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Question - Riveted
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Posted on Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:02 pm || Last edited by Pheral on Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Hello!

It's been a while since I've made any maille, but I'm thinking about starting up again.

I'm planning to make a riveted coif since my last one turned out pretty well, though it was butted and made of plain polished steel (not galvanized).

I was wondering if these specs would work for a riveted piece, and would I need to consider taking extra steps if working with this material:

16ga Rebar wire - I believe rebar wire is soft-annealed, which is one of my main concerns. If it's 16ga and riveted, will it hold up well? I would like to use the rebar wire because it is cheap, easy to acquire, and not galvanized.

3/8 in ID before flattening

Thanks! Uber

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Posted on Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:20 pm
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Update:

Whoops! I said earlier that the wire is 14 gauge. I went and double-checked because that didn't seem right. It's 16 gauge.

The rings seem to be quite sturdy, and the ID and gauge look like they will work well for this project.

My issue now is finding a good tool for flattening the rings. This isn't a huge concern as I can do it by hammer, it just takes a bit longer. I've seen some setups that look like they work well, but I can't find similar tools anywhere, and I can't make them. I might just have a local blacksmith make it for me.

The most pressing issue for me at the moment is funding a good way to punch the rivet holes. I read an earlier thread that mentioned using masonry nails. I may give that a shot, but I imagine I would go through quite a few, thus adding to the project's cost. I would rather not cut the holes because I don't want to lose material from the rings. All other ideas are welcome!

Also, if I do end up using masonry nails, what is a good surface on which to punch? Would a piece of wood work alright, or is wood too soft for such a thing?

Thanks!

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Posted on Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:26 pm
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Well, I think I pretty much have things figured out.

I'll be using 16ga rebar tie (annealed steel) in 3/8in ID.

Will flatten by hand with a hammer and anvil. I may look into another, more efficient device at a later point.

I bought a punch tool, but I don't know how effective it will be in the long-term. I'll probably try it out for a bit, but my plan is to be a drill press and just drill the holes. This will be quicker, and drill bits will probably hold up pretty well. I realize that it is not ideal to drill the holes in place of punching because you lose material, but I'm not too concerned about that for the moment.

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Posted on Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:36 pm
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TRL used to have riveting tools. You might contact them and see if they have any lying around, or what they'd charge to make some up.


Art and Science are husband and wife. Without Science, Art is formless. Without Art, Science is pointless. Science is the essence of Art. Art is Science applied.

Maille Code V1.0 T4.8 R4.3 Fhp41 MFe.s$ W$c Cesw$ G2.05/0.5 I9.5/1.5 Pj Dcdj S04

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Posted on Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:58 pm
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Awesome, I'll do that! Thanks Smile

So, I'm back to having questions again. Confused

I realized that the rings I had made a long time ago were 14 gauge, made from rebar tie. For some reason I have a ton of 16 gauge rebar tie lying around though...

Anyway, I like the 14 gauge more, so I plan to order a bunch of it.

It's nice that it's soft because it makes it very workable. However, I saw in the description before ordering some that it said "Dead soft".

My question is: Will this be an issue for the armor, even if it is flattened and riveted and in 14 ga?

I wouldn't mind tempering it, but I've never done that before.

Would I need to temper the rings after punching, after riveting, or wait until I have a sheet of maille made, or can I temper when the piece is completely finished?

I wouldn't be too concerned about it, but if I'm going to make a bunch of pieces of riveted (like I plan to), I want them to be as high quality as I can make them.

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Posted on Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:33 am
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I'm that masonry nails guy.

Something like the end grain of a block of hardwood may do for supporting links to drift holes into them. A small plastic cutting board or other thick chunk of plastic. Many trust some sort of metal backer-up with a suitable small hole in it for the point of the drift to go. With attention paid to aligning your drift, a slot cut with a dremel grinder wheel can answer your need.

You may be able to rig an arbor press to do this drifting. I don't know what size/tonnage press you need, though I don't think it would be anything large.

Dead soft is just what you want. 16ga suits link ID as small as 5/16", though by then it's getting on for being strong, and heavy, "double mail" -- weighty stuff for special uses. 14ga is really going to be a nuisance, Erik D. Schmid tells me. Difficult to flatten enough to make the piercing easy or even possible. He told me wire heavier gauge than 18 SWG/.048" was a PITA. He's done kind of a lot of this stuff, and he knows.

