Mailing advice for a semi noob
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Mailing advice for a semi noob
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Posted on Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:06 pm || Last edited by GorogIrongut on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Okay, lets throw some information out there about myself:
-I'm an American who just happens to find himself in Scotland at the moment.
-I tend to be a bit of a jack of all trades. I have a multitude of hobbies, some of which have led me to the art of making chain mail.
-I am an osteopath which means I'm not poor. That doesn't mean that I don't like to save a buck/pound but I'll aim for the higher quality materials and tools that will give me a good return. This also means that I will never have to worry about any mail related injuries as it's easy to 'fix' myself.


Now after deciding that I wanted to learn to make chain mail, I have since perused multiple sites on the subject taking notes and creating a file on what I think would work best for me. This included going through the first 150 pages of the KC 3 times to sort out all the advice that I thought would be relevant.

I have since gone on to practice varying weaves using copper that I use for when I sculpt. I have done a multitude of weaves from simple E 4-1, Japanese 3-1, Spiral 4-1, Flowers, Celtic roses, etc. These have been incorporated into micromaille in rings and bracelets as well as test sheets for actual armour.

Due to my other hobbies I already had access to dremels, jeweller's saws, files in all shapes and forms, pliers, pincers, calipers, etc. Honestly I have everything set up except for a fully powered ring cutting system and even that will come with time.

I say all this to let you know that I've taken on board a lot of advice that I've seen here and am grateful for. Which leads me to the advice that I'm seeking.

Although I'm an admitted dilettante, I do like to set epic goals/projects. My goals are thus:
1. I'm going to teach my oldest how to make a simple hauberk in E 4-1 as part of a school project. This will probably be in something simple like galvy or copper. She couldn't cope with SS. Purely decorative.
2. I want to make my wife pretty jewellery. Right now I'm experimenting in copper prior to moving on to silver but I find that my ring practice is clueing me in to what will work well in bracelets as well. For example, I'm finding that no matter how small I make it (28G), the flowers weave is too bulky for my taste in making finger rings. I have taken a good section of your descriptions and pictures of rings and am slowly testing each and every one of them out to see if I can somehow follow the path you started.
3. This is the kicker. I fully intend to make something epic. So I'm planning out a fully functional set of titanium armour. It's too detailed to describe in this starting post, but I recognize how big of an effort it will be. Especially as I intend to substitute portions of the chainmail with plates and or scales in vital areas like the kidneys. I am obviously using the micromaille as a way to warm up my mailing muscles and to help prevent burnout.

That said I have a couple questions:
1. Being in the UK, we seem to get the short shrift on suppliers for rings, wire and most definitely scales. Over Christmas I intend to fly back to the US on holiday and was wondering if the overall expense on things like tumblers, scales, etc. would be cheaper if I did a majority purchase while over there. Or even though the selection is limited, are the prices in the UK relatively comparable?

2. I've seen many things said about titanium, from it being the devil to being perfection incarnate. I believe a lot of this has to do with what grade you obtain, and I believe the golden standard is grade 5. I was wondering if anyone had played around with Grade 4. In my studies, I've seen people complaining about Grade 1 & 2 and am wondering if it's a linear thing. Each grade you go up it gets less soft while simultaneously increasing springback and difficulty to work with. Am I completely out in left field on this? I'll probably end up using Grade 5 anyways, but I like to know my options.
-As a sub question, I was also wondering if Corvus had gotten anywhere with stamping titanium scales? I remember Corvus mentioning that the idea had been broached but they were looking at building up a large enough group of interested people in the UK to defray the cost. Depending on the cost, I most definitely would be interested.

3. I've seen a lot of argument about different types of silver and which are best to work in. Out of all of the arguments the more logical to me personally seem to come out on the side of hh argenteum silver. I've seen how Kodiak hardens it. I'm aware that it can be hardened both through tension, tumbling, a bit of bashing and even twisting. Will this be sufficient to keep all of the jewellery I intend to give my wife from falling apart without actually having to weld things? While I'm not averse to welding, I already have too many dangerous things in a house full of 4 (soon to be 5) little children who have a tendency of getting into things they shouldn't.

I think that's a big enough start to my topic so I'll just cut it off here and thank you in advance for any advice you have for me.

