Chainmail(le) Primer: Making Jewelry-Size Rings for Weaving Chainmail
With very few tools, you can begin weaving jewelry-sized chainmail.If you're a beader, or do wirework, then you probably have most of these items already.
20 to 24 gauge wire (preferably half-hard if you intend on wearing the items you make, but full-soft is okay if you're just teaching yourself some weaves-
1/2" to 1/16" (I recommend 3/16"), preferably metal, but in a pinch, you can get away with wood. (Please see step 4 for some additional information on aspectratios and selecting a mandrel.)-
, unless you have specialty wire cutters (~Stained-Glass~says that Fiskars Micro Tip Pruning Shears work well for wire thicknesses up to 18 gauge.)-
to use lockable pliers, but they make life much easier)Note: If you have a power drill, you could use that to power your winding. I generally don't power-wind wire unless I have a hole drilled (or notch cut into one end) throughmy mandrel to secure the wire, and for most of my small diameter mandrels, I don't have such a hole.
Power-winding will be discussed in an upcoming instructable on making armor-sized rings.
A clever wire winding jig was constructed bymum, and is explained onstep 6. Go on and take a look at the alternative method for coiling.
To actually weave your rings into chainmail, you'll need
two pairs to start with. Teeth will mark the rings*, but that's okay if you're just practicing weaves. However,weaving is not within the purview of this instructable. Please see instructables onEuropean 4-in-1, andByzantine chainfor weaves.
Not entirely true, but if you're good enough at weaving chainmail that you can avoid marking the rings with toothed pliers, then you probably don't need thisinstructable, eh?Image Notes1. Spiral2. Half-Persian 3-in-13. Half-Persian 4-in-14. Full-Persian 6-in-15. No weaves taught here, though.6. Raw wire7. Coil8. Finished rings ImageNotes1. Leatherman Crunch, in place of a Vice-Grip2. Mandrel (steel, 3/16")3. Raw wire (5 ft)4. Nail clippers5. Coiled wire (these will be cut into rings)6. Fork
Starting your coil
You may wish to file/cut a small notch near one end of the mandrel--it helps hold the wire. I just filed a perpendicular line half an inch from one end of my mandrel.Cut approximately 1 yard of wire (begin with 3', you can increase the length later)Find one end of your wire, and line it up perpendicularly with the mandrel.Clamp wire down with Vise-Grip, also perpendicular to the mandrel.Note that the clamped down portion of the wire will be wasted. Adjust this length according to frugal you need to be with your wire.
1. Notch (and some teeth marks from previous clampings)
1. Wire is resting in the notch2. Leatherman Crunch. It's standing in for a Vise-Grip
Winding your coil
Pick a direction, and start winding.Try to keep each rotation of wire as close together as possible. This will maintain consistent ring size.You can use the Vise-Grip as additional leverage to help you wind.If you are using half-hard wire (or full-hard) or thick-ish wire, you may need to apply a bit of strength to keep the coil tight.Towards the end of your coil, be aware that there is quite a bit of pent up energy in the coil--the wire will spin violently in the opposite direction. If you are not careful, youmay get cut pretty badly.Un-clamp your Vise-Grip.Slide your coil off the mandrel. If you cut a notch, you may wish to slide it off the opposite end (sometimes the notch catches the coil).You may wish to continue right away with another coil (I find it easier to wind a bunch of coils and then cut them all in one go, too).If you had trouble with your pre-coiled wire, you might want to cut a shorter length for this next coil. If you had no trouble, go ahead and cut a longer length.