Chain Maille.. for.. dummies??
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Chain Maille.. for.. dummies??
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Posted on Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:37 pm
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I am so lost.. AWG vs SWG.... ID... AA. Copper... Bronze ... chain nose pliers.. hook nose pliers.. AHHHHH!! I need help!.. (and a cookie)

I am SO new its scary. when I read all your posts I feel dumber er er...

I dont understand how to figure out ID. I know why its important but I cant understand the math. Is there a youtube video or book or something that might help?

Also the different metals. I dont know what is for what. when I will need to use a different metal ?? I want to make jewelry and dreamcatchers so I would use AA I think ?? I dont know...

And finally, ALL THE TOOLS!!! What pliers do I need? Some are really expensive. Do I need those? What about the rubberizing stuff for the tips?
How do I care for the tools? (The only tools I own right now are an old hammer and a butterknife!!!)

HeLp mE Crying (very sad) ... LOL

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Posted on Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:26 pm
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Start with these:

http://www.mailleartisans.org/faqdisplay.cgi
http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articlelist.php?tags=Beginners


Chainmailbasket.com (2019-01-01) - 376 + 79

Joined: September 30, 2012
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Re: Chain Maille.. for.. dummies??
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Posted on Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:31 pm
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Temeny wrote:
I am so lost.. AWG vs SWG.... ID... AA. Copper... Bronze ... chain nose pliers.. hook nose pliers.. AHHHHH!! I need help!.. (and a cookie)

I am SO new its scary. when I read all your posts I feel dumber er er...


It's ok to feel lost when starting out. We're here to help and I hope I can help you figure out certain things Smile

Temeny wrote:
I dont understand how to figure out ID. I know why its important but I cant understand the math. Is there a youtube video or book or something that might help?


The ID (acronym for Inner Diameter) is the diameter of the "hole" in the ring. The OD (Outer Diameter) is the diameter of the entire circumference of the ring, including the metal part of it.

To measure the inner diameter you can use a ruler and measure from one side of the "hole" to its opposite end. It will give you a rough estimate of what inner diameter you're currently dealing with.

Temeny wrote:
Also the different metals. I dont know what is for what. when I will need to use a different metal ?? I want to make jewelry and dreamcatchers so I would use AA I think ?? I dont know...


For most projects you could use almost any metal (or even plastic/rubber). Most of my projects are made in Iron. That makes my items fairly heavy but also pretty durable. They are, however, susceptible to oxidization.

For jewelry, especially things like earrings, you HAVE TO MAKE SURE that you use a metal that won't cause the recipient any allergies. Certain metals, like zink-layered (I think, haven't used it myself) can cause severe allergies to certain people, which makes this metal impractical to use in jewelry or just anything that will have contact with the skin.

Temeny wrote:
And finally, ALL THE TOOLS!!! What pliers do I need? Some are really expensive. Do I need those? What about the rubberizing stuff for the tips?
How do I care for the tools? (The only tools I own right now are an old hammer and a butterknife!!!)

HeLp mE Crying (very sad) ... LOL


Don't worry. I use cheap pliers that are suitable to about anyone, new as well as veteran. They will, however, cause pain in the palm due to excessive work and stresses caused by the handles. This could be fixed if I only took the time to broaden them with rubber. I will find a better pair someday but they work in short, intensive shifts.

I don't have any certain care for my tools. I keep them in a plastic bag along with my European 6 in 1 hauberk/haubergeon project. The only thing I could think of is keeping it clear from water and keeping them fairly "hot". Room temperature is fine, but don't let it get too cold before usage.

If there is anything else you would like to know, don't hesitate to reply! We here will make sure that you will get a good understanding of everything you want to know Very Happy


"When in doubt... C4" - Jamie Hyneman

My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/wpa09
My band: http://www.facebook.com/carnosus

"This is an art form, and we love to be recognized for our own work, and we'd all hope not to be confused with someone else."
- Charon, March 27, 2009

Joined: September 30, 2012
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Posted on Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:34 pm
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Chainmailbasket_com wrote:
Start with these:

http://www.mailleartisans.org/faqdisplay.cgi
http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articlelist.php?tags=Beginners


Uber Raz

This is really good!


