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A Basic Overview of Metals - For Beginners
Article © MAIL User: tlblumberg

There are many kinds of metals used in the production of chainmaille, and some metals are used for specific purposes in chainmaille. This article will go over the basic spectrum of metals, both for armor and jewelry, I won't get into the different kinds of metal X or the alloys of metal Y, or anything like that, but should there be important differences between the types/alloys, I will describe them.

Galvanized steel, aka galvy, is a good metal for armor weaves, as it is relatively strong, rather cheap, and it doesn't rust as easily as other metals. I've worked with it, and compared to stainless steel, it's somewhat soft. Galvanized steel is only mild steel with a zinc coating to prevent corrosion, but galvanized steel can corrode if the zinc coating is worn down. Galvanized steel is the metal you'd want to use if you were on a tight budget, and can be used for armor/jewelry weaves. (Ed. note: Galvy for jewelry? Ugh.)
WARNING: DO NOT try to heat galvanized steel, you run the risk of taking off the zinc coating, which at high temperatures, forms a bad chemical called zinc oxide (Zn2O), which is bad for breathing in. If you do heat galvanized steel, wear a respirator.

Stainless steel, aka stainless, is a well-known metal, even beyond the world of chainmaille and metallurgy, it's strong, very corrosion resistant, can easily be shined/polished, and colored. It is more expensive than galvanized steel, but in my opinion, is far more worth it. I use stainless steel a LOT, and it's my favorite metal. Stainless steel is good for most armor and jewelry, but the weight can make it unappealing to some people (i.e., heavy earrings can pull on the ear).
It is safe to heat stainless steel, but with enough heat, it will change color, an article is listed below:
I don't claim to own or have written this article, I just put it in here for teaching purposes

Aluminum is a soft metal, I will cover 3 basic types of aluminum, as there are important differences between the three types, which are:

Regular aluminum is relatively cheap, has a lack of luster and strength. It can be used for jewelry; I wouldn't recommend making an armor weave with it, unless you want the armor to have no real strength.

Bright aluminum is costs more than regular aluminum, and has a nice shine. It can be used for non-combat grade armor weaves, but won't stand up to a blow from a sword or axe.

Anodized aluminum is a metal known for its color spectrum. The only difference between this and regular aluminum is a process that puts on a colorful layer on the aluminum, making very useful for inlays, colored jewelry, etc. It is rather expensive, and not very strong.

A note about all aluminums: they are about 1/3 the weight of steel, rather soft, and have a low melting point. If you take even a small zippo lighter to some aluminum, it won't take long to melt. (Ed. note: MAIL takes no responsibility for any injuries sustained while testing this)

Precious Metals

Gold in its elemental state, like many metals, is soft. There are many varieties of gold, and it is (obviously) worth its weight in gold. Useful for jewelry, and types are useful for armor (golden hauberk would be awesome), but, again, EXPENSIVE. It is generally heavy, more so than stainless in some cases.

Silver can be found in many varieties; again, expensive and rather heavy. Like gold, it can be used for jewelry. I wouldn't recommend it for armor purposes.

In its elemental state Titanium is, like gold, soft. But when combined with other metals, Titanium becomes a lightweight, VERY strong metal; even if it is somewhat brittle. Sometimes called the metal of the gods, these amazing qualities come at a price - literally. Titanium is (compared to steel) expensive, but still, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Titanium can be used for both armor and jewelry, its light weight being very beneficial. Titanium can, like aluminum, be anodized, but the colors that result will be different, providing another useful quality.

There, that wasn't all too bad, right? I hope this article helps you make an informed decision about what metals you are going to use.
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