Will W.

Solid rings for chainmail

15 posts in this topic

I have no clue what section this belongs in, sorry. 

I do a lot of chainmail. I make some jewellery, but mostly my work is more armor-like, hauberks, coifs, etc. Most of my completed stuff is just butted maille, in every gauge and ring size I could think to use, but over about the last year, I've been doing a lot of riveted maille, with the goal of making a whole hauberk, a daunting task indeed. I have a system down that works quite well, I usually only mess up 1 out of every ~20 rings. It takes forever, though, weaving all riveted rings. I've read that, more towards the late middle ages (possibly high middle ages) they began using alternating rows of solid and riveted rings, but... Where in the world do I get soild rings? Or, more specifically, how can I make them, or salvage something not intended as chainmail? I read that back then, they were punched from sheets of steel, or iron, but i like round rings (flattened only where riveted), not flat rings. My current project is 14 gauge rings, 3/4" ID (I think that's what the madrel is) and in a 6-1 pattern, so something similar to those specs. I've considered forge welding some rings, but I don't think that's even remotely feasible. I considered MIG welding rings and cleaning them up, but time consuming would be an understatement. Washers are also flat so, idk. Any ideas? I'm lost. 

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I suggest you order them from a manufacturer that makes them.  I'd ask over at the armourarchive.org for a list of possible sources.  What you are looking for are specialized washers or O rings but you don't need the high quality they often have for industrial uses.

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Check out the ring lord, sounds like you are looking for a resistance welder. Similar to the welders people use to make bandsaw blades. This would let you weld together rings of any shape.

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I considered ordering them, but to be get right to the point, I'm cheap haha. It may be my only option though. Thanks for the tip Thomas, I'll try to shoot over there and ask some of those guys. If I had a tig welder around the shop, I would just fuse them together and call it good. No filler metal needed. 

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Cheap may be very costly in time...See you over at the archive!

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You could (I have) use a resistance welder from TheRingLord.com to weld butted rings together. They work great, and with a little practice make exceptionally strong welds. Another option could be to cut a notch in your cutter to cut a two loop ring (like a key ring).  You could then try forge welding them using a die and a punch.  you'd need either a stainless die and punch or some way to make sure they don't all weld together.  Obviously, a ton of work, but it could be pretty cool.

I have also used a TIG -but you typically need to be able to turn it VERY low.  I use a small inverter TIG that can go down to single digits in amperage.

I suppose you could hot form overlapped rings and weld that way... but wow the work.  However you do it, I would love to hear how it goes!

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MailleMas

I ran a TIG for a while that could be turned down to 5 amps (Miller dynasty iirc.) Best machine I think I ever ran a bead with. Knew a guy who welded two beer cans together with it, I couldn't believe my eyes. I lost a bet that day. 

Anyways, it does seem like it comes down to spending money or spending time. And quite frankly, I would rather spend the time haha. Next time the forge is running, I may try to weld a few rings. Not having a TIG around anymore, it may be my best bet.

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Will - real question is did he spill?!  The resistance welder is pretty cheap from TRL - but lemme know how the forge weld goes.  I have been tempted for years, but never seem to  remember when the fire is lit!

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In previous discussion of forge welding maille rings; welding them in the fire using a pair of tongs to press the weld together has been suggested.

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Thomas, interesting idea - I might have to try that.

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Thomas, Do you mean sticking the tongs into the fire and press before taking the ring out?

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Yes, works better with a cave fire. We've also discussed using fire brick on top of the coke to make a jet of hot gasses and hold the ring in it till temp and squish weld it. an earlier Variation on the modern torch.  IIRC one fellow had even said he had done a few using a blowpipe as jewelry used to be hard soldered with.

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Thanks for the idea Thomas. Every time I have tried to do it so far, the two ends either slip off of each other (despite me barely tapping it, and even when the overlap is pre flattened) or they get burnt, or, more commonly, it losses welding heat in about half a second flat. I'll try that next time I have the forge going, and report back. 

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On 2017-03-07 at 5:42 PM, ThomasPowers said:

Yes, works better with a cave fire. We've also discussed using fire brick on top of the coke to make a jet of hot gasses and hold the ring in it till temp and squish weld it. an earlier Variation on the modern torch.  IIRC one fellow had even said he had done a few using a blowpipe as jewelry used to be hard soldered with.

Thank you. Sounds as a good idea. If I ever try to make a small fire welded ring I will try it.

 

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You can also gas weld them..   Make a mandrel (straight rod with one side ground flat..Hold this in a vise..   Put all the rings on with a slight gap between them. with the gap over the flat.  start at one end and just zip along adding filler when needed.. You can also do it with tig this way and if the tig doesn't go low enough you can increase weld speed moving from one ring to the other in a shorter time..  the heat from the previous ring will carry over to the next one..  Also since you can start your tig torch on the 3/4" round stock or 5/8" you won't have as much arc blow or amperage spike when you start off.. 

 

Frugal is good.. It's what keeps me in really cool stuff.. 

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