Thoughts on cleaning up a maille avontail or camail



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Ringulf
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Thoughts on cleaning up a maille avontail or camail

Postby Ringulf » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:59 pm

I most likely butchered the spellings on the Subject line, but I have a nice Germondbu Helm, that has a maille avontail and it may have gotten put up on it's stand after a big, sweaty, Dwarven head was living in it for a while.
I have heard of the old "sand in a bag" trick, though my sand down here is like fine powder which makes it very easy to drive on, but not real abrasive (at least that is what I am figuring)
I am a bit reluctant to slather on a coat of Navel Jelly (though I have it available) any other methods or ideas anyone might like to share? Truthfully I don't use a lot of mail though I am looking for a Hauberk .
It is butted, mild steel and I have been using it for my Viking Library demos ( Also why I am looking for a Hauberk)
After it is put to rights I will give it a good coating of oil to keep it from happening again (kinda ticked that it got away from me but live and learn I suppose.) if someone besides myself can benefit from my mistakes and the solution given, it is never a waste!
I am Ringulf the Dwarven Ranger, I craft leather, wood, metal, and clay,
I throw axes, seaxes, and pointy sticks, And I fire my bow through the day.
Come be my ally, lift up your mead! We’ll search out our foes and the Eagles we'll feed!
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Peter Remling
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Re: Thoughts on cleaning up a maille avontail or camail

Postby Peter Remling » Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:05 pm

I tried the old sand in the bag route a while back for my hauberk and it was slow and not a great result. I bought play sand which like your sand pretty fine. Then I put it and the maille in a large heavy bank money sack. I tied one end with some slack over a tree limb and the other end tied with the rope just tossed over the same limb several feet away from the first. I could pull up and down on the rope which caused the sack to invert itself allowing the not too abrasive sand to run across the maille.

Did it work ? Yes and no, it removed the rust but not the staining.

If I was doing a helmet, I'd it a little differently. First I'd use a different medium. Crushed walnut shells or corn husk. Both are used for rock polishing and are easily obtained and relatively inexpensive. Next put the helmet and grit in a heavy sack or a plastic bucket like a resealable Lowes or Home Depot bucket.
You can then roll the bucket around the yard and check it periodically.

Now because I always think there has to be an easier way this is something I'd give a try : after putting the helm and grit in the bucket or sack,I'd tape bed pillows around the bucket and stick it in the dryer. Turn it on and wait a few minutes to see if works without too much stress for the dryer.

If Stella is reading this, I'm just kidding. If she isn't no I'm not! :lol:

Yeah I know it's not period or in the writings of Tolkien. :lol:
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Iodo
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Re: Thoughts on cleaning up a maille avontail or camail

Postby Iodo » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:08 pm

Unfortunately the only reliable way I've ever found for getting rust off chain-mail is not to let it get rusty in the first place :mrgreen:

sorry I can't be more help, but I'd be interested to know if you find something that works effectively
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
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Ringulf
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Re: Thoughts on cleaning up a maille avontail or camail

Postby Ringulf » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:47 pm

Thanks folks!
Fortunately the avontail is easily separated from the Helmet so I am going to try several methods to clean this one up and replace this one with one that is not rusted off another helm, (making a few adjustments to duplicate the pattern). I will keep working on the original and see what happens. I will post my findings if there is any new info! :mrgreen:
I am Ringulf the Dwarven Ranger, I craft leather, wood, metal, and clay,
I throw axes, seaxes, and pointy sticks, And I fire my bow through the day.
Come be my ally, lift up your mead! We’ll search out our foes and the Eagles we'll feed!
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Ringulf
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Re: Thoughts on cleaning up a maille avontail or camail

Postby Ringulf » Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:19 pm

For this particular application, I went with a method that seemed to be the simple solution. Simple but not necessarily easy. Before separating the maille from the helm, I used several different grits of sanding sponges. This was recommended by a European knight who was adamant that you did not use goops or goos or it will ruin the maille. I am not entirely sure one needs to be that much of a purest, but I did think that would be the better coarse of wisdom. The sponges did a very nice job on the more exposed parts of the maille, but did little for the deeper parts of the ring's weave. I then took the camaille "curtain" off the helm and laid it out flat and tried it some more on the reverse side, supplementing the sponge with a wire brush at times. I got a bit more because you could get down into the rings more deeply, and it seemed to be faster. I had read that in period they would rub in rendered pig's fat or tallow, but I imagine that after a while it would smell horribly. That may have smelled like roses in the Dark Ages but a Northman was among the cleanest of the Dark age denizens, and this being a Germondbu Helm I did not want to be known as the "stinky viking kid" so, I doused it liberally with WD-40 put it in an old pillow case out of the rag bin and rolled the top down. I tied a knot in each corner to hold as I shook it back and forth. It was also mentioned that maille was for the most part "self cleaning" and that heavy use was the best way to keep it clean. I found that intense periods of heavy use and then laying it up somewhere for a week, was not the same thing. Sweat is gonna happen (especially if you are me) so I am going to continue with the WD-40 and pillowcase method after each use. Some other advice was to do that and keep ii in the pillowcase. I normally display the helm on a Helmet stand in my studio so that was out. One could also get a sheep's wool/skin bag turning it suede side out and keep the maille and helm attached in it so the lanolin could keep it well oiled. I am going to work on a sheepskin hat bag or really wide portmanteau to carry it in. ( I found an all leather bowling bag at Habitat Re-Store that I can line with sheepskin perhaps) I did not need to go any further than that but if anyone has any ideas or improvements do not hesitate to pipe up! There are many rust removal methods both ancient and modern, like the salt and white vinegar bath and such, but for this application, on flexible maille, this worked very well. The self cleaning method is the hope for the future, but that is tired/lazy Ringulf speaking! lol :mrgreen:
I am Ringulf the Dwarven Ranger, I craft leather, wood, metal, and clay,
I throw axes, seaxes, and pointy sticks, And I fire my bow through the day.
Come be my ally, lift up your mead! We’ll search out our foes and the Eagles we'll feed!

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