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Old 04-07-2002, 11:07 AM
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TracyN TracyN is offline
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Basic Chainmaille Necklace Step by Step

Chainmaille is an ancient art which originated as an armour for soldiers in the field, and only the wealthiest armies could afford this special armour. There is not much documentation to support it's historic aesthetic use, but today you can not attend a renaissance fair without seeing women, children and men wearing beautiful articles of clothing and jewelry made of chainmaille!

The ancient chainmaille weaves are utilized today in things such as shark suites and butchers gloves and stand as a testimony to their strength. The Chainmaille weave can not be reproduced by machine, therefore the tiny links used in today's shark suites and butchers gloves are painstakenly woven by hand (referred to as micromaille) and when you consider the amount of work involved, you can understand the price LOL

In this thread, I wanted to share with you the basic chainmaille technique known as the European 4-in-1 weave. As an example, hubbymonster and I will demonstrate the construct of following necklace:
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Old 04-07-2002, 11:36 AM
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The Basic Supplies

A: Wire. For this piece, we're using brass wire. It's a soft metal but it's cheap, pretty and is sturdy enough for jewelry purposes. However, you can use what ever wire you choose. Galv Steel is a common and cheap way to begin for learning and practice and you can get it at any hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot. It comes in spools about 8 inches wide and costs about $6 per spool. You can even opt for aluminum (very cheap and light weight) for bigger projects like shirts, bra's and such. What ever wire you choose, you need to consider it's gauge. The smaller the number, the larger wire diameter (harder to cut). I personally like 16 gague in steel, but brass is a softer metal so you can use a bigger gague if you like with little discomfort cutting links. I used 16 gague brass in this example.

B: Wire Cutters

C: Spool of chain. The chain is only needed for this particular piece. If you plan on making something that does not need the draping chain, omit it. If you're wanting to use it, then you can get spools of chain at the bigger hardware stores (like mentioned above)

D: Dowel(s). A simple wooden dowel of the diameter you want your links to be with a hole drilled through it (straight through the side of it, not bored out). I use two sizes. The larger one for my main necklace links, and the smaller one for the end links which lead to the clasp on the back of the neck. It just looks better with the smaller links on the end.

E: Two small pair of pliers to open and close the lilnks. Try and use pliers without teeth as the teeth can bite and mar the wire.
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Old 04-07-2002, 11:50 AM
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Sorry, I forgot to attach the supply pic:
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Old 04-07-2002, 12:13 PM
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The next supply step is the jewelry findings (not needed if you don't want to reproduce this piece but just want to learn the basic 4-in1 weave).

A: Lobster claw clasp. You can get these by the dozen at craft stores like Michales and such.

B: O rings, can get them at craft stores

C: (*C)Cap. These fit/glue onto the gem I happen to be using in this example. Can be bought at craft stores like Michales and such.

D: In this project, we're using a Swarovski teardrop crystal which is glued to the cap (*C). But you can use any dangle charm you choose.

E: Super Glue Gel. Only needed if you go with the gem/cap in lieu of a charm. I prefer a gel glue because it's not as runny as regular superglue.
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Old 04-07-2002, 12:58 PM
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Poke your wire through the dowel hole and wrap the wire, toward you over the stick and under away from you. This is the right handed way. If you are left handed, do it opposite
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Old 04-07-2002, 01:25 PM
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Using your wire cutters, snip the coil and slide it off the dowel. Then using your wire cutters, snip the resulting spring into individual links. Be careful to not nip the next link. That would result in a burr on the wire/link
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Old 04-07-2002, 01:48 PM
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Using your wire cutters, snip the coil and slide it off the dowel. Then using your wire cutters, snip the resulting spring into individual links....
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Old 04-07-2002, 10:19 PM
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Thumbs up Splendid !

Thank you for this tutorial, it's first class !
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Old 04-08-2002, 12:40 AM
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Yikes, tracy, I love my chainmaille, but I haven't the patience for this much detail...lol...I'll pay the pros for it! I might be willing to buy the rings already made and go from there...ahhhhhhh someday! Great steps so far!


Ivy
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Old 04-08-2002, 04:11 AM
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Yeah Ivy, it's definitely a labor of love LOL The above steps is the way beginners learn the art. Usually though, when someone becomes a chainmailler for retail, they will develope tools to make it easier. For instance, instead of wrapping the wire by hand, they make a metal dowel attatchment for a drill and use that to wrap the wire. Then they cut the links off with a saw.
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Old 04-08-2002, 04:40 AM
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Using your two pair of pliers, close a link. Slide your finger across the closed seam to make sure that the link ends are flush and don't scratch.

It is important to use the pliers from opposite directions (top and bottom) as this helps avoid warping of the link when bending it.
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Old 04-08-2002, 04:44 AM
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Close 4 links and slip them onto one open link. Then close the open link. Make about a dozen of these 4-In-1 links.
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Old 04-08-2002, 05:14 AM
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Lay out your 4-In-1's exactly as shown in this pic. Be sure that all the rings are facing the exact same direction as depicted in the pic. This makes the linking much easier.
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Old 04-08-2002, 06:13 AM
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Join two 4-In-1's together by sliding a joining ring under and up through the two closed rings of 4-In-1 on the left.
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Last edited by TracyN : 04-08-2002 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 04-08-2002, 07:28 AM
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Then under and up through the two closed rings of the 4-In-1 on the right. Close the joining ring. (I colored my joining ring red so you can see it better)

Continue joining the 4-In1's until you get to the length you need.
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