Sleeve joints on my hauberk
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Sleeve joints on my hauberk
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Posted on Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:37 am
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Hello all,

I started working on a maille hauberk in December, and a lot of it is finished. However, I'm thinking about reworking the sleeves. They're currently a little past my elbows, and I'm noticing that, because the arm holes with the chest have to be fairly large to accommodate my arms entering, the sleeves require a lot of rings.

This may be because my sleeves aren't at a 90 or 45 degree angle joint; they're just the same direction as the chest.

So, I've been thinking about taking the shirt apart and re-doing the sleeves. Is there any inherent advantage to doing this? I don't really care how it looks, but rather whether or not this would be worth my time; it looks like building 45 or 90 degree joints is more work, but I dont' know that they would be worth the trouble in terms of saving rings or getting better mobility; currently I have excellent range of motion.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

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Posted on Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:59 am
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if it works dont change it. your elbow will always be smaller than your sholder.

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Posted on Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:57 am
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If you intend long sleeves to your shirt, leave the stuff up at the shoulder just as it is; it is how they did it back when they wore mail for keeps, and long sleeves with that kind of hang -- your sleeve is an open hang sleeve, in contrast with the closed-hang body section -- are easier to tailor elbow pockets into for ease bending your arm. Vital for swordwork.

You will want, with a long sleeve or even a half sleeve if you want, to learn row contractions, which are rather messier to do than column contractions/additions. Row contractions will taper
the sleeve and lighten it, fitting you closer so that weighty mail does not flap about.

Which consideration is one reason a lot of shirts were short sleeved; less weight and arm trouble all round.

However, that's a nonstarter if you are constructing a 13th century style hauberk: knee length split skirts with added gores to close the infamous "slit gap" that is inauthentic and a decided chink in your armour, long sleeves plus integral mitts for your hands, and an integral coif. I invariably say that in that time, the aristocratic warrior was protected from kneecaps to bald spot in one single piece of harness, a record not equaled before or since. Must've been fairly fast to get him armored up if you dispensed with his mail chausses in your hurry; complete plate armor took a good while to put on and only rather less to take off again.


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Posted on Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:55 am
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" knee length split skirts with added gores to close the infamous "slit gap" that is inauthentic and a decided chink in your armour,"

Given the size and weight of gores large enough to close the gap and how much mass they add to the long falls which already have a serious 'flailing about' problem if the wearer has to run, I suspect that they may have found a more practical solution. Unfortunately, there is almost no surviving unmodified mail from the 13th century and the graphic evidence is not real clear but it does seem to suggest that there may have been a liner attached to the inside of the mail. If it was stiff enough it might be able to hold the split shut without gores and reduce the 'flailing" as well.


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Posted on Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:32 am
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Weight, to be sure. Not quite the big problem, given this is mounted men's gear. Weight not huge, not for the expansion triangles to make the needed gores, since the wire will approximate .048" diameter (18ga SWG). Unlikely in that time period to be as hefty as .063" -- not impossible, but unlikely, except for special purpose uses.

Now look at period art. Over and over, there's never anything shown but a slit in the hauberk skirts -- too much so to get me thinking of artistic conventions. You occasionally see a bit of flapping depicted, but no inverted-V gap such as you have to get if you don't put gores in. For reason of weight and to help do a good job of keeping the skirts on the legs when in the saddle, I'd figure the skirts are not a full flat circle, but are conical when extended to their full stretch.

I suspect that in the day, the hauberk wearers minimized their running about afoot. They may have left that to the kids of the infanterie that were armored in shortish quilted jacks, if armored at all on the torso.

What period art shows us is never the inverted-V gap seen in nearly every shot of modern guy reenactors etc. seen on the internet. There has to be a reason.

What to do about the inertial flailing otherwise? I figure that's the reason full hauberks never come down past the top of the kneecap. It's very uniform. You mention liners, but I really just can't swear to liners, and too, there's still all that unlined mail shown over and over in period artwork. Inner side or outside, the mail has the same texture and appearance -- notably so in the "banded" style of depiction. This seems evidentiary.

When twelfth- and thirteenth-century nobles wanted armored legs, they used closefitting, no-slap mail chausses, later with some bits extra strapped on (not forgetting rigid knees of metal or cuirbouilli incorporated) until about the third decade of the fourteenth and the advent of articulated plate legharness of the simpler sort. And also not forgetting the rigid/metal/cuir/gamboised cuisses with rigid but not articulated kneecops laced to their bottom ends so as to flex with the knee.

Some decades later, commonfolk infantry were racking up kills on knights with better poleweapons, specifically early models of halberd. The knights had to up their defensive gear to survive more effective infantry.

That pretty much no 13th-c. original mail survives seems to me less a tragedy of history than a reflection of the shelf life of steel mail. Pieces of mail pick up a lot in the 14th century, and the younger the more complete, which suggests a shelf life, in the race between corrosion and cleaning/polishing, of about six hundred years in ordinary cases.


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Posted on Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:50 am
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Hey thanks for the input.

I'm assuming row contractions would remove rows to make the sleeves more narrow? It sounds like that would be a bad idea if I want to elbow open for swordwork, though; how do I balance those exactly?

