Chainmail Guide

Chainmail Guide

Medieval Collectibles brings you a guide to Get Dressed For Battle Chainmail. We list the types of chainmail by materials used, ring types, riveted type, ring diameter, gauge of wire used and chainmail finish. Our selection of maille is very extensive, catering for all interests from lightweight costuming to full battle re-enactment, with appropriate levels of construction authenticity. Some details of each style of construction are given below. The following table provides construction details for each of the “codes” attributed to particular maille garments.

Butted Maille (Codes 10, 13, B)

This is the most economical construction style of maille, as the cost of labor-intensive riveting is avoided. Butted maille has limited historical precedent but is fine for general costuming and role-playing where strict construction authenticity is not a requirement. It is not recommended for weapons-contact re-enactment. Butted maille is available in mild steel, high-tensile steel and aluminum. High-tensile steel has the most resistance to opening of the rings, while mild steel butted rings may be distorted by heavy weapons contact. Aluminum is much lighter and more comfortable for the costumer and role-player. All rings are formed from round section wire and are 8mm internal diameter. Construction is in the 4 in 1 pattern. Full specifications and available finishes are shown against each specific item.

  • Aluminum – Round Ring / Butted
  • High Tensile – Round Ring / Butted
  • Mild Steel – Round Ring / Butted
Dome-Head Riveted Maille (Codes 4, 8, 12)

This style of maille is reasonably authentic to the early medieval period, particularly in the European flat ring (EFR) version. In steel this construction style has the advantage of strength, allowing it to be used for supervised weapons-contact re-enactment. More economical than wedge-riveted maille, the domed-head riveted style is available in steel, in round wire and flat ring versions, and in round wire aluminum. Riveted aluminum rings will maintain their integrity well but aluminum maille is not recommended for weapons contact. Construction is in the 4 in 1 pattern. Full specifications and available finishes are shown against each specific item.

  • Aluminum – Round Ring / Dome Rivetted
  • Mild Steel – Round Ring / Dome Rivetted
  • Mild Steel – Flat Ring / Dome Rivetted
Wedge-Riveted Maille (Codes 1, 2)

Wedge riveting, in association with flattened rings, became popular in the 1300’s and was used until the demise of maille. Alternating rows of solid punched rings and riveted rings predominated until late in the period, when all-riveted construction became more popular. Available in steel only, this style of maille is our most authentic and is well able to withstand supervised weapons-contact re-enactment. Construction is in the 4 in 1 pattern. Full specifications and available finishes are shown against each specific item. The maille is supplied burnished to give a dark grey to black finish.

  • Mild Steel – Flat Ring / Wedge Rivetted
  • Mild Steel – Flat Ring / Wedge Rivetted / Solid Ring Combination
Chainmail Finishes

When specifications for a certain style of maille refer to a “Natural” finish, the rings do not have a separate coating applied to the steel but are typically lightly blackened with heat to a medium gray color. This helps with corrosion issues but it is recommended that maille with this finish be thoroughly coated with a silicon or rust-preventative spray (such as WD-40) when not in use and stored in a ventilated plastic tub in a warm, dry location.

No rust-proofing is necessary with zinc-coated or anodized finishes but dry, warm storage is still recommended. The zinc plating is inherently a corrosion inhibitor and the grey anodizing used on aluminum maille both provides a realistic coloring and prevents oxidation of the aluminum.

A word about sizes – The hauberk and haubergeon sizes are a little confusing, as they relate to the actual circumference of the maille garment, rather than a chest size. Size 48″/50″ will fit up to a 44″ chest dimension measured over a gambeson (and any other clothing worn with the gambeson), While the 60″ size will fit up to a 54″ chest dimension, again measured over the gambeson etc.

Rings and Riveting Tools – Extra rings (1000 pc. packs) and riveting tools are available for codes 1, 2, 4, and 8. These can be used to create maille garments from scratch, reduce or enlarge standard-sized garments or fix battle damage.

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