"When in doubt... C4" - Jamie Hyneman

My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/wpa09
My band: http://www.facebook.com/carnosus

"This is an art form, and we love to be recognized for our own work, and we'd all hope not to be confused with someone else."
- Charon, March 27, 2009

Joined: December 22, 2007
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Posted on Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:12 am
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*hands Temeny a paper bag* "Here, breathe into this for awhile." Very Happy

It is a lot of information, so take it slow. The numbers only look scary. You'll catch on. AR is basically "the number of rings you can cram into one ring of the same size and still make this weave look nice". That's very over-simplified... but pretty close to true. Razz


"I am a leaf on the wind." ~ Wash
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Posted on Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:45 am
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lorraine wrote:
*hands Temeny a paper bag* "Here, breathe into this for awhile." Very Happy


"Close your eyes and begin to relax. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Concentrate on your breathing, with each breath you'll become more relaxed. Imagine a brilliant white light above you, focusing on this light as it flows through your body. Allow yourself to drift off as you fall deeper and deeper into a more relaxed state of mind..."

Uber Raz


"When in doubt... C4" - Jamie Hyneman

My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/wpa09
My band: http://www.facebook.com/carnosus

"This is an art form, and we love to be recognized for our own work, and we'd all hope not to be confused with someone else."
- Charon, March 27, 2009

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Posted on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:05 am
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Metal choices vary based on the project.
Pliers are chosen based on your preference for the ring size your working with.

ID or inside diameter has been covered.
AR or aspect ratio is the relationship between the wire diameter and the inside ring diameter.
AWG or SWG are systems for measuring the wire diameter.
Most vendors give you the real metric or standard measure as well.

Some other common abbreviations
AA: anodized alunimum
SS: stainless steel or sterling silver
BA: bright aluminum these are alloys that resist oxidation and stay shiny and have a lot less rub off when cleaned regularly.
ILL: inter library loan
Galvy: galvanized steel fairly cheap and easy to find at your local agricultural supply stores most common in armour, garden art, and trial pieces due to cost.

There are a lot of resources on the net as well as published books that can help with general questions, spacific weaves, and other questions.
Cgmaille.com I find useful for new mailers and seasoned mailers alike.
Your local library may have some jewlery or wire working books through ILL that can help.
Find a project and enjoy your self.

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Posted on Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:56 am
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Thank you all for your help! I have been reading on here for serveral days. I guess becasue I have not actually done it yet im freaking out a bit. I will read all the stuff and the links will help ALOT! The youtube videos make it looks so easy... I will keep you guys posted on how it goes! thanks again. Smile

Joined: March 26, 2002
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Posted on Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:07 am
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Temeny wrote:
I will keep you guys posted on how it goes! thanks again. Smile


Please do. And feel free to submit pictures of what you end up making to our gallery if you so desire.


Chainmailbasket.com (2019-01-01) - 376 + 79

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Re: Chain Maille.. for.. dummies??
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Posted on Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:49 am
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Temeny wrote:
Also the different metals. I dont know what is for what. when I will need to use a different metal ?? I want to make jewelry and dreamcatchers so I would use AA I think ?? I dont know...

You don't have to use any particular metal... however AA is a good one to start with, for various reasons. Each metal has its good points and bad points, so you'll have to decide which factors are more important to you.
I'm talking in terms of buying pre-made rings, because that's what I do myself: I can't speak to ring-making.

Anodized Aluminium
Good points:
* relatively cheap
* pretty easy to work
* nice bright colours
* light (if you like light-weight things)
* best wire diameter is 1.0mm through to 1.6mm for jewellery

Bad points:
* need to be careful with technique because the colour can scrape off if your pliers slip
* light (if you feel that light-weight makes it feel cheap)

Bright Aluminium
Good points:
* very cheap
* pretty easy to work
* light (if you like light-weight things)
* best wire diameter is 1.0mm through to 1.6mm for jewellery

Bad points:
* some BA is brighter than others, depending on who you buy it from
* light (if you feel that light-weight makes it feel cheap)

Stainless Steel
Good points:
* middling cost
* very strong
* most versatile metal, goes with anything
* best wire diameter is 0.8mm through to 1.2mm for jewellery

Bad points:
* hard to work (but easier with small wire diameters)
* contains nickel (possible allergies)

Copper
Good points:
* cheap
* easy to work
* heavier than steel (good if you like a hefty material that feels weighty)
* best wire diameter is 1.2mm through to 1.6mm for jewellery

Bad points:
* very weak (better used with thick wire diameters)
* tarnishes
* possible allergies
* heavier than steel (bad if you don't want something too weighty)

Brass
Good points:
* cheap
* pretty easy to work
* heavier than steel (good if you like a hefty material that feels weighty)
* best wire diameter is 1.0mm through to 1.6mm for jewellery

Bad points:
* tarnishes
* possible allergies
* heavier than steel (bad if you don't want something too weighty)
* can come in "red" brass and "yellow" brass, but you don't always know which it's going to be

