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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Wed 22 Dec, 2004 11:12 pm    Post subject: Maille arrives from Wholesalearmor.com         Reply with quote

Not to long ago we had an active thread on a low-cost rendition on a bellows visor sallet that was being sold by Wholesalearmor.com. While the helmet in question wasn't exactly an outstanding example of the armorers craft it did prompt me to take a look at their website. One of the listed products was of interest to me: a maille shirt of flat riveted links.

I've always had a mild interest in armor. It doesn't remotely approach my obsession with swords. However, one type of armor that fascinates me is maille. I just love the stuff. So when I saw a byrnie of riveted maille for the price of $299.99 I decided to take a chance. Wholesalearmor.com's website didn't really impress me. It seemed amateurish enough that I almost wondered if it was a real company at all. Apparently they do business on e-bay as King's Lance. So I checked out their feedback and it was overwhelmingly positive. I figured that for $300.00 I could take a chance.

The item was shipped from Huston on monday via UPS and arrived this evening, so not bad on the shipping time. The byrnie arrived in fine shape and without the coating of grease that every other "Made in India" product seems to have.




For the last few weeks I have had in my possession a sample piece of riveted maille obtained from Historic Enterprises (kindly supplied by Nathan Bell). Like my new byrnie the HE maille is also made in India so a side by side comparison was applicable. There are two main differences in the examples.

The HE maille is finished with a hot oil treatment whereas the Wholesale armor shirt is zinc plated. The HE maille also features wedge-shaped rivets and the WA rings use round headed rivets. On the first point I have to say the I prefer the hot oil treatment as it gives a more authentic appearance IMHO. The zinc plating was the one feature that I held my breath over since I remember those nasty galvanized maille garments from my reenactment days. Fortunately the zinc plating on this byrnie is evenly applied and quite shiny. I still prefer the oiled HE sample but the zinc plating isn't unattractive. It's also a good rust inhibitor as well.

The second point of the rivets was less a concern for me. They can be round or wedge shaped depending on your period of interest. Since I was looking for a maille shirt that would fit into several time periods I didn't find the round rivets objectionable. I've now spent about an hour going over the shirt and I have found 3-4 rings that are missing rivets. Not bad considering the number of rings and the purchase price. To be fair the HE sample consists of 32 rings. within that number of rings there is one that is cracked completely through on the ring, and one ring that is missing it's rivet.

Other than those two points the rings are the same. They are the same thickness and width, both internally and externally. The byrnie was advertised as being of 16 gauge and having a weight of 32 pounds. I've noticed that via King's Lance on e-bay they offer an 18 gauge shirt at a weight of 23 pounds. I believe that the latter is what I in fact received. The shirt weighs in at 23 pounds. HE advertises their maille as being made from 18 gauge wire, so I'm inclined to go along with this. This really isn't a point of conflict for me since the width and thickness of the rings are within historic parameters for a viking age/ early middle ages maille garment, which is what I was after. It may be a point of contention if you have your heart set on a 16 gauge shirt though.

Having gone through the patience trying task of making my own butted maille hauberk I'm very glad to see riveted maille show up on the market, especially at this kind of price. I won't presume to compare it to the maille made by some of the high level craftsman of the industry. However, it does seem to compare quite favorably to some of the Indian made maille being offered elsewhere at a substantially higher price.

Overall I'm very happy with the service I received from Wholesalearmor.com, and I consider the product to be a good value for the money. Besides, it's just what I need to go with my pending Sutton Hoo helm. Big Grin

"I'd rather go upriver with 7 studs, than a 100 sh!theads." - COL Charlie Beckwith, founder SFODD
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Dec, 2004 11:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

More pictures please.

I am amazed at the low price. I too have a sample of the wedge-rivet mail so I can relate to your comparison. What is the size of the hauberk? Chest, length, etc.