Joined: October 22, 2010
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Re: Mailing advice for a semi noob
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Posted on Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:30 pm
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gorogIrongut,

here is an article i wrote on the subject (maybe you read it already):

http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.php?oldkey=197446

i am still in the design phase of my own titanium shirt. i can tell you what i've learned so far.

grade 1 - 4 are softer than grade 5. this means easier to cut, but less protection. grade 5 is great for armor, but i don't recommend butting it without welding. this is because grade 5 has considerable spring back. it tends to not stay where you want it to. for example, you go to close a ring and it looks perfect, then you look at it a few hours later and it's slightly off center. the butted ends do not want to stay aligned. grade 5 is shinier than grades 1 - 4 (at lease the way they come from trl). if you weld the rings, you don't have to worry about alignment, but like you said, it's dangerous and at least doubles your production time. i am in the process of welding titanium rings for another one of my ballistics tests - to see if it will do better than my last test that failed.

i personally will be using grade 23 eli titanium. it is almost the same as grade 5, but with less oxygen allowed into the drawing process. it is less springy and a tiny bit less brittle. it is acid cleaned after drawing, this translates to a shiny look.

the problem is, you can only get it straight from the manufacturer and that means a minimum order of 20 lbs. or between $2000 and $3000 depending on the gauge and cleaning effects.

i hope that helps some. you can always private message me for more details.



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Posted on Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:00 am
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Titanium is a ferociously difficult metal to work.

Welding simply must be done under argon. Nothing else works. At welding heat, an already instantly reactive metal -- oxidizes just like aluminum, to the same anticorrosive effect of making an airtight oxide skin that prevents further corrosion -- gets fierce enough to tear CO2 apart at the molecular level. Any and all available contaminants embrittle Ti welds into uselessness, including both carbon and oxygen.

It workhardens immediately, becoming very springy and refusing to go where you push it. This makes even mail an exercise in oddballness, like having to use undersized mandrels to deal with its springback. Frankly, stainless sheet is easier to work with if you want plate armor.

Yeah, they made SR-71s and Alfa submarines of the stuff, but they had to muster serious tech to get the job done, and it wasn't garage-mechanic material.

But you don't have to make aerospace components to build armor stuff, nor jewelry. You're not building a deep-diving submarine that's a lot lighter displacement than submarines made of HY-80 steel.

When it comes to building a suit of armor of any description whatsoever, study the ancient examples first and extensively before you even draw pictures of what you would like to make. Don't try to redesign the wheel; they had the ergonomic shapes all figured out by the Renaissance. There's a reason plate white-harness looks like that -- those are the shapes that fit on you, work with you, move and protect both. And they're designed around the battlefield threats of the time, which is why Gothic plate armor has these big domy breastplates: strong shape, ricochets lances aside, and is spaced armor over your vital organs.

Turkish and steppes-type mixed mail and plates armor was as good as the steppes tech could produce, but frankly wasn't anywhere near the protector that western-European plate harness was -- it's not much to my taste in tin suits; I think it's clunky stuff. Granted, they weren't defending against the couched lance and they had no blast furnaces nor battering mills.

An excellent place to study up on making armor and what you might do with it -- what muscular and edifying games you might play -- is Armour Archive.org. There is very extensive experience there, and a couple correspondents posting from Scotland as well, and some more from here and there about England and one or two from the Republic of Ireland -- nobody in from Ulster yet.


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

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Posted on Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:38 pm
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Just tossing my couple rings in...I started making a shirt of HP3 sheet 5 in 16SWG Grade 5 Ti and yeah, the springback is a beast. It wasn't prohibitively so but I've decided to scrap the project all the same (mostly due to the cost). Of course now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with a couple pounds of Ti rings. Coif LoL

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Posted on Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:04 pm
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Thanks for the comments on Ti. My profession means that I have strong, strong hands. So I assumed that it wasn't going to be a big deal handling the Ti. That said, you've convinced me I need to do a test run just to make sure it will be as manageable as I think it will be. Time to make a quick stop by the Queen Ring to grab a couple hundred to play with.

Mithril, I was aware of your articles and the insanity that has grabbed you into making the ultimate shirt of armour. My tests will tell me if I really need to play around with welding. If welding is mandatory, then I guess I'll have to switch over to stainless steel. I just don't have the space to cope w/ a welding machine safely while still having all my little monsters. And when compared, the monsters win.

