A selection of craft information for artisans of the HFS.

    Making Chainmail


    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2011-05-30

    Making Chainmail Empty Making Chainmail

    Post  Admin on Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:31 am

    The original idea behind Maille was to provide a mesh
    of metal that a warrior would wear to prevent penetrating weapons such
    as swords or spears. Modern day uses for Maille include butcher's
    gloves and aprons, and shark suits worn by SCUBA divers when diving with
    these animals. A couple of characteristics that maille has however,
    make it fun to incorporate into jewelry designs. First, when you handle
    some maille, the first thing you notice is that it is fun to touch,
    because of its unique ability to sort of roll off of your skin. In
    other words, the mesh is just plain fun to play with. The second
    characteristic is that the mesh creates a repeating pattern that is
    pleasing to the eye. It can be used to make bracelets, belts,
    necklaces, and many other types of adornment. It can be made from just
    about any metal that is flexible enough to bend as well. When I was
    attending college, I was interested in medieval history, and in
    particular, weapons and armor of the time, so I researched and learned
    how to make maille. For a while, I made steel belts and bracelets and
    consigned them at a local trendy store to make a little extra cash, but
    sort of quit doing it once I was finished with college. This being a
    metalworking site, and maille being the sort of metalwork that could be
    incorporated into jewelry designs, I decided to create an online class
    that demonstrates how to make it.

    Supplies and Tools

    • Strong side cutters, or a jump ring making setup.
    • Vise grips.
    • Two pairs of sturdy pliers.
    • Gloves.
    • Steel dowel of the diameter you wish your rings to be.
    • Wire.

    Making Chainmail Chain1You
    will need a sturdy pair of side cutters. I bought this pair years ago
    at Walmart for about $3.00 after first trying several different name
    brands. Each of the name brand cutters' tips broke after about 100
    rings were cut with them. They need to have very strong tips, as that
    is the only part you really use for making chainmail. If you are using a
    metal other than steel, you will probably want to use a jeweler's saw
    or a jump ring maker for cutting rings so the ends are neater.

    This is another $2.00 to $3.00 item you will need. Again, you won't need a name brand.Making Chainmail Chain2

    Making Chainmail Chain3You
    will need a couple pairs of pliers. When making chainmail from steel,
    I use two pairs of needle nose pliers with teeth, as the steel is hard
    enough to bend to require a better grip. When using precious metal, you
    can probably skip using pliers with teeth.

    You may want to use a glove when winding the rings.Making Chainmail Chain4

    Making Chainmail Chain5I
    have found that the type of steel dowel that can be obtained at your
    local hardware store for about $2.00 works great for creating the rings.
    I believe that this one is 5/8 inch in diameter. I have also used 1/4
    inch diameter before. You could use any number of other cylindrical
    objects in different diameters if you desire different sized rings.

    The wire I used for these rings
    is 12 or 14 guage electric fence wire. It is galvanized, so it won't
    rust. Depending on the size of rings you want, you can use various
    sizes of wire. As I said before, You can use any metal for this you
    Making Chainmail Chain6


    Making Chainmail Chain7This
    and the next few pictures are examples of chainmail projects in
    progress. This first one is a coif that is not finished. A coif would
    be worn over a padded skull cap and is designed to protect the head and
    neck. Notice that the pattern in this is larger and larger concentric

    This is a close up of the standard 4 in 1 pattern typically used for chainmail.Making Chainmail Chain8

    Making Chainmail Chain9Here
    is a partially completed shirt of chainmail. It is approximately 1/3
    finished if that, and it has about 5-6000 rings. When finished, it
    would weigh about 50 pounds.

    This piece is made from premade brass jump rings.Making Chainmail Chain20

    Making Chainmail Chain10The
    first thing you need to do is to cut off a piece of wire appropriate to
    your needs. The piece I used here is about 8 or 9 feet long. Your
    next step is to bend the end around your dowel so the curve of the wire
    matches it.

    Next, adjust your vise grips so that they will hold the wire tightly to the dowel.Making Chainmail Chain11

    Making Chainmail Chain12Next,
    put on your glove, and brace the dowel against something solid. Using
    your thumb to guide how the wire lays down, begin spinning the dowel
    using the vise grips for leverage. Try to create a uniform spring
    without gaps if you can.