Bronze
Good points:
* cheap
* pretty easy to work
* heavier than steel (good if you like a hefty material that feels weighty)
* best wire diameter is 1.0mm through to 1.6mm for jewellery

Bad points:
* tarnishes
* possible allergies
* heavier than steel (bad if you don't want something too weighty)

Enamelled Copper
Good points:
* relatively cheap
* even more and prettier colours than AA
* heavier than steel (good if you like a hefty material that feels weighty)

Bad points:
* very weak
* even easier to scratch than AA
* the quality of EC has gone down hugely since 2010
* it's hard to find EC rings thicker than 1.0mm, and IMHO, 1.0mm is too thin
* heavier than steel (bad if you don't want something too weighty)

Anodized Niobium
Good points:
* fabulous colours
* pretty easy to work
* doesn't scratch like AA or EC
* hypoallergenic
* best wire diameter is 0.8mm through to 1.2mm for jewellery

Bad points:
* expensive (but cheaper than Silver)

Anodized Titanium
Good points:
* pretty colours
* doesn't scratch like AA or EC
* lighter than steel (but not as light as Aluminium)
* very strong
* hypoallergenic
* best wire diameter is 0.6mm through to 1.0mm for jewellery

Bad points:
* really very difficult to work (more difficult than Steel)
* expensive (but cheaper than Niobium)


Craft isn't cheaper than therapy, but it's more fun.
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Posted on Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:29 am
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Welcome and well come, Temeny.

European 4 in 1 weave (E4-1) is probably the simplest weave to learn that isn't a mere chain of circular links as many of the jewelry-weaves taught here are. It is what Europe made for armor; it's handsome in its simple way; it makes a fabric that feels like nothing else -- I do a lot of mail-fondling if I haven't made a project for a long time -- it is quite the thing for a shirt of mail if you dabble at armor. Its variations are all simple and straightforward -- once you've gotten good and familiar with the basic E4-1. And by then you'll have something to play with too.

It doesn't make a very good bookmark -- too thick. But you can fake the stuff up into a necktie, a necktielike object.


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

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Posted on Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:53 pm
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It looks like you have some good responses already and hopefully they have been helpful.

Here is a link to a site that many MAIL members have been working on to answer some of the questions that you asked. It started out as a book project, but now it is just a good compilation of information aimed at the beginner to intermediate mailler. Hope it helps. The link will take you to the head information page, but if you look off to the left side there will be a little box that will give you all the different topics that are covered and brief articles that describe the topic.


Once you stop learning, you stop living, so...
Ask questions.
Try new things.
Share what you know.

MailleCode V2.0 T5.3 R4.4 E0.0 Feur MFe.sBr Wg Cwb G.7-5.1 I3.1-11 N20.5 Pj Dcdjt Xa1w2 S08

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Posted on Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:57 am
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Temeny,

It might be time to just dive in and get your hands dirty: find some wire, some old tools, and start messing around! First mailling I ever did was after they rewired the portable at my highschool using my dad's tools.

And for when you want to know more about ID and AR, this is the definitive source: http://www.zlosk.com/~zlosk/maille/aspectratios.html

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Re: Chain Maille.. for.. dummies??
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Posted on Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:40 am
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[quote="kerravonsen"]
Temeny wrote:


Enamelled Copper
Good points:
* relatively cheap
* even more and prettier colours than AA
* heavier than steel (good if you like a hefty material that feels weighty)

Bad points:
* very weak
* even easier to scratch than AA
* the quality of EC has gone down hugely since 2010
* it's hard to find EC rings thicker than 1.0mm, and IMHO, 1.0mm is too thin
* heavier than steel (bad if you don't want something too weighty)



Just adding a different view on this as I regularly use enamelled copper. (though I make my own rings and source wire in the UK so quality may be different elsewhere)
I use 0.9 and 0.8mm thick rings and these have shown no problem for me, you just have to work on a smaller scale (probably not best for a newbie) i.e. 3.25mm ID for the Byzantine weave. My weaves are fairly tight as a result, preventing pesky gaps, and my jewellery ends up quite delicate-looking in the end.
I've worn pieces regularly for the last few years and had no issues concerning strength in the item as a whole - more its an issue that you can't have too bigger gaps that leave individual rings prone to being wrenched open (though instances of this have been due to carelessness of the wearer - if you wear most jewellery when gardening it could get damaged).

On the scratching issue, if you cover you plier jaws in masking tape this prevents slipping and therefore so much scratching. (This could help with AA too, though note it can feel weird at first with the masking tape on).

