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  1. 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.
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