Introduction: How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

Picture of How to Make a Chainmail Shirt
In this instructable I will teach you how to make a shirt of real chainmail. It will take a lot of time and patience but is a very rewarding project when you finish. To do this project you will need:
  • 1-2 years of time
  • A very strong will
  • 1200-2000 feet of wire (6000-10000 links)
  • 2 pairs of small blunt nose pliers
  • A drill (with a chuck)
  • ½ inch or ¼ inch metal rod
  • A dremel or other cutting device
  • A vice or strong clamp
  • Some 2 by 4s
  • 4 screws

For an interview with me about my chainmail click Here

Step 1: How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

Picture of How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

    The first step is to be able to make the links of the chainmail. If you have some money you can buy them at as well as other jewelry stores. If you plan on buying links you can skip this step and the next.

    First with the 2by4s you need to build a rig to support the rod (fig 1) that the links will be made on. Attach the 3 pieces together with the screws.  Drill a hole in both sides of the wood, big enough for your rod to pass through easily. Now drill a small hole through the rod that your wire can get through. For wire I used a multi-purpose galvanized 16-gauge wire from Lowes. It is sold in 200ft lengths for around $8.
    When you have all this assembled put the rod and drill into the jig (which should be clamped on a table) insert the wire into the hole and start the drill turning slowly. The wire will wrap it's self around the rod making a nice little spring. Use pliers to pull the wire out of the hole and slide the spring off the rod.

Step 2: How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

Picture of How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

     Now that you have the spring, it needs to get cut into individual links. When I started I was using a hacksaw, which did not work very well and took a long time. Then I got a dremel, which is a rotary cutting tool, and it got the job done very quickly.
     To cut the spring, slide it on to another rod of the same diameter and put both in the vice or other clamp. When you are cutting it with the dremel be sure to wear safety glasses and do it in an area with no combustible gasses.
     Depending on the length of the spring it should take around 5 min to cut and then you will have roughly 40 links that you can start using.

Step 3: How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

Picture of How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

     Now that you have links to start working with you need to know the pattern to attach them in. It is a very simple pattern, called 4 in 1 European mail; basically it means that every link is connected to 4 others. This makes a very strong and, depending on the size of links, a very dense fabric. For my chainmail I used 3/8” links, which are really too big to be protective or historically correct, I would recommend using ¼” links instead.

     You will need a pair of blunt nose pliers that preferably do not have teeth. First take 4 links and close them so they will lie flat on the table. Then take a fifth link and open it so that you can slide the 4 other links on to it, then close the fifth link. This is the building block of your chainmail. (Fig 1, 2, 3)

     Now that you have the basic building block of the shirt you will need to make many more. To attach them together line the 4in1s up so that the pattern matches. Then take another link and connect the 4 rings that are in the center. This makes another 4in1 within the first 2.

Step 4: How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

Picture of How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

     Now we can finally start making our shirt. I warn you this is a very long step and will require the most time and patience.      First you will need to make a strip that is one 4in1 wide and the length of you waist. Once it is finished find the middle and put a link there to mark it. Now measure about 4” over on both sides. This will be your head hole, so 8” may be to big or too small, a good way to find out is to measure a t-shirt; but remember chainmail doesn't stretch so bigger is always better. Mark both sides of the head hole with links and remove the center link. On either side of the head hole you will add rectangles that will be the shoulders. I would recommend that the head hole be around 20 links or 6” deep so that it will not slide around too much when you bend forwards.      Now comes the longest part. You have the head hole and shoulders you need to make the front and back pieces. I found the best way to do this is to make strips of the correct length 7-11 rows wide. Just keep adding on rows until it is as long as you want it, probably just past you waist. When you are done it should look like a tunic that fits over your head but has no sleeves and is not connected at the sides.            This step will take around 1-2 years (depending on the size of the links and length of the tunic.)

Step 5: How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

Picture of How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

     Now that you have your chainmail tunic you need sides and sleeves. I would recommend doing the sleeves first. I made my sleeves 7in wide to make sure that they would not be too tight. A good way to estimate your width is to measure a t-shirt the fits loosely and then add 2-3in on that. Now you have to decide how long you want your sleeves to be: 6-18”. I made mine t-shirt length of around 6in but it is completely your choice.

     Once you have these 2 dimensions you need to double the width so it goes back and front. Now take a ruler and stretch out part of the mail and count how many rows are in 1” so that you will know how many rows you will need for the sleeves.

