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  • ChaosLight Makes Chainmail: Archives

    Chainmail is the ancient art of making flexible, resiliant, blade-proof armor that has literally twos of modern applications. Workers at meat plants often wear up to ten pounds of chainmail to protect against machinery and flying bone fragments. Butchers wear chainmail gloves to protect their meat-holding hands from the blades. Historical reenactors wear it because it's cool. And of course, inhabitants of the nightmarish dystopian future we will all someday face wear it to protect against axes, swords, and zombie bites.

    Regardless of what you intend to do with it, chainmail is composed of hundreds, even thousands, of identical, or nearly identical rings, woven together in a regular pattern and overlapping each other to form a metallic cloth. There are actually three different types of join that can be used. Riveted, welded, and butted. In riveted and welded mail, the rings are sealed closed by the method noted. Butted mail simply means the individual links are closed into a circle but are not sealed. This is less secure, but easier and far less time consuming, and it's what I'll be constructing.

    Butted mail begins with dozens of rings, all laid out like gap-mouthed peasants attending a sermon.

    The pattern I will be using is 4-in-1 mail. This means that each ring passes though 4 other rings.

    Here is the basic starting pattern. The ring in the center will pass through each of the outer four rings. Here they are unlinked...

    And linked

    To make a chainmail shirt, one must begin with the second-most difficult part: The collar. Essentially, what you want to end up with is the top of your chest- and back-pieces, as well as the tops of the sleeves. To do this, you need two roughly square pieces for the shoulders, and two long, thin pieces that will become the top of the chest piece.

    Here's the chest piece, laid out. Notice that any ring within the pattern passes through the four rings diagonally adjacent to it, creating rows or rings that lie roughly perpendicular to each other. there's a little give: the rings can be closed together or expanded.

    Notice also that the rings are lying what is going to wind up being left-to-right. This will allow the shirt to expand horizontally to allow for breathing. If the rings were laid out so they expand vertically, the chainshirt would constantly be at it's most expanded as the weight of the shirt opens the rings. The shirt would then not afford as good protection as it will when the rings lie horizontally.

    This is a blurry picture of the four template pieces laid out and ready to be linked together.

    To be continued.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: ChaosLight Makes Chainmail started by ChaosLight View original post
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. CL_Reborn's Avatar
      CL_Reborn -
      How come you never posted pics of the finished product?
    1. ChaosLight's Avatar
      ChaosLight -
      Quote Originally Posted by CL_Reborn View Post
      How come you never posted pics of the finished product?
      Because it's not really finished yet, but I've been on hiatus for a while doing some lesser commission works.
    1. CL_Reborn's Avatar
      CL_Reborn -
      okie doke. Dont forge to post when its done lol
    1. yöyo's Avatar
      yöyo -
      How much do you know about the usefulness of chainmail (like the one you're making) as armor? Would it prevent injury from a strong, direct sword swing? A lesser swing, perhaps at an angle? A stab, by a rapier or dagger? An arrow travelling at a typical arrow speed? Is it like a one-time thing where the mail would get damaged by a direct blow but it would save your life? What about a hit by a club or staff- would it distribute the force well enough so that you could keep on fighting, or would a strong enough hit still be able to break bones beneath it?

      You don't have to pick apart each question individually, I'm just trying to give you an idea of what I'm asking. Just want to know a little more about exactly how protective it is.

      Just preparing in case those goblins down the street get any ideas...
    1. ChaosLight's Avatar
      ChaosLight -
      Well, I'm making costume Maille. The rings are steel but not permanently closed, so a combat-strength stab would split the rings where it hit, but since I'm using steel it would probably slow down a knife, particularly a a large Bowie, enough to save some of your precious, precious giblets. It will, however, save you from slashing blows from an edged weapon, which I've tested. It will not save you from crushing blows. Traditionally, you would wear plate bits over areas likely to be hit by crushing weapons: breastplate, pauldrons, calf guards for cavalry.

      Armor quality Maille would be either riveted or welded, provide more protection against piercing blows from any weapon not specifically designed to get past armor. A combat rapier, for instance, might draw blood, but the diamond shape at the tip would get too wide too quickly to do any real damage. Anything thin enough to get through wouldn't stand up to combat, but there were daggers about the thickness of a small household or medium electronics screwdriver, that doesn't taper ouwards. Arrows are problematic for this reason: the force expended to push the arrowhead through the links is significant, but after that, the only thing resisting the arrow is organs.

      But it'll stand up to zombies.
    1. CL_Reborn's Avatar
      CL_Reborn -
      Quote Originally Posted by ChaosLight View Post
      Because it's not really finished yet, but I've been on hiatus for a while doing some lesser commission works.
      Like what and can we see?
    1. ChaosLight's Avatar
      ChaosLight -
      Quote Originally Posted by CL_Reborn View Post
      Like what and can we see?
      Yes. I'm having some trouble with uploads due to image size, but I'll try to do a dump and article by the end of Saturday.
    1. CL_Reborn's Avatar
      CL_Reborn -
      alrighty thanks