Butted Mail Usable Lifespan? Also Soldering Questions
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Butted Mail Usable Lifespan? Also Soldering Questions
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Posted on Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:34 pm
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Hi, I'm fairly new to making chainmail (about a month), and I was wondering how long a shirt out of butted mail will generally last under light to moderate use.

I don't like the idea of something I will be spending this much time on promptly falling apart after I wear it for a bit, so I was wondering if this is a problem or not. I'm sure there is not an easy answer to this question, as there are countless variables, so I will try my best to provide as much information as possible. The wire I use is 14 gauge galvanized steel wire, and the inner diameter of the rings is 3/8". The cut I get with my cutting method is slightly beveled, but I would consider it fairly good.(I'm just guessing here though) The weaves I will be using are European 4-in-1 and 6-in-1, if that makes any difference.

I'm not going for extreme stab resistance or anything, so breaking strength is my my concern as much as longevity. If this is an issue with butted mail, would I be able to solder the rings shut with lead-free solder? I know welding galvanized steel produces zing fumes, and I don't have a welder anyways, but is a soldering iron hot enough to produce fumes? At what temperature do the fumes become a problem? I have also considered riveting, but that seems like rather a lot of work, and I'm not really a fan of the way it looks either.

Thanks!

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Posted on Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:02 am
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i get you. the only way butted rings are coming apart is if you use a soft heavy metal. in this scenario the weight of the shirt will pull apart the rings over time. other than that, you would need some kind of blunt force or stabbing to open rings. casual wear would not open the rings. the most ideal armor is light and strong, so think titanium. second choice would be stainless steel i think. welding is the preferred way to keep the rings closed. soldering will not hold up to much.



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Posted on Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:30 pm
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mithrilweaver wrote:
i get you. the only way butted rings are coming apart is if you use a soft heavy metal. in this scenario the weight of the shirt will pull apart the rings over time. other than that, you would need some kind of blunt force or stabbing to open rings. casual wear would not open the rings. the most ideal armor is light and strong, so think titanium. second choice would be stainless steel i think. welding is the preferred way to keep the rings closed. soldering will not hold up to much.


Thanks! I think the wire I use is a pretty hard temper, but I don't know for sure. Would 6-in-1 be significantly more resistant to coming open than 4-in-1 would be? If so, I will make use of it more than if it doesn't make a noticeable difference.

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Posted on Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:41 pm
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Chelonian wrote:
mithrilweaver wrote:
i get you. the only way butted rings are coming apart is if you use a soft heavy metal. in this scenario the weight of the shirt will pull apart the rings over time. other than that, you would need some kind of blunt force or stabbing to open rings. casual wear would not open the rings. the most ideal armor is light and strong, so think titanium. second choice would be stainless steel i think. welding is the preferred way to keep the rings closed. soldering will not hold up to much.


Thanks! I think the wire I use is a pretty hard temper, but I don't know for sure. Would 6-in-1 be significantly more resistant to coming open than 4-in-1 would be? If so, I will make use of it more than if it doesn't make a noticeable difference.


Per ring, no. Per cm^2, yes.


Total Nerd: MScDS, Mailler, Gamer.

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Posted on Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:40 am
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Chelonian wrote:
mithrilweaver wrote:
i get you. the only way butted rings are coming apart is if you use a soft heavy metal. in this scenario the weight of the shirt will pull apart the rings over time. other than that, you would need some kind of blunt force or stabbing to open rings. casual wear would not open the rings. the most ideal armor is light and strong, so think titanium. second choice would be stainless steel i think. welding is the preferred way to keep the rings closed. soldering will not hold up to much.


Thanks! I think the wire I use is a pretty hard temper, but I don't know for sure. Would 6-in-1 be significantly more resistant to coming open than 4-in-1 would be? If so, I will make use of it more than if it doesn't make a noticeable difference.


i think you would be fine with e6. lower ar rings = stronger armor. so, e4 is stronger when lower ar rings are used.