Admittedly, if you're wanting to make larger pieces then EC is probably not a good choice though. Nor is it the best option when first starting out as it might require smaller IDs to be used and therefore, could be more fiddly for a newbie.


One thing I'd note when starting out with a new weave is to use at least 2 colours to help you follow the pattern better. I've tried new weaves working in just silver and it can make you go cross-eyed sometimes working out, which rings were added at which step & it can be important to keep track of this.

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Posted on Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:32 am
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I'm a little slow to respond, I know, but I'll go through each question. I remember what it was like to be completely new to chainmaille.

AWG vs SWG
U.S. companies typically use AWG (American Wire Gauge). European companies typically use SWG. [Canada seems like a split personality and you can find both with about equal frequency.] Here's a pretty good chart that contains both: http://frienergi.alternativkanalen.com/Chapt2_filer/Fig8k.gif (just ignore the stuff in the last two columns. You can find lots of similar charts online.) When selecting wire or pre-made rings, make sure you know which system is being used. It can make a huge difference when determining ring sizes.

Inner Diameter (ID)
ID: This is the diameter of the inside of the ring, generally the size of the mandrel used to make a coil, plus any additional springiness. In short, measure across the middle of the inside of the ring. If you buy rings, the ID may be listed. That's it.

However, if you want to do the math, you need to know the outside diameter (OD) and the wire diameter (WD). Take the outside diameter and subtract the wire diameter twice (once for each side of the ring). The result, i.e., what's left, is the inside diameter. This is the formula:
OD - WD - WD = OD - 2(WD) = ID.
For example, if the OD is 5.5 mm and the wire diameter is 1.02 mm (18 gauge, AWG), then you get
5.5 - 1.02 - 1.02 =
5.5 - 2(1.02) =
5.5 - 2.04 = 3.46.

Aspect Ratio
AR, aspect ratio, on the other hand, is a different story. Yes, it's the ratio of the wire diameter to inner diameter. Here's the math:
inner diameter / wire diameter = AR.
Use the same measurement system for both, such as millimeters. For example, if the ring is
4.5 mm across the inside (D), and
the wire diameter is 0.81 mm (20 gauge AWG),
the AR is
4.5 / 0.81 = 5.56

Here's another way to think about AR: it's the number of identical rings that can go across the inside of a ring. Imagine you are looking at a ring. How many identical rings could go straight across the inside of the one you're holding? The AR is the number of rings.

For example, with an AR of 4, you could line up 4 identical rings straight across the inside of a ring. With an AR of 3.5, you could line up 3 identical rings across the inside with a little room to spare.

Pliers
Chain nose pliers: I use them. Some people like bent nose pliers, too. More expensive doesn't mean better. Just find a pair that fits your hand and gives you a good, wide grip on the rings. I have 6 pairs and probably didn't pay more than $5-$10 for any of them. (Wubbers has approached me about promoting their pliers on my websites, but I haven't used them.) I have a couple of pairs that are fairly broad, and 4 pairs that are quite narrow for close-in work, such as when I need to do repairs or replace rings.

METALS
Metals are a personal choice that depends on how you want the final piece to look, how strong you want it to be, how much you can invest in materials, and how much you want to sell the piece for (if you plan to sell it). There is no "right" metal. For example, I use a lot of sterling silver, but I also use silver plate for a lower-cost line of jewelry, and I have used copper and gold-fill, too. I sometimes use coated copper or anodized silver plate, but not so much any more.

Rubberizing
Some purists will tell you that you shouldn't use Tool Magic because it is "cheating"; others will say to put some tape on your pliers (which does the same thing, though not as well). Yet others will tell you to roughen your plier faces with sand paper. I think it's a choice. If it works for you, do it. If you can do without it, do without it.

Caring for the tools
Clean them when done. Keep them dry. Don't stab yourself.

Shop setup
Um...butter knife and hammer? I would love to see how you use them to make chainmaille. I can't even imagine.

Here's what is in my shop
http://www.chainofbeauty.com/chainmaille-resources/shop-tools-and-setup/
I didn't list the pliers, but you can see them in the pictures. Minimum requirements (assuming you buy the rings pre-made): 2 pairs of pliers.

Excel Worksheet to Make This All Simpler
I created an Excel spreadsheet that can do most of your math for you: AR, GA, ID, inch-metric conversions, AWG-SWG conversions, weight-length conversions, troy ounce-ounce conversions, etc. You can read about it and download it from here:
http://www.chainofbeauty.com/chainmaille-resources/information-and-instructions/
You might find it helpful.

Best wishes, and welcome to the chainmaille community.


Combining art and technique

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