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(Originally in two posts: chainmail and chainmail diagrams)

chain mail (or chain maille): flexible armor made of joined metal links.

I've only recently discovered the fun of making this armor and making my own links to do so.

With simply a metal dowel, a large amount of wire (perferrably silver, in an 18 or 20 gauge), pliers and wire cutters, one can create things such as gloves, suits of armor, and even jewelry.

The layout one uses for designs is hard to get the hang of, and takes time to master. It is done by taking five links, one open and the others closed. You put the four closed links upon the one open link, and close the one the rest are upon.

Once you have a large amount of these "butterfly links", you can connect them to create sheets of chain maille. The procedure is perhaps a bit too complicated to explain without images, but I can attempt to do so.

You take two "butterfly links", and a single open link. You take two links from each "butterfly link" and put them upon the single open link, creating another "butterfly link" in a way. You continue this procedure, going in a line, and up and down from these links (only ever having four links extending from one).

Making a single sheet of chain maille can take up to a year, if you're just learning. It is very difficult to start, as one can easilly become confused with the links.

My suggestion would be to begin with simply a row of "butterfly links", before building in a vertical direction. Or, perhaps start with the vertical, and continue once you've become adept to the horizontal.



Four-on-one:

                 _____       _____   
                /     \     /     \ 
               /       \   /       \
              |         | |         |
              |        _|_|_        |
               \      //   \\      /
                \    //     \\    /
                 ---|-       -|---
                 ___|_       _|___
                /    \\     //    \
               /      \\   //      \
              |        -----        |
              |         |  |        |
               \       /    \      /
                \     /      \    /
                 -----        ----




Vertical Chain:

                 _____       _____   
                /     \     /     \ 
               /       \   /       \
              |         | |         |
              |        _|_|_        |
               \      //   \\      /
                \    //     \\    /
                 ---|-       -|---
                 ___|_       _|___
                /    \\     //    \
               /      \\   //      \
              |        -----        |
              |        _|__|_       |
               \      //    \\     /
                \    //      \\   /
                 -----        ----
                 ___|_       _|___
                /    \\     //    \
               /      \\   //      \
              |        -----        |
              |        _|__|_       |
               \      //    \\     /
                \    //      \\   /
                 -----        ----                              
                 ___|_       _|___
                /    \\     //    \
               /      \\   //      \
              |        -----        |
              |         |  |        |
               \       /    \      /
                \     /      \    /
                 -----        ----

Two rows (the beginning of a sheet of maille):

        _____       _____       _____
       /     \     /     \     /     \
      /       \   /       \   /       \         
     |         | |         | |         | 
     |        _|_|_       _|_|_        |
      \      //   \\     //   \\      /
       \    //     \\   //     \\    /
        ---|-       -|-|-       -|---
        ___|_       _|____      _|___
       /    \\     //    \\     //   \
      /      \\   //      \\   //     \
     |        -----        -----       |
     |        _|__|_       _|__|_      |
      \      //    \\     //   \\     /
       \    //      \\   //     \\   /
        ---|-        -|-|-       -|--
       /    \\     //    \\     //   \
      /      \\   //      \\   //     \
     |        -----        -----       |
     |        _|__|_       _|__|_      |
      \      //    \\     //   \\     /
       \    //      \\   //     \\   /
        ---|-        -|-|-       -|--
       /    \\     //    \\     //   \
      /      \\   //      \\   //     \
     |        -----        -----       |
     |         |  |         | |        |
      \       /    \       /   \      /
       \     /      \     /     \    /
        -----        -----       ---- 

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