Chainmaille is a marvel. All that is required to make a piece is wire and two pairs of pliers. Really that's it! Other supplies and materials can be purchased or made from household items, and in most cases you can buy manufactured rings which eliminates the need for additional equipment. Even basic household items like knitting needles and twist ties are utilized when creating maille.
1 Pair Flat Nosed Pliers
1 Pair Chain Nosed Pliers
Other Handy Tools
1 Pair Round Nosed Pliers
*Knitting Needles (aluminum or wood)
600 or higher Grit Sandpaper
Twist Tie / Scrap Wire
rings are made by spinning lengths of wire on to a round object, called
a mandrel. Mandrels do not have to be round, but for maille round is
best. The length of wire, called a coil is then cut in to rings by
snipping the coil at a specific point, freeing a circle of metal from
the coil. Each ring is cut individually. These days machines and
gadgets are used to quickly saw through a coil creating hundreds of
rings in a matter of seconds. *Many maillers hand spin their own coils, I
use knitting needles as they are usually measured in millimeters and
come in a variety of sizes.
mandrel's circumference will be the jump rings Inner Diameter. This
measurement is crucial in some weaves and in other weaves it doesn't
matter. This is called Aspect Ratio or AR.
To determine the AR of a project or ring, divide the Inner Diameter by the Wire Diameter or AR = ID ÷ WD. It is important to convert the wire gauge to millimeters or inches before dividing.
Example: 3.0 ÷ 1.024 = 2.92
example shows a jump ring with a 3mm inner diameter of 18 gauge wire,
the aspect ratio is 2.92, an average for most weaves. This ring will
work well for most weaves.
Aspect Ratio determines
if there is enough room to allow the jump rings to fit into each
other. Too tight an AR and the piece is stiff and impractical or just
impossible to weave. Too loose or big, and the weave will be lacy, or
airy and the rings will not remain in place or will look messy.
*To convert inches in to millimeters multiply inches by 25.4
[Bookmark - Photos]
From Left to Right: Chain Nose pliers, a 5mm mandrel, flat nose pliers, graduated size mandrels from 1.5mm to 10mm
Anodized aluminum jump rings, 10mm w/ 5mm ID