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 Post subject: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:45 pm 
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This is a little step by step I posted on the forums of a LARP/boffer group I frequent. I figured I would go ahead and share it here.

Special thanks to CLANG for helping me make (well, he did pretty much all of the work) the punch tongs, and the rivet set tongs are from Steve Forth and are supposed to be defective in some way, only usable by righties or something.

The cat belongs to my wife.

I was going to show off my new pin rivet punch and I figured since I have all my stuff out I may as well at least try to contribute something to the community while I'm at it.

This is going to span multiple posts because it has several pictures. You can view all these photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/dougconfere/Maille#

Okay! We're going to be making some riveted maille today. Specifically, I'm going to be showing you how I make the maille for my Templar kit. It is 17 ga. ~5/16 inch round rings with round rivets with alternating solid rings. Curiously, I have a considerably harder time with round rivets or pin rivets than I do with wedge rivets. But wedge rivets aren't proper for the time I'm going for, so I'm using pin rivets.

The first step, which is not pictured here, is to procure some wire. I get 17 gauge wire in quarter mile spools from Lowes. Galvanized wire sucks, so I strip the galvanization with muriatic acid or pool acid. If you decide to do this yourself (you can do it to completed pieces as well), dilute a gallon of acid into 4 gallons of water and have a 5 gallon bucket of water saturated with baking soda on standby. The fumes will hurt or kill you, so avoid them. Drop the galvanized into the acid and watch it erupt like a volcano. When the bubbling dies down (you WILL notice), remove the steel from the acid and put it into the bucket of baking soda water, which will also explode. Then dry remove it from the water, sprinkle it with baking soda, dry it, and oil it.

Here are the tools we need:
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We have a mandrel, for winding wire into coils, wire, solid rings (25,000 of them), a propane torch, a ring flattener and 'anvil', wire cutters modified to cut overlapped rings, rivet setting tongs, and a ring hole punch. And some valium.

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The ring smasher is just a piston. This one has enough play in it that I can tilt the piston in one way or another to flatten only a portion of the ring. In this case, we will use this to just flatten the overlap on our rings, as flattened rings aren't appropriate for the time period I'm going for.

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The rivet setting tong does two things: the hole is for driving the rivet all the way into the ring (the opposite side is flat), and the depression is for actually piening the rivet. You can make these with any kind of nips or tongs with flat faces.

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These wire cutters cost like $2.50 from Harbor Freight. The nose is shortened and a notch has been made to allow it to cut overlapped rings from coils.

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The punch tongs are made from a set of tile nippers from Home Depot. The carbide tips were removed, the jaws were annealed and then ground flat, and holes were drilled and tapped for the receptable (the * there), the punch itself, and the * that holds the punch in. The punch is made from a tool steel pin. The receptacle hole in the * goes to a hole that goes out the side of the * so that punched out portions of steel don't clog up the receptacle.

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You can get these pins from Enco, and I'm sure other places, for next to nothing. A box of 50 is $8 or something. We don't have a metal lathe so we put it in a drill and shaped it on a belt sander. A quick operation but it's hard to get it the same size as the receptacle.

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Using solid rings means you only have to make half of the total rings, which makes things REALLY easy. Luckily, alternating solid rings is appropriate for what I'm going for. Get rings at seastrom-mfg.

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If you have any old failed projects, like mine above, it's a good idea to keep them handy to remind yourself not to * up.

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And cats are very important for moral support.

Now that we have everything, we can get started.

If you're interested in doing riveted maille, you can probably already do butted maille, so you know how to wind coils. But it's still the first step, and will be pictured here.

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Then we can cut our overlapped rings. Some people cut butted rings and overlap them by hand. Some people take butted rings and drive them through a cone to overlap them. I just cut them overlapped. You may prefer another method.

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We need to anneal the rings prior to flattening. If you try to flatten the rings without annealing them first, the ends will likely skip off one another and you'll ruin your ring. So, I put my rings on a wire and heat them to a cherry red with my torch.



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Now we can flatten our rings. My ring smasher is made in a perculiar way and the piston doesn't separate from the cylinder, so I can't take out the piston and drop in the ring, so I have to set the ring on my 'house anvil' and place the piston over it.

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By applying pressure forward with my thumb, I can angle the piston to flatten only the top portion of the ring, which in this case is the overlap.

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And here we have our rings! Notice some of mine are pretty crappy. Yeah yeah, I'm out of practice. So sue me.

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It's time to punch the rings. Be careful when you do this, if you punch off center enough you can ruin your ring.

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And here we have our punched rings.

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So let's make some rivets. Just clip some short pieces of wire. For these rings we are using 18 ga. wire stripped of galvanization.

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Annealing your rivets isn't necessary, but it will make the piening easier.

So let's make a test ring. We push the rivet into the ring with our thumb, drive it completly into the hole with our set tongs, then pien the rivet with our set tongs. It looks like this:
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We have an ovular rivet head because I'm using wedge rivet set tongs. I doubt anyone will be chasing me down and chastising me for my rivet heads, though. You can see that the back side of the rivet is flush, this is proper.

So we're ready to rivet. But did you notice how shiney those brand new solid rings are? If you make maille with those shiney rings and your blackened riveted rings you'll end up with pin stripes. So we're going to heat our solid rings to make them the same color as our riveted rings so we don't make a zoot suit of maille.

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So now we're ready to make some freakin' maille! I'm not going to teach you to weave maille, but I will warn you that there IS a top and bottom to both riveted rings AND solid rings (the solid rings are punched, just look at my pictures you can see I messed some up) so double check your rings' orientation before rivetting.

And behold the fruits of our labor:

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Last edited by Doug C on Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:51 pm 
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Awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:17 pm 
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Wow....gold star. :eek:

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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:38 am 
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sticky....sticky.....STICKY....

who's a badass? that guy.

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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:47 am 
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Added to the tutorials sticky.

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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:10 am 
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Doug: Hey! You're allowed to say you posted it on the Dag forums. We won't stake you, promise.

Even more mind-blowing the second time around.


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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:06 am 
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lol yes, I forgot these forums were considerably less Draconian :P

Glad you guys like it, and I hope someone gets some use out of it!


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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:17 am 
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Excellent tutorial, thank you very much for sharing it.

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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 7:48 am 
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Very nice work.
Thanks man.
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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:09 am 
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So, Doug, you ever get a hauberk or a coif or anything made out of this stuff? Any pics?


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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:40 am 
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Here is the only pic I have of either of us (the other Templar and I are making identical kits, we're both mailling) in kit. You can see the hauberk. We're making hoods w/face flaps, mitts, and maille hose to complete the armour. We're hoping to have it all done by Rag.

http://serenity.thirtythreepointone.com ... m=9&pos=28

Click on the high res and you can see the maille.


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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:44 pm 
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Ludicrous!

Looks excellent. That's gonna be some poundage of maille by the time you're done!


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 Post subject: Re: Riveted maille, step by step
PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 4:32 pm 
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It's around 30 lbs as is. If I were doing 14th or 15th century it could be considerably lighter, but for late 12th century Crusader the stuff is pretty heavy duty.


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