Jaggeds Newbie Log
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Joined: October 6, 2018
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Jaggeds Newbie Log
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Posted on Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:25 am
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I thought I might record by first steps as a way to encourage me to keep going. So here is my newbie's log.

For my first play I picked some 2mm mild steel wire and 9mm (or really 3/8th) diameter rod to make my rings. Wound a short strip and cut a few rings to see if it worked.



Soon realised that with 2mm wire I wasn't going to be doing much "by hand" winding Sad so built a little rig

http://hero-id.co.uk/chain/rig.jpg

Much easier to produce a spring. Quickly learnt to leave a little loop at the start of the spring to make it easier to cut off the rod. Still could be much faster. Need a motor!


http://hero-id.co.uk/chain/springs.jpg

A few hours later I have a little strip.

http://hero-id.co.uk/chain/day1.jpg

Joined: October 6, 2018
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Posted on Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:23 pm
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Yesterday I managed to build a section of mail with the weave in the wrong direction to attach to my main piece. Mad

Didn't realise that was even possible and spent ages twisting it round thinking "there must be a way this can connect!"

In the end gave up and detached the top row and added it to the bottom.
I guess if you make your pieces with odd numbers of rows you can always join it together.

Lesson learned Rolling Eyes

Joined: December 24, 2018
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Posted on Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:05 am
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Looks great! What all have you built so far?


The fastest way to a man's heart is between his fourth and fifth ribs.

Joined: July 17, 2009
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Posted on Tue Dec 25, 2018 3:20 pm
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You are learning quickly. It is exciting to see someone going through the process. You are making nice little patches of mail already, and getting better every day. Keep posting pictures, we are here to help you with questions along the way. Coif Smiley



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Posted on Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:40 am
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Your closures are almost ready to let out in public -- they can go tighter with just a little adjustment of what you're doing with your pliers. At that link size I suppose you are using slipjoint pliers, preferably around 9" size, for the needed power.

These pliers would give enough leverage to shove the ends together as you twist your links closed, tightening up the closure that last little bit. You can feel the link ends are together enough when they grind-click on each other as you twist and shove. A couple of grind-clicks usually guarantees your link ends will stay tight together. If the Force is with you, the join is close to invisible.

You see in your top pic, with your fingers holding the mail up for display, the third link from the left, the one showing a facet of its cut? That facet can be tucked in closely to the other cut surface with such twist-and-lever-at-it. It will end up looking more like the leftmost link in the bottom row of four links -- you can make that black line so thin it will about disappear.

That other gappy link in the next row down that's going through it will benefit from the same tweak, to push and tuck the ends tighter together.

That bottom left link can use a little of the same, to shrink its gap, its black line. Twist on that link, back and forth while pushing the link ends together, feeling for that helpful grind-click sensation. Line 'em up, and the closure will stay tight and neat.

**********************
New weavers often run into that problem with a mail-patch not having the proper link-lie on the edge they're joining to the rest of the mail. What I think you meant to describe was you had two patches of mail and the links you were to join together were both leaning toward each other, or else both away -- same deal, just upside down. Some rough cross section art, looking down the join line, from the plane of the two patches:

/\/\/\/\/ \/\/\/\ = no good, durnit (lie angle is exaggerated, twice as steep as in real life)
/\/\/\/\/\ \/\/\/\ = now, we're talkin'
With one side's links angling up, and the other side's links angling down onto your worktable -- they'll touch -- now you can run a row of links between the / and the / so they're joined, /\/\/\/\/\/\/\.

As you figured out, a fix is to add another column of links to one of the edges in the above example. Adding a row also works for rows of links, along the other two edges. Now there, the linkrows need the same lie, both rows angling in the same direction, so that the row of links that zips them together is necessarily angled the opposite direction. You see how that's just like how the links of the rows angle back and forth/left and right, in order.

Odd numbers of rows will always give you, for example, the top row of the patch having the links angling left, while the bottom row of the patch would have its links angling right. With columns of links -- in a mailshirt, these would ride vertical on you -- odd or even doesn't matter so much, so long as any joining you do has the edge-most links aligned \ \ or / / and not / \ or \ /.


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

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Posted on Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:58 am
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Next pic: those are nice neat coils. Now I'm going to describe some economizing tricks that will save you leaving a mess of cut wire ends and bits lying on your bench.

