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I Forge Iron

Chainmaille ring opening jig.


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Why are you trying to open them up for?

I found that 2 freshly cut ones always fit together sometimes wit a little bit of pushing, but I usually got them together.

More you open the more you got to close.

I did make a little tool too help closing if it helps.  Get a bit of steel bar, bend the end 90o for a handle then in the main shaft cut a slit the same size and the ring wire thickness. Acts like a pair of pliers but easier. Never tried using two at the same time.

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My father was a jewelry manufacturer with lots of people working in the factory.  Literally millions of jump rings had to be opened and closed.  This is how they did it.

 

He had rings made for all the workers.  Simple ring of brass with a round head machine screw and a nut all brazed together.   If you were right-handed, you put the ring on your left first finger between the first and second knuckle and held the pliers in your right hand.

 

post-3873-0-76820400-1359980661_thumb.jp

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Ciladog any chance of a pic or a sketch? I think I get the design but would like to be sure. I have some friends who are chainmailers and they use pliers. If there is another way and I can surprise the it would be a lot of fun.

There is pic attached below the post.  I would be happy to make them for you.

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Well I am using spring steel spring washers and at the moment I am using two huge sets of pliers to get the leverage to open them, because spring steel is as you can imagine quite strong. So I am looking for something to open lots at a time with. They aren't open enough just to slot them together otherwise I would not have asked. The opening is really the worst part of doing the chainmaille I do as it takes up a lot of unnecessary time. The ring idea i tested and as I said before about leverage and huge pliers, there just isnt enough between my finger ring and jump ring i just end up pulling my finger around without bending the jump ring at all.

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Well I am using spring steel spring washers and at the moment I am using two huge sets of pliers to get the leverage to open them, because spring steel is as you can imagine quite strong. So I am looking for something to open lots at a time with. They aren't open enough just to slot them together otherwise I would not have asked. The opening is really the worst part of doing the chainmaille I do as it takes up a lot of unnecessary time. The ring idea i tested and as I said before about leverage and huge pliers, there just isnt enough between my finger ring and jump ring i just end up pulling my finger around without bending the jump ring at all.

I don't think you understand how the ring works.  It's the same as using a plier in your left hand.

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I think that ring idea was similar to the tool that I made, Dont know how the ring would do on tougher rings like spring steel.

Would think it would result in some serious busing on your finger from the pressure. How are your rings being cut?

I played with a fair few rings and never found I needed to open them up first. If you really really find you have to, why not just pull at the coil of wire after you wind it but before you cut it, They should evenly open up to what you want.

But as i said my rings always lined up, maybe 1 in 20 needed a jiggle to get on and maybe 1 in 100 just didnt go due to the 2 ring combination but it would usually fit on another ring with a slightly different cut.

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I need to understand how you chainmaille people open and close rings since all I have is experience with jewelry.  Do you expand the ring or do you twist the ring to open and close it?  I have seen tools that close an expended ring but that is not the way to do it.  Twisting the ring open and then twisting it closed is the easiest way.

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You twist them open ciladog. Toolish the rings I buy are pre-made and pre-cut 12 gauge spring washers that I get from the local hardware store. I do understand how the ring works and as I said I have tested that idea to the detriment of my finger. The ring works fine on smaller gauges of mild steel wire but not on spring steel.

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You twist them open ciladog. Toolish the rings I buy are pre-made and pre-cut 12 gauge spring washers that I get from the local hardware store. I do understand how the ring works and as I said I have tested that idea to the detriment of my finger. The ring works fine on smaller gauges of mild steel wire but not on spring steel.

Well then make one that fits like a braclet on all 4 fingers and hold it in your fist.

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If your interested in making your own rings for chainmaille go to potterusa.com and click on Koil Kutter and his chainmaille tooling will come up. I you navigate around he has video's on how to use his tooling. He uses piston ring pliers to open the rings. He also suggests a tool which is a ring that will go on your finger which has a flat piece on metal on edge you can twist to open the ring.

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Well for folks winding and cutting their own rings here's an old tip:  Wind two wires at the same time then when you cut the coil each ring will be spaced open.

 

I strongly suggest that you inquire over at the armourarchive.org a website dedicated to armour making to get input from folks who have been doing this stuff for *years*! (I finished my first shirt in 1981...)

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Thomas,that sounds like a great tip.

Not sure why you are using washers from hardware store??

Get hold of some round wire rings, then you wont have these opening issues. If you can avoid a step in doing something thousands of times it is a lot of time saved

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Thank you for that idea Thomas I will be sure to use it in future.  Toolish the reason I use the washers is that they are cheaper than the rings I make, also they are a lot stronger as one can imagine the comparison between mild steel and spring steel. I unfortunately can not get my hands on any baling wire in large inexpensive quantities. I can only get it in 25 m lengths for about $3.60 (R32 in South Africa) a 5kg bale will cost me $60 (R500 in South Africa). The time it takes to make the rings out of the 25m bale and the fact that the steel is mild steel as opposed to spring steel as well as the fact I can get washers at $6.5 per 1000 from the hardware store ultimately means ill sway towards the pre-made rings. And as you say. the step I took in avoiding doing something a thousand times, is getting pre-wound and pre-cut rings leaving me with only the job of opening and closing them.

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Ok, If you stuck with the washers and you want a jig I would think of something like this.

Two bits of solid bar next to each other, Cut a slot in both so the ring can be dropped into the jig from the top, Then put a pin through the middle to create a pivot point. Add two long handles tot he top and you can bent the things open with ease, Be a one by one operation, but less fatigue on your body.

If not something using the power of a lever will prob  be what you want. Even if you just get to priers that are welded to the right width, it will save you hands one force that is required.

Any repetitive task should be broken down into each aspect and worked out if you can get around it, Your brain is the most powerful muscle in your body.

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Kind of span it out of my head, I have never had the issue you are having, So i really have not put that much thought towards it, and no RnD.

The only tool I made which helped out in spring steel ring was the slotted L shaped tool I describer in an earlier post. I would make somethign like that, took me 2-3 min to make with a hacksaw and a vice, all done cold. This tool meant I did not have to grip the ring with the pliers just twist.

I am imagining my tool would be similar to the ring tool described earlier as well.

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Razzputin,   If I understand you correctly, you are using split ring lock washers to make your maille?  If that is the case, they are most likely hardened and tempered.  If you heat them up to a cherry red and let them cool down they will not be so hard to work with and you will still have the better spring steel.

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