Trouble weaving lower gauges - advice?
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Joined: July 08, 2010
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Location: Greenville, SC

Trouble weaving lower gauges - advice?
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Posted on Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:43 pm
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I've been weaving for quite awhile, but mostly just copper and aluminum in jewelry sizes. I want to try my hand at some "armor grade" stuff (just a belt or guitar strap at first), but I've run into a bit of an issue working with the steel (and I want to use steel instead of aluminum, I prefer the weight of it).

So, the issue is that with my small pliers like I've used for jewelry, my wrists instantly start hurting trying to open or close the rings and I move at a snail's pace. With my larger linesman pliers, I can keep the ring held securely, but the ring is so far away from where I'm gripping the tool that I can't seem to get the leverage to close the rings, I keep slipping off with my non-dominant hand.

Has anyone had a similar experience? Is there a different type of pliers I should be using? I'm using 16g 5/16 from TRL, I'm not sure what temper.


Maille Code V2.0 T4.3 R4.1 Eo.p Fe8.2 MCu.e Wim Ca G1.02 I3.5-6.8 N3.3 Pjad Djd Xg5 S10

Joined: July 17, 2009
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Posted on Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:03 pm
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I work that size stainless steel rings all the time. It is more difficult than aluminum or copper for sure, but can be done. Try compound pliers such as:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-4-25-in-Compound-Action-Linesman-Pliers-DWHT70276/203040536
Those will give you much more leverage. Cutters



Joined: October 22, 2010
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Posted on Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:55 pm
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http://www.joshuadiliberto.com/TOOLS.html



Joined: March 11, 2010
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Posted on Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:26 am
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Read up on heat treatment of steel. If you anneal the steel rings before use, it will be easier. Then either leave them as is after (work hardened to some extent) or do further heat treating to relieve tension and temper.

This is something probably best done in a furnace of some sort. There are many designs of varying complexity on youtube. Search for "metal melting foundry". What can melt aluminum can certainly heat steel to red hot. Or, if you know a blacksmith, their forge would work as well.

This is obviously a solution diverging pretty thoroughly from maille, requiring knew equipment, skills, and knowledge, but may end up being worth it. Alternatively I recommend stronger pliers and/or appendages.

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Posted on Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:59 pm
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Another thing you can do is with your lineman's pliers is make your non-dominant hand a stationary hand that just holds the ring and than your dominant hand can do all the "work."

Another fairly obvious solution, and I do not mean to insult, is to hold more of the ring with your non-dominant hand so it won't slip as easily.


Once you stop learning, you stop living, so...
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Posted on Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:31 am
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In working steel rings, always use enough plier. The fine beading/jewelry pliers don't have the horsepower/leverage for 16ga (.063") steel.

9" slipjoint pliers do, and have teeth too. You may decide to blunt the teeth a little with a fine file, if wanted. Are you gripping your link with the plier noses pointed in across it, 180 degrees apart and pointed at each other? An on-the-side-of-the-jaws grip will let the link slip and get away from you.

Point the pliers' jaws at each other > <. Link is between them, gripped on either side =o=. Twist to open or close the link. You don't need a really big twist; about 1/8 turn.

SS does not anneal as completely as mild steel does: chromium atons in the atomic crystal lattice are not as mobilized by heating, so cold or hot or formerly hot, SS will be stiffer.

Once you've gotten used to this stiffer material -- it is likely to make your palms sorer sooner; if that happens put the pliers down for the day as your flesh needs time and rest -- you'll be fine.


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

Joined: July 08, 2010
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Posted on Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:16 pm
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Konstantin the Red wrote:
In working steel rings, always use enough plier. The fine beading/jewelry pliers don't have the horsepower/leverage for 16ga (.063") steel.

9" slipjoint pliers do, and have teeth too. You may decide to blunt the teeth a little with a fine file, if wanted. Are you gripping your link with the plier noses pointed in across it, 180 degrees apart and pointed at each other? An on-the-side-of-the-jaws grip will let the link slip and get away from you.

Point the pliers' jaws at each other > <. Link is between them, gripped on either side =o=. Twist to open or close the link. You don't need a really big twist; about 1/8 turn.

SS does not anneal as completely as mild steel does: chromium atons in the atomic crystal lattice are not as mobilized by heating, so cold or hot or formerly hot, SS will be stiffer.

Once you've gotten used to this stiffer material -- it is likely to make your palms sorer sooner; if that happens put the pliers down for the day as your flesh needs time and rest -- you'll be fine.


Yeah, for this gauge I found it easiest to point the pliers at each other. And by "on-the-side-of-the-jaws grip" do you holding the pliers with the handles perpendicular to the ground as opposed to holding them like you'd grip a motorcycle handle and throttle?

Also, The linked compound linesman are actually one of what I have and I was considering buying a second pair if this post was fruitless as it was my best guess. I also didn't consider putting those in my nondominant hand (why put the good pliers in the bad hand, right?) so I'll give that a try.


Maille Code V2.0 T4.3 R4.1 Eo.p Fe8.2 MCu.e Wim Ca G1.02 I3.5-6.8 N3.3 Pjad Djd Xg5 S10

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Posted on Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:25 pm
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Yeah, hold 'em like motorcycle handlebars -- and rev it a little to open a link!

On-the-side-etc. is like if you tried to use needlenose pliers -- and straight needlenose pliers aren't going to work too well on stainless nohow. You want to grip with the nose of a broad ended jaw to have leverage to twist with, as the motorcycle grip gives.


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Posted on Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:43 pm
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I use mini-linesman pliers and work SS up to 14g though more often 18g-16g.
I hold the ring in my off-hand with mini-linesman pointed into the ring. I grip the other side with mini-needlenose across the ring, perpendicular to the grip of my off-hand. I hold the ring steady with the off-hand and apply the torque with my main hand. This gives me a lot of control over the opening and closing of the ring allowing me to carefully close kerfs as well.

If I ever move into lower gauges than 14g or even need to do a lot of work in that gauge, I would look into slightly bigger compound pliers instead of my current set.

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