     You are know ready to make to identical rectangles that will become the sleeves of your shirt, once you have them attach the center of the sleeve to the center of the head hole. Do not connect the sleeves at the bottom.

Step 6: How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

Picture of How to Make a Chainmail Shirt

     Now comes the final step; attaching the sides. This step varies for everyone so I will give just basic instructions. Put on your chainmail tunic and with the help of a friend measure the distance between the 2 sides, don't pull it too tight across your body or you won't be able to get it on (or off). Depending on how loose you want it to be you can add a few rows to the initial measurement.
     Make 2 rectangles that are that wide and long enough to reach from the bottom of the sleeve to the edge. Go ahead and connect your sidepieces.
     Finally you will need a small piece to connect the sleeves at the bottom if they do not already meet. Once again measure and add more if necessary.
     When you have these pieces connected all you have to do is attach under the arms. Unfortunately the pattern does not match up here so just improvise: it is not too critical.
You’re done!!!!!!

Step 7: How to Make a Chainmail Shirt - You Are DONE!

Picture of How to Make a Chainmail Shirt - You Are DONE!

     Congratulations on finishing your chainmail shirt! I am sure that you are very happy now and have a new sense of achievement. This is a very long, and at times boring project, but it is rewarding like nothing else you have ever done.

For more information on Chainmail I would recommend these websites:

Step 8: Make-to-Learn Youth Contest Questions

Picture of Make-to-Learn Youth Contest Questions

     My name is Bronwyn Erb and I am in grade 9. I made a nearly historically correct chainmail shirt.
     Over the course of 10 months (Nov 2011- Aug 2012) I, link by link, put it together by my-self in the way you have just read. I worked mainly in the basement of my house but also at my cottage during the summer. This project gave me something to work towards, I have a tendency to just sit in front of the computer all day but instead I would watch Netflix while putting together links. This impacted on my family and friends because if anyone came over to our house or asked what was up with me I would say that I was making a chainmail shirt and then explain what that was. My aunt is a teacher so recently I went to her school to tell the grade 4s and 5s about chainmail and show them how to do it.

     I learned a lot from making the chainmail but the most important things would be patients and the meaning of silence. Patients is pretty self-explanatory because there are over 6000 links in my chainmail, all of which were connected by hand. The meaning of silence is more difficult to explain: what I mean by it is that in our society there is a constant flow of information and garbage being thrown at us from TV, billboards, and shopping mails. Basically I found that when I turned off my computer and just sat and did chainmail I rediscovered silence and it is a beautiful thing.

     If I was ever going to do this again there are a few changes I would make. First I would use smaller links (¼”) so that it would more correct. Also I would have a better pattern of cutting a lot of links and then putting them all together. Finally I would use the dremel for all of the cutting instead of a hacksaw because it takes a lot less time.


repguy2020 (author)2013-02-24

Congratulations! Not only do you have an awesome new shirt, but you have learned two of the most valuable lessons in life -- patience and silence. Peace and the ability to appreciate it are wealth beyond measure and few among us learn that in scores of years. Very impressive indeed!

Kevanf1 (author)2013-02-24

Wow! Well done. I always wondered how chain mail was made. You have the utmost respect from this (nearly) 50 old learner from the UK.

Ringer1633 (author)Kevanf12013-02-24

Thanks! That means a lot to me.

RachelS225 (author)2017-12-04

Wow! What a great instructable! This was very inspiring.

rbusch (author)2017-03-14

awesome job. i made some out of stripped copper wire when i was younger. even that softer metal was a tedious pain in the butt.. and blister inducing! lol

and definatly time consuming

ClaytonR10 (author)2016-05-08

Well done, looks good. I have been making chainmail for 15+ years now and I have made several shirts; I know how tedious and long it takes. Might I also suggest using expansions and contractions, they help make the shirt more form-fitting. If you don't know what those are, an expansion is where you add a ring to a row to widen it and a contraction is where you subtract a ring in a row to make it more narrow. To make an expansion, lay the piece with the rows going horizontal, like how you have the pattern on the torso of the shirt, then, between two of the normal rings that each go through two rings, add another ring that just goes through the ring that connects those two rings. To make a contraction, instead of putting a new ring through two rings in the previous row, put it through three. There should be a line of nine expansions, spaced three rows apart, going over the shoulder, starting at a row just below the collar, and then a line of nine contractions going down the back, below the shoulder-blades; this allows for more stretch in the upper back for you to bring your arms forward. Also, there should be about four contractions at stomach/waist level to narrow the shirt in that area, one in the front, the back, and the sides; and depending on how narrow you want it, you may have to put several, spaced a few rows apart. And then if you want to widen the hip area, add some expansions starting at about waist level. Here is a link to the webpage I used to start making chainmail; it has pictures showing expansions and contractions, and instructions on how to make a shirt and a coif (hood):

arunr19 (author)2015-10-13

This is really will surely try to make it at my home, also recently found some intresting medieval costumes...

