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Old 12th June 2016, 03:07 PM   #1
estcrh
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Default Electro rust removal on mail armor.

I purchased this riveted mail hauberk a while back, the seller claimed it was found in Saudi by an Aramco worker, buried in the sand, while I have no idea if this story is true the hauberk was completely rusted over. I could see none of the usual details which would allow me to identify its origin. I could not see the type of rivets used or if it was completely riveted or if it had alternating rows of solid links. The basic shape did remind me on a very similar hauberk owned by Artzi which he says is Circassian work, the weight was over 20lbs.

I decided to use electricity to remove some of the rust, I was hoping to be able to remove enough to see some details. There are a lot of very detailed descriptions online for this rest removal method, after reading several I got my supplies together, a 5 gallon plastic bucket, 1 computer power supply with two clip ends for positive and negative, a couple of scrap metal pieces for scarificial electrodes, copper wire (steel is recommended), electrolite (Sodium Carbonate) in the form of "washing soda". I put the hauberk in the plastic bucket, and attached the negative wire to it, I then suspended several pieces of scrap metal around the inside of the bucket making sure that they did not touch the hauberk these were attached to the positive wire, I added water to the top with 1 table spoon of electrolite for each gallon.

I plugged in the power supply (outdoors) and tiny bubbles started to appear, a sign that everything was connected correctly. It did not take long for a very thick surface of corrosion to appear on the top of the water which I poured off occasionally, after around 24 hrs I removed the hauberk and washed it off, I used a blower to get as much of the water off as I could before it started to rust again, which I was told would happen quite quickly, I then coated the entire surface with "Break Free" spray.

The results were quite dramatic, I could now see that this was a very well made hauberk with alternating rows of solid links and what appears to be wedge riveted links, the links are very uniform in size and shape and quite well made. Normally wedge rivets would indicate European origin but there are some examples of Circassian mail with wedge riveting including a few examples in the Mets collection. European mail would not use alternating rows of solid links after around the late 14th to early 15th century but Indo-Persian mail commonly used solid links but with round rivets not wedge rivets. Circassians were known to make mail for the Ottomans but more research will be needed.

I will have to do another round of rust removal, I will probably use the same method.
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Old 12th June 2016, 03:58 PM   #2
rickystl
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Hi Estcrh.
WOW!! What a difference !!! Great job. That process really does work. Yes, another application would be worth a try. Would be interesting to see if a second application takes any more off.

Another method I found very effective for removing loose, red rust is glass bead blasting (not sand blasting). You can set the air gun to very slow speed and remove as little or as much as you want. And it does so without removing the original patina.

However, in the case of this Hauberk, with the small links close together, I would think that your electrolysis method would be easier and more effective. And it appears so. Again, great job.

It still amazes me how long the Caucasions/Circasions continued to use mail armour. At least according to photographic evidence, all the up to the 1870/80's.

Again, a really nice addition to your collection.

Rick.
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Old 13th June 2016, 01:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Estcrh.
WOW!! What a difference !!! Great job. That process really does work. Yes, another application would be worth a try. Would be interesting to see if a second application takes any more off.

Another method I found very effective for removing loose, red rust is glass bead blasting (not sand blasting). You can set the air gun to very slow speed and remove as little or as much as you want. And it does so without removing the original patina.

However, in the case of this Hauberk, with the small links close together, I would think that your electrolysis method would be easier and more effective. And it appears so. Again, great job.

It still amazes me how long the Caucasions/Circasions continued to use mail armour. At least according to photographic evidence, all the up to the 1870/80's.

Again, a really nice addition to your collection.

Rick.
Rick, I have seen Indian mail and plate shirts that I think were bead blasted, they were shiny with no patina at all, but there was still a little rust left on the inside of some of the links, those are hard spots to get to.

I wasnt sure how far the rust went, luckly there is still a lot of metal left, I will post some additional pictures whenever I get around to treating it again.

This method can be used on weapons as well, I have seen some really incredible results on dug up iron objects that were heavily corroded, also on old tools and auto parts.
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Old 18th June 2016, 02:30 AM   #4
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Isn't Indo-Persain maille usually bar-link?
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Old 18th June 2016, 03:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Helleri
Isn't Indo-Persain maille usually bar-link?
Bar link or theta link mail is a rather rare varient. It is composed of alternating rows of round riveted links and theta links, which are basically a solid link with a small bar of metal welded across the link. The most common type of mail used in Indo-Persian mail is alternating rows of solid links and round riveted links, although there are a few examples of all round riveted mail and even some examples of wedge riveted mail. Theta link mail would have been very time consuming to make and expensive making it suitable for wealty individuals only.

Below are some images of theta links from an Indian example and a report from the Royal Armouries. Notice the extreme small size of the individual links, making it next to impossible for even an arrow head to pass through.

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Indian mail coif / ‘khula zirah’ from the 18th century, purportedly from the Bikaneer Armoury, made from rows of theta (Θ) links and alternated with rows of fine round riveted links. Very long in comparison to any other coifs from India, with a large opening for the face (which would originally had a long chain mail flap for full protection).
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Last edited by estcrh : 18th June 2016 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 18th June 2016, 03:34 PM   #6
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W W!

That's crazy!
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