Though no one mentioned the argentium, I decided to go ahead and get a troy ounce of the stuff to play around with. I foresee some celtic cuffs in my near future.

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Posted on Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:45 pm
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Jax25 wrote:
Just tossing my couple rings in...I started making a shirt of HP3 sheet 5 in 16SWG Grade 5 Ti and yeah, the springback is a beast. It wasn't prohibitively so but I've decided to scrap the project all the same (mostly due to the cost). Of course now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with a couple pounds of Ti rings. Coif LoL



I could use some Titanium rings for the chain on my flail, right now I have simple 14 gauge galvy, various sizes. If I were you I would make a cube out of those tough heavy dudes, or you could always mix them with other rings for a killer sculpture.

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Posted on Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:50 am
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A couple successful bracelet designs down (in copper) and ready for use in silver and lo and behold, my argentium silver shows up in the post. I am obviously a happy bunny.

I'm still waiting on the test rings I purchased from Queen Ring. Looking to get titanium in multiples size and ar's. Got square steel rings coming. Even have glow in the dark neoprene rings. This should be fun.

*puts up his jewellery saw setup*

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Posted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:23 am
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I'm not far off having some pictures to throw up of my work, but I've got a question. Since I haven't yet gotten my stuff from the Queen Ring, I've been playing around with my argentium silver. In particular I've made a byzantine ring for my wife and am in the process of finishing a doubled byzantine ring for myself. Now I've seen Kodiak's instructions on how to harden argentium silver here :

http://www.mailleartisans.org/board/viewtopic.php?t=8431

Below are his relevant instructions along with my questions in bold. Any assistance would be welcomed.

tumble finished piece 4hrs., vib. tumbler, ss shot--- Still haven't gotten my tumbler yet, is this something that HAS to be done first or can I do it at almost any stage?

90 min. 580 degree F oven ( on pyrex or hanging )-- Easily done. My only question would be if you let the silver slow cool before putting it in the pickle? I know that silver hardens the slower it cools and as I haven't used pickle, I don't know how this would interact with the cooling process.

pickle ( sodium bi-sulfate )-- I've not done any pickling before and while I'm not averse to getting more setup, I'd prefer to keep it minimalist for as long as possible. I've heard mention that vinegars can be used in a similar fashion, is this true?

tumble 2hrs for that nice shine--

precipitation heat 30min. @ 250 degrees gets the germanium jumpstarted and drawn to the surface for optimal tarnish resistance--light buff with a good cloth like Goddards--

AS hardens much better than standard sterling---ping the finished chain with another piece of hardened steel, and you will feel/hear the difference

best to start this process with fully annealed/dead soft wire====careful with the pickle--it's hot===vibratory tumbler is a must, stainless mixed shape shot. Is it really necessary to start with dead soft argentium silver? I ask because the pieces I've made are already half hard.

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Posted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:12 pm
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Giggs wrote:
Jax25 wrote:
Just tossing my couple rings in...I started making a shirt of HP3 sheet 5 in 16SWG Grade 5 Ti and yeah, the springback is a beast. It wasn't prohibitively so but I've decided to scrap the project all the same (mostly due to the cost). Of course now I have to figure out what I'm going to do with a couple pounds of Ti rings. Coif LoL



I could use some Titanium rings for the chain on my flail, right now I have simple 14 gauge galvy, various sizes. If I were you I would make a cube out of those tough heavy dudes, or you could always mix them with other rings for a killer sculpture.


Oh, it's more likely that they'll get turned into something wearable...a belt or purse or something of that ilk. I tend to make a lot of accessories.

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Posted on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:02 pm
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GorogIrongut wrote:
I'm not far off having some pictures to throw up of my work, but I've got a question. Since I haven't yet gotten my stuff from the Queen Ring, I've been playing around with my argentium silver. In particular I've made a byzantine ring for my wife and am in the process of finishing a doubled byzantine ring for myself. Now I've seen Kodiak's instructions on how to harden argentium silver here :

http://www.mailleartisans.org/board/viewtopic.php?t=8431

Below are his relevant instructions along with my questions in bold. Any assistance would be welcomed.

tumble finished piece 4hrs., vib. tumbler, ss shot--- Still haven't gotten my tumbler yet, is this something that HAS to be done first or can I do it at almost any stage?

