Buck

Tailoring a mail hauberk

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I am working on a mail hauberk for use in mounted archery. It's 3/4 of the way finished, and I'm trying to make it fit better.

At the moment, it seems to bind up when I reach across myself (like I would when drawing a bow). More importantly, it's done in the T-shirt style. But while it fits in the shoulders, when I belt it at the waist it's too large, and results in some large, uncomfortable folds.

This is the first hauberk I've made, and  I have no idea what to do to make it fit better.

If anyone has any advice, I can take pictures of it to make things clearer.

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You'll need to taper it into the waist, so that you don't have as much excess material to deal with. Search for "chainmail contractions and expansions", and you'll see what you need. That should help some, even though you're using a t-shirt style. You also want to expand across the back of the shoulders so that it doesn't pull when you reach forward. That should free up movement rather well.

http://www.lloydianaspects.co.uk/vintageSite/armour/mail/mailpatt.html

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It does sound a lot like you need about a handspan more in the back across the shoulders.  Giving the shirt a waist as Rob suggests (one way or another, for there are a couple-three) is a good help.

Search this site on "triangular expansion arrays" for putting that ease into your back -- at about shoulder blade level, from trapezius muscles extending to about the bottom of the shoulder blades.  A bit farther than that, say as much as four fingers' worth, is okay too.

A hauberk proper is a large and knee-length coat of mail.  Yours sounds technically more of a haburgeon -- a later, weight saving development.  One well suited to infantry/archer type armor.  Are you doing a historical period, a fantasy, or some Tolkienish blend of both?

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Lots of good advice! And a realization I'm going to have to learn more than the simple 4-in-1 weave. The link to the Lloydian armor is great! Thank you both so much for the help!

As for the binding up, the back feels plenty wide enough, it's the chest area that seems to be getting in the way. I'm not very familiar with wearing armor, so I don't know what "feels right." It seems as though I ought to be able to fold my arms without a lot of effort, and it ought to not simply hang from my shoulders. I don't know if I made the chest too broad or not. At the moment, it's a simple T shape, minus the sleeves.Straight up and down sides, no tapers anywhere at all.

Ideally, when it's done, it will be a knee-length coat of mail, split in the front and back for riding. I was going to add short sleeves, but I'm considering leaving them off. This is the most recent picture. As you can tell, I still have to finish the bottom. As for the style, there's no particular historical period or culture I'm copying, but I'm not really trying for a fantasy look, either. I'm sorry for the ninja look in the photo. It's cold here in Idaho, and I was going out to do chores followed by some longsword practice and a half mile run. (Yes, I know longswords were in use when plate was more prevalent, but it's a skill I want to learn, and the armor adds more resistance to training.)

I don't know if it makes a difference, but I'm using 16 gauge rings, about 1/4" outside diameter. I wind them myself from "tie wire" (baling wire if you grew up on a ranch) that I buy from Home Depot. I have more details on all that on my facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/StormsForge. I primarily make knives, so armor is new to me.

Thank you again for the help and advice, if anything else comes to mind, please feel free to educate me. I have no pride and big shoulders, so criticism is welcome!

 

Hauberk-Feb 2018.jpg

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I see what you mean about the bunching up and tapering should help with that. You could also consider making a separate armour skirt for the legs, rather than continuing the shirt, if it would help with mobility. Though I haven't seen horse archer armour with a chain skirt (I have in lamelar), the concept is still reasonable.

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I didn't realize at first that Lloyd in the Lloydian Armor link was none other than Lindybeige, who I watch regularly on YouTube. He's also messaged me once or twice with some useful advice (like when I had the grain running the wrong way). I'll have to re-read his stuff a few times to make sure I understand it before I tear into my shirt. I noticed that he gave the number of rings that would most likely need to be adjusted in the expansion/contraction areas. Where I am using smaller rings, it seems logical that I would have to increase the number I change, correct?

For example, if his triangular piece is 4 rings wide at the base, and my rings are half the size, my piece would need to be 8 rings wide.

I'm not sure about the skirt. My first attempt was an Asian 6-in-1 vest, and because it only hung from my shoulders, it got uncomfortable in a hurry. I was making this all in one piece on the theory I've heard that if it's belted around your waist, your hips will support some of the weight. This seems to be true, so far. I didn't get much work done on it this week. I was cutting more rings, and I had these two projects to work on:

The shield is a first-time project. And of course I ran out of paint. The knife is one I finally made to keep, and shamelessly stole the design from a friend of mine. I forged it from a farrier's rasp, and had a friend who is a gunsmith cerakote it. Still needs sharpening.

