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Joined: October 18, 2018
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Location: California

Any tips?
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Posted on Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:42 pm
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Hello there! New to chainmaille and also too the group. Anyone got any pointers for a beginner? Id like too start making my own rings and dont have much $ I only have 3.5 AR rings at the moment but any suggestions on good knots to start with? Ive only done Byzantine since I got my tools and want to start a new pattern today.

Joined: July 17, 2009
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Location: Denver, Colorado

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Posted on Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:03 pm
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Euro 4 in 1 is among the most basic and versatile weaves to learn as a beginner. Your rings should be good size for that.



Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:04 am
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Power coiling setup: http://www.mailleartisans.org/gallery/gallerydisplay.php?key=900 onsite in Library --> Gallery.

Mini bolt-cutters are an excellent cutting tool for humbler sorts of wire (galvy steel) and armoring projects, which tend to be 5K links and up, so if you cut your own links, you want a fast cutting method. The resulting >< shaped link cut ends isn't pretty enough for jewelry/art-type pieces, but is okay for armor/mailshirt projects, particularly with butting the link ends not point to point like this >< but facet to facet so those points overlap; a link that is a little bit out of round is plenty okay for armor mail. Mini bolt cutters (200mm size) cost about what a decent pair of pliers do. Small bolt cutters, 300-350mm handle size, cut even faster, even without needing to fit the tips of their jaws inside the wire coils you made. Feed the coil at an angle so the jaws can bear upon the wire as you cut. The cut is very fast, and easy on your hands too because you have enough leverage to cut through a 1/4" bolt with those; wire is child's play. They cost a little more, but still aren't horrid; a minimum-wage job will fund you well enough for such bolties and wire to feed them.

For making coiling mandrels, rod stock from a hardware store is cheap -- smooth rod, not "all-thread," which is a very long screw and found in the same part of the store -- and rod stock from a steel-supply place is even cheaper, though more inclined to rust and also to bend. If you can find nothing else, a phillips-head screwdriver will do to coil wire if you have one around -- the longer, the better. The coiling setup above uses 3 feet of rod stock for its mandrel. Max practical mandrel length would be maybe five feet long; a long mandrel saves some time coiling your wire and not having to stop and set it up again. All you have to have is enough clearance behind that no-hands feed block there. I clamp mine to a patio rail and let the far end of that mandrel wave in the breeze until I've built all my coil, backing slowly away from my block as I go.


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

Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:27 am
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Coiling mandrels may also be turned by hand, and the wire feed block (a small piece of wood with a hole in its middle to pass your wire through) hand-held to save wear on the ole fingers. Super super cheap cheap. Slower than power-winding, but you don't need to plug anything in, either.

You can make your mandrel with one end in a crank shape for this, or just alternatively bend about five inches of that end 90 degrees, using a vise . I heard from one guy who stuck his end through a hole in a roadside sign post -- far enough through the post, then giving the rest of it a good crank to bend it. Or rummage a tool box for the smaller size of Vise-Grips locking pliers. Clamp these on your mandrel, twirl the mandrel with one hand while feeding wire with the other. Sit down and stand your mandrel's length between your feet as you coil wire around it. You can hold the wire end using those pliers too. Though a filed notch and a washer are less hassle.

Use pliers to deal with any leftover straight wire at either end of your homemade wire coil: just squeeze the wire end down onto and around the mandrel -- no waste.


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

Joined: October 18, 2018
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Location: California

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Posted on Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:06 am
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Thanks for the helpful advice! I still need some rod stock for longer mandrel but bought a punch set for some variety in sizes and also just got a drill so my hands finally get a break.

Joined: March 29, 2005
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Posted on Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:56 am
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Buy finger plasters, lots and lots of finger plasters. Within 6 months you'll have hands like iron and a hand shake that could crush wallnuts.

Japanese chainmaille hangs nicely as is, it can be doubled up to sit better on a flat surface and you get a lot of "drop ins".

http://www.mailleartisans.org/weaves/weavedisplay.php?key=16

Japanese 4 in 1 can be pretty useful too. (But I have a soft spot for 6)

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