Joined: April 30, 2018
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Re: Butted Mail Usable Lifespan? Also Soldering Questions
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Posted on Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:58 pm
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Chelonian wrote:
Hi, I'm fairly new to making chainmail (about a month), and I was wondering how long a shirt out of butted mail will generally last under light to moderate use. ... I'm not going for extreme stab resistance or anything, so breaking strength is my my concern as much as longevity.


I'm not an armorer (yet), so I can't bring anything meaningful to the conversation -- but I am very interested in the answers. So I have some questions: could you clarify what you mean by "light to moderate use"? What are you going to use the shirt for? Are people going to be whacking on you? If so, with what? How long do you intend to be using it at a time?

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Re: Butted Mail Usable Lifespan? Also Soldering Questions
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Posted on Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:07 pm
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Jackalgirl wrote:
Chelonian wrote:
Hi, I'm fairly new to making chainmail (about a month), and I was wondering how long a shirt out of butted mail will generally last under light to moderate use. ... I'm not going for extreme stab resistance or anything, so breaking strength is my my concern as much as longevity.


I'm not an armorer (yet), so I can't bring anything meaningful to the conversation -- but I am very interested in the answers. So I have some questions: could you clarify what you mean by "light to moderate use"? What are you going to use the shirt for? Are people going to be whacking on you? If so, with what? How long do you intend to be using it at a time?


I'm not entirely sure what I will be using it for, possibly just as passive exercise. At this point I'm just enjoying making it, and will decide what it is I will use it for when I finish it.
Quote:
Are people going to be whacking on you? If so, with what?
I hope not? Very Happy

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Re: Butted Mail Usable Lifespan? Also Soldering Questions
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Posted on Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:44 pm
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Chelonian wrote:

I'm not entirely sure what I will be using it for, possibly just as passive exercise.


Got it - so your vision for it -- for now -- is to run around wearing it, but not necessarily to engage in any kind of combat. It sounds to me like it doesn't really need to be welded unless you're using weak wire, but that you want saw-cut rings so that you can butt them together very cleanly. Don't take my word for it, though: I'm a newb! : )

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Re: Butted Mail Usable Lifespan? Also Soldering Questions
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Posted on Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:59 pm
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Jackalgirl wrote:
Chelonian wrote:

I'm not entirely sure what I will be using it for, possibly just as passive exercise.


Got it - so your vision for it -- for now -- is to run around wearing it, but not necessarily to engage in any kind of combat. It sounds to me like it doesn't really need to be welded unless you're using weak wire, but that you want saw-cut rings so that you can butt them together very cleanly. Don't take my word for it, though: I'm a newb! : )


Yeah, I guess that's why I'm thinking about soldering it - the cut I get with the hoof nipper style cutters I have is not perfect. It's better than the bolt cutters I have, but certainly not as good as a saw would be. I'm thinking that the solder would fill that gap nicely, even if it does not add a significant amount of tensile strength to the rings. I also tried using a Dremel with a cut-off wheel to cut the rings, but it was so slow that I'm pretty sure I can solder faster than it can cut.

A quick question I thought of for anyone who knows: would I be able to use a propane torch to solder, or would that get too hot and vaporize the zinc coating?

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Re: Butted Mail Usable Lifespan? Also Soldering Questions
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Posted on Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:37 am
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Chelonian wrote:
A quick question I thought of for anyone who knows: would I be able to use a propane torch to solder, or would that get too hot and vaporize the zinc coating?


The salt in sweat will adversely affect the zinc coating and I find it particularly smelly. Prolonged exposure of zinc on skin can also cause some allergic reactions.

If you want some specifics on the temperature stuff...
Propane torches burns around 2000C.
Zinc will vaporize into an oxide around 900C.
Read more about metal fume fever. Getting knocked unconscious while operating a torch is generally not very safe.

From a mailling perspective, you most definitely won't need to solder it. Unless you have dead soft steel, it should hold together pretty well for a shirt. If you're not sure, you can guess that it is probably dead soft if the metal seems to bend far too easily than you would have expected (without using pliers). Taking a flame to it will anneal it (make it softer).

