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Handles and Grips with Pirsig's Bridge
Article © MAIL User: mithrilweaver

Handles and Grips with Pirsig's Bridge

Supplies and Tools List:

Rings: About 400 x 16swg 1/4" id rings, 20 x 16swg 7/32" id rings, and 20 x 16swg 9/32" id rings.
Washers 1 1/4” x 1/4”
Rod 1/4”
Nuts 1/4”, 20 Threads per inch.
Nut Caps 1/4”, 20 Threads per inch.

Threading Kit 1/4”, 20 Threads per inch.
Lock Tight.
Metal Cutting Saw.

Order of Operations:

1. The order of operations is very important on this project. First, weave the chainmaille. In this project I used Roundmaille (also seen as a tube of Euro 4 in 1) with inverted sections where the washers are captive. It can be tricky to find the right AR rings to make the washers captive. The specs I used work well, but there are other combinations that work too if a different size handle or different pattern is desired. The washers should be captive in the sleeve where you want the finger ridges to be. The length of the sleeve should be a minimum of 5” to fit the hand comfortably. Slightly larger AR rings may be needed to fit the washers into the sleeve (in this case, 9/32” rings were used at inversions sections in the weave). Note: do not captivate the washers on the ends of the sleeve yet (slightly smaller AR rings, 7/32”, will be used to captivate the end washers). The sleeve pictured has 18 rows of rings to fit nicely around 1 1/4” washers.



2. You should now have a loose sleeve of chainmaille with captive washers where the finger ridges will be. The second step is to cut and thread the rod. Using a metal cutting hack saw or other powered saw, cut the 1/4” rod. Be sure to cut the rod about 1/2” longer than the extended sleeve to accommodate for the cap nuts that will be screwed on at the ends. Then, using a threading kit, thread both sides of the rod about 3/4” down.

3. Next, screw a nut onto one side of the rod with thread lock, place a washer, and put a nut cap at the end – as pictured in the first pic. Put the rod through the sleeve and weave the last round of 7/32” rings, making the washer at the end captive. One side should be complete now.

4. Hard part! Screw the last nut onto the rod with thread lock (not tightly), place the last washer, and screw on the last nut cap so there is plenty of wiggle room for the washer. The sleeve should extend over the washer enough to allow you to weave the last round of 7/32” rings, making the last washer captive. You have about 10 minuted to do this before the thread lock starts to set. Once the last washer is captive, use a small screw driver to reach into the weave and turn the nut so that the sleeve is stretched tight from end to end. Lastly, tighten the nut caps with or without thread lock.


5. Your new handle is complete.

Variations and Uses:

Screwing a lifting eye nut on the end of the rod can enable you to attach heavy items to your handle.

The outer rings on the end will have room to attach more rings to them. This will enable you to attach leather or chains to the end of your handle.



Comparison to rigid weave handles of the same dimensions:

Rigid – 8 hours.
Pirsig's Bridge – 4 hours.

Rigid - $50 materials not including tools.
Pirsig's Bridge - $70 materials not including tools.

Rigid – Almost no flexibility.
Pirsig's Bridge – 0 flexibility.

Fragility (break load force):
Rigid – 100/200 lbs bending pressure depending on many factors.
Pirsig's Bridge – 400/500 lbs bending pressure depending on many factors.
both accomplished without welding.

Rigid – Non flexible, slippery grip.
Pirsig's Bridge – Flexible, squeezable, non slip grip.
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