Part 44 - Book Review, Part I
by Lord Thomas the Black


Book Review, Part I

            Welcome back to another edition of “Blackmaille”!

            This month and next, I thought I’d review some of the books available for fledgling maillers to learn from. When I first started making maille almost 10 years ago, there were no books to learn from. I taught myself off of a number of websites (some of which are no longer online), and from experienced maillers in my area. It was a long process, and difficult.

            Yeah, yeah, and when I was your age, I walked uphill to school both ways in six feet of snow. I’m old, get over it.

            Nowadays, would-be maillers have a plethora of websites and books to learn from. The mailling community has grown by leaps and bounds, and many maillers are happy to share what they’ve learned.

            In this first half of my book review, I’m going to cover three commonly-available e-books, and a book no modern armory should be without. Lets get started…

Practical Chainmail in the Current Middle Ages” by Gypsy Teague (

            This book is a valuable resource, and very well-written. Geared towards an SCA audience, “PCMitCMA” focuses primarily on fighter-level armor. A number of different pieces are covered, and the instructions are fairly clear. The photography could be better, and the historical info is somewhat lacking, but overall, this is a good beginner’s guide.

* * * out of 5 stars

“Butted Maile: A Mailmaker’s Guide” by Paul DeGorey and Robert fitz John (

            An exceptional beginner’s guide! This is more of a long online article than a “book” per se, but the info covered is amazing. Well-written and clearly-illustrated, “A Mailmaker’s Guide” covers everything from coiling and cutting to complicated tailoring in easy-to-follow directions.

* * * * out of 5 stars

“Intro to Mailling” by Jeff Baker (e-book)

            I downloaded this one off of the M.A.I.L. site ( when it was first made available. The information is concise, and the illustrations are nicely-rendered, but there’s nothing here that’s not available from other websites. Still, points for collating it all in one place.

* * out of 5 stars

            And last but not least…

Techniques of Medieval Armor Reproduction” by Brian Price. Available from Paladin Press (

            Without a doubt, “TOMAR” is a book no armorer worth their salt should be without. Brian Price walks the reader through every step of the armoring process, from choosing their tools, all the way through to a finished suit of 14th century armor. Only chapter 23 deals specifically with maille, but even here, the information is above and beyond what most other places offer. Stop reading this article immediately and go get this book!

* * * * * out of five stars

            Well, that wraps it up for part I. Next month, I’ll review four more books available to fledgling maillers:

            “Knitting Steel: A Guide for the Contemporary Craftsman” by Patrick Sain

            “The Art of Mail Armor” by Mary Brewer

            “The art of Chainmail” by Dylon Whyte

            “Chain Mail Armored Knight” by Claude Lamontagne

            So, join me next month for part II! Until then, as usual, all hate mail, fan mail, questions and comments can be sent to:

                        c/o Tom Beckett
                        13628 Belmead Ave
, MO 64030

            Or, you can email me at:

             Thanks for joining me for another edition of “Blackmaille”, and I’ll see you next month!


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