I became interested in chainmail at about the same time I discovered the SCA, in the fall of 1989. On a PBS special I saw a character wearing a mail shirt and thought it would be fun to make one.
Two weeks later, I went to my first SCA fighter practice in The Barony of Wealdsmere (Kingdom of An Tir) wearing my first mail shirt. It weighed 42 pounds and had 17,000 links woven in a 4-in-1 pattern. I had used too large a diameter wire and too small a diameter ring, it was too heavy to be practical. Two weeks after that, I had completed my second shirt, 12,000 links and 17 lbs. I was getting the hang of it and ended up selling this shirt at a September Crown in Northern Idaho a few weeks later.That was 18 years ago and I’m still making mail shirts. I’ve used many types of wire, brass, soft iron, galvanized, stainless steel, even aluminum. I prefer stainless steel for butted mail. It is tough, easy to care for, and doesn’t turn your clothes black the way iron or galvanized wire will.
I recently began a new project, a stainless steel hauberk using a 6-in-1 pattern (photo at top of post). I’m planning on fighting in this one so I wanted something that offered more protection than a standard 4-in-1 pattern. It will take me more than two weeks to make this one but I’m enjoying the process.