Author Topic: chainmail as a stab proof vest  (Read 18115 times)

Offline northernboy65

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chainmail as a stab proof vest
« on: December 31, 2012, 04:10:18 PM »
Hello, this is my first post and I am sorry if this post is in the wrong section, but I belieave it belongs here.
I was toying with the idea of a homemade chainmail vest for self defence tool, I am aware that it will not withstand a round from a weapon but will be very effective as a stab proof defence. It has been around for a very long time and very effective till firearms/and arrows  became a main form of weapon. With modern alloys and ancient patterns I am Sure that I can make a fairly light and strong vest that will stop a knife or axe.
With all the knowledge here I was wondering if anyone else had thought of this or have any suggestions, I am aware of commercial vests that can be purchased but I am unable to do so.

Offline caverdude

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 05:45:08 PM »
I have a friend that made a chain mail vest, its very heavy. It might be great for building up leg strength.

Offline Perfesser

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 09:04:37 PM »
At work we have danger of cuts from steel. Kevlar gloves and armguards are the standard. They're light and pretty effective from cuts but not stab wounds. A finer weave would be the ticket here.

Offline Hurricane

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 09:16:00 PM »
A couple of good sites on the making and use of mail.

The Apprentice Armorer's Illustrated Handbook For Making Mail
A Clear Systematic Guide for the Do-It-Yourselfer
http://realbeer.com/jjpalmer/HowtoChain.html

Mail: Unchained
An article
http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_mail.html


I believe if I was actually going to try making it I would first make some over-sized rings, like 2in. or larger, of at least two distinctly different colors, so I could practice how the rings go together, and be able to clearly see the patterns.

I recall hearing of an incident many years ago in which a re-enactor wanted to get used to the weight of his mail, so he wore it to work at a convenience store, under his uniform. A robber tried to stab him with a knife, which stuck in the mail. This upset the robber so much he took off running, or fainted, or something. Could not understand how the guy shrugged off the attack. True ??

Offline Cedar

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 09:29:41 PM »
In my medieval groups, I made chain mail. 2-in-2 Japanese style .. it took me 2 hours to make this. I would hate to make a full suit. It is about 1.5"x1.5"



Cedar

Offline Kartavious

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2013, 04:03:37 AM »
I'm in the process of making a chain mail shirt right now. It its fairly easy, but tedious. I wonder what you do where you worry about being stabbed often enough to want to wear some form of armor ;) I like the instructions given by the guy that runs storm the castle .com    he goes by epic fantasy on you  tube videos  that explain how to do it efficiently.  I think good situational awareness is much more practical than wearing chain mail all the time though.

Offline Cedar

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 08:42:06 AM »
It its fairly easy, but tedious.

You can double underline that!

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Offline caverdude

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2013, 12:26:14 PM »
I have known two people who claimed they had been stabbed earlier in life. One was a moon shine runner. He went to deliver some shine and the people he delivered to decided they wanted the moon shine and the money. They stabbed him and he ran to the vehicle ant took off and went straight to a hospital. He lived of course.

The other guy was a bouncer at some bar. He was stabbed twice from behind on two different occasions outside the bar when he was fighting with someone he had to throw out of the bar. I think in both occasions  while he was facing one guy someone from behind snuck up on him.

I do know of one guy who claimed to have stabbed someone he had a dispute with. The guy was bullying him according to this guy. He stabbed him in the gut.

In all these cases the stabbing was a single stab at lower abdomen from side front and back. 



Offline archer

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2013, 01:26:19 PM »
In my medieval groups, I made chain mail. 2-in-2 Japanese style .. it took me 2 hours to make this. I would hate to make a full suit. It is about 1.5"x1.5"



Cedar

wow Cedar, that is really nice work.....
Can I get a backup of your brain/experiences? you know 99% of everything.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2013, 01:34:03 PM »
I was toying with the idea of a homemade chain-mail vest for self defense tool, I am aware that it will not withstand a round from a weapon but will be very effective as a stab proof defense. It has been around for a very long time and very effective till firearms/and arrows  became a main form of weapon. With modern alloys and ancient patterns I am Sure that I can make a fairly light and strong vest that will stop a knife or axe.

