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So, about two weekends ago, I got stuck at home with a bunch of sick kids. So, no going outside to play with fire and iron. Picture sad emoticon here. Having that limitation decided to try my hand at making chainmail. The process seemed simple enough, once I found a couple of youtube flicks and an Instructables. Take wire, wrap it on a mandrel, cut, anneal, punch little tiny holes.....without losing your temper, and rivet. But aha!!! Contraversy between diehard recreationist fanatics, and semi-lazy fantasy builders (I mean, you really, really can't call someone who puts together 15,000 rings completely lazy, even if they're butted, pre-made, or plastic). Also, I've been annoyed for years by tv shows whacking a butted mail shirt with an axe/bodkin arrowhead/sword/war hammer and saying they were worthless after they opened huge rents in the mail. So, after seeing lots of hearsay about it being 10-20 times stronger when rivetted, with no supporting data, I decided to test individual rings to failure to find out what they'd do. My rings, less the butted, unflattened wire. (well, overlapped, but still) http://www.iforgeiron.com/gallery/image/36957-maille/ I suspended the rings from 550 cord, with the overlap centered on the side (90 degrees from the cords). On the bottom, another piece of 550 cord, going to a bucket. Bucket was to be filled until the ring was open, but all of them were destroyed when it finally did open. Results? Butted wire -16 gauge black wire, wrapped around a 9/16 inch mandrel, cut with mild overlap, no annealing Came apart at 6 lbs, 1 oz. (didn't have to get past using pennies for weight) Rivetted wire - same as butted, then annealed and flattened, 1/2" I.D. give or take a sixteenth. Punched/pierced to 16 gauge, then rivetted with round rivet, not wedge. 90 lbs. That's right, 90 lbs. I had to use two 5 gallon buckets full of hematite. And when it broke, it ripped the side of the ring from around the rivet, then bent til it broke most of the way through on the opposite side from the rivet. A surprising runner up was the same ring, flattened, but unrivetted. Held to around 30 lbs. ish. (I wasn't as careful with this one, but it took a full lp container for the grill as weight for a few seconds before it cut loose.) I guess flattening work hardened it enough to toughen it up. Color me happy as the worlds most boring Mythbuster. Oh yeah, and the kids are doing fine.
The other day, someone messaged me about how to make chainmail. So I created a tutorial and sent it to him. this is that tutorial. I hope that my diminutive knowledge of the maille making craft can at least help some of you who aspire to make some. I found out how to make maille by youtube, and www.mailleartisans.org. I in no way pretend to know a lot about Chainmaille, I just feel that knowledge is best used if it's spread. so here is how to make European 4 in 1 chainmaille, enjoy :) materials: steel wire (anything 12 gauge and below is too big to work with, and 18 and above is too small.) two pliers (I find that needle nose work best) cutting device (there are many, and they all produce different types of cuts, search mailleartisans.org for great in-depth information. for my chainmail, i use a pair of small bolt cutters.) straight, cylindrical object (most people use wooden dowels, but i had none left around so i used a screwdriver. the reason people use dowels is so they know the size of the inside of the rings. i didnt really care, so i just used a screwdriver. I later found the diameter of it to be 5/16".) gloves are optional, i wear them because the tip of the wire hurts my fingers. how to do it: first, unravel a bit of wire and place it on top of the screwdriver perpendicular to how it's laying like so: second, proceed to coil the wire around the dowel or screwdriver for however long you see fit. third, cut off the coil from the spool of wire at the base of where the wire starts to coil around the dowel. fourth, cut the coil in a straight line (important!) to produce rings fifth, slightly open one ring with pliers. sixth, weave two rings inside the open ring, and close all rings. seventh, repeat steps five and six as many times as desired. eighth, open a ring that's holding two rings, and weave it into two rings that are attatched to another one ring. so the rings follow a 2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1 pattern. nineth, repeat step eight until desired length is aquired. tenth, make a separate chain of 2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1 eleventh, take a single open link not connected to the two chains , and weave it where two of the top "two" rings and two of the bottome "two" rings overlap. twelfth, repeat step eleven until you have a nice lattice of european 4 in 1 chainmail :) if you have any questions, contact me, or see youtube and mailleartisans.org thank you for reading, I hope this tutorial is helpful to at least one of you! :)