angier_allen (author)2015-07-26

This is one of the best instructables I have yet seen; great work and excellent craftsmanship!

Ringer1633 (author)angier_allen2015-07-26


Boomer1 (author)2015-07-26

Awesome instructable, I never thought to use heavy wire wrapped on a shaft to make the rings...though I should have. I've always wanted to play with chain mail but couldn't afford the rings.

As an electrician we used to wrap copper wire around a philips screwdriver and cut off the desired length of spring to use as spacer on the mounting screws when installing wall plugs or switches. (It would help to get the device out of the wall and closer to being flush mounted if the drywall guys got too sloppy.)

KristaB3 (author)2015-06-13

Congratulations! That is quite a feat. I would say you also learned about something else: determination. As an artisan, I know how hard it can be to stick with one project over a long period of time. I make chainmaille jewelry, as well as other pieces with semi-precious stones so I have an idea of what the work is like to make this shirt. I would love to make one myself, and one day I may do that, because you have shown me how. Thank you :)

ShalevZ (author)2014-12-29

I have two months to make a chainmail armor, maybe without sleeves, I am a small person, and I don't want the shirt to be long, just under the waist. I buy the rings ready. I've never done something like that before... so my question is: Should I even try? Is it possible? What can I do during the making of the chainmail (like listening to music)? Is there something I can do to make it less boring?

Ringer1633 (author)ShalevZ2015-01-02

You should definitely try. It is possible as you can see and buying, not making, the links will help a lot. Chainmail is tons of fun to make as long as you have the patience. To make it less boring I watched tv shows and movies on my computer while putting the links together. Good luck!

jkyser1982 (author)2014-12-23

This is a very, very good instructible, and guide to making chain. However,I would add a couple cautionary tips for safety, and I might recommend a change in the cutting process, to improve the final product slightly (I'm very particular about rings, having made both armor and jewelry for around 12 years). While I wrote a long post, don't take it negatively. I think you did very, very good work, and ended up with an impressive result.

When you cut rings, there are basically three processes you can go with. Material removal, as with the abrasive cutting wheel the dremel uses, or "crimping", which a set of standard diag cutters will get you. Last is the flush cutter, or even better, double flush cutter. This is the preferred tool, if you can get a good set. They don't remove enough material to leave the crimps and odd-shaped rings the other methods do, and are relatively easy to use, on the hand. The dremel and abrasive cutting wheels remove a significant amount of metal, resulting in a slightly oblong ring. Not a huge deal in armor, moreso in jewelry. The crimp and tear method removes far less material, but leaves a pair of points where you crimped the ring. You cut about halfway through the wire, then grab the back end (away from where you cut) and flip it towards the front, fast. The twisting will break the ring free, resulting in a relatively clean cut.

Because you need to keep the wire tight when winding onto a mandrel, a drill can be a very dangerous implement to use. There are other methods, of course (I've used a bent steel rod, screwdriver, bic pen, a nail, and a variety of other random items, personally), none of which are nearly as time-efficient. I would just recommend caution during this part of the project, so as to keep all fingers firmly attached :D

Zinc fumes from galvanized wire are dangerous. The symptoms generally pass within a day or so, and feels much like the flu, but it is a valid concern. A respirator or sufficient airflow is plenty to get around this... don't saw cut (with power tools) indoors.