From some hammer bashes I've been doing it looks like if I'm making 16ga links to be very extensively flattened, making all the wire pretty roughly a ribbon-section, I have this added percentage of the total area covered in metal. This seems to have been done historically, at least from time to time. You may proceed to pierce your flattened overlaps from there.

Since that dead-soft wire is not music wire, it won't have the carbon in it to respond to heat treatment; it's wire of mild steel. It will harden a little bit from workhardening. That's all you can expect, unless and until you decide to pack the mail piece and lots of carbon source (say, powdered pea coal) into a tight steel container and then bake the whole package at red heat for four to five hours, keeping oxygen out and hence case hardening the mail. Can be done, something of a PITA to get right, as that box has to be air tight to guarantee the desired result. Heat-treatable steel has from 0.4% carbon in it, on up to around one percent.

(Thulsa Doom never told Conan the Barbarian what he might have found as the answer to the Riddle of Steel: "Damnedest thing! Soot!")

Frankly, while some hardness* is great, you get more armor function if your mail, like the wire it's made of, is tough rather than very hard. The mail protects you best by hanging together and not snapping. You'd need to start by buying spring wire, annealed to dead soft. Simply forming spring wire into links and hammer flattening it would harden this higher-carbon and more expensive wire moderately without even heat treating it.

*Wanna be technical? I'd put the desired hardness about 30-35 on the Rockwell C scale. Rather springy, plenty bendy too.


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

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Posted on Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:25 pm
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Thanks for the reply! Lots of great information, indeed. It's good to know I don't need to do the heat treatment. Makes things a little less complicated.

I now have enough 14 gauge to make 3-4 hauberks, so hopefully it won't be a huge problem. I've already tested flattening the rings and such, and it hasn't been too bad, and I really do love how they look. I'm going to try to pierce some of the rings tomorrow with the tool I bought. If that goes well, I think we're in business!

For punching holes, I saw in a video a guy who took a hexnut and drilled a hole in the end then rested it in the tool space of the anvil. That seemed to work really well for him, so I might give that a shot.

Also, I contacted TRL. They don't sell the pliers anymore, but they said they were more than happy to make a pair for me. Very Happy

I'll let you know how it goes with the 14 ga.

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Posted on Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:27 pm
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I have another question, fairly simple:

When riveting, is it more correct / ideal to press the rivet into a little bump on one side (I see this most often)? Or is it alright for the rivet to be flat on both sides of the ring?

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Posted on Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:36 am || Last edited by Konstantin the Red on Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Little bump seems the more accurate. The bump can be slight indeed, I think, but apparently a pretty big/deep rivet head is wanted.

This may be because there is really not a great quantity of metal in there; this is quite fine work as rivet joints go. So it seems good strategy to err a bit on the generous side with your rivet head.

The gumdrop-like bumps should all be on one side of the mail fabric -- the outside. Less wear on the gambeson beneath.

A good tool for the work of upsetting those rivets may be the cup-point nailset for finishing nails. These come in sizes ranging from pretty small to dang small.

Round rivets were found in all eras, and strange modifications of rivet shapes are seen with early mail -- one shape amounts to a wedgelike shape with a neck to it, reminiscent of a whisk broom. Wedge rivets, looking like fine-scale models -- maybe 1/48 scale -- of slices of pizza, go into slots vice round holes. The wide end of the wedge snugs flush into the slot, and the point is what gets made into the gumdrop-like head.


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Posted on Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:08 am
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Ahh, that's good info indeed!

Are there any good sources available for historically accurate weaving patterns? Since I'm going to be doing riveted and welding, which is going to take a significant amount of time, I would like to not look back at these earlier projects and regret doing something one way instead of another.

Have you heard of anyone using the resistance welder sold by TRL? I'm thinking about purchasing one. My main concern is welding links when most of a piece is assembled, especially using smaller links like 1/4.

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Posted on Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:10 am
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Pheral wrote:
My main concern is welding links when most of a piece is assembled, especially using smaller links like 1/4.


Is there a reason you can't weld (half of) them beforehand? If you're doing European 4 in 1, half the rings can be pre-closed, and you could weld those ones before doing the weaving.


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Posted on Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:15 pm
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Yes, absolutely. I plan to preclose most rings then preclose the 4-1s. However, once I have sheets going and the space lessens, like if I'm attaching one piece to another or repairing a broken link, things like that, it's going to be tough to maneuver. Was just wondering if anyone has experience with this so that I know what I'm getting into beforehand. I supposed I could solder the rings I can't get to with the welder, or something of the sort.

