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Posts posted by cbilson

  1. I have an A5 size book I've made with a photo sequence of making a graduated Persian 6-1 necklace, from wire spools, through winding coils, sawing (with a handsaw although I use a machine saw a lot of the time), a row of 15 labelled vials with a picture of the sequence list I use to make the necklace, then several pictures of me making the necklace, hand-hammering and sanding a clasp, and polishing on a buffer (I use a tumbler, of course).

    Funnily enough, after I've handed it to people asking dumb questions and telling them to take a look, no one dares to tell me that my jewellery is expensive.

  2. You can buy copper solder, designed for soldering jewellery copper, from Rio Grande. I've used it and it's a lot like medium silver solder to use. Which means yes, you can solder smallish pieces with a butane torch, no problem. I've made up to 3" diameter bracelets from 2mm copper wire with a MaxFlame handheld butane. Jump rings are easy.

    The only problem is that you have to buy a whole pound of the stuff which is a massive coil!


    Option 2 is you use silver solder and deliberately copper-plate your piece afterwards to conceal the silver joint. This is easy; you use contaminated pickle. If you pickle isn't contaminated enough stick your steel tweezers in with the copper piece or drop in a bit of steel wool.

  3. 1. Buy a proper drawplate from Rio Grande, Otto Frei or Lonnie's. Of course you can buy a $7 one off ebay. And another one in a few weeks, then another...

    2. Use a lubricant. Bur-Life is good but I actually use a basic cake of beeswax.

    3. Just hardening wire is not too bad but if you are actually trying to draw it down, work with no more than 1m length to start.

    4. Bolting to a table - hmm. Only if your table is also bolted to the floor! I have a heavy vise which is bolted to a steel wall support in my workshop.

    5. Pulling pliers. This is actually a major issue. I have some serrated locking pliers I bought at the hardware, blunted the teeth off lightly. They are better than drawtongs.

    6. In case you haven't drawn wire before, you should know that you need to file one end to a point to get it through the plate so you can get a grip.

    7. Half round wire is not so bad. You actually pull two slightly flattened round wires through together: I flatten two wire slightly in a rolling mill and then I actually hard solder about 1" together at one end, sharpen that to a point and start drawing.

  4. Best plan is to pre-tumble your sterling silver. If I am mixing with anything that will lose colour (Al or Nb) I will cut my metal rings, thread them onto a hefty brass chain I keep for this purpose, fasten the chain and toss the lot in the tumbler.

    If you get things grubby while working, drop in an ultrasonic afterwards just to clean off any dirt.

  5. I like graduating necklace chains. I've made Byzantine in a couple of weights, Euro 4-1 (Aisling from UrbanMaille's pattern) Box, Ripple weave Box, Foxtail, CIR (tricky) and a couple of weeks ago decided to see if I could figure out Jens Pind. Of course it was a complete swine to do because of that extremely tight AR.

    Here's the gallery picture, details on it


    although I was a dumbass and listed the wrong clasp. It did have that clasp on it but a customer asked me to change it. Sorry about the crummy picture as well but I only had time for a quick snap before she seized it and put it on!


    Anyone else got any suggestions for a nice chain pattern to graduate in a necklace?

  6. Not a joke and not a hoax. I found this in the Metropolitan Museum collection. If it's good enough for them, it should darn well be good enough for your local SCA chapter. Here is the link...


    This chain is clearly and definitively what today we call Byzantine. Not only that, but it is GRADUATED in size and made with some twisted wire links. It's Javanese and having seen this, I now intend to continue my research concentrating on Javanese collections in other museums in the hope that I may find other chain maille patterns represented.

    The downside is that even the Met haven't been able to date it accurately, only to within a half-millenium period somewhere between the 10th and 15th centuries!

    Incidentally other chains from the same collection (look at the links below the main picture) represent some interesting woven loop-in-loop chains.


    This one appears to me (I've made a few and I know what I'm talking about) to be a 2-deep 2-directional loop-in-loop chain, beautifully drawn down and consistent in pattern.


    And I think this one is a 2-deep 1-directional loop-in-loop. I'd really love a close look at this because it almost looks like a Full Persian, but I think, with the context of the others, that it's not.


    A single loop-in-loop.


    I'll be honest and say I'm not sure about this one. It's hard to tell at this resolution and with those small links. Maybe a half-persian 4-in-1?

    The most tragic thing is that none of these stunning artworks are on display. Maybe if any of you are in NY you could go an harass a curator and beg for a closer look on behalf of the entire mailleing community?

  7. I FOUND IT. I found a genuine, medieval, Byzantine necklace. No joke, no hoax. It's in the Metropolitan Museum collection, and here's the link...


    Not only is that clearly and definitively Byzantine, it's GRADUATED and it's made with some twisted wire links!

    The only flaw is that even the MET can't accurately date it - just sometime in the 10th-15th century period. Which is close enough for meeee!!!!

  8. Incidentally Theatrical Ring Wrangler I went back through that post you mentioned and did some more looking at the portraits as it didn't seem to have been finished. By blind dumb luck under S I found the following painting

    Alonso Sanchez Coello

    Portrait of the Infanta Catalina Micaela


    Oil on canvas, 70 x 50 cm

    The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

    Is that a Byzantine chain???? Maybe? With some mixed up sizing? In the centre of the woman's chest where the chain crosses the black part of her outfit, I'm sure I can see that distinctive Byzantine flipping-angles pattern.

    Maybe I crazy but I'm gonna present that as evidence and see if I can get away with it. Wish me luck!

  9. It's the Abbey Medieval Festival in Queensland, Australia. The largest medieval faire in the southern hemisphere (there aren't many!) and it's 15 minutes from where I live. And while attendees to the faire can wear whatever they like, TRADERS are requried to wear historically accurate costume and sell historically accurate goods, or at least decent replicas of such made with modern materials. If you don't abide by their rules you won't get invited back. The stallholder who I am going to be working with is one of those people (I hesitate to call him OCD) who wants everything to be ABSOLUTELY perfect, and since he's doing me the courtesy of allowing me space on his stall, I have to abide by his rules which are probably even more strict than the organisers. If I can't provide him evidence I won't get to put my goods on the stall.

    Thank you for all the replies so far. I do make woven chainwork as well and that there does seem to be some evidence for. I live in hope that someone will turn up some evidence I can use for my chain maille too - or at least some of it!

  10. Please help! I'm going to be trading as part of another trader's stall at a local Medieval Festival who are EXTREMELY fussy about what you are allowed to sell. They request historical references and museum photos etc. Now some of the stuff I do I can handle this for - I make knotted bead rosaries and that's pretty easy to prove - but I can't come up with anything for the chain maille jewellery I make, not even the simplest of stuff like Byzantine.

    If any of you have been through this process or done the research and could help me out with some links etc I would be most grateful!