Amount of work

How long does it take to build a mail-shirt? If you ask someone, who actually did it, the answer you get might be: “It takes just as long as it needs!” To finish a shirt of mail you need to have patience and fun doing it. If you got this, time doesn’t matter much. Nevertheless I measured the time, to give you an idea about the dimensions:

Hauberk with hood, face cover and attached gloves from ringen with 6mm ID.

The time spend on one ring doesn’t depend much on the size of it, yet the time per area of weave does. To cover 10x10cm, I need 200 rings with an inner diamater of 8mm. That takes me 8 hours from the wire to the weave. To make a shirt with short sleeves, you may consequently need about 600 hours. A full hauberk with a hood, covering the whole arms and the legs to the knee would take 1100 hours. The garment shown in the following picture is such a hauberk. I build it out of rings with an inner diameter of 6mm. This ring size made me spend about 1000 hours just for riveting. Yet this just means two years of watching an average amount TV while making mail.
During production there is some waste. Thus I have to buy 5m of wire to make 100 rings with an inner diameter of 8mm instead of 3,6m, which would theoretically be enough. I assume, that medieval mail-makers had by far less waste, for wire was more valuable. Furthermore I think, they could do it up much faster, due to more experiance and practice. If there have been workshops, where the task were splitted to several persons (master, assistants and apprentices), they could easily accomplish orders in a few weeks.


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