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Mike_Garrick

Got my rings and OH GOD MY HANDS!

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So I got my rings yesterday.

I worked out the European 4 in 1 and 6 in 1.

Made a total of 3 square inches and some unsuccessful scale...in 8 hours, give or take a couple hours I had to do stuff in between.

1in each of 4in1 and 6in1 5/16 and an inch of 4in1 in 1/4, both 16g.

I can't figure out whats wrong with the scale, it just wont lay flat. I must have put the rings in wrong.

I like the 4in1 better in 1/4 and the 6in1 looks pretty good as is, though I'm going to try it in 3/8.

I learned a few things.

Closing is hard to get right.

Never jumble a small single row of mail unless you want to spend the next 20 minutes figuring out how to straiten it back out again.

I do not like bent nose pliers.

Bright aluminum is kind of slippery and flaky.

and

Oh dear god my hands, they hurt!

I've got big red swollen spots in the meat of my hand at the base of my thumb and on the middle section of each of my fingers.

My gamer hands are not accustom to the harsh ways of bending metal.

Might just have to take a couple days off before I go at it again.

Of course I'll probably give it another go today anyway.

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Those red swollen spots on your hands are the beginning of callouses, something your soft gamer hands have not experienced yet. I pair of padded gloves will prevent this, but will also present thier own set of hardships...like not being able to "feel" your rings. I recommend allowing the callouses to build up on your hands as they will protect you from making chainmail better than gloves.

A note on your pliers: The bent nose can be handy for delicate work needed for making jewelry, but not so useful for regular mail. A good pair of flat nose or duck bill pliers would work better, especially when working with aluminum. For work with steel, I have a few pairs of "lineman's" pliers. These have a square jaw like a duck bill but are much beefier. You can even get them with padded handles.

Put down your game controler, pick up your pliers, make some chainmail, find and join your local SCA group and let then know you made your own mail. You will have so many orders for chainmail you won't have time to go back to gaming. And your hands will have callouses. Lots and lots of callouses.

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I can't figure out whats wrong with the scale, it just wont lay flat. I must have put the rings in wrong.

How do you mean "lay flat"? One thing I noticed with scale, if you put them together, then try to hold them up to see how they drape, they will naturally curl into a tube. It was a pain to solve when I was making my tie. I had to use short lengths of wire to hold the scales flat from behind. If your scales are curling when you hold them up, that's natural, you're doing it right. Or do you mean something else?

Edited by scarabdrowner

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Good advice above so far. I echo the fact that you should try flat nose pliers. I don't even carry bent nose pliers in my case any more.

Find an online tutorial and master one weave before moving on to another. E 4in1 or 6in1 are good places to start. Don't try to tackle too much too soon. Learn to make smooth closures. If you're using saw-cut rings, the closure should be very difficult to find once the ring is closed.

As others have said, your hands will toughen up as you go. The callouses will come. But do yourself a favor and complete a few projects in aluminum before trying stainless or titanium.

If you can, meet with an experienced mailler and see if they can give you any pointers. Even for a new mailler, your hands shouldn't hurt that badly after making a few square inches of maille. That's something else that the proper pliers will help with as well.

Good luck. Hope you've found some of this helpful. Keep at it!

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Good pliers will help with hand pain. I use lindstrom and wubbers and i make jewelry. Depending on what u r doing u may heavier ones. But do get the best quality u can afford. Have fun. U r now an addict!!'

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Pad the handles of the pliers and ease off the death grip...yes I know this because when I first started I too gripped much to hard, this is going to seem weird but I found that using the gel gaurds for pencils works pretty good but you have replace them often so now I use this 300.jpg

on the handles. some people swear by tool/plastic dip too.

for scales, it is easier to work from the back and attaching the top row to something (like a board with nails or something like this 47113_156002544417361_3708466_n.jpg

helps to keep things more stable while you work.

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Well most everyone has already given you most of the suggestions I was going to give. Let me add that When coiling and cutting my rings and when working with the harder metals, I have a pair of simple leather work gloves I use. On my left hand ( my off hand) I have full fingers, but on my right hand I have cut out the thumb, index and middle finger, keeping the ring and pinky fingers gloved.

Zebra62 has it right with the pliars. I bounce sets depending on the work at hand. Currently working on a mirrored scale bikini top in small scales, so I am useing one bent nose and one straight needle nose. But for large scale, or sheets of maile I use a duckbill in my left hand and needle in my right. Depending on the metal I use, is how I determine the size of the pliars. Aluminum I use 5", steel or harder I use 7" More leverage on the harder metals. For the small work, I favor Bead Landing brand, you can get them at Michaels. They are black and pink handled but with ergo grips. Helps those pesky sore hands. :)

yes, Scale work is hard to get to lay flat when you pick it up to look at it. If it is any consolation, it is supposed to do that. The larger your piece, the easier it will be. It will lay better as you go along.

