How Do I Get Started Making Chainmail?
If you already have the materials, and you just want to learn some weaves, go to Chain Mail Pattern Tutorials
In most cases, it is a good idea to begin by acquiring all the materials and tools that you will need. These include, but are not limited to:
2 Pairs of Pliers-They can be flat pliers, toothed pliers, needle-nose pliers, bent-nose pliers, or any kind of pliers you can imagine. When you care more about the ease of working than the finished look of the rings, use pliers with teeth. If you don't want scratches on the rings, use pliers without teeth.
If you are making rings yourself, you will need these items:
Wire- It can be fat wire, thin wire, shiny wire, dull wire, soft wire, hard wire, bendy wire, or even rigid wire. Some examples of wire varieties are Aluminum, Steel (galvanized or mild), Gold, Silver, Bronze, Titanium, and Mithril (if you are in Middle Earth). The first wire that I bought was galvanized steel fencing wire from Amazon. It's easy to bend and cut, and it's also relatively cheap. To learn more about wire, go to Chainmail Wire Types.
Wire Cutters- For my 16 gauge galvanized steel wire I prefer to use bolt cutters, but there are some who like to use tin snips. Here is a link to the bolt cutters I bought on Amazon.
Coil Winding Mechanism- If you want to make your own rings, you will need some way to coil the wire. There is a tutorial to make a simple one further down this page, or you can come up with your own way of doing it. I've made multiple different ones, with each one progressively getting better than the one before.
If you are not making the rings yourself, you will need these items:
Patience-This is the most critical part!
If you need to make the coil maker, view the tutorial below. Otherwise, the next step is to make the rings that you will weave.
Constructing the Coil Maker
Now that you have all of the materials collected, it is time to begin working. If you were a normal person and bought rings, continue to the Chainmail Patterns page. If you were one of those people and decided to make your own rings, good for you. However, it will take a little more work before you start doing the fun part. The first step, and hardest, will be to make the coil winding mechanism.
*This is only an example coil making mechanism. You can make it however you want to fit your specific needs*
1. Get all of your materials and tools consolidated. These include:
2 drill bits( a 7/16 to a 1/2 inch one, and a very small one)
A board around 4 feet long with at least 4 inches in width
Two 2x4 blocks around 6 inches tall
Screwdriver attachment for the drill
4 wood screws.
48 inch steel dowel-rod with a diameter of the ring size you want to make
2. Next, put the 7/16 to 1/2 inch diameter drill bit onto the drill. Line the two identical 2x4 blocks up with each other, and clamp them together if desired. Then, pick a location on one of the blocks about 1 inch down from the top, centered between the two long sides. Mark it.
3. This is the part where it is advisable that you don't mess up. The objective is to drill all the way through the first block, and only half way through the second block. Once you are done with this step, take a break. If you were sweating with anxiety, take a sip of water. Continue to the next step when you are ready.
4. The next step is to attach the blocks that were drilled(one all the way through and one half way through) onto the long base board. Start by clamping the 2x4 block with the hole drilled ALL THE WAY through it to the base board, with the hole on the top. Turn the base board with the block clamped on upside down. Then, after putting the smaller drill bit in the drill, proceed to drill two pilot holes through the base board and into the block.
5. Take out the small drill bit, and put a Philip's screwdriver bit into the drill. Take one of the screws and screw it into one of the pilot holes you drilled. Do the same for the other hole.
6. Depending on how long your metal dowel-rod is, the location of the second block can vary. It doesn't matter how close or far away it is to the first block as long as your dowel-rod can reach it. Like with the first block, clamp this block down. MAKE SURE THE HALF DRILLED HOLE IS FACING TOWARDS THE FIRST BLOCK! Then repeat the same steps by flipping it over, drilling pilot holes, and then drilling in the screws.
7. This step can be tricky. The objective is to drill a hole in your metal dowel-rod so that there is a place to put the wire through in order to keep it in place while coiling. The easiest way to do this is to use a drill press to drill through it with a small drill bit while it is clamped down. Drill the hole as close to the end of the dowel-rod that will be put in the half hole as possible, without allowing the hole to be hidden by the hole in the block.
8. Put the rod into the holes, attach a drill on the rod, and you are done!
The next step is to make the rings that you will weave.