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Innovating Your Tools
Article © MAIL User: battlecow

As almost all maillers have noticed, constantly twisting wire, snipping rings and weaving maille can be quite abusive on the body. Generations of maillers have been striving for the perfect tool to ease the labour of the craft. I do not claim to have this perfect tool, no one can. However in the next few paragraphs I will show you some ways to improve your pliers, clippers and coilers. This knowledge is compiled from the experience and pains of many maillers.

First I would like to talk about grinding [tools]. Grinding can create a lot of heat, which may ruin the temper of your steel and make it too soft to cut properly for any length of time. You can avoid over-heating the metal by lubricating the grinding wheel or you can use some sort of coolant poured over the surface to be ground off. You can use water as the coolant, but any other non-toxic coolant will work too. Secondly you could use the tap grind method. To accomplish this, put the tool to the grind stone for very small periods of time and let the piece cool each time before you put it to the wheel again.

Next I would like to mention handle design. Many handles are not built for extended periods of use. Thus they are not ideal for such a task. Luckily there are some easy ways to improve your handles. What you need to do is increase the diameter of your handles. Doing this will help provide a better grip and reduce impact stresses and fatiguing. You can wrap your handles tightly in tape (I suggest either duct or hockey tape) until you get the most comfortable grip for your hand size. Another way to do it is to get some liquid rubber coating stuff from a hardware store. It usually comes in a 1-pint can, and you just dip-and-dry until you get the desired thickness on your handles.

Next we come to the topic of leverage. We can always use more leverage, canít we? Most of the time we could. However, in many cases you canít add too much more leverage to your tools without compromising the integrity of the hinge or cutting surface. It all depends on what you are cutting. If you want to cut some 14g stainless steel wire, you will need some pretty heavy clippers. Most would say to go with the mini bolt cutters and I agree. But let's say you do not want to shell out the cash for some really good cobalts. I wouldnít recommend buying a cheap set of cutters; chances are you will be dissatisfied with the results.

This is a great example of a wonderful innovation. This is merely a set of linesman pliers, ground down to only the cutting surface near the hinge. This design with 5" pliers will allow much more power and leverage and will easily cut 14g steel wire. With a few other modifications, this tool could be a great tool for cutting stainless steel. Also making these cutters are far more affordable than some other types on the market and will serve you well.

Seeing how there is an endless possibility of tools and ideas out there, I could not conceivably put them all in one article. However I will not hesitate to spread the word if I find some valuable information. In the meantime, get in the chat rooms and talk about maille. One another note: I would like to thank Bative for the idea. Cheers.


Original URL: http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.php?key=108