Forge Welded Rings

Image of a maille sample created by Julio Junco Funes in Spain showing alternating solid & riveted rings.

Three forge welding techniques were tested.  Rings with an overlap were cleaned, warmed in a flame and the overlap was dipped in Borax.  The overlap was then heated to glowing red,yellow and either quickly struck with an 800g hammer (within 2-3 seconds) or forcefully pinched with pliers while in the flame.  The rings forged with a hammer blow were stronger as the stress test indicates, unless the overlap is pre-flattened.


Riveted Maille Aventail for Migration Era Helmet

 This is a Vendel helmet created by Richard Jones of Knotwolf Armory in Lawrence, KS.  The goal of this project is to create an aventail for this type of helmet using maille links that are roughly period appropriate using easily obtained materials and tools:

The aventail will weigh approximately 4 pounds and contain roughly 5,000 rings.  Manufacture time from wire to complete is estimated at 160 hours; the most labor intensive step, setting rivets is expected to consume about 30% of the time.

In order to facilitate completion of this first project some modern material, tool and process shortcuts will be taken as long as the general appearance of link authenticity is not greatly sacrificed.

Current Materials & Process: Wire is 16.5 gauge (1.7 mm) black annealed tie wire readily available from US hardware stores for $1/pound.  The wire is coiled around a 1/4" mandrel yielding a 6.35 mm ID and cut with roughly 2 mm overlap or -45°.  The cut ends are angled to produce a snake head overlap.  Only the overlap is flattened using an 800g hammer.
Prior to flattening the rings are annealed in either a torch flame or a small forge made from a can, refectory cement and heated with a torch.  Due to the imprecise nature of loosely coiled springs, some rings may need the overlap re-aligned using a small unmodifed pair of need-nose pliers.

Rings are annealed a second time prior to riveting.

A small 1mm hole is pre-drilled with a bench top jeweler's drill press.  The hole is then enlarged by pounding a small finishing nail through it.  The process needs to change to using either a set of modified punch pliers or a modified sheet metal punch.
A homemade pair of rivet setting tongs have a small divet hollowed out on both faces creating a rivet with a dome head on both sides.  The divets are not properly lined up which causes the rivet to bend and stretch the ring slightly.

Process and tool improvements:
1. tightly wind the coils using a jig
2. use a larger diameter mandrel
3. do not cut with overlap
4. create a pair of overlap pliers (
5. create a pair of overlap alignment pliers
5. create a pair of punch pliers
6. create a proper rivet plier
see "TheTools" file @ rivetedmaille


Leather Lamellar (WIP)

 Leather Lamellar plates, with mock-up string lacing, basic plates, and customized plates showing a row of lames laced together. 


Oven Blued Stainless Steel Chain Mail

 Stainless, welded mail aventail from Master Knuut.  Degrease, wash well with soap and water, rinse, rinse with denatured alcohol.  Place on rack in preheated oven at 500F, set oven to self clean mode where temperature will reach around 800F.  After one hour, turn oven off (I had to shut off the breaker).  Wait about 1 hour until oven temperature lowers to the point where the oven door safety unlocks.  Remove with tongs or heavy mits, quench in metal bucket or pot contain about 5 gallons of 95% water 5% corn oil.  Observe standard safety protocols!


The Heathen: HT GSOW

Customized HT Great Sword of War. I went through several iterations of this project before finally settling on this design and fabrication process.  New handle geometry more slim and oval.  The hit components were buffed with #0000 steel wool, degreased and heat blued.  Handle is calfskin over cord, died red.  Suspension is red facing, black "vingaroon" back.  Scabbard is 3oz leather dyed Cordovan.  Symbol of Norse Trinity: Fate, Being, Necessity.  Blade has been slow-rust blued to give it an iridescent sheen.

Albion Tritonia, Leather Finish

 Russet with "Royal Blue".  Remaining work: figure out how to finish the rain flap, knot near lion, attach belt fittings.


Albion Tritonia Scabbard

Poplar core, vegetable tanned leather exterior.  Russet color with a Scandinavian cross and a lion rampant, appropriate for a noble in the 13th century under King Magnus IV.