Part 80 - Butted Maille Time Trial
by Lord Thomas the Black


Butted Maille Time Trial

            Welcome back to another edition of Blackmaille!

            Last month, I answered the questions “How long does it take to do this?” with a look at how much riveted maille can be made, start to finish, in one hour. This month, I hope to illustrate the main difference between riveted and butted maille by showing how much butted maille can be made in one hour.

            As with the riveted maille time trial, the first step is to count the steps involved. My list for butted maille came down to:

Coil wire
Cut rings
Assemble maille 

As this is quite a few less steps than there are for riveted, this left more time for each step. After consulting my calculator (because I’m horrible at mental math), I came up with 20 minutes per step. I can see where this is going already… isn’t foreshadowing fun, boys and girls? Anyway, my schedule came out looking like this:

            As you can see, there’s a lot of time for each task. So, with the planning stages out of the way, I planned to do this outside of renfest (unlike the riveted test), since there’s nothing particularly crowd-gathering about any of it. In short, I didn’t think it’d be much of a demo, but was more of a companion piece to the riveted time trial. However, after seeing the results of our riveted time trial (see last month's article), I was curious to see what the difference might be. The reactions of the patrons to the riveted trial told us they'd be interested, too. So, we set aside the afternoon to do the butted maille time trial.

            As with the riveted time trial, everyone had their jobs. Steven was again the timekeeper, Danny took pictures again (as he's got the best eye for photography of any of us), I handled the public-relations work, and Louis made the maille.

            Just a quick note, since there's much fewer steps involved in butted maille than in riveted, this article will be much less pic-heavy than last month's. On with the show!


                   Coiling wire                                                         Finished coils



                        Cutting rings                                       20 minutes' worth of cut rings



                 Weaving the maille                                                One hour's work


            As you can see, the results were similar in that there were elements of each step left undone, but still you can tell that the patch of butted maille made in one hour is much larger than that made of riveted maille. For comparison's sake, here's the two side-by-side:




            The tale of the tape:

                                    Riveted maille:  16 gauge
                                                                Mild steel wire
                                                                Finished maille measures 1 BU wide by 2 BU long

                                    Butted maille:    14 gauge
                                                                Galvanized steel wire
                                                                Finished maille measures 4 BU wide by 5 BU long, minus 1 BU in 5th row.

            Not that we were wholly surprised by these results, as we knew that butted maille takes much less time, but still, the finished butted piece was more than eight times as large as the riveted piece! Eight times!

            The crowd reaction we got to these experiments was great, and a lot of people gained a new appreciation for the work put into modern maille. I hope these articles have had a similar effect on my readers! We had a lot of fun doing these experiments, and I hope in the future we can come up with more crowd-pleasing demonstrations like these.

            In the meantime, thank you for joining us for another edition of Blackmaille! As usual, any questions, comments, hate mail, or fan mail can be sent to:                                                                               

c/o Thomas Beckett       
13628 Belmead Ave      
Grandview, MO 64030

 Or you can email me at:

             See you next month!

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