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Blind Maille

What are your favorite metals?

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It's obvious chain maillers work with, well, metal, but I know everyone has their favored and least favored metals to work with or just to have. I have always found interest in knowing the likes and dislikes of other's and the reasons behind such choices so I am curious what metals others like, or dislike, and why.

Personally, I'm a huge fave of titamiun and tungsten. They are strong, sturdy and just have a good feel to them. They don't stain my skin like majortity of metals (believe it or not, even 10k gold has stained my skin before, I think I have one messed up skin chemistry! 24k and I seem to get along fine, 14k, well, I can't wear it everyday but for a little while is alright) and actually survive the rough treatment most of my everyday wear jewelry normally succumbs to.

Copper. . .keep that stuff away from me! Handling it for even a few minutes means my friends are wondering why the blazes there's green on my fingers! Green I normally don't notice due to my vision. More than one a friend has said "Come'ere!" and started helping this poor blind bas***d scrub a previously unnoticed stain off his fingers.

Niobium, however, has my upmost attention as of late. I would love to know more about it and begin working with it, I don't know why because I've never even handled it before but I've already fallen in love with the metal. Needless to say my next order is going to include some Niobium wire so I can get a good feel for it and HOPEFULLY it and my skin chemistry won't be at odds.

So, what about you guys? What metals do you like or dislike and why?

Edited by Blind Maille

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I love working with bronze and brass because it's sturdy but still easy to work, but I'm in the same tarnish boat as you-- after a day of wearing them my skin is green and the metal is all sorts of weird colours. Titanium is nice, too, I just wish it had some more weight to it for my own wear. And for armour, I'll go ahead and say mild steel is my absolute favourite.

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My two favorites are aluminum and stainless steel. I mostly make jewelry so the lightness of the alum. Seems to keep female customers happy and the hefty-ness of the stainless steel makes the men happy lol

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@Chainmailbasket_com I should have figured someone was going to go there! Though I can't really blame you, I did totally open myself up for that one. . .

@Milquetoast So annoying when it tarnishes like that, I am trying to figure out some kind of way to stop that, coating it or something because I know, sooner or later, brass, bronze, copper and other metals that like going green on me, and not in the good way, will be useful for something, someday. Been debating resin dipping them to get a small, clear plastic coating on each ring or wire, could only be done after construction though which would be tricky. Until I figure out a good way I plan to steer clear of those metals. I have actually never worked with mild steel in any of my crafts, I hear that stuff can bite back.

@ka0sc0okie Stainless steel Does have a rather nice heft to it I always found, the weight is pretty comfortable even though I've been known to dent it up a little over time. Aluminum is so easy to work with along with it's weight so that's a big plus when using it for women's jewelry since I would hazard a guess you sell more of those. . . .

Oh my, I'm rambling, sorry about that.

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Gold and silver, silver and gold. Fine, sterling, and even gold fill. There is something about the luster of the metal, the way you can really make it shine, and especially the density of it. It's substantial! Love 'em. I have grown to understand the Dwarven lust for gold!

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I have the hots for titanium. All my personal jewelry is titanium, I have a titanium plate in my chin and I just in general love that it's hypoallergenic but tougher than just about anything else. I like stainless because that's tough and hypoallergenic too, as proven by the screw in my foot. Just like Blind Maille I'm intrigued by niobium though and have a customer who is super sensitive so I'm going to get some Niobium wire and make posts out of it for earrings. If she reacts to that its got to be a physical reaction to something in her ear rather then a biocompatibility thing. Can't hurt to try.

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Heavy, power, and symphonic. Lots and lots of drums and guitar, but backed up with a hint of prettier stuff like orchestras and choirs .

Oh... We're not talking about that kind of metal?

EDIT: Argh! I didn't notice until after I had posted already that someone beat me to it. XD That's what I get for posting before reading.

Edited by Vinderex

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Folk metal. I forgot to mention that one. How could I? It's the best thing since sliced bread.

-------------------------------

Loves me some titanium because of the amazing strength to weight ratio. I would work with it a lot more if 'tweren't for the price.

