Introduction & expanding fighter help
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Joined: April 22, 2012
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Introduction & expanding fighter help
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Posted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:03 pm
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My name is John. My daughter and I are part of the EMAAknights brigade team (currently in training). I suppose we would be what is called heavy or rebated fighters (non-SCA).

I joined the mail group for advice on getting a better fit for our hauberks (16g stainless steel ring).

Since donning a gambeson - I am having trouble breathing in my chain. I have been using a tunic and long underarmour shirt before the past two weekends and not had problems moving. This is before I equip the rest of my armour.

I can't say that lifting my arms actually compresses my chest. But I feel as if my movement is hampered. I've eliminated the pauldrons and cuirass as an issue.

I am wondering if I need to do something like:
Split the hauberk down the front and lash (er, fasten) it together?
Add a column of rings?


I am at a loss on what to do. Other members of my organization's brigade don't seem to have this problem.

Any help would be appreciated.


Thanks,


John

Joined: March 3, 2002
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Location: tres piedras, new mexico

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Posted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:43 pm
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you need to wear a belt and keep a paunch in the chain. this reduces the weight on your shoulders and allows you to move easier.

it also means you need to get your pliers back out and weave until it's long enough for you as the paunch will shorten things up by a few inches.

if this does not work, your shirt was constructed too narrow. to find the number of rings around your shirt should be, use the "measuring dynamic fabric" system explained in this article:
System for Basic Study of Weaves (v1.0):


find your needed rings per inch and alter accordingly. measure your chest at full breath for this.

good luck!


PSA: remember to stretch.
3.o is fixing everything.

Joined: April 22, 2012
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Expanding
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Posted on Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:32 pm
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Thank you for the information. I forgot to mention that I do have a belt that I rest some of the weight of the chain.

The hauberk was a purchase from a person who was not going to be able to use it because of moving out of country. I unfortunately did not make the maile, but was lucky it was sized to fit.

At the time I did not think the gambeson would add so much girth. I don't have/know anyone nearby who has made any maille. I have started weaving with a few stray rings that were included.

As I am trying to (re)measure myself two thoughts occur (besides how much I am mathlexic):

1. If I need more space, can I weave a column of rings into the front of the hauberk to expand it?
2. Is making it into two halves (with straps or some sort of closures) possible?
3. Should I have left the holes in the armpits alone?


Thanks for your patience an d advice,

John

Joined: March 3, 2002
Posts: 4372
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Location: tres piedras, new mexico

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Posted on Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:34 am
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plan on adding width to the front and the back. it looks like you hate math, too bad. count from armpit to armpit on the back and on the front. the back should be wider than the front. if they happen to be equal, you can get away with adding a small bit to the back, instead of both.

the back should be wider than the front when you are finished..

you want a solid shirt, it won't carry right otherwise. you -can- use clasps, just like you -could- load a trebuchet with scarves and foam. are you going for a cool display or are you trying to stop someone from stabbing you with a sword?

are the armpits uncomfortable? armpits can be tricky and i can see why a person might leave them out.

make sure you measure yourself wearing the gambeson.

and, really, that dynamic fabric thing, that's so you have a bit of play. i know it's math, but it really makes the difference in comfort. if you can post the raw data, someone might be willing to do the algebra for you.


PSA: remember to stretch.
3.o is fixing everything.

Joined: October 21, 2009
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Posted on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:35 pm
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Just because you can fit into the shirt does not mean it fits you (as you already know.) A general rule of thumb is to take you chest measurement and add 10" to get the size for mail armor.

Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:53 am
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Howdy, welcome and well come, Johnion. We're acquainted from Armour Archive.

Yeah -- like these guys are saying, it sounds like your shirt is really a bit too slender overall. It was fine until the gamby got in the act -- you want its fully expanded chest circumference to be about ten inches larger than your chest measurement to accommodate a fighting gamby, which is an absolute necessity against rebated steel blunts.

To enlarge a shirt of any type, good places to add columns of links are under each arm and center back. Is your shirt a well tailored one that features expansion arrays running from your traps down upon each shoulder blade, and then contracting to zero extra somewhere about the kidneys' height? These too are areas you can stick more girth into a shirt without looking messed up when you're done.