Buck's Heater Shield.jpg

Buck's Karambit.jpg

Edited by Buck

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2 hours ago, Buck said:

Where I am using smaller rings, it seems logical that I would have to increase the number I change, correct?

Exactly so, as Lloyd pointed out in his tute.  Your dimensions in a contraction array, which is inherently more or less triangular, change by one link inner diameter per link subtracted in your contractions.  The triangular expansion/contraction array -- for they are the same thing depending which way you've turned them, pointy end up or big end up, and are made essentially the same way if by somewhat different steps -- is VERY flexible and convenient in giving you just about the amount of expansion let-out or  contraction pull-in as you need, to the nearest whole link.  With small links, your resolution is finer.  Big links, contrariwise, coarser.  Nice thing about expansion/contraction arrays is their edges just zip right into the rest of your weave in the ordinary way, as all the tricky stuff is confined within the array's inner part.

An old rasp or file makes damn fine hi-carbon blade stock, and many a good field knife has been ground or forged from an old file.  That catclaw design will be very efficient at cutting rope.  The reverse of such a shape, the edge convex, will give you a fine skinning knife.

Your heater shield looks plenty good so far, though that is lancers' gear (like the hauberk you're building) and not archers' gear -- the lancer uses a powerful one-handed weapon and expects in war to get just one charge out of it -- it's an expendable.  Then out comes the broadsword, mace, or warhammer (contrary to gamer-book illustrations, a warhammer looks like a homicidal geologists' pick the size of an ice axe and not a giant steel gavel) to take out more heavy-tank-class mounted knights or assorted half-armoured infantry, as needed.  Mounted archers do their fighting as projectile troops rather than in mêlée and hence protected themselves, if at all, like infantry: fifteenth-century half armor at most.  Quilted cloth jacks and maybe a small helmet, much more likely.  Well, thus history.  Is your shield of wood and canvas? -- very historical.  Do you intend some sort of reenactor work down the line, or is your idea more to join the many swordplaymates you can find with the Society for Creative Anachronism?

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Konstantin,

Thanks for helping me understand the contraction/expansion. Now that I understand it, I'm attempting to figure out how much contraction I'll need to make the waist fit, then expand for the hips. And the chest still needs some work, but I have and idea of what to there. Especially since Lloyd pointed out that our arms don't come directly out of the sides. At the moment, it seems like the waist is about 3-4 inches too large.

As for the knives, I've been making them for about 8 years now. One of my brothers works on ranches in Nevada and Oregon, and he gathers up all the old rasps and gives them to me for Christmas. I'll be able to do a lot more as soon as I learn how to forge weld. The karambit is more of an in-close combat weapon, and generally held in an "icepick" grip (with the point down, hook pointing forward, and your index finger through the hole). This is my first successful attempt.

The shield is plywood. I started with a 1/4" piece, cut it to shape, then covered one side with glue, and stuck the second piece on. Then I used some cargo straps to bend them around a 55 gallon drum. (Later I learned there are better methods) Lacking canvas, I used an old bedsheet. One piece on the back first, and then one on the front. When it's finished, I'm going to put rawhide around the rim. My ranching brother braids rawhide, so I have a ready supply.

The first purpose for this mail will be to wear to a renaissance fair in Houston this November. A friend of mine invited me, so we're going to hopefully make a family trip out of it. Down the line, I plan to establish something similar to the Academie Duello. I don't know of too many SCA people in my area, but I do have a cousin who is into Belegarth, and a friend who is an armorer (he is part of the Armored Combat League, so plate armor is his thing). Being on a budget, mail is more affordable than plate (which also seems to be historically true), and will give me the flexibility I need for archery.

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Durn right! -- plate was high-end stuff historically, at least for aristocratic mounted knightly gear.  So protected, you were the armored division of the time.  And like an armored division, there were some terrains quite unsuited to your method of operation, so the mounted combatant was not the be-all and end-all.