...
If you couldn't tell, I'm not a fan of galvy. Plenty of others have made shirts with it, so take my notes with a grain of salt.


while(!project.isFinished())
project.addRing();
// Maille Code V2.0 T7.1 R5.6 Eo.n Fper MFe.s Wsm Caws G0.8-1.6 I2.4-8.0 Pn Dcdejst Xw1 S07

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Posted on Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:02 am
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Chelonian wrote:
mithrilweaver wrote:
i get you. the only way butted rings are coming apart is if you use a soft heavy metal. in this scenario the weight of the shirt will pull apart the rings over time. other than that, you would need some kind of blunt force or stabbing to open rings. casual wear would not open the rings. the most ideal armor is light and strong, so think titanium. second choice would be stainless steel i think. welding is the preferred way to keep the rings closed. soldering will not hold up to much.


Thanks! I think the wire I use is a pretty hard temper, but I don't know for sure. Would 6-in-1 be significantly more resistant to coming open than 4-in-1 would be? If so, I will make use of it more than if it doesn't make a noticeable difference.


Not in butted. E6-1, at twice E4-1's weight (about half again as much material, plus a steeper link-lie so even more links are needed to cover a given area) stacks up mighty fast in the exhaustion department. That said, 6-1 is way cool in small-area specialized use like armoring very exposed or very vital spots like your neck, perhaps the much exposed points of your shoulders. Otherwise, pretty keen around the neckhole of a shirt or even to make a shirt collar of. Or a mail hatband.

14ga steel anything is going to be durable even in heavy use, like the SCA uses it, whacking it with sticks. Butted mail is fairly resistant to stick whacks, but it is not immortal and once or twice a season you'll be repairing holes before they get bigger.

Soldering your wire links shut only works with silver wire, for jewelry pieces -- silver needs all the help it can get anyway. You use silver solder, probably either medium or hard grade. These melt at different temperatures, which is useful for multistep silver jewelry making.

Soldering steel is not a structural way to go. You want to rivet -- several more tools, all small and simple, plus you're mostly working cold except for the annealing -- you will also use different wire. Easiest different wire to get hold of is "black annealed tie wire," a/k/a baling wire. It comes to you about as soft as lead, and will produce a rather heavy riveted mail when all is said and done because the wire is invariably 16ga, .063" dia, and general-purpose armor riveted mail is often .050" or near that. Mail of .063 wire would be extremely strong. Takes an axe to get through it reliably.

Welding mail links works also, but takes specialized gear and some hundreds of bucks in capital investment. That's a lot to spend unless you are absolutely sure -- or are making mail from stainless, which does not cooperate well with the riveting technique, so specialized welding is preferred. Hella strong, slightly stronger link for link than riveted, so when you add all the links' greater strength together, it makes quite a difference, in aggregate.

Only metals worse for riveting your links than stainless are aluminum and titanium. Aluminum fatigues too fast and the rivet hole tears open as you try to pierce it; titanium just does bizarre and unformable things if you try to hammer flatten it.

Solid rings punched out like so many washers is another good help if you are otherwise set up to rivet links closed, cuts your weave processing time in half, as E4-1 may be assembled with half and half preclosed and open links, high strength guaranteed.

In butted links, hard and stiff wire makes correspondingly the more durable mail fabric. Some armour schleppers who are into shiny gear like them some SS mail for that reason. Aren't ready for the cost or labor of riveted links and want to minimize their fix-the-damn-thing hours so they can get back to their fighting.

I have never been able to tell my farriers'-nippers cuts from my boltcutter cuts: all are ><In><s become overlapped, the links butting cut face to cut face. Both tools cut wire the same way: by wedging the metal apart until it is overstretched and it pops. That is why the cut looks like that. Turning the view of a closed link 90 degrees, the closure looks like so with the faces abutting: /\\/. This means that link really has to get pretty bent open to come undone again. With big robust wire to your links, that makes them all the sturdier under heavy use.

