Basic steps in making chain links.

Basic steps in making chain links.

Amusingly titled Fabrication 007 in my photo files, this is an old shot from several years ago that I was using to show how links are made. It’s a common question I’m asked when someone is fondling a piece: How do you make the pieces? By magic! No. It’s actually pretty simple, and I’ll be showing more of the gritty steps involved in future posts. Many process photos are already available on my Facebook Page.

It goes like this: I start with big coil of wire which I then roll around little steel rods to the size I need. I use a nifty and temperamental saw (the only diety to whom I pray is The Saw Goddess) to cut that smaller coil of wire into individual links, and then I clean those cut rings in a rotary tumbler. For chainmail, the next step is weaving the finished piece with pliers. For loop-in-loop chain, there are additional steps of fusing each individual link closed with a torch and/or kiln-torch arrangement, and then shaping the links to the appropriate proportions usually with fingers, rods, and judicious use of pliers and scribes. THEN weaving. It’s time consuming and fiddly and I love it!

I’m working on my scale system now, which is a somewhat different animal. It’s chain mail adjacent in construction, but only in how the scales are connected to one another. The learning curve on fabricating the scales was much more involved than I had expected, and that process consumes a lot of metal. I rarely practice anything in copper first, but this process is one that will be copper before I even consider chopping up lots of fine silver.

So…snore. Long boring tome later, this picture shows the genesis of things chain.

Someday I’ll be able to pour my own ingots and draw my own wire, but right now that is mere fantasy.

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