Did you mention your actual location?  I can probably find a Creative Anachronist chapter of some sort nearest you -- a pretty wide ambit if you're in Texas!  The S.C.A. is like, in its weaponry, a more hardcore version of Belegarth; we swat each other with bare rattan poles, swung full speed -- fast enough to disappear in flight.  So, needs must, we build armor to suit.

I can describe a lot of wood bending kits featuring nylon cargo straps.  There's nothing at all wrong with using a 55-gal drum unless you maybe need that drum for something else. A few people have used their backyard trees. There are lots of setups for bending a couple layers of glued 1/4" ply -- even with 1/8 luan door-skin -- into a circular arc.  I've even bent a shield so sandwiched around air -- just wire and turnbuckles to hold it while the glue dried.  However, that method gives a sort of parabolic curvature, and an arc of a circle is really more the thing I prefer -- only needs to be three to four inches deep at the center of the arc.  I can walk you through several descriptions of arc-of-a-circle bending gear; which sort you like best probably would be the one that best answers your storage requirements.  A set of loose wooden  forming ribs assembled from scrap two-by and some plywood cut with a saber saw, each rib teamed with a nylon ratchet strap can both form curved wooden shields of any sort but the roundshield (domed roundies are hard to do), any sort from scutum to heater to Norman kite -- and then store in your garage wall between the wall studs and practically out of sight.  The ribs are only about five inches deep at their deepest, and often less than four inches thick.

If you've got a screwgun and screws, you can just screw the blank onto the forming frame temporarily, starting from the centerline and working out to either side, dexter and sinister.  The screw holes you leave won't make any difference.

Various sorts of shield presses and frames come up next, and take more room to stow.  Some shield press users like to make the press long enough to make two shields at once -- an attractive notion if you have a place to stow that press.  Some presses do all right as expedient temporary shelving for small items.

Your A.C.L. buddy would doubtless be a good source for tips on constructing really good tough shields of wood.  My own shield is an aluminum blank covered on the face with thin leather, edged with automotive heater hose.  Good for giving it a shieldlike mass.  I can guide you to better-looking shield edge covering than heater hose!  The rawhide would even be relevant.  Consider putting the rawhide edgeing on *under* the cloth face of your shield -- glue that on and wrap its edges around to the reverse of the shield, its back.  You may like to put some kind of neat covering strip sort of stuff, or do a very neat job of trimming the cloth on the back of the shield right at the edge, glued over the cloth folding about the edge from the shield face.  Fray-Check all around, and done.  Shield edges get the hell banged out of them.

Okay, there's enough prosing along for the moment!  Let's keep talking; I always think this stuff is fun.

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If you start playing about with plate armor, do yourself a favor -- one of several good favors starting out -- and don't use that 55-gal drum.  Too much fuss and labor cutting the metal and flattening out those stiffener ridges; too much sheer time.  Start with flat metal.  You can put all the curves in the stuff you'd ever need, by hand.  Practically anything in harness of plate is of compound, 3-D curvatures; fits on you better.  You're not built like the Tin Woodman, and neither shall be your plate armor.

I don't know for sure what I should say about helmets for well-equipped fightin' archers.  Good helmets can be bought, retail.  So can very bad helmets.  Main thing would be not to have a brim, so perhaps a full-on kettle hat (think British WW1 helmet) is out; it would get in the way of your bowstring -- kettle hats team better with pikes and bills or halberds.  Archers' hard hats were often pretty skull-cappish.  Reenactor-grade stuff can be found, mostly from England and the Continent.  Bit of a shipping time, though.  And of course, there's the crafting satisfaction of making one for yourself.  As I said, dunno -- until you tell me.  With getting armor, you've noticed you spend either money or time, and rather a lot of either.

Now for figuring how much contraction you need for your mailshirt's waist;  start out with your waistline and chest measurements.  You want to give the waist of the shirt about your waist measure plus ten or twelve, your chest measure about chest plus ten -- room for you and room for a light gambeson between you and your mail.  You can't nip that waist in overly tight because you need to pass your gambesoned shoulders through that waist on the way to putting your shirt on.  But some contraction will do a lot to get rid of that surplus around your waist, and get the shirt to not slide down through your cinch belt from its own weight as you move about -- tailoring it some will allow it to hug you more.  Then the easy way to flare it again for your hips and tuchis is to insert two or three triangular expansion arrays descending from  the beltline or so.  They needn't flare dramatically if there are three of them; they should flare enough that your hauberk skirts close in front and behind into vertical slits, not the inverted V shape you can see in a lot of hobbyist 'berks photographed on the net.  Such a 'berk is also not mounted archer gear -- he would likely wear a haburgeon instead, that stopped at mid thigh, perhaps a little shorter.  Just *don't* have that mail hem hang to exactly nut level unless you really want to have to wear a catchers' cup too.  You'll rather rattle with each stride.  Arrange it so all that inertia does not slap you when you walk.

