Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop: page 139, last paragraph, 4th full line from the bottom - the " indicating inches should be deleted. 3.5 refers to a ratio, not a measurement.
Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop: all charts, pages 145-155, title of rightmost colums - the (MM) should be (AR). Colums show rounded aspect ratio, not millimeters.
Both Books: Resources - The cgmaille.com website is now closed. The tutorials previously contained there can now be found on the Maille Artisans International League website.
Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop: In this book, the jump ring charts for each weave include aspect ratios (ARs), along with the gauge and ID. The ARs that appear in black are the actual ARs that were taken from the websites of the vendors indicated on the charts at the time the book was written (circa 2013). At that time, some vendors provided ARs for only some sizes and others did not include ARs on their websites at all. If I could not get the AR from the vendor’s site, I calculated the AR using the Common (Mandrel) method, not the Actual (Measured) method, and those figures appear in red on the charts. This is stated on page 10. Since vendors do occasionally update the figures on the websites and some have since added ARs to their sites, I highly recommend that you check their current websites to get the most current AR recommendation for your project.
PDF copy of blog post containing tips for Stabilizing Edges of Scale Maille
PDF containing photos cut from Terminations and Attachments section of Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop during the editing process.
Link to blog containing free pattern for my Tiny Scale Earrings.
PDF containing free pattern for my Tiny Scale Christmas Stocking Ornament.
PDF containing free pattern for my Half Persian Starter Tool.
What is Tuff Brake®? Tuff Brake® is a urethane film that is used in the metal fabricating industry to eliminate press brake die witness marks caused during the bending process. For more information, here is a link to the manufacturer http://tuffbrakefilm.com/. Because it is used for industrial purposes, it is sold in relatively large quantities.
How were you introduced to the material? I was first introduced to Tuff Brake® in 2010, when attending a class taught by Pauline Warg, the author of Making Metal Beads, Lark Books, 2006. Pauline is an author, teacher and accomplished metalsmith. She owns a teaching studio/tool and supply store, WARG Enamel and Tool Center, in Scarborough, Maine. In Pauline's class, we used Tuff Brake® to protect textured metal when dapping.
How did you come to use Tuff Brake® as the material for your Half Persian Starter Tool? At the time I was attending Pauline's class, I had already made a prototype tool out of leather. It worked fairly well. I was, however, trying to find another material that was thinner and stronger. When I saw the Tuff Brake® in class, I knew I had found what I was looking for.
Where do you get Tuff Brake®? I purchased a 12"x4" sheet (0.015" thickness) directly from Pauline after class. She usually has sheets for sale when she attends Metalwerx's annual Vendor Day event. One sheet is really all you'll need. You'll get about 6 tools out of it - more than enough to last a very long time - I'm still using my original tool. The product is not listed on Pauline's website, so I'd suggest sending an email inquiry (email@example.com).
NOTE: I have no affiliation with this company, I'm just a customer.
What other material can I use to make a Half Persian Starter Tool? I made my original tool out of leather. Use a thin piece, as it makes it easier to remove your weave when you are done. In Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop, you'll also see instructions for a crocheted tool, which works quite well. One of my students showed me a tool she had made using colorful foam sheets from the craft store - very clever (although not very durable, but could work in a pinch). I like Tuff Brake® the best because it is so strong, yet so thin and flexible. However, any similar material should do. The main thing you want from your tool is for it to hold your jump rings in place while you start the weave.
The template in both books has been reduced to fit on the page. Do you know the rate at which it needs to be enlarged? I don't know what percentage my original image was reduced by to fit in the books. It is really not that important. In both books, it is noted that the Tuff Brake® tool measures 1.5" x 3.5". The crocheted tool shown in Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop measures 2" x 4.5". All you need is a size that fits comfortably in your hand. I just "eyeballed it" to make the original. My original Half Persian Starter Tool Pattern is available for download in the Freebies section above.
What size jump rings can I use with the tool? The holes in the tool were made with a 1/16" hole punch. I have used jump rings ranging from 22-14g. If you are using a thicker gauge of wire, you may need to find a punch that can make slightly larger holes.
Why are there holes in only 3 corners of the tool? The spacing of the holes on the 3 corners of the tool has worked for all of my needs. If you have different requirements, the fourth corner is left empty for you to customize.
In both books it states that jump rings can vary from vendor to vendor, therefore...
Before you start a project, test the jump rings you intend to use to ensure they will work for your project and produce the desired result. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is CRUCIAL to the success of any project.
The sterling silver and gold filled jump rings I used to make the weaves and projects in both books were obtained from my favorite source for precious metal jump rings, Urban Maille. The jump rings for projects made from other metals (aluminum/niobium) were obtained from The Ring Lord. The rubber jump rings were purchased from Fire Mountain Gems. My size suggestions and RPI counts in the jump ring sizing charts for sterling silver in both books are based on jump rings I acquired from Urban Maille. The suggested aluminum sizes and RPI counts in the jump ring sizing charts for the first book are based on jump rings I acquired from The Ring Lord. In the second book, the aluminum sizes and RPI counts in the charts list the companies from which the jump rings were procured (The Ring Lord, Metal Designz or C&T Designs). I have no affiliation with any of the companies referenced above, I'm just a customer.
