So very very tempted...
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Joined: October 07, 2008
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Location: Tucson, AZ

So very very tempted...
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Posted on Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:38 pm
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While in my trip to home depot yesterday (the same infamous trip that made me second guess whether or not my coif was made of stainless or galvy) I also bought a new mandrel.

As I was sorting through the rods looking for the perfect size, I glanced down. Lo! and behold, Sheet metal.

Sheet steel.

When I get on a chainmailling kick, it always starts with armor-making, and ends with me straying closer and closer to jewelrymaking. Admittedly, I've been straying that way lately, planning out my paychecks and eyeing sterling and gold-filled rings on TRL. However, the sheets of steel got me to thinking.

Anybody here ever tried making plate-maille? Any common pitfalls I should look for? I'm aware there are guides on the internet, but what I'm really looking for are stories from maillers who have decided to dabble in plate. Anything you care to share, and whether or not after your first project you decided to continue...

I'm thinking of starting small - something relatively uncomplex such as shoulders for trim over a hauberk.


Maille Code V1.0 T4.2 R3.5 Fe4.1 Fe.s Wi Ca$ G1.6/.61 I6.35/3.18 Pa Djd S01

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Posted on Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:28 pm
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Well first I must ask you this question. What type of plate maille are you referring to. The japanese style with plates hooked together with rings, the european style which takes disks and rings, the type that you take sheets of metal and attach them together (much like lorcia segmentata just with chainmaille for the leather [not historical]), or whatever other thing you might have in mind.


"Who is to say that I am who I say I am if no one knows who I am not to become but me."
-Azrenn the Draconian

Maille Code V1.0 T5.2 R5.1 Fbyz Mfe.s Wcs Cjaw G1.6/0.3 |25/1 Pa Dacdj S06

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Posted on Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:58 am
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I made a pair of plate gauntlets (I don't think they were technically gauntlets, perhaps bracers, vambraces, not sure) for a friend a few months ago. All I did was cut the shapes out of a sheet of galvanized steel, sand down the edges a bit, and punch holes through them so they could be attached to his knit arm warmer type things.

Unfortunately, the plates were pretty heavy, and they pulled the arm warmers around quite a bit. However, if you got some leather or something, I think it would be relatively easy to affix plates to it and make some bracers or something. I was thinking of doing something similar in the near future, once I finish my current project.

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Posted on Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:26 am
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Fletcher, it's been done and rather a lot, but when you go to the armor-nerd sites for hints, start with this one: call it plates-and-mail or some such phrase. "Plate maille" implies quite the wrong thing -- that you're some gamerbunny who doesn't have clue one about armor's technical features and got his terminology from Gary Gygax. It's flame bait.

This type of armor was much used in Central Asia and everywhere Turkic-group languages were spoken. Nomad-society armor was typically not composed of large, articulated pieces of plate but of many small components all woven together. This was far easier to work with in a nomad camp. Plate armor needs something like a factory to beat out the plates, then form the beaten plate ergonomically.

Try googling up The Silk Road for a lot of info on one site. Typically, an array (usually columnar) of plates would be arranged upon the torso rather than upon the shoulder joints -- coverage to the vitals.

Home Depot and other hardware stores are not where you want to buy your steel unless you fancy going broke. Look in the Yellow Pages under Steel for places with far better prices. These guys sell steel to welders and fabricators, so it's priced like wholesale but you don't have to get a minimum tonnage or anything. In fact, you can score offcuts, leftovers from people who didn't need to purchase an entire sheet of steel, at a discount. The offcuts/leftovers, called "drops" in the trade, would just be recycle material anyway, so they're happy to get rid of some and make a bit more. Pieces with at least one dimension over a couple of feet are usually best, as you can make practically anything in armor from this. SCA helmets, go 12 gauge in mild steel, 14 in stainless (but stainless sheet metal is a total bear to work, you need serious equipment on it and bigger hammers too), though 14 is okay in mild, just rather easier to dent. The rest of SCA armor plate can go 16 to 18 gauge, depending.

The holes you punch should be either rather large or oval shaped, so your mail links can lie down flat with the rest. Otherwise, you'll make ridges all over your piece that look very amateurish.


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

Joined: October 07, 2008
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Posted on Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:56 pm
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Wow Konstantin, that is extremely helpful. I'll have to look up a steel place here in Tucson . Of course, I still credit home depot with giving me the bug.

I suppose in answering Azrenn's question, I was thinking of something along the lines of Lorica Segmentata. But in all honesty, until my wikipedia search just now, I had no clue that it used absolutely no maille. As it turns out, that's Lorica Hamata. But I digress.

I did a little bit of google searching for patterns. It seems that this is giong to be a project I need to take up over the long term. Where maille needs minimal equipment, plate needs an excessive amount - even for cold hammering.


Maille Code V1.0 T4.2 R3.5 Fe4.1 Fe.s Wi Ca$ G1.6/.61 I6.35/3.18 Pa Djd S01

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