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The other shields I'm building will all be flat. Three are for my boys, and they wanted flat ones. The other three will be viking-style round shields. I'm going to post a tutorial on how to make them on the cheap. Since I practice Karate and Tai Chi, and shoot a Mongolian-style bow, when I get into plate armor, it will be a samurai-style. Exactly which style I'm not sure of yet, but I'm pretty certain the O-yoroi is out. I'm thinking of something from the Tokugawa era, probably. The kabuto (helmet) style I've pretty much determined, but that's about it. I like both HEMA and Asian Martial Arts, so in addition to mounted archery and German longsword, I also am a black belt in Shorin Ryu karate and teach at a local dojo. As for buying armor and helmets, I'd follow Lloyd's advice and have whatever I choose custom made (My ACL buddy offered to help with this, but he lives an hour away). I do own a pair of generic steel vambraces from Windlass Steelcrafts. They are definitely going to be modified in the future.

When you say "You want to give the waist of the shirt about your waist measure plus ten or twelve, your chest measure about chest plus ten," what unit of measurement are you using? 

I learned early on with this project about the length and swinging hems. First the important parts, and then when it got longer, at a run it beat the snot out of my knees. Vertical slits makes sense. The belt issue is proving interesting. I started to make a gambeson from several T-shirts quilted together. It turned out way too thick, and I ended up cutting off the sleeves and splitting the front...turning it into a vest. My next attempt is going to be made from a packing blanket, following some directions I found online.

Total side notes: I've seen illustrations (which may or may not be accurate) and pictures of the Bayeux Tapestry where the knights were wearing full-length mail suits. Now that I've worn mail a bit, how did they do that? How did they move? 

I've also seen Crusade-era surcoats that were open on the sides and solid in the front. When Sir Knight got on his horse, what did he do with all that cloth? From my experience, anything hanging in front wads up in the saddle, or trips you up mounting and dismounting.

I've got about 3 pounds of rings cut right now. Hopefully tomorrow I'll work up the courage to start tailoring.

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Oh crap, stay the hell away from moving blanket.  Most of those are made of reclaimed polyester, and they are not in the least designed to swaddle something that generates its own heat.  And which sweats.

The fibers you want are either linen or lightweight wool, which breathe and are strong too -- nothing poly.  You might have some success with bamboo-blend quilting batting.  It rides cooler and more airy than all-cotton or cotton-poly Warm&Natural brand batting.

There is really about no gambeson solution better than breaking out a sewing machine and constructing one yourself from scratch -- there is also nearly nothing in modern fabrics that is suitable as a premade feedstock for your gambeson.  You cut its pieces out and you quilt it all together, leaving a margin about the periphery of each gamby piece for sewings everything together and interlaying the layers of fabric to make your joins all flat and smooth.  It's a labor-intensive sewing project, no doubt about it.  Seek discount linen, regardless of printed pattern on it, for the inside layers.  Then linen in a color you like for the lining, and either such linen or some stout wool for the outer shell.

 

Units!  Oh dear -- inches.

The men of the Bayeux were mounted men.  That is critical.  Long mailcoats are really intended to protect you best when you are in the saddle.  Mail for men on foot is distinctly shorter, for several very good reasons.  Crusader surcoats, contrary to your impression, split their copious skirts as the hauberk did.  There is however a great deal of sometimes aristocratic cloth incorporated into these, and I think the splits tended to become less visible because of that.  And the art of the time doesn't show bunches of fabric.  Though there's a caveat: remember too that period illuminations are less authoritative than photographs when it comes to showing detail.  One striking thing about mail-era art is its conventionalities. Details might or might not make it into the picture.  You did rather well just to find art with objects in isometric view.  True perspective wasn't completely figured out until the sixteenth century, and went big in the early seventeenth.