It would work well for slashing type weapons. The slash is distributed across many individual links.
It would probably slow an axe down, but I'd hate to get smacked by one either way. People use axes to cut holes into metal drums. The force is concentrated on a much smaller area.
Pretty much ineffective against stabbing/thrusting implements. Un-fused rings would just open up. Welded, riveted, or soldered closed rings would deform enough to allow the blade to pass. A big Bowie knife would probably be stopped after only getting cut a little bit, but a butterfly knife or a pen knife would go much deeper.

Stilettos and bodkin (modern target style) arrow points are designed to slip through chain mail.

If I was to try, I'd probably get a bunch of small split ring keychain rings. They are strong, spring steel that have been hardened and tempered. The trouble with using any wire product is they have been annealed (softened) so you can bend them.

Combined with a modern bullet proof vest for a Gambeson, you'd probably have something...

Just my thoughts...

Offline Cedar

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2013, 04:26:43 PM »
wow Cedar, that is really nice work.....
Can I get a backup of your brain/experiences? you know 99% of everything.

Thanks...

and I wish. If there was some stuff out of my head, maybe it would be quieter in there. But no.. in reality I don't know 99% of everything. I am actually kinda lousy at some things.

Cedar

Offline The Professor

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2013, 07:35:26 PM »
Well, FWIW, standard "decorative" mail as you generally come across, now, is simply butted.  That means the ends are held together by the tension of the ring, itself.

I wouldn't want to risk my life with this type of mail, despite the weaving pattern.  For thrusts, you'd be better off with riveted or welded mail that won't separate as easily.  If you think weaving butted mail is difficult and tedious, imagine having to rivet each and every ring!  Welded mail is done by machine (think of those shark anti-bite suits divers wear).

In either case, you want rings as small as possible to help distribute the cutting, slashing and penetrative force. And even then, something like an icepick won't be stopped.

Were it me, and were I thinking of a modern style of protective wear, I'd do something like a small-plate brigandine or "jack-of-plates" such as seen here: http://www.armourarchive.org/patterns/brig/

Hundreds of small plates overlapping each other riveted to a canvas or leather jacket.  I thought of making a modern version of this based on either a motorcycle jacket shell or a denim jacket reinforced with leather.  I would have used either titanium plates or kydex (easier to cut, cheaper but much bulkier).

Use small-link mail to cover the armpits and elbows where you need some flex.

Just some thoughts.

The Professor

Offline donaldj

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 08:13:24 PM »
I've made 4 full hauberks in my time.

Chainmaille is great against slashing, but not very good at all against stabbing. I've tested a bunch of my armor against knife attacks.

Details:
  • Chain shirt
  • 35 pounds
  • 14 gauge galvanized steel
  • 4 rings through a fifth pattern
  • butted rings
Results: Full force slash with an 8" blade did not penetrate the rings. It rocked the heavy bag "wearing" the chainmaille with the consistency of a light jab (the force was slashing, not directly into the bag).


Details:
  • Chain shirt
  • 35 pounds
  • 14 gauge galvanized steel
  • 4 rings through a fifth pattern
  • butted rings
Results: Full force stab with an 8" blade penetrated the rings and sunk into the bag 4 inches. It rocked the heavy bag "wearing" the chainmaille with the consistency of a medium jab (the force was piercing, directly into the bag).

I never had the patience to make riveted or welded maille.

To be honest, look more forward rather than back. There are some new developments in kevlar and other materials that provide some "light armor" protection without the weight of more primitive means.

Turtle skin:
http://www.turtleskin.co.uk/Department-CBLADE_TECHT/

Blade Runner:
http://www.bladerunner.tv/covert-white-long-sleeve-shirt-lined-with-aramid-fibre-p-800.html

There is also some kevlar t shirts and other clothing that, while not mission specific as armor against weapons, may provide some protection. Motorsports suppliers have several options.

Don

Offline The Professor

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2013, 09:08:10 PM »
The problem with those two links, Don, is that neither product provides any stab protection, as the OP requested.

I just don't think there's any real covert or flexible modern solution, yet, that would satisfy a regular person's requirements.

Currently, you're just going to have to go with a plate for defense.

The Professor

Offline donaldj

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 10:04:14 AM »
The problem with those two links, Don, is that neither product provides any stab protection, as the OP requested.

Yes, I get that, but they are comparable protection to what he is considering making.