Starting with one nice to have tool that saves you wear on your poor faithful fingers: the feed block. This is just a little bit of scrap lumber or a sawn-off bit of wooden dowel about 3/4" to 1 inch across, whatever your hand likes. It's long enough to reach across your palm, and has a hole drilled across its middle to feed the wire through. When it's on the wire, grasp the block in your fist, letting the wire pass onto the windlass' mandrel rod between your middle and ring fingers. you can use this tool to press the wire tight onto the mandrel as you feed it, to maintain feed tension, and to shove the wire around to eliminate gaps in the coil -- or make gaps all down the coil, if you desire to make open coils of the wire for link pre-opening purposes. That's one way to pre-open links; there are others, one I favor and one I don't. I'll post about them if you'd like. Some maillers get a bit mad in their own ingenuity! -- which is not to say they haven't found some innovations for the home/hobby wirebender.

The loop of wire that you cut, which goes into a hole anchoring your wire end on your windlass coiler: you can spare getting those little cutter-gnawed nubs of wire about the workbench with two fairly similar means of anchoring your wire end.
The one I use is first to take a triangular file or even a hacksaw and make three shallow, angled grooves, or cuts, arranged around the end of the mandrel. You'll probably put them up near the crank end, but they work just as well at the other end of the mandrel too. So those slanted cuts/grooves are file-cuts arranged like / / / arrayed about 120 degrees apart around the mandrel. Rummage around in your junkbox for a washer big enough to slip loosely over the mandrel, and put it on, above the cuts. You'll only use one of the three cuts at any one time, but with three you're about guaranteed to have a file-cut conveniently presented. Lay the end of your wire into one of the file cuts, getting the end about in the middle of the cut where it's deepest into the rod. A gentle, curving bend of the wire end is enough to get the wire end lined up with the file cuts Jam the washer down over the end of the wire. If the washer's hole is too small, get a bigger washer. Now your wire end is clamped on the mandrel, and will stay there until you pry it off when your coil is done. (Using the feed-block is handy here)

You've noticed some palpable spring tension has built up by the time you fill your mandrel with your coil, and how briskly it can whip your crank handle around if you let it fly. Just let that tension off under control, back-turning your crank, and you see the coil relax upon the mandrel. Prise the washer off the wire end. Now you've got a bit of that wire end bent funny away from your coil -- and this end you can manually bend back until it's sticking out just like those straight wire ends in your coils pic. With a pair of slipjoint pliers, you can squeeze that end down onto the mandrel until it looks just like any other part of the coil -- hey, no waste. Do the same with the stick-out wire end at the other end of the coil. You can also cut that end off very short *after* you slack the spring tension off the coil. Gee, no waste, no mess, no prob'.

When you motorize your wire coiling -- when you get an electric drill on the job -- there's another wire-end anchoring method you can try. Put a bit of a bend into a wire end and stick the end into the drill chuck. This will work for any mandrel diameter up to not quite the biggest one the drill can take (a 3/8" mandrel chucked into a 3/8" electric drill won't have room to stick the wire in there too, so the washer & filecut anchor should be used. But a 5/16" mandrel should let a wire end into the chuck if the wire is thin enough.

We've had people succeed in coiling wire taping the wire end in place with strong enough tape. (But it's messy and uses up tape.) We've had people use screwdrivers for mandrels -- Phillips head only, please. Most flathead screwdrivers swell out down there.

Power-winding a coil with an electric drill makes that spring tension decidedly noticeable. At the end of your coil hit the switch to put the drill into reverse and give it about half a dozen turns, but again you'll see the coil relax off the mandrel, and then you're safe from getting wire-whipped.

A picture of my stupid-simple power-winding rig -- not original with me; I got the idea from another mailling board, now extinct. No hands!
http://www.mailleartisans.org/gallery/gallerydisplay.php?key=900

You'll notice that powerwinding feeds your wire off your wire supply damned fast -- everything gets fast -- and a little more speed even yet can be realized using a longer mandrel so you spend a bigger fraction of your coiling time actually coiling wire, not setting up to coil wire. A disadvantage of this speed is the wire supply can get tangled, bound up, in a hurry. Some ingenious people use a wire jenny to carry their wire supply on and feed it to their powerwinding apparatus, like a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Other people settle for cutting enough length of wire off their wire supply coil to fill up their mandrel, and coil that, staying wary of wire-whip at the end of the coil, since that cut end of wire can whip round like a propeller and can give a stray hand quite a slice. Wear shop goggles for this, as you tend to have a nice sharp cut wire end drifting around in the air.

My drawing tells -- doesn't show -- how to keep powerwound coils from balling up like steel spaghetti: slant that coil 'til it's pointing about ten degrees left of perpendicular to the plank. This influences that wire to lay itself on the mandrel "downhill," and not do coil-overs. If you get a coil-over -- spaghetti-ball is just a severe case -- pull the wire back off the coil-over into the immediate wire supply again until you're back to the proper coil, angle that mandrel the ten degrees slant you need, and start again.

For other people's coiling rigs: http://www.mailleartisans.org/gallery/gallerylist.php?tags=Coiling&page=1&norecs=20 I see I should add the tag "coiling" to my pic.

