Jump to content
I Forge Iron

How to make Chainmail (with pictures!)


20 members have voted

  1. 1. Was this tutorial helpful?

    • yes
    • no
  2. 2. should I make others?

    • yes
    • no

Recommended Posts

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 :)

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! :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently had thought about trying some mail and thanks to this post I could if I so choose thanks this is a great tutorial I'm a hands on learner so for me to read something and feel I could put it to practice confidently is rare

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ this is my progress with my chainmail, its got a 3/8 id (might wanna add a bit because of springback), i used some 12 gauge coat hangers, and i do believe i have done well with myself!... although this was the fruits of only 3 hours of work
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And your expertise? I find the "overlap two and ring" a faster method for me as it's more "mindless".

And after years of hunting I finally found an example of butted European maille: it was a ornamental parade suit made during the renaissance of various metals---shown in "Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance" other than that it's all been riveted.

And btw you might want to cover winding rings using a VSR drill. Much faster if you will need thousands of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Build one of the jigs that your hand never goes near it! The most simple one would probably be the board with a hole and a bolt.

(Spring back can break your hand, I once wrapped some wireline survey wire rings---the wire used to run many thousands of dollars of equipment down oil wells---very tough *good* wire indeed! I learned to be quite cautions working with it as it would hurt you if it could.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

hades: not quite what i was going for lol! i needed a central loop to tie the cord to, and i decided a taper would work best.
pug: are you referring to the bracelet?

somthing else i ended up doing is i made a lenght of maile about 3" wide and long enough to fit my wrist. i then connected it with rings. doing this on yourself takes alot of work, but it is a great advertisement of your abilities. my word of warning is use common sense here. dont close it with other rings if you work near machinery it could get caught in. if you do work near machinery, settle for a bit of leather lace. it works fine and makes it removable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back around 1981 I finished off a 1/4" ID maille shirt and used to wear it when I was hiking point to point in the boonies as I was working day on/day off as a logging geologist in the OK oil patch.

One day I found out that some unmentionable person had electrified their barbwire fence---the hard way!

Usually you can yank yourself out of a barb wire fence if you are willing to lose some skin and blood but the maille shirt held me fast---dancing a tarantella---until I could work every barb out of the maille.

If you make a bracelet look into making a "give point" for safety! (I had a geology prof that nearly killed himself using a stout leather thong for his loupe---he slipped on a steep hillside and the thong caught on a tree and hung him until he could get his footing and climb back up---now he uses a section of thread as a break point on his loupe thong.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Best way to get accustomed to it's weight is to *wear it*; you may have heard how the army has it's recruits carry heavy packs to build up their strength and stamina---why not maille?

And I did that in my 20's when a lot of my dumber brain cells were still around...Did I mention I once tried to see how long I could wear it at a stretch? 3 days, was really hard to sleep in it...

(one reason I can comment on stuff is that I *HAVE* done a lot of crazy stuff over the years; and made ER trips with friends who have done other things for that matter...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Been working my mail hauberk on and off...it's not quite a hauberk yet though...

was using the big concrete nippers at the end, longer lever arms really saves your hand if you have to cut many more than a few hundred.


I also made some key chain fobb type things and gave them to my buddy and brother, they both like em...looked like smaller versions of Ramsies' bracelet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...