidence of tinned mail b.t.w.? I know tinning was used a lot on other metal wear as early as the early medieval period. In that case galvanised mail is not very far off, except of course for it being a different metal as coating (and a noticably different color).
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