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Posted on Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:58 pm
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Don't miss the spendy solution to the problem: order spacer rings from a washer manufacturer. Same machinery, different relative sizes of punch, from sheets of whatever thickness you specify. I recommend such spacer rings be punched from sheet perceptibly thinner than the wire you make your riveted links from. In the same thickness, the corners of the spacer rings tend to obtrude, looking non-genuine and industrial. See, your wire links are going to show edges that are more or less rounded, like O____O, but the spacer rings are like [_____]. Gotta try and pull those square corners back in.

Whenever it is you want to undertake this. The end result was historically known as
demi-clouée -- half nailed. Whenever, that is, they noted the fact.

When we speak of "weaving patterns," this usually means "weaves" themselves-- not usually the recipe for assembling a shirt of mail, such as Butted Mail: A Mailmakers' Guide. For Europe, the weaves are E4-1 and E6-1. Japan dreamed up more, and apparently did not rivet, but engaged in exotica like links of double or multiple turns. China may never have used it.

There is no difference at all space-wise between casting links onto the edge of a mailpatch and zipping two mailpatches together. All you have to keep track of is how the links you are joining are angling. If your two mailpatches have their edge links leaning apart like \ . /, you must insert two rows of links to get them to play nice. It's easier when you have the two edges doing / / -- both leaning the same. Then a single row of links zips them together: /\/. You can push the fabric of either mailpatch a bit out of the way as you work.

Solder, no. Not for steel; it is not a structural help, and not what you need here. Didn't appear in history either. If you are making your mail fabric of sterling silver, *then* solder it with hard silver solder, because this precious metal is quite soft and will need all the help it can possibly get. Steel wire is quite a different beast. Even in ancient days, they'd punch integral and solid links out of sheet. That seems to be how they made theta-link mail: punched from sheet.

The Mail Research Society has, I think, shown that a link coiled from wire and then welded is invariably a modern method. Even experiments with fusion welding/forge welding have shown the following: yes, it is possible, and your fluxing has to be good and you have to work very fast. Oxyacetylene with a jewelers' tip on the torch is fine enough to do this work. Electrical resistance welding of several different kinds gives effective but different-looking results -- typically being a "bracelet on a hula hoop" appearance. It's enough to suggest to you a spotwelding technique applied upon a link overlap; the weld spot will look like a crater and not like a rivet head, but still will be very strong. It can be made to work; it involves getting both a spotwelder and to control its delivered power with a Variac.

In sum, you can get there but you spend money.


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Posted on Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:44 pm
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As always, your reply is very informative! Thank you! Smile

I received an email back from TRL regarding their welders, and I am pleased with their answers.

Because I intend to make a lot of maille (of all sorts) over a long period of time, I'm going to invest in both the jewelry welder (for really small, fine maille of 18 gauge and small ID, probably more for modern garments than anything else) and the resistance welder for 14 gauge and 16 gauge. I'm also going to buy a tumbler to remove any residual grease/contaminants after cutting coils and to clean up the rings nicely after welding / hammering.

It will cost a pretty penny for this equipment, but I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and it should all last me many years--I hope.

As for the washers, it's a great idea, but after the initial costs (equipment) I'm going to try to be pretty self-sufficient except wire purchases. Instead of washers, I'll probably hammer-flatten rings then weld them. TRL said that the resistance welder will work just fine on flattened rings. And I'll have a choice of doing all welded or partially welded/partially riveted, or all riveted.

Really hoping that with this setup I'll be able to make lots of cool stuff for many years Smile

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Posted on Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:04 pm
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As far as historic maille, my main concern is doing the actual structure of each piece correctly, or very close to it. I'm much less concerned with the way the rings are closed, as long as they're strong so that the piece will last. I'll probably do a lot of riveted because it's strong (or a mix of riveted / welding), but I would much prefer doing welds over butted. It would be nice if the resistance welds looked clean, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make as the jeweler's welder (for 16gauge and 14 gauge) would require 3, 4, or more welds per ring. I may try this out some on the 16 gauge, but I'm probably just going to use the resistance welder for the 14 gauge.

I'll definitely let you know how it goes once I get these toys set up, and I'll take some pictures of the results with different gauges, IDs, and such.

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