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Author Topic:   cleaning armour and chain mail
Dorothy Davies
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posted 11-09-2004 02:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dorothy Davies     Edit/Delete Message
just wondering how this was done, a bowl of hot soapy water doesn't quite seem to fit well with the era ... I guess polishes made of something local?

posted 11-13-2004 08:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter   Click Here to Email Peter     Edit/Delete Message
Tony Robinson from C4's Time Team, with his own 'Worst Jobs in History' programme actually featured that.
Which was one I missed.
But after a battle or joust all kinds of stuff had to be cleaned out, not very nice.
Fine sands perhaps mixed with eggshells was a good abrasive cleaner. And as you say good old fashioned hot did, and still does work wonders.

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posted 12-06-2005 12:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
The rumor is that you'd roll your armor about in a barrel full of sand. Yep, sounds a lot like one of the 100 worst jobs in history. Must have been godawful heavy!

I happen to make chain mail, and have personally had some decent results with a stiff bristle brush, and comet cleaner.

Siff bristle brushes might have been made from metal wires, if they could get them thin enough back then... Pig hair also makes a nice stiff bristle.

I beleive comet includes diatomacious earth (Same stuff the cliffs of dover are made from, I understand...) and some stuff with a rather high PH, so something "briney," or "Alkaline" or "Basic" might have been used.

One major problem with using water to clean chain mail is drying. I make mine from annealed steel wire, which I understand to be quite similar to what they used. You must completely dry this material, or else it will rust instantly. Once I clean it, I have to play with it in my hands, or throw it about the air along with a towel. Keeping it moving until it dries is essential. Perhaps this is part of why they preferred just rolling it about in barrels of sand.

All times are PT (US)

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