Introduction: Soda Can (Pop-top) Chain Mail - Specialty Category (Advanced)
Alright so considering I have over 20 weaves I've decided to condense these into 4 separate categories, and just run through the steps in each variant. Note feel free to visit my site: http://poptoppaladin.com/ for HQ instructions and more individualized tutorials. There's also a gallery page and an about page talking about how my Soda Can Chain Mail came about. For reference all my weaves are original and I've only seen 1-2 styles that are close to mine on the internet, and I felt it would be better to show off my work and inspire others to make their own soda can chain mail.
This category is the weird stuff, these combine use of larger rings to make very unique weaves, and this is much harder than the other 3 categories (think of this as the advanced section to TabMailling)
Tabs - A whole lot of them, see each step for Sq Ft. per weave, but note it varies from 300-800 per sq. ft.
Rings - The rings used here are (Machine Cut) Bright Aluminum Rings I purchase mine from TheRingLord most weaves you need just about as many rings as you have tabs. I'll tell you in each tutorial what each weave requires.
Pliers - Again I use the RingLord's plier set - it's cheap and for over 4 years of use they've been perfect in every way. You can use your own pliers though.
Cutters - For Captured ChainTab for reference on how to do ChainTab visit this tutorial.
Time - These are harder still than ChainTab or TabMail, and it's very easy to confuse things and have to redo work.
I'll cover a couple different styles here each in it's own "step"
Step 1: Captured ChainTab
This is a very complex weave simply for the amount of steps, and the nature of combining TabMail with ChainTab elements. This uses 16 ga 1/4 AR 4.2 & 16 ga 5/16 AR 5.3 Bright Aluminum Rings
Difficulty: 5/5 – This has 20+ steps for a reason
Flexibility: 3/5 – Vertically it only flexes a bit, but it’s surprisingly moveable.
Tabs per sq. ft: ~850
1/4 Rings per sq. ft: ~475
5/16 Rings per sq. ft: ~75
1. Start off with some 2-ChainTab (just 3 long as shown) – although you’ll want a couple of these.
2. Add some more cut tabs to the top.
3. And connect to make a 2-4-2 chain.
4. Now thread a 5/16 through the middle and close (should only surround the 4 tabs middle bars.)
5. Lay out 2 sets of tabs back-to-back, and for the top add a tab with the bottom half sticking out (between the 2 back-to-back tabs) and do the same but with the top sticking out in the bottom set.
6. Now switch to 1/4 rings (You only use 5/16 in the middle of the 4 tabs), and connect the bottom group.
7. And the top.
8. Now thread a 1/4 ring through the 5/16 and the 2 overlapping tabs (make sure the top one is facing – actually you can do it the other way – just keep it consistent)
Now here’s where you can “customize” see below is actually a swatch where the TabMail section is only 1 – wide. (This tutorial follows a 2 – wide pattern) but essentially you can make it as wide as you like, and best of all it doesn’t need to match you can make one part 3 wide than 1 wide then 3 wide again.
9. Since I’m making mine 2 wide though I set myself out another 2 groups as from step 5.
10. And connect.
11. Here you make as many (sections) as you’d like depending on your width (I have just 2 for this tutorial).
12. I find it’s easiest to connect the middle tab, but you’ll connect everything in the next step anyway.
13. The 2 sections connected.
14. I finish it off by adding an end chain.
15. Now you add a middle tab to the top of the section connecting down the whole line, and make sure you leave an empty space for the sections where you’ll add more ChainTab, but that they are connected to the rings as well.
16. Add your other swatch (as wide as before), but add the tabs to the bottom section.
17. Now add 4 tabs in the 4-ChainTab manor to the bottom of the upper section.
18. And connect them to the bottom section.
19. Now add that 5/16 ring to the middle bar of the 4 tabs, and connect the 2 overlapping tabs with a 1/4 ring.
20. And connect the 5/16 ring to the TabMail section (note this will require a lot of “finicking.”
21. Here’s the completed section from above, as you see the larger the piece the more it looks like the 4-Chain is studded out and “captured” inbetween the TabMail, hence the name.
Step 2: Arma
This was my first foray into using rings larger that 16ga 1/4. I wanted something that was stable, but worked like a scale mail without being too tight like Double TabScale. This uses 16 ga 1/4 AR 4.2 & 16 ga 5/16 AR 5.3 Bright Aluminum Rings. This currently is used for the arm bracer
Difficulty: 4/5 – It’s simple enough simply connecting the bands, but for the size it can take a while.
Flexibility: 4/5 – It doesn’t bend inward that much, but is otherwise very flexible.
Tabs per sq. ft: ~700
1/4 Rings per sq. ft: ~550
5/16 Rings per sq. ft: ~325
1. Lay 4 tabs as 2 sets back to back. (Using 1/4 rings until step 8.)
2. Connect the top half.
3. Lay 2 tabs on the bottom half.
4. Then place another ring through the tabs you just added.
5. Make a few of these pairs.
6. Then connect said pairs into a few bands.
7. This is how we intend to have the bands laid out.
8. To do this flip the band over, now here’s where you get the 5/16 ring. You place it through the middle bar of the bottom tab ash shown, making sure it goes through the 2 upper tabs bottom half.
9. You then connect the other band through the top half. (Note this is similar to TabScale Inverse.)
10. Then you move onto the next tab and place a ring the same way.
11. And connect it so that it makes a triangle like shape between the 3 rings.
12. Then it’s simply continuing on down the line.
13. Flipped over it should look like this (You can see less rings than the other side.)
14. And it’s just connecting more bands either length wise by adding a band, or connecting a new band to an existing one.
Step 3: Vein
This weave came as a necessity more than an other. I needed a weave that could at one side expand and the other contract without folding in on itself and retaining both stability and look. The TabScales can sort of do this, but it’s not enough. The cool thing about this (and it gets more pronounced the larger it is) is that it expands naturally due to the larger rings used. This uses 16 ga 3/8 AR 5.3 Bright Aluminum Rings
Difficulty: 5/5 – Once you get this down it’s second nature, but initially it is a very weird weave.
Flexibility: 4/5 – It doesn’t bend outward that much, but is otherwise very flexible.
Tabs per sq. ft: ~600
3/8 Rings per sq. ft: ~325
1. Lay 2 tabs back-to-back and a tab with 2 tabs on each half of the bottom.
2. Put a ring through the 2 back-to-back tabs.
3. Add the 3 ring set on top and close.
4. Then flip this over and place a ring through the 3 set.
5. Add another 2 ring set back-to-back and close.
6. Then through that 2 set add another ring.
7. And another 3 set.
8. Continue on for the length of the band.
9. Now add a ring from the jutting top and bottom tabs of 2 bands.
10. Add a single tab with the ring going through the band. (Make sure it faces the bad side towards you.)
11. Now add a 2 set back-to-back with the middle going through the ring, and close.
12. Now flip the whole thing and place a ring through the 2 set.
13. Add a single tab (shiny side facing you) with the ring going through the middle.
14. Now add the top tab of the lower band and the bottom tab of the upper band through that ring and close.
15. Flip again and place a ring through the 3 set.
16. Add another back-to-back 2 set and close.
17. Then simply continue on until the bands are closed.
Step 4: Finish
Expect this category here to suddenly see a new weave added. Most of the work with the TabMail/TabScale are set as there's less room for more weaves using that ring size, using larger and multiple ring sizes though means I can come up with more weaves and I plan on making more the longer I progress on this project. I've included a look at some images using the specialty weaves.