Last, the dremel tool itself isn't great for this application, though it will do the trick. Something to watch out for with rotary tools is that, under load and at speed, those cutting discs don't just break when they fail, they effectively explode. Proper eye protection is highly recommended, I also recommend gloves and a long sleeve shirt.

schuylergrace (author)2013-02-24

Galvanized fumes will NOT kill you! At the very worst, if you breath them in high concentrations and for longer than you'd want to, you'll develop flu-like symptoms that will abate in a day or two. Drinking milk apparently helps. Galvanized "poisoning" is simply an overdose of zinc, an element your body needs and uses--not pleasant, but not deadly. Generally, this is only an issue if you heat the galvanizing to the point where if vaporizes. Just wear a dust mask and or work in an open, breezy area, if you are concerned at all.

woodwalker (author)schuylergrace2014-10-26

No, not in and of itself, but it can lead to pneumonia. Jim 'Paw Paw' Wilson of died as a direct result of Metal Fume Fever. Of course, as the original comment on this was removed, I cannot tell what he thought was going on, but the important thing about Metal Fume Fever is that you breath the FUMES. A Rototool isn't exactly going to be burning zinc off of the wire.

And 'poisoning' in this case is understood to mean 'overdose,' just like lead poisoning, arsenic poisoning, and mercury poisoning.

Any time that you think that you are dealing with a substance that can poison you, you need an actual respirator, not a dust mask.

kidharris (author)schuylergrace2013-02-27

You are wrong, galvanized fumes can kill you. It is a matter of how much you inhale, and you should be concerned.

A dust mask is a good idea when grinding anything (cutting with an abrasive disk is grinding), however it will not stop fumes. Avoid pushing the the grinding tool and generating excess heat (steel turning blue is very hot, then red, orange, white is melting steel). Working outdoors or using a fan, possibly with ducting, to control the flow of air away from you and direct the fumes outdoors are common cheap remedies. Using a respirator is a good idea if you have one. I seriously doubt that this pretty lady is in any danger as probably very little if any galvanizing vaporized during her cutting of the links.

However, anyone that welds or melts galvanized steel (foundry or forge) should take measures to avoid breathing the fumes. Burning the galvanizing off of the steel is a particularly bad idea and has killed at least 1 blacksmith who was trying to burn off the galvanizing on some pipe so he could use it for a project. He was generating serious clouds of fumes. First he got really sick for a few days, then he got better, then he died. Admittedly, this guy took it to extremes, but he is still dead.

If you look at the white/yellow powder and spider web like white stuff that floats around while you're welding it, I'm sure that you will realize that you don't want to breathe that stuff.

schuylergrace (author)kidharris2013-02-27

Although I have not been able to find documentation of a single incident of a person dying from breathing zinc fumes, most anything is toxic in sufficient concentration. And yes, I do agree you're probably better off not breathing fumes from burning galvanized coating--I certainly try not to. But simple precautions, like reasonable ventilation, washing your hands before you eat/drink/smoke, and wearing a dust mask if you are generating dust are more than enough to guarantee safety, especially doing a project like this one. Just a touch of common sense is all it takes--we shouldn't be afraid of our shadows, or a little zinc.

kidharris (author)schuylergrace2013-02-27

That's odd, I entered the search terms "zinc poisoning death" in Yahoo and instantly found this link

davidgun (author)2013-10-29

I am curious why you saw cut them? I tried it with the dremel and gave up after about 3 rings and when back to my aviation snips. Saw cutting seemed to take forever. I also read this "WARNING! Galvanized steel should never be saw cut - Zinc fumes are very deadly."

TeleDex (author)2013-02-25

An acquaintance has a grandson who makes chain mail. He asked her to test it using her compound bow and a hunting arrow (broadhead). The chain mail failed the test.
BTW, the grandson was NOT wearing the shirt at the time. ;^)

Gelfling6 (author)TeleDex2013-10-18

Nope, long-bows were the improvement over the old bows. The Yew tree strips were far harder to break, and super strong on spring-back! I heard an interesting bit of info, under most chain maille, the knight wore a silk shirt. The reason being, the obvious barb of the arrow head, would be spinning as it was in flight, and when it penetrated the maille, the spinning head would grab the silk, and form a ball around the head. Now, granted, the point of the arrow would pierce the skin, but the rest, jammed up with silk, would stop.. Also, less chance of needing to yank the arrow out, and having the arrow heat cut the skin even worse. the wool & cotton, were just padding against the impact from edged weapons. (like a padding under a football jersey.)

gumbytig (author)TeleDex2013-02-25

I think chainmail was mainly used in slashing defense. Crushing weapons like flails and maces would mutilate the mail and possibly imbed it in the user and small stabbing weapons like arrows and daggers would find their way through the links or possibly opening a few links. I'm not sure about historical accuracy but I think welded links would deter the small stabbing weapons from penetrating far.

