Buyer’s Guide to Chainmail

Medieval Collectibles brings to you a buyer’s guide to chainmail. Our selection of chainmail is very extensive, and we break down what terms and variations you may come across. From materials to riveting types and more, we hope to answer your questions regarding our chainmail and help you choose what chainmail to buy.

Materials Used for Chaimail

The material that chainmail is made from will affect what it can be used for. There are a variety of materials. We have mild steel, high tensile steel, titanium, aluminum only, as well as aluminum and rubber chainmail.

Aluminum chainmail as well as aluminum and rubber chainmail are ideal for situations where the look of chainmail but not the weight is desired. It is also useful for when the protection of stronger chainmail is not required. This includes theatrical productions, cosplay conventions, and other non-contact roleplaying events. The addition of rubber to aluminum also allows the chainmail garment to stretch slightly, making it easier to take on and off.

Next, there is steel chainmail. Most of our chainmail is steel chainmail. It can come as mild steel or high tensile steel. High tensile steel has a greater tensile strength than mild steel. This means that high tensile rings are more resistant to being stretched or pulled apart. Steel chainmail is great for either contact roleplaying or reenactment, depending on the gauge being used. Steel chainmail mail must be treated with oil to prevent rusting and corrosion.

Finally, there is titanium. Titanium chainmail combines the benefits of aluminum with benefits of steel. It is both strong and lightweight. This allows it to be used for non-historically accurate reenactments. This also the most expensive type of chainmail and is therefore recommended for more experienced users.

Gauges of Steel

Steel chainmail rings come in multiple wire gauges. The larger the number of the gauge the thinner the wire. The two most common steel gauges that we have are 16 and 18 gauge wire. 16 gauge steel and below, such as 14 gauge steel, work best for historical reenactments. 18 gauge and above, such as 20 gauge, are better for roleplaying and LARP events. Generally, the thinner the steel wire or the higher the gauge number, the more likely it should be used for costume and roleplaying use. We offer an array of this type of chainmail. For example, top brands Mytholon and Epic Armoury make chainmail specifically for LARP use. 

Types of Chainmail Rings

Chainmail rings can be divided by the shape of the ring’s wire. There are two types of rings, flat and round rings. A round ring would have a circular cross section if one were to cut through one of this type of ring. On the other hand, a flat ring would show a rectangular cross section.

Childrens Butted Chainmail Coif
Round, Butted Chainmail Rings
Flat Ring Round Riveted Chainmail Coif
Flat, Riveted Chainmail Rings

Butted vs Riveted Chainmail

Chainmail rings can also be divided by their closure. Rings are either riveted or butted. Butted chainmail rings are rarely flat wire rings and are usually round wire. The ends of the rings sit close together. Riveted rings on the other hand can be either round or flat ring. These rings have a piece of metal stuck through both ends of the rings, securing them together. Riveted chainmail tends to be stronger and more resistant to combat than butted rings. For contact reenactments, riveted chainmail is better suited than butted chainmail. Additionally, some pieces of chainmail may be made of mostly butted rings but also use riveted chainmail rings for reinforcement in points of stress on a garment. Other garments may use a combination of riveted or butted rings and solid rings. Solid rings alternate with either butted or riveted rings to create a stronger piece.

Types of Riveting

There are two major types of riveting found on chainmail. These types are dome riveting, also called round riveting, and wedge riveting. Both types are historically accurate. Wedge riveting for example, became popular in the 1300s and was used until chainmail was no longer used in combat. Dome riveting is more accurate to the early medieval world. Dome riveted chainmail tends to be less expensive than wedge riveted. Both types of riveting are suitable for contact with weapons, provided that the rings are made from the appropriate materials.

Round Ring Round Riveted Chainmail Hauberk - 6 Millimeter
Dome Riveting on Alternating Round and Flat Rings
Flat Ring Wedge Riveted Voiders
Wedge Riveting on Flat Rings

Ring Diameter

Rings come in a variety of diameters. These rings are usually measured in millimeters. As the diameter of the rings used gets smaller, the weave of the chainmail armour will get tighter. The smaller the diameter, the stronger the chainmail will be, generally speaking.

Types of Chainmail Armour

There are many types of chainmail armour pieces. This includes gauntlets, voiders, chausses, coifs, aventails, and hauberks or haubergeons. Hauberks and haubergeons have tunic-like shapes. They cover the torso and usually some or most of the arms as well. Coifs cover the head and neck. Aventails will generally cover the neck and were historically used in conjunction with helmets. Voiders are pieces that specifically protect the arms and sides of the torso. Gauntlets mainly protect the hands and wrists. Chausses primarily protect the legs. Chausses usually have a loop of some kind on each leg to allow them to secure onto a belt.

This is an overview of the types and styles of chainmail we offer. Medieval Collectibles has a wide array of medieval chainmail armour for you to choose from. Use this buyer’s guide to chainmail to help you choose what will work best for you. Whether you are attending a LARP battle or historical reenactment, we are sure to have chainmail that suits you.

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