View Full Version : Chain maille - selection of ring sizes

13-09-2009, 11:37 AM
I want to have a go at making chain maille - I've been looking at the tutorials at CGMaille.com (http://cgmaille.com/). The difficulty I'm having is working out a good range of ring sizes to get so that I can try a lot of different weaves.

I've been looking at buying pre-made rings from BeadSisters (http://www.beadsisters.co.uk/) in a variety of aluminium, brass, copper, bronze and steel. (I'd like to be able to play with different colours in the weaves). If anyone has suggestions of better suppliers, please say!

I was thinking of getting 0.8mm rings with about 4 different ARs (6.6 as most used) and one set each of 0.5mm (AR ~3.9), 1.2mm (AR 5.7) and 1.6mm (AR ~3.9). Does that sound sensible?

But it's doubly confusing because what's available on that site is tricky to match up with the suggested sizes from CGMaille. (It lists 1.63mm wire as being AWG 14. CGMaille says AWG 16 is approx 1.6mm...). I think the main problem is I don't know the tolerances - if I'm after 1.6mm wire with an AR of 3.9, and the ones available are 1.63mm to 1.64mm with ARs of 3.6, 3.7, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, which ones are suitable? :confused:

Too many options!

13-09-2009, 11:59 AM
George is really experienced in maille and can probably help out, I know that the UK and USA wire descriptions are very different. Can do the weaves but the working out bit makes my brain split!! :">

13-09-2009, 12:08 PM
I'd say the four most useful ARs are: 3.5, 5.5, 6 and 5 (in a heavy gauge ring only). These will let you make masses and masses of weaves.

If you want to get a bunch of rings to start out with, I'd recommend buying copper, and I'd also recommend the dragonfly company: home (http://www.thedragonflycompany.com) - Lynne will happily sort you out with a range of sizes. She works in mm, which makes it far easier to calculate the ARs as well. I'd also say start with 1.0mm wire, as it's easier to see what you're doing, and less likely to mis-shape than 0.8. Another good source is MailleQueen - Index (http://www.maillequeen.co.uk)

Aluminium is OK for practicing with, but does discolour very quickly. Bronze and steel are both VERY hard on the hands. I'd avoid using plated metals as the results are always poor (the plating will chip and wear far too quickly for the amount of effort taken, especially when you're starting out).

To calculate AR, you need to divide the inner diameter of a ring by the wire gauge. So to calculate the ring size you need for any given weave, multiply the wire gauge by the AR. For 1.6mm wire, with an AR of 3.9, you need rings with an id of (to the nearest available ring size) 6.25.

The best weave (imo) to start with is Byzantine, which needs an AR of 3.5. There's no CGmaille tutorial for it, but there are plenty of others around.

If it will help, feel free to pm me with a list of the weaves you particularly want to try, and I'll be happy to let you know the best ring sizes for them.

13-09-2009, 12:23 PM
Thanks, George! That's very helpful - I'll check out what's available in 1mm wire.

So does anodized aluminium chip as much as other coatings? I was already planning to completely avoid plated or enamelled copper.

13-09-2009, 02:49 PM
Woo! I've ordered 1mm copper rings in 3.5, 5.5 and 6 from Dragonfly and some cheapy aluminium ones from the other place just to get the hang of it.

Can't wait for them to arrive :D

In the meantime, I think I'll have a go with my Fimo.

18-09-2009, 10:56 PM
My jump rings arrived! Well, the aluminium ones at least - the copper ones are in the post.

So far I've made little sample lengths of Helm Chain, Byzantine and Rhinos Snorting Drano.

I had to add a third ring to the connectors in one direction for the Byzantine because it was rather floppy without (the alu rings had an AR of 3.6 - obviously not close enough!). So far, I think it's quite pretty, but I don't really like the look of it as a chain. I prefer the flatter ones. I can see that it's very versatile, though. I think making teeny tiny bits of byzantine and connecting them with large rings would be more my thing.

Hopefully I should be able to get my new camera soonish, so I'll leave off trying to photograph these until I have something that'll be able to deal with them :)