Decided to try making a wooden chain from a solid piece of wood (specifically, 2x4). It turned out pretty neat!
Expect elaborate router table jigs ahead. You've been warned.
Step 1: Surface Preparation
Starting with a 2 foot section of 2x4.
Construction grade lumber is quite rough, but that's nothing the orbital sander can't fix!
Step 2: Cut a Square Section Out of the 2x4
Just two cuts with the track saw.
Actual dimensions of the resulting part are 1.5" x 1.5" (and 2 feet long)
Step 3: Make a "Plus" Shape
Requires a total of 8 cuts at partial depth (2 on each of the 4 sides). This would be easier on a table saw, but I don't have one.
Since the track saw cuts aren't end-to-end, I cut the ends off at the mitre saw to release the shape.
Step 4: Clean Up the Inside Edges
A router plane cleans up the "plus" shape, accompanied by a little sanding.
Step 5: Routing: Part 1
Cut vertical slots at even spacing, and alternating sides.
This required quite the router table setup to safely make the cuts.
Step 6: Routing: Part 2
Make symmetric cutouts around each vertical slot from the previous step.
Step 7: Drill to Separate the Chain Links
Drill holes through the remaining connections so the links can be separated.
Step 8: IT'S ALIVE!
The chain is beginning to take shape...
Step 9: Cut Off the Extraneous Bits
A fret saw is used to trim away what's left of the connecting material, the parts drilling couldn't remove.
Step 10: Sand to Your Heart's Content
Round the corners, chamfer the edges.
Now I could spend hours playing with this thing... Thanks for reading :)
Step 11: Video
Here's my video the build :)