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Happy Hoodoo
Article © MAIL User: Drax

Happy Hoodoo

At the Northeastern Maillefest 2003 (NMF2K3), I spoke with Blaise about making a Hoodoo chain. He remarked that it had to have an extremely precise AR (aspect ratio -- the ring ID divided by the wire gauge) to hold together properly -- too big and the chain would fall apart; too small and you couldn't fit any rings after awhile.

I hand-wound some copper wire while at the gathering (.0635") on a 3/16" mandrel. My resulting Hoodoo chain came out kinda loose (see the top chain of the pic). A chain Blaise made from a more tightly wrapped coil (not pictured) came out much better.

When I got home, I got some similar wire and coiled it on a lathe (as opposed to hand-winding). The Hoodoo chain that resulted was much tighter than the first, but still kinda loose (see the middle chain of the pic).

After a little thought, I finally figured out the problem: Blaise was using a shear cutter, and I was using a pinch cutter! That tiny difference between a >< cut and a // cut must be making a difference. Sure enough, I then cut some rings off of the coil with some Wiss shears and made another chain, and this one finally turned out properly (see the bottom chain of the pic).

I measured the rings as best as I could with some calipers and came up with aspect ratios of 3.15, 3.02 and 2.96 for the three chains, top to bottom. I think the bottom chain could still be slightly tighter.

I wrote up this article not only to show an example of aspect ratios at work, but also to show how critical they can be! (Though, not every weave responds this sensitively to AR.) I also find this story as an interesting caution for those of you hunting out new weaves, as ring size makes a huge difference for Hoodoo -- what other weaves have maillers missed because of improper ring sizes?

Image: dab_hoodoo_ar.jpg

Note: I simply dropped the chains into place and did not reshape them to show their looseness.
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