Aging Maille
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Aging Maille

Just some techniques to get you started.  Also check out our links to the maille boards

Overview of techniques

Spray paint is probably the easiest and surest method, but it will tend to rub off. Mail is sort of "self-cleaning" because the rings are constantly rubbing against each other as you move. If it doesn't get worn often, that's less of a problem.

If you want to get into actually aging the metal, that mostly depends on the metal. Is it aluminum, bare steel, or galvanized steel? Carolyn and Leah recently posted their tutorial on treating aluminum mail in acid, but they didn't recommend the process because of the dangers involved.

It is possible to remove the galvanization (zinc coating) from steel mail using milder acids such as vinegar, by letting it soak overnight (outdoors!). That might give you brown mail right there if you don't rinse the stuff off thoroughly after removing it from the acid bath. I have also used "ZAP" tile restorer/cleaner, a clear liquid (sulfuric and muriatic acid!) in a spray bottle. Sounds terrifying, but it's made for using in bathrooms so it can't be too deadly. Go ahead and do it outdoors and wear the goggles and gloves anyway! Some galvanization comes off in just minutes with this stuff, while some just seems to get clean...

If what you have is bare ungalvanized steel, heck, you won't be able to KEEP it from rusting! If it's oily, give a good rubbing with some old towels and chuck it out on the lawn overnight. By morning it will be bright orange with livid yellow splotches. Okay, that might be more than you want! And getting excess rust off can be a pain (wire brush, rolling around in a barrel of sand, etc.).


At some locations, you can by pre-etched (as I believe)...that would save you a rather difficult [etching ] step.

FYI...with the etching, the spray paint adheres far better than without, although probably over time it would still rub off. However, because the links were etched, they went from happy bright aluminum color to a rather dingy gray, so that still looks better and more aged than unetched.

Here's a link to my tutorial bit:

== Carolyn

Painting Problems

Problem is, with maille there is no defined surface. The rings move and every part of the ring can rub against another ring. The part of the ring that's on the outside today may very well be on the inside tomorrow.

One of the first things I taught my maille workshoppers is that maille is always moving and changing, even if you can't see it. (Also, the paint tends to chip and not wear evenly)


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LOTR Maille Patterns | Making PVC Maille | Chain Maille Cheats | Link Materials | Tools | Making Metal Rings | Pattern Making | Aging Maille | Tips

LOTR Home | All About Chain Maille | Armor Terms | Scale Armor | Armor Cheats | Armor Tips | Gambeson | Armor and LOTR

This page was last updated 04/22/08