Ringer1633 (author)gumbytig2013-02-25

You are correct. Chainmail was worn to protect from swords and arrows but could not handle clubs, maces, crossbow bolts, or guns

Gelfling6 (author)Ringer16332013-10-16

As I've told kids and parents who've asked at renaissance faires, swords, knives, axes.. Short-bow arrows, had a tough time, but long-bow, pikes, spears, and worse, war-hammers with a pike on them, would go right through. That was why they developed riveted, but even that had problems because of the weakened flat & rivet. And even with the edged weapons, It was still like getting slammed with a hammer. You may not get cut, but broken bones were not uncommon. So, the 'Impermeable' chain maille used in the movie, "Wild-Wild West" (Will Smith, Kevin Kline), being used a bullet-proof vest, was total myth!

Analton (author)Ringer16332013-02-28

From Wikipedia:
Mail armour provided an effective defence against slashing blows by an edged weapon and penetration by thrusting and piercing weapons; in fact a study conducted at the Royal Armouries at Leeds concluded that "it is almost impossible to penetrate using any conventional medieval weapon"[35][36] Generally speaking, mail's resistance to weapons is determined by four factors: linkage type (riveted, butted, or welded), material used (iron versus bronze or steel), weave density (a tighter weave needs a thinner weapon to surpass), and ring thickness (generally ranging from 18 to 14 gauge in most examples). Mail, if a warrior could afford it, provided a significant advantage to a warrior when combined with competent fighting techniques. When the mail was not riveted, a well placed thrust from a spear or thin sword could penetrate, and a pollaxe or halberd blow could break through the armour. In India, punching daggers known as katars were developed that could pierce the light butted mail used in the area. Some evidence indicates that during armoured combat the intention was to actually get around the armour rather than through it—according to a study of skeletons found in Visby, Sweden, a majority of the skeletons showed wounds on less well protected legs

andrea biffi (author)2013-06-29

great! can you make a mithril one? ;-)

Gelfling6 (author)andrea biffi2013-10-16

Mithril, would require something thin, like 22-guage wire, at <1/4-inch Dia. rings... Not impossible, but seriously time consuming in the making. Believe it or not, though, shark suits are made of this, using stainless steel wire. Pretty sure they're also machine woven (Yes, you can make a machine to knit chain.) and pretty sure the ends are spot-welded while it's being woven.

andrea biffi (author)Gelfling62013-10-17

I was kidding! but ask Gandalf anyway ;-)

Gelfling6 (author)andrea biffi2013-10-18

I was being technical, but that's me anyways.. LOL!

Jordans114 (author)2013-04-03

DO you know where you would be able to get Stainless Steel wire to make this? Around the 14 gauge size. I live in Canada, and I am having trouble finding any...

Gelfling6 (author)Jordans1142013-10-16

At the risk of breaking a rule, there's a website which deals with making chainmaille (from the raw materials, tools, pre-cut rings, and even finished pieces.), that might be a source.. , which is based in Canada. they also supply spools of raw wire, in various materials. I bought some pre-cut alloy 304 (1/4-hard stainless) from them a few years ago.. They also sell bulk wire.. Just read on their page, approx 57-feet per 1-Pound, roughly $5.65/Lb.

Ringer1633 (author)Jordans1142013-04-03

Have you tried Lowes and Canadian Tire?

JermsG (author)2013-03-26

Very good instructable! And a very nice result of shirt. :)
A few points, from my 15+ years of chainmail experience...
The strength of the links comes from three things: a) the material they're made out of. The wire you used is a good option for chainmail, but other options are available which are stronger/weaker/shinier/more rust-resistant/less rust-resistant/etc. b) The ratio between the thickness of the wire and the diameter of the link (which comes from the diameter of your coiling rod). The ideal ratio depends on the material the links are made out of, what the chainmail will be used for and so on, so largely relies on trial and error to get that right. c) The way that the links are closed. When you bend the ends of the links closed like you did, it's called 'butted' mail. It's by far the most common way to do it, since any other option such as riveting - although it makes the chainmail stronger - it makes this tedious job take a heck of a lot longer. :/
I agree with some of the comments about using the dremel to cut the spring into links. It provides a nice cut where the cross-section of the link is flat and easy to butt closed, but it has a few drawbacks such as it being easy to slip and ruin a few dozen links at once. Personally I use bolt cutters, or sidecutters for smaller links. The cross-section of the cut links are then V-shaped, but still can be made to butt together nicely enough.
When using the drill to coil the wire into a spring, there are two things to be careful of: The main one is the rotating end of the wire. I still have a scar on my finger from one of those, and it hurt a LOT. The second thing is to try to get the spring as tight as possible, without the wire overlapping a previous link. When it overlaps, that's a waste of wire. When the spring isn't tight, you can end up with links that are slightly larger diameter and you may not notice until they're in the middle of a shirt, but then they look REALLY out of place.
To keep track of main seam features such as the centre of the neck, the crest of the shoulder or whatever, you can attach a spare link like you suggested, but I find it a bit quicker and easier just to use a small wire tie.