Alexi
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Steve Fabert




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 2:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This sounds like the same choice of products offered by Find-It Armory, another Texas outlet with modest prices. http://finditarmory.com/

Find-It offers a choice of sleeve lengths, from entirely sleeveless to full. I purchased one of theirs, apparently the heavier version, which hits me about mid forearm. My example, like Patrick's, has a couple of almost unnoticeable flaws - one missing link and one corroded ring that cleaned up with a wire brush. My guess is that both companies are using the same source in India. Prices are excellent and delivery time is short.
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Folkert van Wijk




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 3:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Patrick.

you sed:
Quote:
The second point of the rivets was less a concern for me. They can be round or wedge shaped depending on your period of interest. Since I was looking for a maille shirt that would fit into several time periods I didn't find the round rivets objectionable.

What time period are whe talking about then??

A good sword will only be sharp, in the hands of a wise man…

I am great fan of everything Celtic BC, including there weapons.
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Gordon Clark




PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick,
Have you thought of removing the zinc coating? I understand that a soak in vinegar will do this - has anyone done this to a galvanized shirt? If so what were the results?

Thanks for the info Patrick!

Gordon
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 6:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How long would the soak have to be? I make maille using mostly 14 and 16 gauge galvanized, and would be happy to sacrifice a few links to test this theory.
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Sam Barris

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Gordon Clark




PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Barris wrote:
How long would the soak have to be? I make maille using mostly 14 and 16 gauge galvanized, and would be happy to sacrifice a few links to test this theory.


This is what I remember - someone surely knows better -

Soak in vinegar overnight (in garage or outside!)
Rinse with water when you remove it (else the vinegar will keep acting and really rust the stuff)
Let dry
Remove accumulated rust by tumbling in a large bag with sand.
Oil if desired.

Gordon
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Robert W. Betten




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 6:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a little while in warm ferric chloride solution will do the trick in a fraction of the time...instant results.

for rust resist I've found when I heat blue the links they dont rust as quick...but this WILL wear and have to be redone.

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Alex Oster




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 10:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Fabert wrote:
This sounds like the same choice of products offered by Find-It Armory, another Texas outlet with modest prices. http://finditarmory.com/

Find-It offers a choice of sleeve lengths, from entirely sleeveless to full. I purchased one of theirs, apparently the heavier version, which hits me about mid forearm. My example, like Patrick's, has a couple of almost unnoticeable flaws - one missing link and one corroded ring that cleaned up with a wire brush. My guess is that both companies are using the same source in India. Prices are excellent and delivery time is short.


I just don't like the v-neck look on find-it's site. The Historic Enterprises links look great, and I love the wedge rivit compared to the round one, but as Patrick said, "good value for the money"

The pen is mightier than the sword, especially since it can get past security and be stabbed it into a jugular.
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Douglas S




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Clark wrote:
Sam Barris wrote:
How long would the soak have to be? I make maille using mostly 14 and 16 gauge galvanized, and would be happy to sacrifice a few links to test this theory.


This is what I remember - someone surely knows better -

Soak in vinegar overnight (in garage or outside!)
Rinse with water when you remove it (else the vinegar will keep acting and really rust the stuff)
Let dry
Remove accumulated rust by tumbling in a large bag with sand.
Oil if desired.

Gordon


Don't leave it in overnight, it shouldn't take more than an hour.


Rinse with HOT water; it'll dry faster that way.

I think that you may not be actually removing the zinc as much as oxidizing it, otherwise there would be much more residue...

The V-neck in the picture may be an artifact of the way it's hung rather than construction technique.
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Alex Oster




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Douglas S wrote:
The V-neck in the picture may be an artifact of the way it's hung rather than construction technique.


That could be, but if I had to choose presentation is everything... Cool and the pic from "Wholesalearmor.com" comes off cleaner... so they would, and may still, get my money, for I too have been eyeing that piece but was waiting for more feedback.

now with that ammo in hand Big Grin ...... time to justify Wink

The pen is mightier than the sword, especially since it can get past security and be stabbed it into a jugular.
This site would be better if everytime I clicked submit... I got to hear a whip crack!
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex,

The v-neck shape that you comment on is, in that picture at least, a result of the way the shirt is suspended. It is hanging off of what looks like a PVC pipe stand, and you will notice that the width of the v at the top is equal to the width of the stand. Because the stand holds the shoulders of the shirt at a fixed distance the rings are streched, not the individual rings, but the whole patern. below that, the weight of the rings and the shape of the stand allows for the rings to hang more closely together, thus giving the appearance of a much denser weave. If that shirt were displayed on a person, it there would be a much more consistant spacing in the rings, and thus no apparent v-neck. It would look like any other simple hauberk.