Offline northernboy65

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2013, 08:21:20 PM »
Thank you all for your very informed and well thought out responses to my post.
Like it was pointed out to me the shirt will be very heavy and might be ineffective at certain situations, the reason I was considering such an undertaking was I work as a city transit bus driver and have been attacked 2 times in the last 3 years and to add to my fears last month a knife was pulled on a fellow driver. Luckily my attacker only used there fists and chipped a tooth on one and broke my glasses on the other attack. And thank god my friends knife attacker was so drunk/stoned he was unable to hurt anyone.
But my company refuses to issue us stab vests and they are very expensive to a point I am unable to purchase one. And I agree that awareness of my surroundings will help a lot and I have been practising in public areas watching body language and facial expressions, BUT while driving my back is to all the people and my focus is on the road I try to watch my rear view mirror to watch people but my attention is divided.
I may have to rethink this idea but I was thinking that I would use building the shirt as a 13 in 13 skills challenge. anyway thank you so much for your help

Offline Erigorn

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2013, 12:17:22 PM »
I can concur with most of the posters.
It is very time consuming to create chain mail. In fact so time consuming that you could probably work a couple extra shifts or get an extra part time job and go buy something that would have better protection in less time than making a shirt of mail. However, it is an interesting process and can be done while watching a movie or something that you've already seen and it is an learning process and skill to have.

Offline David in MN

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2013, 03:21:32 PM »
I have a complete set of mail I made for myself. I concur with everyone who has posted:

Heavy
Not riveted, not strong
Does nothing for blunt force
Doesn't stop a stabbing motion
Took a year and a half to build
If you don't do it well it will scratch

On the upside, I think it looks cool in our basement on a mannequin. My wife likes it as well so as an art project, go for it.

Offline blademan

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2013, 04:09:23 PM »
Disclaimer: not an expert, just a thinker.
 
  And I have done some thinking about this very thing. Quite a bit actually.
   I have worked with chainmail in my job. If you want chain mail, it is really cheaper and better to buy it than it is to make it. Unless you are hung up on making it then knock yourself out.
  Go watch the cold steel video about the war hammer and see if that answers your question about the axe. Axe will kill you wearing three chainmail suits. Its the impact and the cutting. Either of which can be deadly, together are deadly.
  Don't depend just on one layer of armor. Think layers. You want your armor to do a couple things:
  Slow or stop the force
  Distribute the force over a wider area
  Deflect the force into a different direction if possible.
  Do the above multiple times hopefully on the same spot.
 
 If I was going to use mail I would use it as a composite and I probably wouldn't use steel unless I had to. In a layerd system I would probably want titanium or brass. Either is lighter than steel. They are both expensive, so you have to really want this even though there are better ways to do it.
  When I say composite I mean sandwich it between layers of armore that complement and supplement its function, in other words they do stuff it doesn't and help it do its job better.
   Like a base layer of a stab resistant vest, (usually made of kevlar, look in law enforcement catalogs for these) then mail ocer that then something that is thick and padded that will help slow a thrust or slash down allowing the other two layers to do their job better and reducing impact at the same time.
   
Look at some of the SCA groups on the internet for ideas of what you use, they have some really good stuff.
 
  As for mail, like I said buying it is probably better to buy than to make.
  Look at a company called bunzl. They make or at least sell chain mal gloves, jackets, sleeves, and aprons and other flexible armor and cut resistant stuff that isn't really all that bad price wise. The quality is there too.
  Size is a major consideration, the stuff has almost no stretch to it, so a shirt is a really hard garment to take on and off. Your thinking about a vest was the right track. You have to be careful of hair and I would totally reccommend not using it as a base layer agains the skin unless you are into that stuff. Its strange feeling and can irritate.

Anyway, there are lots of old and new technologies in armored clothing that are better in some ways than chainmail. Look up linothorax. Its a neat idea and could be used with mail as well.
  Good luck.

Offline blademan

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Re: chainmail as a stab proof vest
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2013, 04:25:26 PM »
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linothorax
 
  This is what I was talking about. If it stops and arrow, that's something. Theoretically this could be made to look like almost normal clothing. Just your own style of durable clothing. In some areas its illegal to posses or wear armor (stupid laws again)
  But if your hommade clothing is just tough enough to stop a knife or arrow, or even up to a bullet depending on how well you make it, then that's just coincidence. Just keep your mouth shut and wear what you want.
   Anyway, hope this helps. I think some types of epoxy could be use pretty well for this, but I wouldn't want epoxy right next to my skin and sweat. Maybe some natural resin or glue would be better.