90 min. 580 degree F oven ( on pyrex or hanging )-- Easily done. My only question would be if you let the silver slow cool before putting it in the pickle? I know that silver hardens the slower it cools and as I haven't used pickle, I don't know how this would interact with the cooling process.

pickle ( sodium bi-sulfate )-- I've not done any pickling before and while I'm not averse to getting more setup, I'd prefer to keep it minimalist for as long as possible. I've heard mention that vinegars can be used in a similar fashion, is this true?

tumble 2hrs for that nice shine--

precipitation heat 30min. @ 250 degrees gets the germanium jumpstarted and drawn to the surface for optimal tarnish resistance--light buff with a good cloth like Goddards--

AS hardens much better than standard sterling---ping the finished chain with another piece of hardened steel, and you will feel/hear the difference

best to start this process with fully annealed/dead soft wire====careful with the pickle--it's hot===vibratory tumbler is a must, stainless mixed shape shot. Is it really necessary to start with dead soft argentium silver? I ask because the pieces I've made are already half hard.

You should call Kodiak (Charlie). He is a VERY nice guy and probably be happy to answer your questions. http://charlieschaincraft.com/index.html


"I am a leaf on the wind." ~ Wash
Lorraine's Chains
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Posted on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:00 am
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Thanks for the suggestion Lorraine. I'll give him a call later on today. Just got to remember that I'm 8 hours ahead of him so as to not wake him up at 3 in the morning.


I got my package from the Queen Ring and set off to playing. Honestly, the square 16g (awg) stainless steel rings weren't quite as square as I would have liked but that didn't stop me from combining them with glow in the dark neoprene rings into bracelets for my daughters (who think it's terribly cool).

As for the main purpose behind the purchase...? I played with 14g (awg) titanium rings. It definitely feels different to most other metals. It almost doesn't feel like a metal because it's so light. Nice satin'y feel to it and the colour isn't too shabby.

The real problem however was whether or not I'd be able to 'bend' it to my will. And to be honest, it wasn't that hard to get it to behave. Sure I had to fight with it a lot more than I did with the stainless steel, but it was still well within the demands of my grip strength (thanks his profession for strong, strong hands). In an hour and change I was able to weave a 12"x4" section of E 4-1 last night. I checked each ring this morning and and none of the rings had twisted from a smooth butting. So now I'm less worried about needing to do any welding. Sure my butted mail won't be as strong as welded mail, but it should still be strong enough to prevent any zombie bites and that's all I'm looking for. Razz

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Posted on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:20 am
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i'm guessing that you got grade 5 titanium? i'm glad it's working well for you. for me, the problem of the rings being slightly off arose when putting stress on the rings. if the rings are aligned and then you lay them down, the rings stay butted nicely. when doing something as large as a shirt, i found that the varying stresses on the rings pull them slightly in different directions - never to be flush again unless you go back at them with pliers. i would say - try a small test - put 30 - 50 lbs of pressure in different directions on the piece that you made. do the rings stay butted nicely? if yes, then you should be good.



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Posted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:00 pm
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Mithril, although my standards aren't perhaps as high as yours, I'm pretty satisfied. To test it out I grabbed my 4 kids and we had a 15-20 min tug of war with me on one side against them. After all the shenanigans and even bashing the rings with a baseball bat, none of the butting appears to have shifted from its previous smooth butting. So I'm happy with it as is.

Even went on to making a beefy titanium ring for myself.

As for the argenteum silver, I had a brief chat with Kodiak and he gave me all the information I needed.

So all in all a big win. Now I just need to work on the concept designs for the plated portion of the armour and see about either learning to smith or finding someone who does it nearby.

Thanks again for all your assistance so far.

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Posted on Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:14 pm
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that's awesome. good test. i'm glad it works well for you.



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Posted on Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:43 am
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Just laid out for a big TRL order (titanium rings and tempered high carbon steel scales) and am studying simple armour making techniques (got to get my head around the plated portion of the armour I'm working on). I've found the following link to be helpful. I'm not sure if I'm ready just yet to lay out for a hard copy of TOMAR:

http://brighthelm.org/articles/armour

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