Chainmail 4-in-1 Weave How to make... Kevin Thyne ENGL202C.008

How to make...
Chainmail 4-in-1 Weave
Kevin Thyne
April 11, 2014
How to Make – Chainmail 4-in-1 Weave
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Chainmail has been used since ancient times to protect the wearer from threats on the
battlefield. You may have seen it in movies or books about Medieval times, or more recently at a local
renaissance festival. Even today it is used by some police forces to protect their officers from knives.
Chainmail was once an expensive proposition, but has become a hobby in more recent times.
Chainmail is made from thousands of interlocking rings in a repeating pattern. The process
starts with bending wire around a metal rod to make a coil. The diameter of the rings is defined by this
process. After rings are cut from this coil they are closed or opened, and threaded through one another
to make chainmail. It is then a matter of making larger and larger pieces so you can make things like
your own chainmail shirt.
These instructions describe what you need to start making chainmail without having prior
experience. It will go through the process of making a basic 4-in-1 weave. Time requirements can vary
depending on your set-up and proficiency with tools. To make a piece of chainmail about the area of a
deck of cards (depends on the size rings you are working with) takes between 10 and 20 minutes to
complete, but as you become more confident you will be able to work faster.
You will need:
➢ needle nose pliers and lineman's pliers
➢ rings
➢ safety glasses
➢ hard working surface (i.e. a table or workbench) recommended
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Safety Information:
Misuse of tools or failure to heed safety instructions for tools can result in significant injury.
Always wear your safety glasses.
Chainmail will not necessarily protect you against bullets, knives, daggers, swords, spears,
javalins, pole-axes, crossbow bolts, arrows, punches, physical impact, etc. Be smart about how
you use your chainmail.
Some people have contact allergies to different metals. If you notice any significant skin
discoloration or rash formation, stop metalworking and seek medical advice.
• Rings may have sharp edges or burrs that can cut you.
Depending on the quality cut of the rings there may be a small burr that can break loose when
closing the rings. This can potentially fly off the ring. Be sure to wear your safety glasses.
Working with rings may produce fine metal particles in your workspace. Do not use compressed
air to clear these as they will get into the air and potentially cause bodily harm. Use a damp
cloth to clean your workspace.
When working with more rigid rings your tools may slip. This can produce metal fragments,
and depending on how you hold your tools you may pinch your fingers.
When closing or working with rings, it is recommended to use the Lineman's pliers in your nondominant hand, and the needle nose pliers in your dominant hand. It is also recommended to use
the pliers in the orientation show (for right handed users, mirrored if you are left handed) so that
you have as much of the tool's surface in contact with the ring. This prevents uneven bending of
the ring. To close a ring, simply twist it shut.
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Making Chainmail:
Step 1:
Close 4 rings. You want to make sure that both ends of the wire ring are flush to one another.
This will produce a more finished look and prevent the rings from catching on things.
Step 2:
Open a new ring. It doesn't need to be opened very far. Opening it such that the gap is about 1.5
to 2 times the width of the wire is usually good.
Note: Opening the ring too far can cause distortions later on when closing the ring.
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Step 3:
Place the four closed rings from Step 1 inside the opened ring from Step 2.
Step 4:
Close this ring. It may be more difficult to make the two ends of the ring meet. You may need to
carefully work the ends back and forth.
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Step 5:
Repeat steps 1 through 4 three more times.
Step 6:
Lay out two of the ring sets from Step 5 such that both of their central rings are pointing in the
same direction. Overlap them as seen in the image.
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Step 7:
Open another ring and thread it through the four rings laying on top of one another. The ring
you put in will lay flush with the two central rings. The central rings are the ones that held four
rings together in Step 3. Close this ring once it has four others in it.
Note: Depending on your rings, you may need to open this ring more than before to help threat
it through the others.
Note: Doing this on a hard surface may make it easier.
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Step 7: (continued)
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Step 8:
Repeat Step 7 for the other two ring sets from Step 5.
Step 9:
You now have two short strips of chainmail. Place them such that the central rows are facing
away from you, and open three more rings.
Step 10:
Starting at the end closest to you, loop an open ring through the closest four rings between the
two rows. Close this ring. It should lay pointing away from you.
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Step 11:
Using the other two rings you have opened, finish connecting the two rows of chainmail to one
another. This is the general method for joining chainmail pieces together parallel to the rows of
Step 12:
Repeat steps 1 through 11.
Step 13:
Place both pieces such that the central three rows are facing towards your dominant hand, and
are in line with one another.
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Step 14:
Open three rings and starting from either end, join the two pieces of chainmail together like in
step 7. This is the general method for joining chainmail pieces together in line with one another.
You have now completed your first piece of chainmail armor! Now, repeat this process about a
hundred more times and you will be ready to make your first chainmail shirt. You can also try your
hands at different weaves and patterns. With time, you will get faster at making chainmail and you will
be able to complete projects in no time.
Note: It will take time for your hands to become callused, so expect some discomfort in the
beginning when you are making chainmail. You may even get blisters. Be patient and let you hands
heal. Remember to use proper first aid practices when necessary.
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