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Posted on Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:08 am
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Okay, so looked into contraction using hole row contraction; looks like a useful thing to do.

Currently my alternative rows of rings are 42 rings each ie.

O-O-O-O x 42
-O-O-O- x 42

all around

I'm thinking pulling that down then to like 30 around? good? bad? 42 is giving me a TON of room (rings are 5/16" ID)

I'm also thinking about starting the contractions fairly high up, maye a few inches down from the armpit. Again, good? bad?

thank you very much for your input.

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Posted on Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:06 am
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I'd want to know if you're doing long sleeve or short, for the sake of the Big Picture, so's not to wander astray into something that isn't relevant to your current shirt.

A long sleeve, row-contracted as desired to taper it down, is going to end up shaped a lot like a sock with a heel to it. That's where your elbow goes, and is a zone/array of column expansions. To be precise, two such arrays meeting in the middle, over the bump of your elbow joint. You could with equal justice speak of it as an expansion array and a contraction array, by the time you've looked at it from one side of your elbow area to the other, medial to distal.

Apart from this pocket for your elbow, which will cause your mail sleeve to take a distinct bend in the middle like you'd see if you held a sock up by its cuff and let it hang down, your sleeve can overall have an even taper from shoulder to wrist. Note too that your arm's elbow does not bend both ways; only one; you tailor your mail to accommodate just that, making the pocket or bay. Also, a fairly easy fit round your shoulder area will give you easy arm mobility. About your forearm, fit much closer. Elbow has its pocket so you don't cut off your circulation when you bend your arm. If in any part of your arm's movements, you find yourself being pinched or suddenly very burdened (from trying to pull a significant part of the shirt's weight along with your arm in that part of its motion) this is a sign that there needs some reworking, such as inserting some more mail in there to give enough slack that you're not pulling on a lot of the shirt any more. A helper's eyes may be good to spot what's going on. At worst, a mirror.

This was a problem with Bladeturner-shouldered shirts, that you had trouble raising your arms above horizontal. There weren't enough linkrows of mail at the armpits, so beyond a certain angle, your arms were suddenly pulling on one whole side of the shirt. Make sure you avoid that; your shirt ought to have linkrows well up into your armpits, and the armpit part of the sleeve itself likewise high up in there. You are after all making what amounts to a 2-D steel chain; when that runs out of slack it tightens *right now.* Mail only pretends to be elastic, and only in one direction at that (the closed-hang direction). The pretense is from the interaction of closed-hang, your personal contours, and gravity. Gravity is what keeps closed hang closed.

5/16" is slightly on the large side of average ID; it is appreciable. 1/4" ID would be the other side. Neither is out of line for nice, close-knit, historical mail.

What you will be trying to end up with in a long sleeve is just about enough circumference to pass your hand through the cuff (if mailshirts had cuffs). In a short- or half-sleeve shirt, this isn't nearly as important. You may have elbow-armor reasons to leave the sleeve wide. Or else you may taper that sleeve some to take some weight off. Keeping weight off the wrist end of the sleeve by tapering until it is a comfortable close fit to your forearm and whatever else you may have in there with it allows fast, brisk sword movement. You've noticed that loose mail and the inertia of a fabric of steel really, really slops around, is very heavy, and is like to pull you out of control. Not good. So fit 'er close but comfy.

There was a time in about the middle decades of the 14th century, say 1345-1365, when you saw a 5/8 sleeve down to just a little below the elbow, fairly close fitted but with a slit in the end of the sleeve about 7-10 linkrows deep, to ease things. Things being the hard armour on the elbow joint, which combined with hard vambraces down to early-model plate gauntlets. The arm plate stuff probably hung from ties either from the point of the shoulder or fitted strongly into an arming-coat (itself hanging from the shoulders) worn beneath the mail and torso armor for the purpose of supporting laces, or points, to tie metal plate armor into place. Points, or laces, hold armor plates up, and straps and buckles hold armor plates in or on. Steel armor is dense enough you need to utilize your body's shelves (shoulders) or its narrowest parts (waist, neck, top of calf muscles) to ensure armor stays up where you need it. Shoulders and waistline do a huge amount of this work; calves only some, holding up your greaves. Sollerets on your feet tie directly to shoes beneath them. All this is kind of fussy to get adjusted right, and it *does* take an appreciable time to suit up in the stuff. But by golly, are you ever one hardshelled lobster by the time you're done! So well protected in fact that armored knights pretty much quit using shields for war, mostly keeping these for aristocratic sporting goods.

You go schlepping armor plate, be prepared to think of tailoring a formfitting vestlike garment, or a complete oldfashioned doublet, to hang your body armor off of either directly or indirectly -- everything but greaves, sollerets, and helmet. It will be sturdy, like of light canvas or most especially best of the heaviest linen you can find and multiple layers of that (and silk is not crazy) and fitted snug to your belly all round and somewhat easier up at chest and shoulders, and will fasten closed with lacing like a laced up boot, for comfort and not getting snagged on anything (so no Michael Jackson-esque buckles all up and down), and for great strength even there. Armored sword fighting can pop buttons off in a big way just from the strain it puts on things.


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