For Maile, as you work at it, and get more used to how the rings sit and flop, you will learn the tricks to flattening them out. Eventually You will be able to grab the piece, give it a flick and it will flatten out. But it takes time and pratice! Patience is the key! This work is not fast, you can't whip out large things in a day. Mores the pity! But over time you'll get faster and more sure. Keep at it! And post some pictures! All the artists I've met, love to see other people's work. We are not painters that get jealous, we are artisans, crafters, we build the armor that protects the world! ( LOL sorry silly moment) And one crafters work, might inspire another's. Or get you tips of the trade from them.

Above all else, DO NOT GIVE UP! Welcome to our world, and I hope you do great!

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I've just used The Ring Lord flat nose pliers for the majority of my work and they've worked really well for the majority of projects. One thing I found out after making my first shirt was to get a nice pair of well fitted work gloves with padding across the palm, and cut off the tip of the thumb and index fingers so you can still hold the rings easily. If you plan on working on maille for an extended period of time or if you're working with something particularly tough to bend (stainless steel or grade 5 alloy titanium come to mind), wrap something around the middle section of your pinkeys and ring fingers to help prevent bruising and blisters.

Getting the rings to lay flat as you're starting a piece just comes with time and practice, I know it took me a while to figure that part out.

Scales can be a bit tricky when you first start, but I found the images on the scale ordering page to be quite useful.

Good luck with your journey into chainmaille!

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Leverage, that's the key. Followed closely by padding to spread the pressure on your hand over a greater surface area. I use the long reach pliers that I've modified to have shorter jaws. Whenever I try to use normal pliers, even 7" ones, they make my hands sore and cramp. My pliers only work for people with large hands though.

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I remember when I started mailling. I bruised up my hands real good. My dad worked at a scrap yard, so I managed to get lots and lots of wire, but that meant I had to coil and cut the rings myself. Between that and the learning to maille, the soft parts of my hand between my thumb and index finger were bruised up! I refused to let pain to stop me from mailling, so I bought myself a pair of bycicle gloves and wore those over a wrapped Ace bandage around that part of my hand and my wrist until the bruising went away.

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When I first started my hands were pretty wrecked too. I'd get the beginnings of blisters along the pads of my hands, right where the fingers meet the palm. The information posted here is very good and I'm sure you'll try everything until you find your own way. One thing I do myself is try to keep the plier handles off of my palm. I keep them tucked along my fingers between the second and the last knuckle before the finger tip. This fleshy area seems to be able to take the constant movemnt and I've yet to get any blisters here. But yes, it is a matter of getting used to it.

As for the closing, it is tricky. I'm using machine cut, 16g stainless steel with 1/4" inner diameter. It's a little hard for me to explain with out showing, but when I close I try to get the two ends as close as possible, even overlapping each other by mere millimeters, then use a little force/maneuvering to close the ring by sliding the ends against each other. Hope that makes sense. And I haven't tried the aluminum, but it is a softer metal which requires a bit more finesse so you don't scratch it up. I know the Ring Lord sells pliers with plastic tips, maybe that will help with the flaking problem?

Anyways, hope we've all helped in some way! Have fun!

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It helps not only gaming when you move on to working with mail rings... or just put some really 'fine' sandpaper on your controller, that helps get the calluses built up! (this is, of course, a joke! hehe)

It will take a while to get your hands 'prepared' for the work, but definitely stick with it and don't wait long in between working! You'll then 'dread' going back to it and it'll stop being fun. I had the advantage of tending to do a lot of other things with my hands so they tend to be a little stiffer stuff, but I still noticed some pain for a while after I started, too! Definitely play around a little with how you're holding the pliers and you'll find that 'sweet spot' after a while!

My best recommendation for the slippery aluminum is a little blue painters tape on the pliers until you get used to the general feel of things... and definitely invest in good flat nose pliers (I got mine from here, just the Ring Lord ones), they are a godsend for doing mail! Course, I also use my bent nose a lot, too, but I'm doing jewelry grade stuff which means much smaller rings (20g)

Oh, and definitely just play with closing some rings without putting them in something. You'll screw up some rings that way, but if you get into the habit of doing it correctly from the start, it'll become second nature.

Most of all, enjoy it! Have fun, stop once in while to appreciate what you've done, and make sure to have a few bottles of your favorite pain reliever handy! :D

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I didn't have a problem with my hands when I started but, I was working at a mattress factory cutting and bending thick wire with pliers for a year before I started.

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I've had no real hand issues, but them again I worked with wire long before I started messing with it in ring form, I found weaving chain maille to be a bit of a relief for my hands compared to wrapping and shaping jewelry from right out wire. You mentioned bent nose pliers but you don't say anything else about your tool. Does it have a firmer spring in the handles? You want to stick with light spring strength, if any at all. The ones I use have minimal spring, as in just enough to lightly open the pliers when I let up pressure on them but it takes almost no effort to hold them closed, a light spring can minimize have strain when working quite a bit, that tolerable force it takes to hold them closed adds up after a hundred rings or so. Then again I don't know if that is an issue you are having as you don't say anything about the spring in your pliers but it is something to keep in mind.