Stainless steel is awesome. It's got great strength, even at larger AR's, where other metals falter. Very corrosion-resistant and affordable too.

Copper, brass, bronze and nickel silver I like to use where I want some variety in colour, but still the metallic look. I mostly prefer the latter three, as copper is very weak, even in full hard temper. I like anodized aluminum a bit, but the finish scratches easily, especially when weaving weaves at tight AR combinations, which I'm known for.

I don't use galvanized steel anymore because of oxidization, and it's just not very elegant. I do kind of like it though. It's the metal I started mailling with and it will always have a special place in my heart. Plus "I love the smell of galvy in the morning." <-- I didn't come up with this quote, but I use it from time to time. I honestly do like the smell after it oxidizes. Most people don't.

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Milquetoast:

Inconel I do have a slight curiousity about, though I think I should practice with other harder metals before I try to tackle that one to avoid a case of ring catapults and the following problem of said rings ending up as vacuum bait.

Chainmailbasket_com:

I got use to the smell of galvanized steel so sort of indifferent to it personally, but then again I also got use to the smell of greases and oils, break fluid, gasoline, etc due to being around mechanics all my life and even working as one for a while before my vision and health went. As for actually wearing it though, I don't think I could.

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Heavy, power, and symphonic. Lots and lots of drums and guitar, but backed up with a hint of prettier stuff like orchestras and choirs .

Oh... We're not talking about that kind of metal?

Ha! I was gonna say Melvins!

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I use a lot of anodized aluminum for the weight and colours. I have used titanium, copper, and bronze as well, but copper and bronze are too heavy for most of my uses. Tried working with gold and silver, but I needed to fine a gauge and the rings became too weak to work.

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Without question, Stainless Steel is my favorite. It's strong, reasonably light, shines like the legendary armor of old, and doesn't cost a fortune. Let's not forget how well it takes a weld! The bad part of this metal comes in two-part harmony: It is both difficult to cut, and has some pretty decent springback to it. One has to handle the metal with a bit more care and attention than mild or galvanized.

As to my least favorite, that would have to be Aluminum. I haven't handled Bright or Etched, but I have had my fair share of dealings with aluminum ladders, aluminum shafts on various tools, etc, etc. I find it to be an unusually dirty metal and, while its light weight does impress me, I can't bring myself to use a weak metal in maille. Every aluminum wire I've seen can be easily bent with my fingers. I have also been told that Aluminum has much less electrical resistance than Stainless, thus is more difficult to weld. Never mind how easily it can be saw-cut, this metal has too many strikes against it for use in my projects!

I haven't handled Titanium, Niobium, or Inconel, but I have done some research on their properties and pricing. I find them prohibitively expensive for the few advantages they have over Stainless. About the only reason I'd ever use Titanium instead of Stainless is weight, but the price is much too high for a metal of same-or-similar strength.

So, yeah. Yay Stainless.

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Milquetoast:

Inconel I do have a slight curiousity about, though I think I should practice with other harder metals before I try to tackle that one to avoid a case of ring catapults and the following problem of said rings ending up as vacuum bait.

If you don't expect extreme corrosion, it's definitely not really something that you need, but it's still a neat thought that if archaeologists find it in 800 years it'll look more or less the same! I mostly just use it for my personal wear, because where I am even stainless will rust without maintenance.

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Well, I really like thrash metal, death metal, black metal, doom metal, power metal and progressive metal. But NO HAIR "METAL"!

Sorry, couldn't resist. :guitar:

Brutal

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I can't really say I have a favorite; I've used a lot of stainless over the years and keep going back to it for it's combination of durability/rust resistance, strength, and workability.

I've also enjoyed titanium for similar reasons but change workability for low weight, and I also like the range of colors available by anodizing it... but it's too expensive for me to work with often.

Aluminum... is second to stainless in what I've used most, though I rarely use it anymore despite having 15lb left on a roll of wire. I really enjoy weaving aluminum rings because it is just so easy that I only needed to take breaks to eat or sleep, or do other non-maille stuff; but dislike it because it is to soft to hold up well under tension, it's kinda dirty, and finished pieces just feel like plastic.