A 12th/13th century surcoat is a very simple project.  Everything's square except the sloping seams up at the shoulders.  The sides are just left open for the arms, all the way down to the cincture, which gives it what shape it has.  Voluminous skirts split fore and aft, all the way to below the calves or even the ankle.  How their prick spurs escaped tearing those hems I'll never know.

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Thanks for the moving blanket advice! I didn't even think of the heat factor (maybe because we just got 4 inches of snow last night). I made a mistake with my T-crap gambeson attempt and stuffed in some quilt batting. Actually, I bought a pillow from a thrift store and gutted it. You know those poofy life vests from the movie "Titanic?" It looks a lot like those now. Padded, but ridiculously thick.I read one tutorial that suggested the moving blanket, but I found a much better one here. The tests they ran on it afterwards were pretty interesting, as well. I think they have the best method, but I like a more fitted pattern. I also looked into getting some army surplus wool blankets because I thought they would be fairly inexpensive (they used to go for 2.00-5.00 US). HAHA! $40.00 each if you were lucky! I think the best results would be if I just saved up my money and bought what I needed at Hobby Lobby. I will probably have to break down and learn how to use the sewing machine my grandmother gave me as well.

But first, I'm going to finish the armor!

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Oh boy -- the era of cheap mil-surplus blankets is definitely over.  They would have worked well, though.  And thrift store blankets, if wool, would be a good find.  Not too thick and heavy, and wool has a springiness to it.  Again, the less poly, the happier the result, sweat-wise.

When you find yourself trying to comprehensively work up an entire suit of armour -- a harness -- you do find that building it from the skin out is going to involve considerable cloth.  That's the kind of thing they found out over at ArmourArchive.org:  cloth under steel, not least in period-type padding for inside a helmet, and in several eras (1350-1420  universally all over Europe; Italy through the fifteenth century; Germany, um, now and then and then again, like, once the 1390's were behind them, when they had jupons over their torso armor like everybody else) cloth over the hard stuff, mostly for style, but possibly treatable for some degree of water resistance.  It also had an insignia use.  Europe is a dank, chilly, rainy place -- what passes for a drought there would put big cheery smiles on Texas ranchers' faces, contemplating herds of fat cattle.

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I hadn't thought of the thrift store. That will give me something to do tomorrow. When I used to work on a ranch, I always wore wool in the winter. I had the chance to prove it's warm when it's wet, too, when my horse fell over in a river one day. The Yoga studio where we practice karate has a huge pile of blankets they use for mats. I wonder if I could buy two or three...

Ok, I've never heard of a jupon before, but a quick Google search (so take it for what it's worth) defined it as a petticoat. I think I'm missing something here. :)

Coming from Nevada and the great basin area to Idaho was a shock. One of my brothers moved to this area to go to school, and on a weekend visit, he remarked, "They complain of a drought here? They have no idea!" It's true. If they don't get two or three feet of snow in a winter, they panic. If Nevada gets 2 or three feet in the same winter, they rejoice. I've heard Texas is even drier. Since I started wearing my overstuffed padding and armor in winter, I haven't had the joy of overheating in it yet, but I did watch the ACL people while they beat on each other at renaissance faires this summer. I had to hand it to them, bundling up in padding and strapping on armor in 90 degree heat took some guts. And a lot of water.
 

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Okay, THAT makes a lot more sense. I might be able to come up with something like that. Of course, to be "History Channel Accurate," I'd have to cover any leather tunic in studs and rivets. :) (Not a chance!) But let's get the mail to fit first.

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Yeah, that "jupon." Like gown, it has over centuries a shift in meaning and in its connotations.

But in the war-harness field, it was not just macho, but could be particularly aristocratic too. It was a way to display your heraldry, all over you, and generally both front and back, making an armored man with his visor shut at least as identifiable as a WW2 fighter plane -- with the proviso that this was individual insignia rather than something national -- national insignia existed too, though perhaps in a more subordinate way -- in Christendom, crosses of one sort or another and of certain colors and backgrounds taken together -- e.g., a black cross on a white ground has been associated with Germany about since the later Crusades.  Wasn't just something they invented for the occasion of WW1.*

The heraldic jupon with your heraldry on it is the original of the "coat of arms," that garment which you put on over everything when you armed.  "Coat armour" is a synonymous term.  Coat-armour is like a flag -- for a person, rather than a nation.  Thus, it is much honored in those places that have it -- A Big Deal.

