Butted mail shirt

My first butted mail shirt made out of spring wire. Rings have an inner diameter (ID) of 9mm.

Here I want to share some of my experiences and ideas concerning the making of mail armour. It is obvious, that building mail is a time-consuming hobby and at first sight it seems amazing how people possess the effort and patience which is necessary for such projects. However if you once have started, you begin to realize that the monotone work brings ease and comfort. It nearly seems to be some kind of meditation. You can enjoy the steady growth of the weave with the feeling to create something durable and without worrying about accidentally destroying it. If you have some amusement during working (conversations, music, TV) time flies fast. I started making butted mail with some wire from the hardware store. I coiled the wire on a thick nail and cut off rings using pliers, then pushed the ends of the ring towards each other to close it. The weave I gained form this method was not quite firm due to the soft wire. Thus rings easily began to reopen, when being pulled. If you want to make butted mail, spring steel is a much better choice, because it can resist a bigger pulling force until the rings will reopen. Most of the mail garments reconstructed for enthusiasts, are made this way. I did my first mail-shirt in the same manner.

Left: ring from spring wire with butted ends. right: ring from annealed soft iron wire, closed with a rivet.

Yet soft wire can also be used to create firm weave, which doesn’t reopen by riveting it. Therefore the ring ends are made overlapping and connected by a small rivet. This was the common way during thousands of years in history.



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