(About): A Vital Historical Step Between Chainmail and the Age of Plate
In the 13th century CE, the head-to-foot chainmail suits that had reigned supreme as the ideal form of elite armor since the 11th century began to be augmented, and then eventually replaced, by the ad-hoc addition of steel plates creating so-called ‘transitional armors’. As these experimental transition armors gradually extended into encompassing shells of steel plate, the role of chainmail changed, shrinking from full-body suits including hauberks, chausses and gauntlets – to bridging gaps and vulnerabilities where articulation was too difficult. Chainmail goussets and voiders appeared as plate armor developed to fill these roles.
Our chainmail Voiders are a matched pair of chainmail protectors, designed to shield the underside of the upper-arm, the joint of the armpit, and the flank of the wearer. They are designed to be sewn onto a mounting garment like a gambeson or arming doublet worn beneath your armor. They are flexible and light, and make a fantastic alternative to wearing a full hauberk underneath armor. Our Chainmail Voiders are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to a chainmail undershirt, and are a great boon for a roleplayer conscious of wearability over a long day’s LARPing.
As with all of our chainmail, we at Medieval Ware aim to give our customers the widest possible range of options, spanning the broadest possible range of the needs of roleplayers and re-enactors – and we have selected our Chainmail Voiders to work with our range of fantasy and historical plate armors. Each configuration is slightly different, and it’s important that you match what you expect from your chainmail with the right construction and materials – if you’re a little mystified by which set of Chainmail Voiders is right for you, please read our handy guide.
Currently Available Voiders
- Steel / 8mm / Flat Ring / Wedge Rivet
- Steel / 8mm / Flat Ring / Round Rivet
- Aluminum / 10mm / Round Ring / Round Rivet
- Steel (Zinc-Plated) / 9mm / Round Ring / Butted
(About): A Quick Guide to Choosing Your Chainmail Voiders
Matching your requirements as a roleplayer or re-enactor to the different customization options in our Chainmail Voiders will make sure that you get your ideal set. As you’re reading, think about what you’ll use your outfit for: will it be for purely aesthetic use (eg. at a non-contact roleplay event or Renn Faire)? Or will you need robust chainmail voiders that’ll protect you from errant blows from a Renaissance longsword in combat?
Material: Steel / Aluminum
Choosing the right metal for your chainmail is very important, as it’ll determine whether it is safe to use in a contact environment or not. Mild steel is a requirement for chainmail that will stand up to the rigors of physical combat, absorbing and dissipating blows safely. Chainmail voiders made from mild steel will be heavier than aluminum, and generally more expensive, but they are also more historically accurate, and are chosen by many re-enactors and roleplayers who don’t require combat capability, purely for their aesthetic and historical qualities. Steel must be carefully maintained with regular oiling to prevent corrosion, although we also offer zinc-plated steel options which are much more corrosion-resistant.
However, many roleplayers choose aluminum. Aluminum chainmail is around half the weight of steel, and generally much more affordable. It is less robust, and is too brittle to be safely used in combat – but its lightness does make an excellent choice for aesthetic costume armor!
Ring Size: 8mm / 9 mm / 10mm
Ring size is generally an aesthetic choice in your chainmail voiders. Smaller rings create a tighter weave that is a little less flexible, but somewhat more protective. However, larger ring sizes (9–10mm) are more than adequate for solely aesthetic chainmails, and they still look fantastic.
Ring Type: Round Ring / Flat Ring
Choosing between flat rings and round rings is – according to some re-enactment purists – extremely important. Round rings are made from extruded wire, and flat rings are stamped out of flat metal sheets, and their use in different periods is a topic of hot debate. Early medieval chainmail was made in the Roman style from alternating rows of round rings and flat rings, with all-round-ring suits appearing from the 11th century onward. Then, in the late-medieval era, steel chainmails made entirely from flat rings began to appear, roughly contemporaneously with the emergence of plate armor. So, broadly, if your outfit depicts an early- or high-medieval context, then you might choose round rings, with flat rings fitting the late-medieval period better. But in reality, it’s likely that the different ring types overlapped a lot, and their qualities are largely similar.
Rivet Type: Round Rivet / Wedge Rivet / Butted
The choice between riveted or butted chainmail is another extremely important one. Each link in our riveted chainmail voiders has been threaded into place and secured shut with a small piece of metal called a ‘rivet’. This is the historical medieval method of chainmail construction, and creates extremely robust, battle-ready steel chainmail (or in the case of riveted aluminum chainmail, has a fantastic authentic appearance of non-combat chainmail). Wedge rivets and round/domed rivets are the two dominant types of rivet construction – early medieval chainmail was closed using ‘domed’ rivets made from small lengths of fine wire peened shut with pliers, whilst later medieval chainmail was riveted shut with little slivers of metal called ‘wedges’. The choice between these two is largely a matter of taste and historical accuracy.
Butted chainmail, however, is not riveted. The ends of each chainmail link are simply closed shut with pliers. Whilst this means that it is less robust and cannot stand up to the large impacts of combat, it means that it is far less labour-intensive to construct (and therefore much more affordable), and is also very easy to repair. This makes it an excellent choice for LARP enthusiasts and those less concerned about absolute historical authenticity.
Making Your Choice
We hope that we’ve given you some good pointers with which to make your choice of chainmail voiders. If we can be of any further assistance, please do contact us with the tabs at the top of the page, and we will be happy to give you any further advice.
- Material: Steel / Aluminum / Steel (Zinc-Plated)
- Finish: Steel / Aluminum / Zinc
- Ring Size: 8mm / 9mm / 10mm
- Ring Type: Round Ring / Flat Ring
- Rivet Type: Round Rivet / Wedge Rivet / Butted
- Configuration: 4-in-1
- Sizing & Weight:
Steel / 8mm / Flat Ring / Wedge Rivet
Length: 22 Inches
Width: 6 Inches
Steel / 8mm / Flat Ring / Round Rivet
Length: 22.5 Inches
Width: 6 Inches
Weight (pair): 7.2 lbs.
Aluminum / 10mm / Round Ring / Round Rivet
Length: 24 Inches
Width: 6 Inches
Weight (pair): 3.9 lbs
Steel (Zinc-Plated) / 9mm / Round Ring / Butted
Overall Length: 25.5 Inches
Width: 13 Inches
Weight (pair): 6 lbs.