Jump rings can vary in size from supplier to supplier (just like you may wear jeans in a size 6 or 8, depending on the brand). Therefore, if you want to make your own jump rings or purchase your jump rings from a different source, you must test the jump rings to ensure that they will work for your project. If the result is not what you intend, you will need to try jump rings in a different gauge or inner diameter to achieve your result. Calculating aspect ratio is a helpful place to start.
Even if you do obtain jump rings from the same sources I use, I still recommend that you purchase a small amount to test before you buy a large quantity. Sometimes a supplier's jump rings can vary slightly from batch to batch!
Other factors, such as metal type or wire shape will affect jump ring size. Therefore, if you choose to work in another metal or use jump rings made of differently shaped wire(square, half round, twisted, etc.), you will need to make adjustments.
Just as a knitter is advised to always make a gauge test swatch before knitting, you should test your materials before investing time and money into a project that will not produce the result you desire. I always make a test patch before I begin any new project. Once I'm confident that my jump rings are appropriate for my project, I buy all that I need plus a bit more, in case of a chain maille emergency.
On the surface, chain maille seems very simple. All you do is open, connect and close jump rings. That is true, but not entirely. There is more to it than that.
Opening and Closing Jump Rings:
You may have a lot of experience making other types of jewelry and feel quite comfortable using jump rings, as you have used them to attach bails, clasps and ear wires hundreds of times. Using jump rings to attach findings is not quite the same as using jump rings to form intricate chain patterns.
Most instructions that can be found for opening and closing jump rings are overly simple. You are told to simply twist them open (not pull apart) and then reverse the motion to close them. When making a piece of chain maille jewelry, special care must be taken when opening and closing jump rings to ensure beautiful and lasting jewelry.
• You need to open them in the proper direction (depending on whether you're left or right handed) to make the weaving easier.
• You need to know the degree in which to open them.
• You need to introduce inward tension to the jump ring to ensure a tight, strong closure.
• You should try to manipulate the jump ring to work-harden it a bit, strengthening the jump ring. (Different metals have different working properties.)
• You need to make sure that the ends touch, letting no light through.
• You need to make sure that the ends are perfectly aligned, not only horizontally, but vertically.
• You need to make sure you grip the jump rings properly so that you do not warp or mar them.
Closing a jump ring to attach an ear wire is simple. In chain maille, jump rings are woven through other jump rings, forming complex patterns where jump rings are positioned at various angles. All of these jump rings in close proximity to each other leave little room for you to place your pliers properly on the open jump ring, making it much more difficult to close.
The trickiest part in making chain maille is learning patterns. Start with a pattern that is appropriate for your level. If you choose a pattern that is above your level of skill, you are just setting yourself up for frustration. I’ve seen people become convinced that they cannot make chain maille, simply because they started at a point beyond their capability.
You cannot judge the level of difficulty just by looking at a weave. Some weaves (Byzantine, for example) look very intricate, but are quite easy to learn. On the other hand, some weaves have a more uniform appearance (Half Persian 4-in-1, for example) but are actually complicated to weave and are better suited for intermediate students. If you’re just starting out in chain maille, choose a weave pattern that is rated for beginners. My first book, Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop, is a great place to start (shameless plug). The weaves are presented in order of complexity.
You wouldn’t attempt to make an intricately cabled Aran sweater for your first knitting project. You would start with a garter stitch pot-holder. Take the same approach with chain maille.
Just because chain maille jewelry can be made with a few simple hand tools does not mean that it is child’s play. You must be comfortable controlling tools. You need to have adequate hand strength and coordination to accomplish proper technique – skills that are achieved through practice. Quality tools make a difference. I recommend flat nose pliers instead of chain nose, as they provide more surface contact with the jump ring, giving the weaver more control.
Precious metals are very attractive, but I suggest beginners choose a less expensive metal. It will take time and practice to achieve properly closed jump rings. Marring and warping of jump rings are very likely when you are just learning, and it would be a shame to do that to precious metal jump rings. Use a less expensive metal until you improve your technique.
Jump rings must be the right size for the weave. You cannot just purchase some random size jump rings and expect them to be adequate for whatever it is you want to make. There is a concept, known as aspect ratio, which helps you determine the right size jump rings for the job. This subject is too complicated to be explained here. Just be aware that each weave has its own jump ring size requirement. If you don’t get the right size for the project you want to make, you are setting yourself up for more frustration. If you want to know how to use and calculate aspect ratio, you can consult either of my two books, Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop, or Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop (another shameless plug).
When you release wire after coiling it around a mandrel to make jump rings, the wire attempts to return to its original shape and unwinds a bit. This results in jump rings with an inner diameter that is slightly larger than the size of the mandrel.
Want to see what it looks like? Check out this video I made.