-Grey

P.S. Looking at the sleeves should give you a better feel for how the rings lie in that piece, as they are not affected by the stand.

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Alex Oster




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I guess I can see what your saying. I guess I didn't bother to look that close at it. I just sort of peeked and said well that dosent look right and moved on...
The pen is mightier than the sword, especially since it can get past security and be stabbed it into a jugular.
This site would be better if everytime I clicked submit... I got to hear a whip crack!
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Steve Fabert




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex Oster wrote:

I just don't like the v-neck look on find-it's site. The Historic Enterprises links look great, and I love the wedge rivit compared to the round one, but as Patrick said, "good value for the money"


The version I bought from Find-It has the same 'crew' neck as the other one Patrick bought, so the 'V' neck appearance in the website photos must be an optical illusion.
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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alexi Goranov wrote:
More pictures please.

I am amazed at the low price. I too have a sample of the wedge-rivet mail so I can relate to your comparison. What is the size of the hauberk? Chest, length, etc.

Alexi


Alexi,

I'll take some pics later tonight and e-mail them to you.

Chest: 50 inches
Length: 34 inches
Sleeve length: 12 inches

"I'd rather go upriver with 7 studs, than a 100 sh!theads." - COL Charlie Beckwith, founder SFODD
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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Folkert van Wijk wrote:
Hi Patrick.

you sed:
Quote:
The second point of the rivets was less a concern for me. They can be round or wedge shaped depending on your period of interest. Since I was looking for a maille shirt that would fit into several time periods I didn't find the round rivets objectionable.

What time period are whe talking about then??


Are you asking what period this maille would fall into?

Round rivets were found on maille from the roman period up through the viking age. The maille's 9mm inner diameter also puts it at the max limit for viking age maille.

"I'd rather go upriver with 7 studs, than a 100 sh!theads." - COL Charlie Beckwith, founder SFODD
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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gordon Clark wrote:
Patrick,
Have you thought of removing the zinc coating? I understand that a soak in vinegar will do this - has anyone done this to a galvanized shirt? If so what were the results?

Thanks for the info Patrick!

Gordon


Yes I have been thinking about it. However, I don't want to wind up with a shirt that has that nasty dull gray galvanized look to it. Has anyone done this. Observations?

"I'd rather go upriver with 7 studs, than a 100 sh!theads." - COL Charlie Beckwith, founder SFODD
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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex Oster wrote:
Douglas S wrote:
The V-neck in the picture may be an artifact of the way it's hung rather than construction technique.


That could be, but if I had to choose presentation is everything... Cool and the pic from "Wholesalearmor.com" comes off cleaner... so they would, and may still, get my money, for I too have been eyeing that piece but was waiting for more feedback.

now with that ammo in hand Big Grin ...... time to justify Wink


The shirt's neckline does follow that pattern. However, it isn't as severe as that. I agree that it must be the way the shirt is hung. When I'm wearing the shirt the neckline does have a much cleaner line to it. The neck opening is a tad large for my taste. Forth Armory sells loose brass rings. When they have some more in stock I'm considering buying some to fill in the neckline a bit as well as adding some trim.

"I'd rather go upriver with 7 studs, than a 100 sh!theads." - COL Charlie Beckwith, founder SFODD
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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay now I think I have a problem.

I've been soaking the shirt in vinegar for a couple of hours. Some rings are a very dark charcoal color while other don't seem to be affected at all. Quite frankly the thing looks like shit at this point. I knew I should have left well enough alone.

"I'd rather go upriver with 7 studs, than a 100 sh!theads." - COL Charlie Beckwith, founder SFODD
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Dec, 2004 6:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Okay now I think I have a problem.

I've been soaking the shirt in vinegar for a couple of hours. Some rings are a very dark charcoal color while other don't seem to be affected at all. Quite frankly the thing looks like shit at this point. I knew I should have left well enough alone.


Ungh. Sorry to hear that. I don't know why that would happen, but what might help to fix it is the sand in a barrel cleaning method. It may polish the rings enough that they become fairly even looking again.
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