Tips Making Maile Armour

Revised 27 December 1999

Tip #1: I suppose the first tip I should give is, don't try making maile armour if you are an extremely impatient person. Making a large piece of maile requires many hours of rather tedious work. I love making maile, as it is rather therapeutic for me. I also enjoy working with my hands. Shifting maile around in my hands entrances me because of it's liquid nature. In short, you have to be interested in making it!!

Tip #2: Block times off for making maile. I would not recommend working on maile in, say, 15 minute blocks. You will spend half of your time trying to remember where you left off. I try to work for at least an hour or two. Sometimes I will work all day.

Tip #3: There are many methods for linking rings together. Try as many as you can to find out which one suits you best. Don't let anyone tell you that their method is the best. Everyone works differently, and what works for some people doesn't work for others.

Tip #4: One thing to try and avoid is opening rings you have already closed. This is a possible exception to the previous tip. Once I have closed a link, I think it is a terrible waste of time to open it again to accommodate another ring. That is why I do not personally advocate John Palmer's method.

Tip #5: Try using different tools when making maile. Your tools can make a big difference in your enjoyment and speed when making maile. Search around and find out what works best for you.

Tip #6: Find a comfortable place and position to work that is well lit. Some people can work on maile and watch television at the same time, which helps time go by faster. I would recommend reruns, or a movie you have seen enough times that it does not require your total attention.

Tip #7: Making the Neck Hole

There are two ways to make a neck hole. The first, and most time consuming, is to make a single sheet of maile, then clip or remove the rings in the center to make the neck hole. A simpler method is as follows:

In the process of making your maile, imagine yourself starting the weave at about the shoulder blades, and working up your back, over your shoulders, and down you chest, making the weave wide enough to fit around half of your body, with a fair amount of extra room to breathe. When you get a little ways up the back (I would personally choose a number of rows between 5 and 25), simply do not add rings to the center portion of the weave. Make sure you identify the center of the weave before doing this, as you would not want your neck hole to be off center. The shape of the neck hole is up to you, but I do mine by leaving about 20 spaces in the first row of the neck hole, 40 spaces in the row above that, then rounding it off, straightening it out over the shoulders, then tapering it back down in a "V" pattern up front. If these directions aren't specific enough, then le tme know and I'll go into greater detail.

It might help you to think of your suit of maile as a pillow case with neck and arm holes cut out of it. The body of the suit can be constructed as one long rectangular piece, folded in half and draped over your shoulders, then linked together along the sides up to the point where the arms should come out.

Tip #8: Practice, practice, practice.

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