    Spin the dowel until all of the wire is wrapped.Making Chainmail Chain13

    Making Chainmail Chain14Slide your spring off of the dowel.

    cut off the end where the vise grips held it to the dowel.Making Chainmail Chain15

    Making Chainmail Chain16If
    you are using a jeweler's saw, you will start cutting off rings here.
    Try to keep the blade as close to the end sticking out as possible to
    create uniform rings.

    When making steel chainmail, I
    use side cutters. Side cutters generally have the blade closer to one
    side than the other. I press the side with the blade against the
    previously cut end to make the most uniform rings. Snip off only one
    ring at a time for consistancy.
    Making Chainmail Chain17

    Making Chainmail Chain18When cutting steel, you may find your hand getting tired pretty quickly. It takes quite a bit of pressure.

    Here I have finished the entire
    spring, and am ready to move to the next step. When I got to the end, I
    trimmed off a small unusable portion.
    Making Chainmail Chain19

    Making Chainmail Chain21This is what the each of the rings should look like.

    Using your two pairs of pliers, you should spread open some of the rings.Making Chainmail Chain22

    Making Chainmail Chain23For
    the others, you should grasp each end with a pair of pliers, and then
    push the ends past each other to create a slight springiness. After
    this, pull them back and line up the two ends.

    Check to make sure that ends are
    closed, and try running your finger over the gap to check to see that
    the ring doesn't have any catches.
    Making Chainmail Chain24

    Making Chainmail Chain25You can use the needle nose pliers to correct roundness and alignment.

    The first pattern we will do is
    called 4 in 1. It is probably the most common and traditional style.
    Once you have made rings of both types, select one open ring and 4
    closed rings.
    Making Chainmail Chain26

    Making Chainmail Chain27Hang all four closed rings on the open one.

    Close that ring in the same
    manner that you closed the others, including checking for alignment and
    roundness. Lay it down like this.
    Making Chainmail Chain28

    Making Chainmail Chain29Next,
    get one more open ring and two closed rings, and hang the closed ones
    on the open ring just like you did before (of course this time you only
    have 2 hanging).

    Pushing the hanging rings to the
    side, hook the open ring through the end two closed rings. Make sure
    when you do this that the open ring will be laying in the same position
    as the first center ring once you close it. Close this loop as before.
    Making Chainmail Chain30

    Making Chainmail Chain31This
    is what it should look like when you lay it back down and arrange it.
    Note that the outside rows are angled one direction, while the middle
    row is angled in the opposite one.

    continue this pattern until you
    have a piece of chainmail as long as you like. At this point, you could
    make it into a bracelet or something else, but if you want to make it
    into a sheet of chainmail, read on.
    Making Chainmail Chain32

    Making Chainmail Chain33Start
    on one end, and using an open ring, hook it through two of the closed
    rings, making sure that when you close the ring, it will lay like the
    original center row.

    Move one ring farther, and repeat this process.Making Chainmail Chain34

    Making Chainmail Chain35Repeat this step again and again until you reach the end.

    Now there are four rows. The more rows you have, the more it will hold its shape.Making Chainmail Chain36

    Making Chainmail Chain37Next
    we will do 8 in 1. You can also do 6 in 1 if you want, but the concept
    is the same. The more rings you put through each center ring, the
    tighter it looks when done. Here I have looped 8 rings on the first
    open ring.

    Just as before, arrange on a surface so the rings lay like shown.Making Chainmail Chain38

    Making Chainmail Chain39Grab
    an open ring and loop it through the last three rings on each side,
    making sure that when you close it up, it will lay in the same direction
    as the other center ring.

    Add two more closed rings to this, and close up the ring.Making Chainmail Chain40

    Making Chainmail Chain41Lay it back down, and arrange it this way again. It should look like this.

    Again, loop an open ring through the last 6 rings and add two more before closing it.Making Chainmail Chain42

    Making Chainmail Chain43It should look like this now.

    Repeat this process until you
    have a strip of chainmail of the size you want. You can make multiple
    rows in just the same way you did on the 4 in 1 pattern if you like.
    Making Chainmail Chain44

    Making Chainmail Chain45I've
    found that the 8 in 1 pattern makes an almost snakelike strip of
    chainmail which works well for belts and bracelets. Enjoy experimenting
    with this technique

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