I really enjoy the look of copper, especially with any degree of tarnish (if you want to keep the polished copper color use rose/red gold instead of copper), it's easy to work with, which is nice, but like aluminum also means its soft which I find undesirable for many aplications. I've mostly used copper for non-maille artsy stuff where I can take advantage of some of the options for patinas on copper. I have a hard time finding it in some of the wire sizes I use for other metals so it is hard for me to mix copper rings into projects unless I want them to stick out in the weave.

brass and bronze... hard to cut with my score & break technique so I rarely use them except for decorative bits and accents.

Mild and mystery steel - I rarely make rings out of these unless I want them to rust or I plan on blackening or russeting them... in that case they get woven with other ferrous bits and bobs like parts from roller chains or washers... galvanized stuff like washers and lock washers get chemically stripped down to bare steel. I want to start making some riveted stuff which will be a good use for some of the steel wire I have hoarded away.

I have only played with silver for maille a little bit... I love the colors of fine and sterling, but would want to solder the closures if I was making anything with precious metals and don't have the mini torch yet for jewelry work. If I get back into maille jewelry I will probably do line of dainty sterling pretty things, and a line of more industrial stuff out of titanium.

I suppose if I had to pick a favorite for standard sort of maille (not my late mix of found doodads like roller chain parts or washers mixed in) I would go with titanium - because of it's working similarity to stainless which is what I started mailling with, reduced weight, and nice colors from anodizing... though it would be totally inappropriate for historical riveted maille, and it is rather expensive, so no favorites for me - just whatever is suitable for the project at hand.

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Without question, Stainless Steel is my favorite. It's strong, reasonably light, shines like the legendary armor of old, and doesn't cost a fortune. Let's not forget how well it takes a weld! The bad part of this metal comes in two-part harmony: It is both difficult to cut, and has some pretty decent springback to it. One has to handle the metal with a bit more care and attention than mild or galvanized.

As to my least favorite, that would have to be Aluminum. I haven't handled Bright or Etched, but I have had my fair share of dealings with aluminum ladders, aluminum shafts on various tools, etc, etc. I find it to be an unusually dirty metal and, while its light weight does impress me, I can't bring myself to use a weak metal in maille. Every aluminum wire I've seen can be easily bent with my fingers. I have also been told that Aluminum has much less electrical resistance than Stainless, thus is more difficult to weld. Never mind how easily it can be saw-cut, this metal has too many strikes against it for use in my projects!

I haven't handled Titanium, Niobium, or Inconel, but I have done some research on their properties and pricing. I find them prohibitively expensive for the few advantages they have over Stainless. About the only reason I'd ever use Titanium instead of Stainless is weight, but the price is much too high for a metal of same-or-similar strength.

So, yeah. Yay Stainless.

I agree with everything you've said. Love stainless. Don't love aluminum unless it's AA. Titanium is great other than the price and the strength is almost too good. Made a byz bracelet and my wrists hurt for 2 days after. It comes dull but shines up with wear to look like stainless. Price is killer but if the customer wants to pay for it then I'll use it.

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Sterling silver, niobium, gold-filled, copper and bronze are my favorites. Copper and bronze will turn me colors if worn while sweating but that's what soap and water are for.

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Mine tend to be sterling silver and copper. I haven't really used gold in a long time but on occasion I do. Stainless steel is nice too but all other metals I have yet to try. Looking forward to using them soon!

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Oh man, I'm a sucker for all metals... except galvy, keep it away from me. I can't decide...

Stainless for its durability, shine, toughness...

Titanium for its space age feel, light and strong and subtle...

Niobium for its peacock iridescence when anodised...

Copper for its colour, patina and earthiness...

Brass for the graceful way it ages...

AA for its colours, versatility, lightness, boldness...

Silver for its colour, shine, patina, and butteryness when forged...

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Stainless is without doubt my favorite.  AA has a good uses, as does titanium, but I find most ppl actually like to feel the weight of the metal when they pick up a nice piece.  Gold and silver have that quality, plus the rep of being 'fine jewellery' metals.

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