Wesley Chambers

Chain welding on the small scale.

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So I had a requested to create some replica chains that were used to connect your weapons to your armor, as I am told it is to keep them attached while on horseback. These chains can be see on a lot of statues and tapestries but only a few real pieces remain intact, I would guess because of the small size of the stock they do not age well. The order was very specific on the dimension 1.5"x5/8" in 1/8" square stock. Was a bit tricky to get the hang of welding these little links but after a few dozen I figured it out ;)
Forgive the shop mess, I am prepping for a road show while trying to sell my house so things are a bit crazy.


The Goal:
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post-7113-0-62862600-1364483007_thumb.jp

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I love your bending jig!  I'd like to see some close-ups of that!  Your methods seem pretty slow in some ways though... for instance:  I would have welded half of the links before assembling any of them... then welded one link to two and two three-link chains to another link etc.  Also I was surprised to see that you welded the chain links on the long sides!  I have been taught that the chain will be stronger if the welds are located at the short bend on one end of each link.  I am no expert chain smith but I have made a few.  I really enjoyed making some very small scale hard soldered chains for jewelry some years back... very tedious but FUN!

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Greetings Westley,

 

You are indeed a skilled blacksmith...   And you look good on camera....    I have done a  few links myself on this scale...  What I did was to simply scarf the ends of the straight stock...  than turn into a circle on the horn.. ...  forge weld on the horn   easier to do with a  larger ID...   THAN  ,,  with a  small lever jig that is just one fixed round bar  and another used as a lever to make them oval..   You can make 3 oval in one heat..  It also test your welds...

 

Good luck with the house  and roadshow...

Jim

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Just a "for what it's worth" critique :

 

 

Personally, my back would never stand working hunched over, the way you are in the video.

 

 

Yeah, ... I know, ... "conventional wisdome" dictates the Anvil be "knuckle high", :wacko: ... and that works OK when you're wailing away on larger work.

 

But a small Anvil, sitting on top of a workbench, ... or any kind of Stake Anvil, mounted in the Hardy Hole, ... would really save you a lot of back strain.

 

 

You don't think about that sort of thing much, when you're 30 something, ... and still think you're bullet proof.

 

But eventually, your body will begin reminding you about the poor decisions of your youth. :P

 

 

 

 

.

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BF-your method is one I use for chainmail and one I tried with the first chain, I had one problem... I would sometimes not pay close enough attention and weld the wrong dang link and have a three directional chain! You are correct on weld placement, end welds are much stronger and I attempted a few but a few things happened either the link would slightly stretch or the tap would slip the two tiny scarfs apart.

Jim- The client was very specific about the size he wanted and the fastest way to for me to replicate uniform production was the jig. I only tried two the circle horn way and my end result was not very pretty, I didn't think of your fixed round stock idea though, that might have made a big difference.

FTC Thanks man!

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Trust me Smooth Bore halfway through I was hating life lol why I am leaning on my knee in the scarfing section, I looked for options in my shop but found nothing for a quick remedy. If I ever get another order for these, things will change before production!

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Taken with my tablet sorry for not resizing
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I made it in a bit of a rush so I would change a few things next time, mostly the left post I cut it a bit short and the lever wants to slide off a bit but still works. The right post you can see has the slot cut to accommodate the prior link without deforming the shape when turned. The first plan where I wanted to do end welds works on this jig also I just change where I set the stock to start the turns. For end welds I start with the tip of the stock just past the left post and make one long turn on the right post then two short turns on the left post to close the link. For center welds I turn the "J" with the stock equal/center on the jig. 

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Were you using real wrought iron?   The originals would have been bloomery produced; but even puddled would be closer than mild steel.  When customers are fussy about the details this is a detail to "sell" them!

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I tried to talk them into paying for some wrought but I think the sticker shock for a few hours of mild steel work was almost too much hahah  Would have been much easier on the welding thats for sure!

Also the piece in the photo was recovered under a pile of ash from Hirschstein Castle at Irsham that was destroyed in the late 1300s not sure of any other intact pieces that have been found

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Yeah; I've some amazing welding done in wrought that would be very difficult indeed to do in mild steel---filigree type work.

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Wesley; I enjoy watching you work.

It saves me a lot of energy!  :)   Please keep making video’s. 

 

Because of your video’s, there is a profitable balance of information exchanged between

blacksmiths and yourself that benefits all of us.

 

Your willingness to put your words into action says a lot about how serious you are about

this remarkable craft. 

Not everyone has the confidence to have their forging methods and work products closely scrutinized.

 

I know from talking to you that you are unstoppable and love the craft.

It shows!

My best to you!

Ted Throckmorton

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Appreciated as always Ted I hope things are great in your neck of the woods!

 

We all have room for improvement, and a lot of times we don't even know it!

Being able to show what and how I do things opens a door for interpretation and as you said exchange of information that can be very beneficial to all involved!

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Thanks for the pictures of your Jig!  It is simpler than I imagined... I could probably make one of those!  Nice project!  Don't you feel lucky!

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Greetings Wes,

 

I guess the best compliment I could make is ..  I could work next to him...     On the resizing jig I mentioned.... A fixed round on a  plate.. with a hole drilled in the plate to match your chain link oval....  forge a  taper round the same diameter..   put your link on the fixed round and use the taper as a lever to form your link...  Works for me...

 

Keep a knockin....

 

Jim

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Great idea Jim! 

Its a lot of fun working out projects like this with different heads to deconstruct the problem in many different ways.  

You never know how easy a solution might be that you just haven't thought up and someone else just might!

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Greetings Wesley,

 

Tit for Tat..... I made 2 of your pritchel hole nail headers today...  They work super..... Thanx   one square and one round

 

 

Jim

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