Tuesday, 25 September 2012

On armour - chainmail making basics - tools

All in all, chainmaille is great. Its has very ugh...low tech requirements to make, and virtually anyone with two hands can learn the basics. This is the armour type for everyone on a budget who wants something real on his back. Besides if its made from galvanized wire(and most of the time it will be) you won't have to worry about rust. All these qualities mean that chainmaille will be the preferred and most widespread type of metal armour you will find in your average larp group.
 There is nothing wrong with that, in fact its good. Actually 3-4 years ago, having a chain shirt around our parts meant you were awesome. Now, having a chainmail shirt is more or less basic gear for fighters. I alone can outfit my own personal retinue with the stuff I got in my armoury, but back on topic shall we?

There are a number of options to make your own chainmail. The obvious first task is - get rings. You could buy them online from say The Ring Lord though that will increase the price tag, or you could make it all yourselves.

First advice I'd give - pool in. Yes, that means you. You are obviously not in a one-man-larp group all by yourself. So pool in your resources and by resources I mean time, money, say a car for transportation of supplies in bulk. 5-6 people separating the labour between themselves can achieve a lot more than working on your own. I've tried it both ways so I know the difference.

Anyway first things to do is get tools and supplies. Thats the charm of chainmail - you probably already have most of the necessary tools in your house.

What you need is:

2x pliers. 
 Now don't skip on the pliers okay? You will be using them a lot so pick decent pairs. Don't buy small ones unless you are working aluminium or something soft. Buy average sized pliers, wrap the handles in something and well...there is no real way to avoid the blisters really. But don't worry your fingers will toughen up soon.

 Next thing on the list of tools is a small bolt cutter. 
You'll need it to cut out your rings. The red one works quite well and without much effort - just lock one of the grips into something like a vice. Smaller ones work too but require more effort (and thus - blisters)

So far our bill is roughly 30$

There is one more thing to get - something to wind coils on. 

 Here you can improvise. What you need is some kind of rod or dowel - can be store bought or anything that you find that fits the description. You will turn it into a mandrel to wind coils which you'd then cut into rings. Look for 8,9,10mm diameter. Its good to have several and of various sizes.

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