Another rather spendy approach, not so cheap as coiling your own wire, is to buy pre-cut links. Those cuts are quite clean, done by the machines the suppliers use for coiling. Such precut links are often the backbone of the business for them. Try occasional poster Knuut's Welded Chainmail business, for I think he's still in business. Also The Ring Lord.


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

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Posted on Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:21 pm
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Thanks everyone for the opinions and ideas!

This question is only slightly related to this thread, but I didn't want to start a whole new thread just for it, so here we go:

I'm trying to figure out how much my shirt will weigh when it is finished, so I used The Ring Lord's 4-in-1 shirt calculator, which, with the measurements I put in, said that the finished weight would be about 20lbs, using 9,000 rings. This seemed a little low to me, but I suppose since I only measured it to go a little past waist length, and with pretty short sleeves, it does make sense.

I also wanted to know how much it would weigh if I were to make it entirely out of 6-in-1. I was unable to find a calculator for it, so I just used the 4-in-1 calculator and changed the "rings per sqf" to be 1,872.(I got that number from the piece of 6-in-1 that I made) This time the calculator gave me an answer of 30lbs, using 13,700 rings. Is this a roughly accurate number, or does it not work to use the 4-in-1 calculator for a 6-in-1 shirt?

Thanks!

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Posted on Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:05 am
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My vest contains about 8000 rings. It weighs 20 pounds. I've never been concerned about the durability of it because it was never my fighting shirt. (SCA) I have seen a few 14ga 3/8id shirts in combat. Damage on shirts is rare as far I saw. Aventails do like to shred, but that's because they are attached to the helm and can't flex.
Really, if your first shirt, just butt it together. Have fun with it. And it's really awesome to walk on it. Mini foot massage!

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Posted on Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:15 am
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Half again as many links, with a necessarily steeper link-lie, added to which is less expand-and-contract range in 6-1s: you will end up with a shirt twice the weight.

If you're using your mail to soak up blows, that is a very bad equation. We've been there; take our advice. As mere ballast for resistance training, it's just half the time exercising for total exhaustion. I'm not sure this actually does anything for either muscular strength or aerobic endurance.

But taking an E4-1 shirt to a Creative Anachronist fighter practice and undertaking to train up in "heavy" (armor + rattan weaponry) fighting WILL improve your cardiac fitness in a big way because in close combat all four of your limbs are threshing abouts, holding you standing up with your legs flexed for ready dodging about under the burden of armor, and your arms both engaged in hitting the other fellow with various weaponry -- 2-component weapon systems like sword and shield, or single weapons like hand and a half sword, polearms of any and all sorts, and twohanded swords five to six feet long.

All this makes you breathe really really hard. You are using all your large muscle groups, all at once.

I don't know what city is your home, but if it's either pretty large or a big college town, chances are you can find a Society for Creative Anachronism chapter there. You could input your city into your profile page, tell us what it is right here in-thread, or pound some keys and clicks all your own self on www.sca.org to find your state's SCA Kingdom and the "Groups Near You" therein. Days of old/Knights were bold/Chain mail was invented. . . Don't talk of "plate-mail," for that is a rank amateurism from Victorian times.

I have never met really stinky galvy -- worst I've ever had was an odor like putting your nose right on a galvanized chain link fence on a wet day. Depending on your nosea, your skin chemistry, and sense of smell, YMMV. It's helpful not to lay galvy mail upon skin anyway, but have like 2-3 layers of sweatshirt at least between mail and tender sweaty flesh.

All this is something more you can do with that mailshirt you've been building over the last eight to ten weeks of effort. Improves return on effort invested.


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

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Posted on Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:03 pm
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I've made a sleeveless aluminium shirt with the same rings size (14SWG WD, 3/8" ID) ; it used 8000+ rings and weights about 6lb (aluminium is three times lighter than steel).
So the calculator seems pretty accurate.

I don't wear it very often, but so far it's as good as new.


"This seemed a little low to me"
Actual armour and weapons weights considerably less than what video games and RPG show.
IRL a soldier wears around 20-25kg (44-55lb) of equipment, regardless the period.
After all, it's supposed to be worn all day long, and used in life-or-death situations.

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