What is Maille Making?

Introduction

A type of armor constructed from interlocking metal rings is called Maille, commonly known as chain mail or chainmail. Several metals, including iron, steel, and aluminum may be used to create Maille. It can be found in different regions of the world and throughout history, but it was most prevalent in medieval Europe. Usually, these are used to create Maille:

  • Iron
  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Titanium
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Stainless steel

History

Chain-mail or Hauberk texture, metal protective armor of medieval or middle ages times. Hauberk medieval knight equipment shirt of ring mail

Maille was used in ancient China and Japan, as well as Mesopotamia and Egypt, where the oldest known specimens were discovered. The Celts and the Romans employed Maille throughout Europe. For protection in battle, knights and troops donned Maille armor, which was also employed to create other objects like gloves, purses, and even works of art.

Maille was created during the Middle Ages by craftsmen called “mail-smiths” or “chain-smiths,” who hand-forged each individual ring before connecting them with a variety of weaving methods. 

Techniques for creating Maille evolved over time, and new tools were created. Making Maille remained a common craft throughout the ages, and it has recently become popular once again as a pastime and form of art. People still create Maille today using both conventional and contemporary methods, and it comes in a variety of patterns and designs.

Materials and Tools

The tools and materials required to make Maille are simple.

  1. Rings – The rings are the most important part of the creation of the Maille. They are available in a range of sizes and gauges.
  2. Pliers – The rings are opened and closed with pliers. To make Maille, flat-nose pliers and chain-nose pliers are frequently used.
  3. Cutting tool – The rings are sized by using cutting tools like jeweler’s saws or wire cutters.
  4. Ruler – The projects and rings are measured using a ruler.
  5. Mandrels – A mandrel is a tool that is used to bend the rings into the desired form, such as an oval or circular one.
  6. Jump rings – Jump rings, which are tiny metal rings, are used to join various pieces of Maille.
  7. Clasps – Jewelry and other things made of Maille are fastened using clasps.
  8. Protective gear – When handling metal rings, it is advised to use safety goggles or a face shield to prevent damage from flying rings.

These are the necessary tool and materials needed to make Maille; however, more complex projects or techniques could call for additional equipment and supplies. Some Maille painters further favor the use of specialist tools for certain techniques.

Techniques and Patterns

 

Here are a few examples of the numerous designs and techniques that may be utilized while crafting Maille:

4-in-1 weave

This is the simplest method for making Maille, and it entails connecting four rings in a square configuration. Flat sheets of Maille, such as those used in hauberks (shirts) and coifs (hoods), are frequently made using this design.

6-in-1 weave

This weave involves connecting six rings in a hexagonal arrangement and is comparable to the 4-in-1 weave. To create stronger and more flexible Maille, such as that used in gauntlets (gloves) and chausses (leggings), this design is frequently utilized.

8-in-1 weave

This weave includes connecting eight rings in an octagonal pattern and is comparable to the 6-in-1 weave. Maille that is manufactured using this pattern is frequently stronger and more flexible than Maille made using the 6-in-1 weave.

Byzantine weave

The elaborate and sophisticated nature of this pattern makes it difficult to learn and master. Jewelry and other ornamental objects are frequently made with it.

European 4-in-1 weave

Like the 4-in-1 weave, this design requires connecting four rings in a cross pattern. Typically, jewelry and ornamental items are made using this design.

Kinged weave

This weave pattern, which is a version of the 4-in-1 weave, is used to make lighter and more flexible Maille.

Jens Pind Linkage

It is possible to make lighter and more flexible Maille with this design, which is a version of the 4-in-1 weave.

Box Chain 

This is an easy weave to make that can be used for bracelets and necklaces.

Celtic Visions

It required two ring sizes, with the smaller ring usually fitting inside the larger ring.

Mobius Ball

Chainmail may be made in a variety of ways using the Mobius Ball weave. It may be used to create everything from pendants to bracelets to chainmail sheets.

Orbital Vipera Berus

A wonderful-looking chain weaving, orbital vipera berus would look well as a bracelet or for various uses as a chain.

Process

medieval knights

Making Maille involves the following steps:

1. Creating the rings

Making the individual rings is the initial stage in the creation of Maille. The wire can be cut and shaped either by hand forging or by utilizing a machine. Although the type of wire used might vary – titanium, steel, and aluminum are the most popular choices.

2. Opening and closing the rings

The rings must be slightly opened after being trimmed to size to weave additional rings through them. Pliers are often used for this.

3. Linking the rings

The rings are then connected by weaving them together in a number of ways. The 4-in-1 weave, in which four rings are weaved together in a square pattern, is the most fundamental design.

4. Closing rings

The rings are closed with pliers to ensure a tight weave when the appropriate design has been produced.

5. Finishing

The Maille is then polished and cleaned to get rid of any burrs or sharp edges.

Products

 

Several products are produced through Maille making, including:

Armor

The most popular form of Maille is to make body armor, such as hoods, chausses (leggings), and hauberks (shirts).

Jewelry

Bracelets, necklaces, and earrings may all be made from complex and distinctive jewelry using Maille.

Decorative items

Numerous ornamental things, including wall hangings, lampshades, and clothing accessories, may be made from Maille.

Accessories

Different accessories, like belts, purses, and even wallets, can be made from Maille.

Sculptures

Maille can be used to produce complex shapes, patterns, and three-dimensional formations in sculpture.

Making Maille may be utilized in a variety of different inventive ways in addition to these products. The maker’s talent, inspiration, and originality are all factors in the finished product.

Interesting facts

 

  • The word “Maille” is derived from the French verb “mailler,” which means “to weave.”
  • Maille was used to making a wide variety of decorative items, including clothing, jewelry, and home furnishings.
  • During the Industrial Revolution, the use of machines improved Maille manufacturing efficiency and allowed for the mass production of Maille goods like watches and chains.
  • Maille creation is still a popular technique today, and many contemporary artists and crafters utilize a variety of different weaves and rings to produce gorgeous, one-of-a-kind objects.
  • Maille making is both a traditional craft and a modern art form, and some artists and crafters have elevated the medium by creating sculptural items, clothing, and even architectural components.

Conclusion

Manufacturing Maille entails first making separate rings, which are then connected using several methods. Maille making can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It may be a great hobby for anyone who is looking for a creative outlet. The finished product is a result of the maker’s talent and ingenuity.