Keep up the great work!

JermsG (author)JermsG2013-03-26

Oh, and, the coiling rod MUST be a strong material such as metal. I've tried wooden and plastic rods, but they don't work at all.

Gelfling6 (author)JermsG2013-10-16

Go to any hardware store, and ask for steel welding rod. they come in 1/4, 5/16. 1/2. 3/8 size.. the coated type (galvanized, chrome, etc.) aren't necessary.. they usually sell it in 3-foot or 6-foot lengths. the only drawback with the 6-foot, is you'll end-up with "Wobble".. the rod bends, and stays bend in a bow.) simply slow-down the winding as this happens.. It depends on how many rings you want to have on the coil.. HAHA, my first mandrel, was a 4-inch axle I pulled out of an old copy machine, and the shaft collar was a idler roller from the same machine.. Didn't need the extra length as I was only winding un-bent coat hangers at the time.

Ringer1633 (author)JermsG2013-03-26

yeah mine was copper.

Ringer1633 (author)JermsG2013-03-26

Thanks for the advice. What chainmail projects have you done?

JermsG (author)Ringer16332013-03-28

Whew! You want the whole list?!!
Um... bikini tops and bottoms, g-strings, shirts, halbergs, necklaces, bracelets, slave bracelets, chokers, hackey sacks, juggling balls, neckties, dreadlocks, eyepieces, manes, coifs, leggings, booties, gloves...
I'm thinking of making myself an assassin's mail halberg soon, which is standard 4-in-1 chainmail but with a small piece of leather glued onto each link so that the whole item is non-shiny, non-reflective, and silent. But glueing each piece of leather on individually will be very tedious, and I'm trying to gather enthusiasm for it. :/

Ringer1633 (author)JermsG2013-04-03

Thats and an amazing list! I am planning on a making a full suit of armor.

valgard (author)2013-02-24

another alternative to standard pliers are linesman's pliers as they have a short flat section at the end of the jaws so you wont mar the rings. if your on a budget why did you saw cut? i would imagine the cost in replacement cutting discs would have been more than the cost of a pair of mini bolt cutters and new pliers.

Gelfling6 (author)valgard2013-10-16

There was a version of lineman's pliers that Ace Hardware had, which had a wide but thin flat end to them.. Haven't been able to find them lately, and a little expensive. Sears, Sears Hardware, have what they call Duck-Bill pliers.. the jaws are about 2-inch long, and wide-flat end. I use those as my main pliers pair for my work.. they went for something like $17.95 each. Last seen, they were only available in the 5-piece (cutters, adjustable wrench, needle-nose, regular, and duck-bill.) set.

blaze.ninja42.0 (author)valgard2013-04-29

actually that size is really cheap for cutting wheels. i got a dremel and 25 discs, plus over a dozen other attachments for like $6 US

alcurb (author)2013-10-16

I like your work.

Any chance you would post a video for at least the part where you make the rings? I'm trying to visualize the fabrication process of the rings from the winding to the cutting with the Dremel tool. Although the pictures are good, I would like to see how you handle the materials and the tools.

