Introduction: Soda Can (Pop-top) Chain Mail - TabScale Category

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 centered around TabScale as it focuses on combining tabs and rings (all the same size until you get to the specialty category which is another tutorial. This differs from TabMail as these weaves are more flexible and move similiar in a way to normal Scale Mail

Things needed.

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 16 ga 1/4 AR 4.2 (Machine Cut) Bright Aluminum Rings I purchase mine from TheRingLord most weaves you need just about as many rings as you have tabs.
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.
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: Flat TabScale

This is similar to the tab scales although it looks less “Scaly”. It has very similar bending properties, but just doesn’t look as cool. (Yeah I know my complaint is looks but meh whatever)

    Difficulty: 1/5 – This is very easy to do.
    Flexibility: 5/5 – It bends outward, but not inward
    Tabs per sq. ft: ~400
    Rings per sq. ft: ~300

1. Lay the tabs out with the second row on top.

2. Then its simply connecting with a single ring.

3. Going out as you wish.

4. Laying another tab on top and going up.

Step 2: Flat TabScale (Reverse)

This is simply the reverse of Flat TabScale.

    Difficulty: 1/5 – This is very easy to do.
    Flexibility: 5/5 – It bends inward, but not outward
    Tabs per sq. ft: ~400
    Rings per sq. ft: ~300

1. Lay the tabs out with the second row on top.

2. Then its simply connecting with a single ring.

3. Going out as you wish.

4. Laying another tab on top and going up.

Step 3: Double Flat Tabscale

This is simply a doubled up ver. of Flat TabScale and since it is reversible it qualifies as a double of Flat TabScale Reverse This uses 16 ga 5/16 AR 5.2 Bright Aluminum Rings I purchase mine from TheRingLord, but as long as they are 5/16 and 14-18 ga any ring should work fine. I chose Bright Aluminum to match properly with the aluminum can tabs. This is a much later designed weave thought of long after the original Flat TabScale due to the need for a different ring size. I’ve actually had this one around for a while as part of my ‘sample’ scarf which is a collection of the different weaves I have, when I realized I had not tutorial about it.

    Difficulty: 2/5 – While the idea is the same this does take a bit longer to make.
    Flexibility: 4/5 – It doesn’t bend as nicely, but it feels a lot more stable
    Tabs per sq. ft: ~800
    Rings per sq. ft: ~300

1. Since this is more advanced I’m going to assume you’ve done regular Flat TabScale or will follow those directions but using the below references to make it Double Flat TabScale. To begin lay the tabs out, and make your first connection.

2. Then lay another back to back set below the current and connect the 8 tabs.

3. Then we head out horizontally. often it’s easiest to connection the ‘upper’ part as it’s more tabs.

4. Then continue out for however long a swatch you want.

5. To go vertically it’s very similar to step 2.

6. Then going out horizontally it’s just a single connection now.

7. Then it’s going out for however long you want vertically.

8. And if you flip it over, it’s look is like Flat Tabscale (Reverse)

Step 4: TabScale

The TabScales are all 5th Gen weaves made to counter the “flatness rigidity” of Banded TabMail and Flat TabMail Reinforced. It allows for a lot more bendability although it’s much weaker. Hence why I typically use it for connection pieces of joints and my cape (which looks better being allowed to move more like fabric).

Difficulty: 2/5 – The only real difficulty is mixing up this and TabScale Reverse especially if you do them soon after another. You can often do a whole row and end up with something closer to TabScale Inverse.
Flexibility: 4/5 – It bends outward, but not inward
Tabs per sq. ft: ~325
Rings per sq. ft: ~650

1. Lay the tabs out with the second row on top of the first placing them halfway between each tab.

2. You then put a tab through the top of the 1st tab and the middle of 2nd tab.

3. Then continue out for whatever width you want.

4. Simply keep up the same process for height.

5. I lengthened this because working with narrow weaves of this is difficult. Typically I start wide and make a pyramid shape going in each row and leaving the edges for after. (Again this is for speed and feel while building)

6. Then it’s simply going up as you wish, connecting 2 swatches is easy enough as long as the 2 sides are alternating at the edges.

