Piece of Mail. Rings of round cross section except at the overlap. All rings rivetted. Wedge rivets.
Detailed analysis by Mart Shearer shows that this is either the remnant of, or perhaps a piece in progress of becoming an armpit defense, commonly called a voider. Ring level detail images use a millimeter scale. They show (in order a-h):
Using a digital micrometer, and rounding to the tenth, five rings were measured parallel to the rivet join. The average exterior diameter was measured to be 5.1mm (0.20 in.), though the rings are slightly larger measuring over the riveted lap, as the expansion around the rivet sometimes goes to the outside of the ring, averaging 6.3 mm (0.24 in.). Average wire thickness opposite the riveted join from five rings measured 0.68 mm (0.027 in.) -- approximately 22 gauge for those using ferrous wire. Of interest to the modern re-enactor, the welded stainless mail available from AZON or Ring Mesh used for butcher's safety gear, shark suits, or protection for modern fencing measures 5.3 mm (0.210 in.) with a thickness of 0.55 mm (0.0215 in.). Total weight of this voider from a digital kitchen scale was 231 grams (8 1/8 oz.), although the weight would be slightly more with the missing gore of mail.
- a and b show the outer side of the riveted joint. Tool marks at the edge of the round wire leave a noticeable edge where the flattened overlap begins.
- c shows the back of the wedge rivet, with an apparent split in the rivet
- d and e show fractures of the overlap next to the rivet. This is not a modern phenomenon. Considering the size of these rings, perhaps we should be amazed they were able to rivet them at all.
- f shows a nick in the wire, likely from the tool used to cut the rings from the coil, though damage from some sort of edged weapon is possible.
- g shows three of the wedge rivets. Although one is still firmly in place, the other two have some gaps where they were not successfully closed or have backed out of the drifted hole.
- h shows a wedge rivet which has come out between the side of the overlap, rather than piercing the top.
If you have any questions, please send them to Wade Allen