Gelfling6 (author)alcurb2013-10-16

alcurb, depends on which direction you wind the coils, but usually a slow steady turning of the mandrel (bar) in the jig frame, and keeping the wire fed, close to but not allowing it to overlap the already wound coil. I've tried guides, only to have it jump and either jumble in the same place (ruining the guide) or if the wire is soft, (Aluminum, Copper) 'Ding' the wire, requiring a cut right there. When winding, I usually stop about an inch from the end of the mandrel, holding the wire about 3-4 inches away from the mandrel, and make a cut (with 8" bolt cutters), only 1 inch from the mandrel. Be prepared for back-lash! (where the coil will partially loosen, and that wire end will swing around like a weed whacker.) the mandrels I make, I drill a hole through, on the driven end of the mandrel, with a shaft-collar, and a hitch-clip, and a hole drilled through the side of the collar, to fit an "L"-bend in the end of the wire, before winding. This way, when I finish winding the coil, I pull the hitch clip, slide the mandrel out, and slide the finished coil off.slide the mandrel back in, put the shaft collar over the hole, and insert the hitch clip again. As for cutting, I've tried 3 methods.. Bolt cutters, dremel w/a cutting wheel, and a jewlers saw (available at most hobby stores, in their tools section. They're like a coping saw, but with a super-thin scroll-saw blade between two pin vices.).. The cutting wheel & jewelers saw methods, you're always losing a little material at the cut, so sometimes, the rings might look egg-shaped. the bolt-cutter method, You're spreading the material. It causes a ><-style cut. but no loss of material. but is also makes for extra burrs on the outside edge. The jewlers saw, over the cutting wheel, thinner cut, BUT lots of metal dust. with the cutting wheel, you end-up with lots of metal dust, and flying sparks! but, all three methods, You're simply cutting down the side of the coil, at the same point, so the ring ends are off-set. From there, You simply butt the ends together by twisting the sides with pliers. (so the ring goes from / to |).. Riveted rings, You're closing the ring so the ends over-lap. done either by squeezing the rings, or using a cutter with a gap to allow the wire not to cut, to have it already overlapped. but, this now requires flattening the overlapped ends.. then, punching a hold through the flattened ends, and using a small piece of metal (either wire or, as they used in olden days, a triangular piece,) both of which were inserted into the holes, and peened over to hold in place. The drawback, I've found with riveted, is You've already weakened the ring, by the flattening, and now, 3 points above and below the rivet, and pulling the rivet itself out.

Ringer1633 (author)alcurb2013-10-16

sure i'll see what i can do.

Gelfling6 (author)2013-10-16

I've made similar winding jigs.. Latest, 3-foot width, 5/16" mandrel, but because of the time, (and slowly weakening muscles at 50,) power-drill driven. the ones I've made, I've used either galvanized steel wire (as you have, Find a tractor Supply Co. store, or other farm supply store that carried electric Fence wire on spools.. the big 1/2-mile 14-guage spools. (checked their website, but don't see any. BUT! do-not get the 4000-foot high-tensile hoop, that stuff is super hard, and I've broken 2X 14-inch bolt cutters trying to cut the stuff once it's been wound, to say nothing of the dangerous back-lash when you cut the wire, winding it.) I also use bolt cutters (both 8" hand version, and 14" 2-hand) to cut the finished coils. I've made 7 total so-far.. 1st, was a LOT of recycled coat-hangers (Took close to 20 years to finish, I kept running out of hangers.) 2nd-4th were either ALL galvanized wire, or combination galvanized & copper (stripped house wire), and then there was the fifth, my first major inlay, I wove the Iowa Jay-Hawks symbol (at the time, I saw it as a Falcon, for the High school I drove school bus for. Incidentally, the 2nd-6th ones were made over the back of the driver's seat on the school bus.) into the chest of the hauberk, and a smaller version into the back of the coif. the 6th, because the 5th was so tarnished, beginning to rust too much, and HEAVY! (98-99 Lbs! the equivalence of a 13-year old on your back!), I spotted 1/4-mile spools of Fy-Shock aluminum electric fence wire at TSC.. the 6th, and now a 7th, are entirely aluminum. the 6th, with a coronal around the top of the coif, the 7th, still assembling the coif. (might make it identical.) I also make the coif & hauberk separate, with a mantel (base collar) on the coif. Simply pull over shirt style with the hauberk, with a Calvary split font & back to allow walking. I usually wear mine at a few ren faires here in the North-East, and ALWAYS on Halloween! (Before I stopped driving the school bus, I used to wear the whole get-up, minus the sword, driving. Hey, why let the kindergarten have all the fun? and yeah, those kids are already on a sugar high, I needed the extra protection!) Well done!

Peris The Majestic (author)2013-05-30

great project! a few questions: what kind of metal is the wire made of? iron or steel? are the single rings strong or are subject to deformation? how many force do you need to bend them? thank you very much!

The Rambler (author)2013-04-23

Congratulations on coming in second!

sunshiine (author)2013-03-27

You have patience my dear, far more than I ever could have. I am sure you will win something! Voted! Have a splendorous day!

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