Great Heffalumps!! Is that a wooden dowel? Use steel; this kind of thing will compress wood into decreasing diameters, or break the wooden dowel altogether. In the States, we ask for steel "round stock" at the hardware store, getting it in three- or four-foot lengths. The greater length works proportionately better in my rig linked above, for longer coils and less setting-up. All my rig really needs is enough clearance behind it for about the entire length of the steel rod; as my wire coil builds, I am slowly backing away from my wire feeder, which I generally just clamp onto my patio rail, with the length of the rod out in the breeze.

I hope all this will be a gift to you; it's still Dec. 25 just now in California. Happy Boxing Day! https://e621.net/post/show/578186


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

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Posted on Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:44 pm
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Thanks for the tips.

Here is an update of the slow progress:

http://hero-id.co.uk/chain/Progress_Jan_2019.jpg

Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:03 pm
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Looks good so far with the shirt. You'd be able to take it LARPing if you want when it's done.

To really make a shirt work, have it be easy-fitting about the shoulders and chest and somewhat snugger about the waist, opening out again from the crest of your hipbones downwards.

It looks like your shirt is tighter than that now -- how much slack do you have left when you're wearing it? A handy way to check is to put it on over a light jacket or a winter jacket, the latter having more thickness. If it has become like "Aargh, now it's tight and hard to pull on," you'd want to insert more mail into it. like into that band going around your torso as the easiest add-in.

That also does good things for the shoulder straps and the fitting of the sleeves by making the backs of the straps splay out rather wider than the fronts of the straps -- which angles any sleeves rather forward, giving the sleeves freedom to let the arms come forward and across your chest. Mail *acts* like it's elastic, but that's true only to a certain point, at which point it comes tight as a chain under load -- which is what it is. You've got enough angle and freedom in the sleeves when you can stack your elbows on each other in front of your chest with your mailshirt on. However, your arms don't swing as far back behind you as all that -- so you don't need that kind of arm freedom back there and you don't need to put that in your shirt.

In building a mailshirt, err on the generous side; any extra will conform to you.

The SECOND-easiest add-in is to insert the expansion and contraction arrays along the inboard edges of your shoulder straps, the arrays centering over each of your shoulder blades, expanding from one link to about 3 fingersbreadths and then tapering back down to one, somewhere about the tops of your kidneys. The arrays will include an expansion zone on the top, a bit of plain, regular E4-1 weave in the middle, and a contraction array below that. Put the plain, regular weave right in that band you ran around your torso, and the triangular expansion-contraction arrays above and below where the band is. Since you're youthful and might not have crossed age 21 yet, I'd consider being generous with adding ease about the shoulders -- you may want that extra later. Even loose mail tailors itself to you under gravity's pull.

With the second-easiest add-in inserted, you can keep widening your straps on the inner edges, towards your neck. Eventually you'll have filled everything in, right up to the neckhole. Have your neckhole displaced forward in this fill-in, because that's how your body is made -- the back of the shirt goes nearly straight across one side to the other, and the rest of the neckhole sits such that it doesn't ride uncomfortably on your throat, but conforms to your anatomy.


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

Joined: October 6, 2018
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Posted on Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:56 pm
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I am a fair bit older than 21. I am building the mail for my son, so the advice is still good. I know that if I can squeeze into it, it will have some breathing room for him Coif LoL

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Posted on Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:33 am
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Aha. There we are, then!


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

Joined: March 29, 2005
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Posted on Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:33 am
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That's coming on nice.
In relation to the spindle, if your using aluminum wire then you "can" get away with dowel. But anything heavier than that and Mr Red does have a point, your wire will slowly eat your rig. But that said if your just doing the one shirt then you can pop a rod or two.

How are you finding it sir, is it something you may continue on with? Or stop at the first shirt. Which would be a shame as you appear to have something of a natural aptitude for the work.

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Posted on Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:02 pm
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While I would like to try something more advanced, I can't really seeing me finding the time for more chain mail.

So many other projects ...

Plus DIY Sad

Joined: March 29, 2005
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Posted on Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:54 am
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I hear you.

I have a tail end Victorian workers cottage, a one day D.I.Y. job in a modern build turns into a 3 dayer the second you start looking beneath the paper.

There are days you feel like your making it good for the next person who comes along to live in it after it's finally beaten you and your dragged out the front door in a box!

Still it's good work, especially for a wire to wear build.

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Posted on Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:54 am
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I was working way the other night when my snips broke Evil or Very Mad

After much swearing I discovered that they now work better! For snipping rings anyway.

Modified Snips

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Posted on Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:55 am
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March Progress

Notice the clever way I decided to tackle sholders Wink

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