The BA being slippery and flakey, well, that's just going to take practice over time. Taping the end of the pliers can help, as can some dip style coverings. I normally use some medical tape over the tips of mine but I was messing around and found that some of my molding materials from my molding work can be just as good, I got my pliers' jaws dipped with rubber now and while, yes, it requires a redip after a few projects, that only takes me a few minutes to do so it's worth it.

Closing can be tricky, saw cut especially (though the smooth seam is well worth it in my opinion) but, again, that just takes some time and practice to get right. Sometimes you have to bend it just a little farther than where the ends line up to account for the spring back, this varies by metal and a bit by gauge. Finding that perfect amount can really only be done via trail and error, once you find the little tricks for satisfactory closing that work for you though, it becomes habit quickly.

Just keep at it, just like that one annoying boss in a game, it can whoop your rear at first but once you learn the right tricks you can get pass it and on to better, more impressive things.

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When I started I didn't have any issues with sore hands but I started out with the very soft copper wire that was laying around after a reno at my aunts. I coiled and cut all my own rights and used a pair of 6" lineman pliers and the needle nose part of a gerber multi tool.

Over the years I keeped using the gerber and what ever other set of pliers were laying around until I started getting into the BA and AA material. I found the color coating would get mangled up to badly. I ended up going into Canadian Tire and buying about 6 pairs of different pliers till I found what was the most comfortable in my hands. I recomend you go to a hardware store(or a friend that's got a massive tool collections house) and hold the pliers and see what fits.

I have very wide hands but ended up liking a small pair of bend nose pliers and I hold them between the meaty part of my palm and my two middle fingers. It leaves my thumb and index fingers open in case I need to pick up rings or anything with out putting the tools down. I'm gonna try to add a photo of it below.

As mentioned above finding something with a soft spring back is very helpful. The only thing I did to these pliers is take a small file and just ligthly knock down the edges as I was noticing a little bit of an indent if I was squeezing too hard.

The new version of what I use can be found here

http://www.canadiant...s.jsp?locale=en

I've used them on everything from 20ga sterling silver to 14 ga Stainless if I go to a heavier guage then I find I need a little more leverage and use a larger set of tools.

post-3465-0-56343400-1351549710_thumb.jpg

I hope you find the right set for you, Keep up the good work,

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Hey, sorry I took so long to reply, my nets been on the fritz.

I'm using the "Ring lord brand" wide nose pliers and the Small Bent Nose without teeth.

I like the wide nose much better but I only got 1 of each.

I was holding them a little to tightly as well because the bent nose kept slipping.

I was getting better as I went along, but the damage was already done by the time I started getting the hang of it.

As for closing the rings, I've watched a few videos and the closing technique where you try and overlap slightly, like Grey Stone described is the one I've been trying to do.

Still haven't quite gotten the hang of it though.

I haven't had much time to do anything more so I've only tried the 6in1 with 16g 3/8 in the last few days.

I found it to be a bit loose. Chainmail is awfully picky with the AR. Or maybe its just me. :)

I also messed around with the scales and I think I have one to many in a row and that's where I went wrong.

I'm using the large scales and 16g 5/16 rings.

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Oh no, that AR is a force to be reckoned with! I have a few pieces I've tried to do that even the slightest change in AR and it won't work. Annoying! And yeah, I'd get another set of the Ring Lord brand wide nose when you can. I have a second set of smaller ones that I use for smaller pieces, but I'd have ordered a second set from here if I was doing the bigger rings like you're working with!

Keep playing with it, keep asking question and be sure to post pictures! We love pictures of work!

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Freeze a bottle of water and when your hands get really sore hold on to that for a few minutes. Welcome to maille!

This works really well... till you are diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis at age 28...... So if you have joint issues, go asprin and B12. i have no clue why, but it helps more than anything else.

But if no joint issues, the ice helps a ton.

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BAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA you sound like me when i first started working HVAC. while part of me loathes stainless, i make it a point to do a couple projects here and there every month or so just to keep my hands conditioned. i've stopped for long periods, only to find that when i try again, i feel like an arthritic old fart, so i keep myself conditioned to avoid it.

keeps the callouses conditioned too.

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I do 40 hours of medical transcription every week. That keeps the fingers nimble, but doesn't do much for strength. I guess that's why I stick with aluminum and copper allows. I don't want to mess up the hands that earn my living. :no

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I'm a correctional officer, so I need a firm grip anyways. We restrained a kid about a month back and I grab his ankles so he can't kick anyone and just squeeze them together. boy he can yell, afterwards he files a complaint that someone stood on his ankles. and the video just showed me holding them to the floor, not really putting much weight on them either. Everyone got a chuckle cause they know what i do for a hobby.

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