I would enlarge the shirt first by adding to back and sides (or else the expansion arrays), and test-fitting with the gamby, before adding to the front -- a shirt's sleeves need to have forward bias for free motion of your arms. They have a lot more range of motion forward and across than they do backwards. So the mail shirt dispenses with freedom to the rear and applies it selectively towards the front instead.

Per expansion unit (a bit of E5-1) your shirt will be expanded by the ID of one link -- so if you know your shirt needs to get wider by X inches, you can do a little division and figure out how many expansion links/expansions you need to insert. This expansion may not need many inches at all.

I call these "expansion arrays" if they are present, because they are somewhat complex structures. They are shaped like <=>, with, from the top down, an expansion zone, a rectangle of just plain-weave E4-1 in the middle, then a contraction zone, like a mirror image of the expansion zone. It could even be taller than the expansion zone.

If your shirt lacks this neat-o feature, it may be added in to give that desired expansion very easily. An expansion array zips into the shirt's weave very easily because all the funny stuff in a triangular expansion zone goes on inside it, and you don't need a funny seam join at all to zip the piece into the shirt -- just regular 4-1 weave. To open the shirt up for expansion arrays, open two slits in the shirt from the top of your trapezius muscles down to kidney height, insert premade expansion arrays which will be about two inches across each, and zip 'em in.

Any combination of any of these remedies will sort things out for you. Remember to keep your shirt's armholes pretty high up in your armpit, or when you raise your arms you will struggle to lift that entire side of the shirt. Weighty weighty, feel like you're eighty. I got a million of 'em. With coffee, a million and a half.


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

Joined: March 3, 2002
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Posted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:04 am
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Johnion, I think you might get very specific and helpful advice here with a couple of good photos of you wearing the shirt and particularly photos of the areas you're having problems with.

Without that we're really just making educated guesses as to what might be the problem.


http://www.mailletec.com

Y'know, that might just be crazy enough to work!

Joined: April 22, 2012
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Posted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:01 pm
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Hello Konstantin, yes, it's the same helmetless me from AA (that may change this weekend with Triad Highland Games).

The armpit holes are very high up (and I did not notice them for a few weeks). After I fixed some of the links and then noticed the armpit holes, I adjusted them. I felt like I was 80 and I could barely raise my arms.

I have now removed my tinkering and will try on the maile.....

The weave looks uniform to my untrained eye (no traps I an see). So no lucky expansion arrays.

Since my shirt (without belt paunching) reaches my knees, can I take a strip from the bottom and use it for columns (waiting on some rings I ordered - only to find the seller has pneumonia)?

I am 6'1 (- well maybe 5' 11" in maile) so would a few inches off the bottom compromise integrity?

I would wait, but we have event coming up this weekend. Although I am not the star attraction (my group is still in training), I'd like to be able to be a test dummy.

Thanks,

John

Joined: October 21, 2009
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Posted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:46 pm
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You may not want to take a strip off the bottom because the grain will most likely go in a different direction and may cause a load of other problems.

Joined: April 22, 2012
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Posted on Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:43 pm
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Thanks. I am going to have to not wear the gambeson until I can get some more rings ordered.

John

Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:21 am
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Oh, the linkrows would go in a different direction for sure. All Johnion would have to do though is just chop such a ribbon into short segments and stack 'em atop each other in a column. Nothing wrong with reducing as much mail as needed down to loose rings, half opened and half closed, to reweave into the needed config, like expansion zones. Losing a few inches off the hem is really no tactical trouble to speak of. Likely the endeavor would yield more links than you need, so maybe all you want to remove is two inches instead of three. If really needed, you can remove links to make triangular dags all round.

Your thigh protection is likely to end up being pretty comprehensive anyway. Quite aside from your butted-mail 'berk, you have the skirts of the gambeson if it is hauberk length, plus gamboised cuisses (built like the gambeson) about each thigh; double the padding. Reinforcing splints of aluminum or of bucket plastic down the thighs if you want, those work great. Hard-cover the trochanter of your femur (that bony spot in your upper thigh joint) and you'll never have a scare even if you get legged there by a super-Duke who's trying hard to get your attention! Hard knees, preferably of steel, fanned or fanless depending on what deal you like -- fanless, even the "soupcan" knee, being much the more accurate and lower profile too. Either one laced to the end of the gamboised cuisse on your thigh with points.


