Plate Armor-y and the Chainmail Kid: Adventures in Armor Maintenance
You're a knight at heart, but you also want to look the part! Keeping your armor in tip-top shape does require some elbow grease, especially because steel plate armor and chainmail is prone to rusting. Even if you've avoided battling in the rain, the water from your sweat will still cause corrosion. Here's some advice on keeping your war suit rust-free:
When your plate armor or helmet arrives on your doorstep like a medieval bell clanging for joy, the pieces are usually already greased or oiled. Now you have the perfect opportunity to preempt future damage and protect your armor, so your armor can protect you!
- Use mineral spirits and a cloth or paper towels to remove all of the grease or oil.
- Make sure the armor is dry, then apply a coat of wax to the entire surface. To get the hard to reach corners, you can use a Q-tip. Don't worry if the wax covers the leather straps and fittings - this can even be beneficial! Let the wax dry for several hours.
- Buff the armor lightly with a soft cloth.
Now your armor is ready to wear, display, or enchant to guard your magical castle!
A reiteration: The key to keep the armor from rusting is to keep it DRY. To achieve this:
- Keep your armor stored in a dry place.
- Check the pieces every couple of months for signs of rust - if any rust is found, remove it by rubbing the area gently with a dishwashing scrubber (the green side!) dipped in paste wax.
- If the armor does get wet, dry it as soon as possible, as thoroughly as possible.
Each time you wear your armor:
- Clean off any grime.
- Re-wax! Look especially for the areas where the coating may have rubbed off.
If your armor is for display only, you can simply check it every couple of months and clean/wax as necessary.
Many mail-owners just can't get enough of the historically-accurate plain steel chainmail. It should be noted that galvanized or stainless mail is easier to maintain, however, so choose accordingly!
Again, your mail will likely be oiled when you receive it. So:
- Degrease! Chainmail is a little harder to remove all the oil from the links than plate armor, but it can be done in much the same way. Wipe off as much as you can with soft cloth, and with the remaining oil you can remove the grease from the chainmail with mineral spirits or another solvent. However, when wearing chainmail it is inevitable that the garment underneath will get dirty or grease marks, so we recommend a dedicated gambeson or garment that will be worn with the chainmail.
- Make sure the mail is dry and recoat it (unless you need to wear it as you run out the door to the nearest medieval war) Options for coating include mineral or vegetable oil, WD-40, and other modern concoctions.
You'll want to de-grease the mail before each use. Afterwards, dry it thoroughly and re-coat! Just like with the plate armor, you'll want to check for signs of corrosion regularly and remove it as soon as possible. Rust is armor's most lethal disease - gotta stop it before it spreads!
Excited to get to maintaining your armor, only to realize you have none? We got you covered: Armorvenue.com