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Richie Dagger

Looking for information on maille

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So, I've been tinkering with riveted mail off and on a while now. Through trial and error I've got somewhat of a system down. I fabricated a jig for coiling 14 gauge mild steel wire, then I use shears to cut the coils into 1/4" inner-diameter rings. I flatten the ends of the rings a bit, anneal them, punch the hole, then pein the rivet into place. Aside from a good press to punch out solid rings, so I'd only have to rivet the central link, I'm wondering what specialized tools I could be using to make the process more efficient and consistent. Really, I'm not even sure if the shape of my punch or the backing I use during the process is optimal. Is anyone aware of some specific reference material I could be using?
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Yes you should go over to armourarchive.org and ask what are the current good maille forums around.  As for specialized tools: the punching and setting pliers that used to be sold were great things.  (Completed my first mail shirt, butted, in 1981...)

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I have heard the book techniques of midieval armor reprodruction is supposed to be good. Before you spend the cash though, I haven't picked it up yet, and am looking to pick it up on interlibrary loan, or a birthday present one day, whichever comes first.

I played with maille a bit, started losing my mind a few bazillion rings in, so I didn't finish a shirt. Are you flattening both ends? The one in the pic looks like you're passing one rounded end through the flattened one.

Definitely specialized or modified pliers for punching and riveting.  I tried overlapping the ends a bit and flattening them with a jig that sort of resembled a piston in a chamber. Put rings in the bottom, hit the piston like a set tool, remove rings, repeat. 

A wedge rivet might be easier, and I would definitely consider larger rings, say around 1/2" or 5/16". At 1/4" you'll have a beautiful, fine weave that will take about a million years to complete. I read somewhere that it typically took 400 man hours to make and assemble a byrnie. I don't know, I didn't get that far, and I never finished the sweater I was knitting either.

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If @Nobody Special is correct that you ran one end through the other end than I think you would be better off bending it down the other way. That way it makes a little hook which will be a stronger connection. Other than that, I don't know what I'm talking about.

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On 1/7/2018 at 10:58 AM, Nobody Special said:

Are you flattening both ends? The one in the pic looks like you're passing one rounded end through the flattened one.

Yeah, flattening both ends, overlapping them, punching, then riveting with a wedge, flattened and cut from the same wire stock used for the rings. I don't have a proper macro lens for adequate detail.

On 1/7/2018 at 10:58 AM, Nobody Special said:

Definitely specialized or modified pliers for punching and riveting.  I tried overlapping the ends a bit and flattening them with a jig that sort of resembled a piston in a chamber. Put rings in the bottom, hit the piston like a set tool, remove rings, repeat.

Any place I could buy such pliers, or at least detailed specs, so they could be fabricated? I guess you'd have something like the jaws functioning as a top and bottom swage to get consistent results on the flattened ends, maybe a protrusion that does the punching, all in one go, then a second set where you'd have mirrored concave bits to compress and dome the rivets?

On 1/5/2018 at 11:15 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Yes you should go over to armourarchive.org

I'll have to bother some people there, when I can get around to it. That looks like a pretty good source for some other stuff either way.

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R.D.,

For a magnifying system that is worn, check out "optivisor" or an equivalent product. I got mine at woodcraft. It has a visor set-up and is adapted to receive a two lens magnifying unit, (means). The magnifier comes in various strengths. The highest magnification is ten. (diopter?)

It is not cheap because those lenses are made from optical glass and not plastic.

Alternatively, hardware stores sell a desktop lighting fixture that has a circular fluorescent bulb with a magnifying lens in the center. But I believe that it is only 2 or 2.5 diopter which may not be enough magnification. Beware of the junky 'Chinese' knock offs, they break quickly.

How do I know that?

Only my hairdresser knows for sure.

I hope that helps.

SLAG.

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I'm certainly not a maille expert, but Parker Brown's video about making riveted maille might be useful:

 

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