BLACKMAILLE
Part 96 -
Q & A VIII
by Lord Thomas the Black
 


BLACKMAILLE

Q & A VIII

            Welcome back to another edition of everyone’s favorite maille-related monthly: Blackmaille!

            It’s time once again for our annual Q & A session, so here we go…
 

What is the standard wire gauge/ring size for fighting armor?  By ‘fighting armor”, I’m assuming you mean sport combat armor, like that worn by the Society for Creative Anachronism? If that’s the case, then the short answer is “there is no such requirements”, but I’ll cover that more in-depth in a future article (so stay tuned). If you’re referring to LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) armor, then it depends largely on your particular group. Generally speaking, in any group that involves full-contact sparring, there’ll be someone whose job it is to set/enforce safety standards. This person is usually listed on the group’s website as a point-of-contact, so if I were you, I would get ahold of them and ask them to explain the armor standards for your group.

            If, on the other hand, you’re referring to actual medieval armor, then the answer varies. European 4-in-1 is the most common weave used, with riveted rings, but the ring size/wire gauge varies wildly. I’ve seen examples in museums of everything from 20g, 1/8” rings (riveted!), all the way up to 14g, 3/8” rings, and everything in between! In addition, there is a huge variety of stamped rings, signature rings, inlays, etc used in period armor. I recommend spending some time at your local museums and libraries, researching the nationality/period you wish to portray before beginning work on your maille.
 

I’ve heard tell of a “Mailler Olympics”; What led you to come up with this?  Alcohol. I wish there was more to it than that. Every feat of skill deserves an epic origin, but in this case, it was just alcohol, pure and simple. I was at a former student’s house for his wife’s birthday, and was getting fairly lit up when someone handed me a Knight’s Chain I’d made (which had gotten damaged during SCA combat), and asked me to fix it. Three sheets to the wind and using two different kinds (and sizes) of pliers, I got the chain fixed as good as new. After that, it was decided that this should be our initiation to the Black Oak Guild.

Problem was, three of our members had never gone through such an initiation, so it wasn’t like I could say “All of us have done it”. So, we devised a series of tests that all of us could do. After weeding out events based on physical ability (making maille underwater), or danger level (hanging upside down), we came down to the three we were going to do for a series of articles, and a “drunk test”. We (I) later weeded out the drunk test for three reasons: 1.) I didn’t want to be seen as encouraging alcohol consumption in an article that may be read by minors. 2.) Four events could lead to a tie, and I didn’t have a tie-breaker event planned, and 3.) One of our members is what can charitably be called a “high functioning” alcoholic, and therefore has an advantage over the rest of us. I wanted all of us on equal footing for the events.

Sadly, the fabled “Mailler Olympics” never came to pass. It was just a scheduling thing. I usually had something going on every weekend during the summer I’d planned on doing this, and the weekends I didn’t have something going on, the guys did, so it was hard getting everyone together for it. In the end, I put it off until we could better fit it into our schedules, and wrote other articles to take their places in the lineup.
 

Why did you do four articles on demo boards? They don’t seem that complicated.   You’re absolutely right: they’re not. I had originally planned to do a 2-part article on the boards, and a four-part article on the Mailler Olympics, but as you just read above, for one reason or another, the Olympics thing just didn’t happen (yet), so I needed to fill space in my lineup. Expanding a 2-part article into a 4-part article wasn’t that hard, and allowed me to explain some steps in greater detail.
 

What are you going to do for your 100th article?  I wish I knew. That’s not a stall tactic, by the way; as of this writing, I really have no idea what to do for it. I feel like it’s a landmark article, so I’d like to do something way cool to celebrate, I just don’t know what yet. If any of my readers have any ideas, or things you’d like to see us do or write about, please drop me a line at tbeckett1@kc.rr.com  or write to me at:

Thomas Beckett
13628 Belmead Ave
Grandview, MO 64030
 

Why such a short Q&A this time around?   Because you people aren’t writing to me, that’s why! It’s all your fault! It’s not like I haven’t put my address at the end of every article (for the record, it’s:

Thomas Beckett
13628 Belmead Ave
Grandview, MO 64030)

And it’s not like I haven’t dropped my email address in here (tbeckett1@kc.rr.com ) or there (tbeckett1@kc.rr.com ). It’s just that you’re not writing in with questions! Think of me as the “Dear Abby” of maille; write to me with all your questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them. If I can’t, I’ll try to point you to someone who can. If one of you comes up with a real stumper, I may even do the research and make an article of it (like with the “Chinese Maille” question that led to an article).

            Well, I guess that wraps it up for another Q&A, and another month of Blackmaille! As usual, any questions, comments, hate mail, or fan mail should be sent to:

                                    Blackmaille
                                    c/o Tom Beckett
                                    13628 Belmead Ave
                                    Grandview, MO 64030

            Or you can email me at:  tbeckett1@kc.rr.com

            Thanks for joining us, and I’ll see you next month!

           




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