If you're a beader, or do wirework, then you probably have most of these items already.
- Wire: 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
- Mandrel: 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 aspect ratios and selecting a mandrel.)
- Nail clippers, unless you have specialty wire cutters ( ~Stained-Glass~ says that Fiskars Micro Tip Pruning Shears work well for wire thicknesses up to 18 gauge.)
- Vise-grip (you don't have 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) through my 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 by mum, and is explained on step 6. Go on and take a look at the alternative method for coiling.
To actually weave your rings into chainmail, you'll need Pliers: 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 on European 4-in-1, and Byzantine chain for 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 this instructable, eh?
Step 1: Starting your coil
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.