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

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Posted on Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:10 pm
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Konstantin,

This weekend, at Triad Highland Games, I was able to get the advice from some more experienced classmates (from our Raleigh School) and their advice was nearly the same as yours - that I could stack sections of the bottom into columns to broaden the shoulders and back.

They also suggested I split the back and lace it with something strong. (Some suggestions were Spectracord (sp?), parachute cord, sinew, entrails, etc. - it got a bit silly after that).

I have saddle leather tassets that cover my upper thighs and padded knee cops with poleyns that work well. So I can move some of the chain to a more needed place. I am going to look into attempting triangular dags.

Thanks very much all the help. I have sword and shield curriculum class tonight (don't need the chain until this coming Sat for brigade) but I know what I will be doing this week.


John

Joined: November 10, 2011
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Posted on Tue May 08, 2012 8:11 am
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This is all great info. I am also weaving a fighting (SCA) shirt in the 45 style and thought I had all the math and ring counts figured out but it looks like I've miscalculated. Using 14g 5/16ID. How forgiving is the 10 inch rule of thumb? My chest measures 50" at full breath so I made calculations for a 54" body section. I don't have my padded gamby finished yet but didn't think it would add that much. Should I expand my back/side panels for 60"?

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Posted on Tue May 08, 2012 10:44 pm
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Thunderbolt,

I am going to give you a non-math answer which may or may not help. The type of gambeson (ie how much padding / bult/ size) may play a large part in your allowance for room. My wife used the XL period patterns No. 2 (style III) for mine. She has not tapered it to fit. So I suppose I am saying it depends on the style of gambeson/aketon/arming coat you will use. Mine seemed to give a lot more bulk than expected.

Your own experience may vary. This is just how it worked out for me - I am still adding links. For me, it seems the pattern recognition gene and the math gene are either linked or missing in my case (I have to link each ring separately- if I try the weave 4 and add 3 then I get the links going the wrong way and I lose the pattern flow. Yes this is probably unique to my brain).

John

Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Sat May 12, 2012 1:03 am
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Thunderbolt, I misdoubt me (I can haz archaic -- and ain't afraid to use it!) you'd really want it to go much skinnier than chest plus ten. That's a pretty big chest you got -- hope it's all muscle.

Fifty-four inches down at the waist might be more like it -- you can maybe tighten it to about fifty-two in there if you are lean in the beltline -- but remember there's gamby (the gambeson) in there too, and that thickens things up pretty good.

There is controversy among the armor nerds along the living-history-accuracy line over whether Conquest- or Viking-era mail really had a stout gambeson underneath it or not -- they cite a lack of pictures or mentions of any such article in the period historical record. This matter may or may not be relevant to your SCA persona, whose era I do not know. I mention this only because you might run across it over on The Armour Archive -- damn good site about all things armor, btw. And not because I post there!

Anyway, up about the shoulders, in case of doubt, go bigger. You might grow bigger yourself with time, and it is better to keep the shirt a little oversized than to have it a little small.

I don't greatly care for the Bladeturner/Area 51/Colluphid 45-deg shirt pattern, because it's ahistorical, and a too-low armhole bottom can give you real fits trying to raise your arms above horizontal for scorpion wraps and other high-angle sword strikes. The NTLworld Trevor Barker pattern is much better history and tailoring. Two things you can do to make the 45 work better on you are a. Widen the back panel to bias the sleeves forward for arm freedom, and b. Taper the waist narrower to keep it from sliding out of your cinch waistbelt and annoying your shoulders with the burden your belt was supposed to transfer to your hips. The NTLworld Trevor Barker pattern does this naturally with its expansion zones woven into the back of the shirt upon each shoulder blade. Mailshirts need forward bias to the sleeves to give the arm motions freedom forward and across. If you don't get that from your shirt, fix it.

A quick and dirty simulation of what your gamby is going to add on is to put on a light to middling outdoors jacket and then put your mailshirt on and wave your arms about as far as they will go.


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

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