Step 5: TabScale (Reverse)

This is simply a reverse of TabScale

Difficulty: 2/5 – The only real difficulty is mixing up this and TabScale especially if you do them soon after another. You can often do a whole row and end up with something closer to TabScale Inverse.
Flexibility: 4/5 – It bends inward, but not outward
Tabs per sq. ft: ~400
Rings per sq. ft: ~650

1. Lay the tabs out with the first row on top of the second placing them halfway between each tab.

2. You then put a tab through the top of the 1st tab and the middle of 2nd tab.

3. Then continue out for whatever width you want.

4. Simply keep up the same process for height.

5. I lengthened this because working with narrow weaves of this is difficult. Typically I start wide and make a pyramid shape going in each row and leaving the edges for after. (Again this is for speed and feel while building)

6. Then it’s simply going up as you wish, connecting 2 swatches is easy enough as long as the 2 sides are alternating at the edges.

Step 6: Double TabScale

This is simply a doubled up ver. of TabScale and since it is reversible it qualifies as a double of TabScale Reverse. This is a much later designed weave thought of long after the original TabScale. While it maintains some of the flexibility but more strength it can really only bend outwards.

    Difficulty: 4/5 – While the idea is the same this is a much tighter weave and is not only harder to work with but takes up much more time
    Flexibility: 3/5 – It bends well enough aside from inwards, but due to the tabs it doesn’t lay flat and actually begins to curve
    Tabs per sq. ft: ~900
    Rings per sq. ft: ~775

1. Since this is more advanced I’m going to assume you’ve done regular TabScale or will follow those directions but using the below references to make it Double TabScale. To begin lay the tabs out.

2. Then simply connect the tab.

3. Continue on as you desire.

I also added a look at the reverse which looks familiar to TabScale Reverse.

Step 7: TabScale (Inverse)

This looks fairly complex, but it’s a rather simple weave (6th Gen.) made alongside Flat TabMail as a combo of the 2 TabScale variants. This is incredibly flexible to the point of being too flexible, and unless lined around the edges with another weave folds in on itself too easily (meaning tabs will flip and get caught).

    Difficulty: 3/5 – While it’s familiar to TabScale and it’s Reverse don’t try and complete this by changing up every row as you will certainly screw up, instead the band method seems to be fairly easy to grasp.
    Flexibility: 5/5 – It bends any way you want it. Any way.
    Tabs per sq. ft: ~375
    Rings per sq. ft: ~600

1. Lay the tabs out as you would for TabScale Reverse

2. And connect. Note: this weave is very unwieldy as it’s narrow even this 4 wide was a pain.

3. Make a few of these bands.

4. Our goal is to connect them as show below.

5. To do this flip it over and place a ring through the middle bar of the lower tab on a band.

6. Then connect and upper tab’s top part.

7. Go to the next tab and add a ring to the middle.

8. And connect the same tab from step 6.

9. When you repeat step 5 make sure it’s in the same tab (should be 2 rings going through the middle bar except for edges), and continue on down the band.

10. This is what it should look like flipped over.

11. Finally connect some more bands to lengthen it.

12. Now connecting swatches is a pain, make sure that your lower and higher layers are right and that if you have 1 side with the tab half out, make sure the other side is half a tab in. (You can connect them without matching up like a zipper, but you will have to add/remove tabs)

Step 8: Finish

These are a lot of fun to make and more fun to play around with. Honestly off all my styles these are the ones closest to real chainmail in terms of how they connect and move, and it's why I use them for flexible pieces like elbows and knees. I've included some swatches of finished version of these weaves here to look over.

Comments

author
or_ford98 made it! (author)2012-10-05

How do you manage to collect so many tabs? O.o Great Instructables by the way! xD