Introductions

 

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1.) Introduction / Before You Start

In the centuries preceding the Industrial Age, the fabrication and construction of chainmail was a slow and tedious process. In order to make wire for the links in a suit, molten iron would have to be slowly and laboriously pulled, rolled, and hammered into relatively short strands of metal. It would have been rather difficult for all but the most talented blacksmith to keep the thickness of this wire constant over the course of a whole suit. These lengths of wire would then have to be bent into rings around some sort of mandrel and cut to be made ready for assembly. [This could have been done by an apprentice, hired hand, or even the master himself (traditions varied from culture to culture).] This element of chainmail construction has not changed much, even today!
Pictures of vintage chainmail pieces will reveal an additional feature that is no longer in common practice among armourers today: each individual link is riveted closed. This added innovation made the maille up to five times stronger than unriveted maille. Unfortunately, the riveting process slows down the production of mail so much that it is quite impractical for most modern armourers. Our armour will most likely never enter into battle and have its strength tested.

 

Intro 2

 

This, of course, baits the question that is inevitably asked of every modern armourer: Why? Why would we go to the trouble of building a product that is most likely never going to be used? Why devote literally hundreds of hours build a chain shirt that might stop a sword, when a simple Kevlar jacket can stop a bullet? Anyone who needs to ask this question might as well stop right here. Some might say that armouring is simply a hobby, and like any other hobby, simply provides some measure of relaxation and enjoyment. Others might say that armourers are an obsessive breed, compulsively acting upon fantasies of knights and dragons, often in tenuous touch with reality. Only those who spend the time to master this craft can know the real reason. A gleaming shirt of maille is just exceptionally cool.