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Roger D

My try at Chainmail

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Hi guys, i'm new to blacksmithing, and my parents aren't too keen to let me have a forge just yet. So I decided to try my hand at cold metal working. here are some pictures of my very first try at Chainmail.post-26018-0-21718300-1340952441_thumb.j post-26018-0-30330500-1340952454_thumb.j
this was after about an hour of me trying to undo random knots that kept happening lol

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That looks good. I've wanted to try making chainmail, but I'm afraid of the tedium. Are you going to close the links? Just curious, as that looks to be the most miserable part.

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That's actually considered "closed" according to all the tutorials i've watched on youtube. as long as i get the two ends of the circle to line up completely, the links don't fall out

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Lots of gaps there how are you overlapping the links? Jump cutting or manually afterwards.

I am sure you know this already but both those examples are 90 degrees rotated from how they should be in a shirt.

When I did my shirt back in 1980 I made up a bunch of closed rings and strung them on a piece of wire and then everywhere they overlapped I put in the next link---a lot easier and faster than working the other ends where you have to fiddle and think.

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Looks good for starting out. It looks like you use bolt cutters or aviation shears, correct? That being said, your closures could use some improvement. Try to butt the ends of the rings together so there is no gap.

Mr. Powers, most of the maille shirts I have seen have the "grain" running vertically, as shown in the photos.

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He's right you had them spread out so neatly I mistook it for a rotated set up. Mea Maxima Culpa!

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Jump cutting or manually afterwards.

No idea what Jump cutting is lol, sorry. i coil the wire up, and then cut the resulting spring.

It looks like you use bolt cutters or aviation shears, correct?

Correct, i used small bolt cutters.

Try to butt the ends of the rings together so there is no gap.

How would one go about doing that?

did this this morning :)
post-26018-0-89408300-1341022694_thumb.j

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How would one go about doing that?


You bend the ring open, weave it, then you force the ends together as you close the link.

What gauge wire and what diameter mandrel are you using? Looks like 1/2" or 5/8".

Check out http://mailleartisans.org. Pretty much the IFI of chainmail

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What gauge wire and what diameter mandrel are you using? Looks like 1/2" or 5/8".


18 gauge wire. thats 0.48"
and i used a screwdriver to coil them, its about 1/4" in diameter :P
the pictures are just super close up

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Well if you have fairly flat ends on your cuts you over lap the ends slightly and then you twist them into place leaving the ends now in opposition and kept closed by spring pressure.

If you double wind your wire---two pieces at once you can get rings already to use without tweaking them first. Jump cutting is a method of cutting alternating links.

You know going over to armourarchive.org a large older forum dedicated to making medieval armor in modern times you can find a lot more skilled opinions---just as I refer people with smithing questions to this forum!

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I used 3 long thin bar magets, (like the ones in a tool holder for hanging tools on a wall behind the workbench) 3 magnets with a narrow spacer between hold up 2 rows of closed rings, and you can reach in with a pair of modified needle nose pliers and close new link through 4 links at a time, (for european 4 link maille), set a row, jump it back notch in the manets and add a new row of closed links and repeat,
made it faster, still tedious
all my links made from 14ga 3/8" diameter had pionted cut ends, like this >< even when closed tight and not stretching they eventually find an angle were they unhook from the others,
you need to get the ends cut straight so you avoid the double triangle gap = II , or what I did, used 1/4'' lock washers for every other row and the wire rings between the added profile fills in the pattern pretty solid and they cant unhook
just my experience on the subject

Woodsmith

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When I started out I had a mediocre set of snips that I kept tightening to get a decent cut, (didn't know how to resharpen them back then!), it got to the point that I could clip a link one handed but took both hands to open them back up.

After doing several thousand links that way I was getting a Popeye right arm; well I was living out in the west Texas desert at the time helping an elderly couple clean up their place---they had been in town for over a year with a series of strokes and hear attacks and were wanting to move back out but their place was pretty trashed. I had a couple weeks between Geology Field Camp and my Job starting so I volunteered to go out and clean it up for them just for food and a place to stay.

It was remote; the local kids had a 90 mile each way bus trip to get to school, and as he was a Veteran he wrangled me guest status at the VFW---only place to get a cold beer within 90 miles.

One evening a rancher was at the VFW and feeling no pain and wanted to "shake hands" well he started squeezing and I just grinned and "clipped a link" after his eyes stopped bulging he let on that I had a pretty good grip and even offered me a job on his ranch. So maille making can lead to other things! (My Job as an oilfield Geologist was much better so I turned him down)

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That's actually considered "closed" according to all the tutorials i've watched on youtube. as long as i get the two ends of the circle to line up completely, the links don't fall out

Roger - I was curious as to whether he was going to rivet the ends shut, which I understand is what was done to finish links on a 'working' set of chain, as opposed to just a 'Sunday-go-to-meeting' set. I understand you don't have to rivet them to keep the links together if you can get the gaps close enough. I wouldn't be surprised if few people go to the extra trouble of riveting them shut.

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Studies have shown that for the same ID link and same diameter of wire a riveted link is 10 times stronger than a butted link. Also butted joints will sometimes rotate till they can slide past each other making a "moth hole". Back when I started my shirt nobody I could find had done riveted; now there are lots of people doing it and you can by pre-made links for riveting as well as riveted mail shirts from India.

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Thanks, Thomas. I was aware that riveted was stronger than not, but didn't think anyone was still doing it, much less that you could buy links that were pretty much ready to go. Very cool.

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