*Other examples of national crosses run such as white X throughout on blue for Scotland's St Andrew's Cross, a red cross throughout on white for England, St George's Cross, the big red X for Burgundy, whose sawtoothish outline is called 'raguly' and the Burgundians' cross therefore was sometimes called the Ragged Cross.  French soldiers used a white cross, on I don't know what background, as for soldiers they'd make do with just sewing on a cross of the required color and never mind the field exactly.  The crosses on the main sails of Portuguese caravels of the fifteenth and sixteenth century had to do with those knights that had formerly been known as the Templars, until the year that order was suppressed. (The Templars were wiped out in France; over in Portugal they closed shop, and reopened under a new name roughly the next week.)

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So I took most of last week and made 4 contractions. It took me a while (and a lot of studying Lloyd's site) to figure out how long to make them, how wide, and how many rows to include before I dropped a ring. I think I'm cross-eyed from counting rings all week.

At any rate, this is what I have so far.

Now, BEFORE I tear my armor apart, please help me make sure I understand the process:
 

FOR A CONTRACTION

  • Step 1: Remove a column of mail the width of the wide end of the triangle. (19 rings, + 1 connecting row on each side). The base of each triangle is 1/4 the width I need to remove from the hauberk. The theory here is to put one in the back, one in the front, and one on each side. Following Lloyd's advice, they are all identical.
  • Step 2: Connect the wide end of the triangle to the top of the column (about where it would sit in picture #2)
  • Step 3: pull the sides of the column in, connecting them to the sides of the triangle, all the way down.
  • Step 4: Through the Dark Magic of Mail, it should be smaller at the waist, Correct?

I also pulled the square off the bottom that I had on to figure out the length. I'll put it back on when I get the waist to the right size. It just seemed like less hassle that way.

 

IMG_20180306_072448.jpg

IMG_20180309_201433[1].jpg

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Correct. You can either create the contractions separately and then connect them to the gap in the mail, or you can weave them directly in as you're creating the mail. The advantage of creating them separately is that you can more easily make sure that they are the appropriate length, rather than having to do the mental gymnastics of figuring out when/where/how many while weaving. I usually use the latter method, being somewhat of a masochist.

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Thanks Rob! Now that I know I'm on the right track, I can get started on it. I think I'll do one at a time and check for fit each time. Hopefully my math is mostly correct.

I have a shoebox I keep my rings and pliers in, to take with me. When people ask me what I'm doing, I tell them, and they say, "Oh, that's cool." I usually reply with "Yeah, it's kind of an exercise in masochism."

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I just finished closing and welding 4 pounds of 16 gauge, 5/16" stainless and opening the same amount, for an ongoing project. My hands are not happy.

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The tie wire I use comes in a 3 pound spool. It generally takes me about an hour or two to wind it all into springs, and then forever to cut it. I completely understand where you're coming from.

Does anyone know of a ring cutting jig I could easily make?

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I made one that's good enough to handle softer wire like aluminum, brass, and bronze. If the cutting block base was made out of aluminum or steel instead of HDPE it would likely be able to handle thinner gauges of steel and stainless too (maybe up to 18 gauge). With other improvements that I have in mind I think it could handle 16 gauge. It appears in this video:

 

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What cutting pace would you like to accept?  Hand cutting with end-nippers or mini bolt cutters can with proper arrangement deliver about sixty cuts per minute.  I usually prefer to cut links with these tools one link per cut-stroke, as trying to take more links per stroke -- more  turns of the wire coil -- is unreliable about cutting through the second link of the two.  Like it only nips it about half through.

Proper arrangement features fixing the cutters business end steeply downwards, one handle anchored and the other end free to swing, with a bucket beneath the cutter to catch links falling as they are cut.  You feed the wire coil in at the angle that lets the cutter jaws take a bite and cut the link loose.

End nippers come in a couple of basic sizes; for armor weight links in steel you'd want the larger, the "farriers' nipper," about a foot in length.  Mini bolties have handles about eight inches long and a compound action hinge to work their jaws.  In the hand, they can cut fairly rapidly, for a certain value of 'rapidly.'  Set up dropping links into a bucket, the gadget has a cutting rate about twice as fast, in the range of 40 cuts/min to 60, which is probably about the maximum and may possibly not be sustainable over hours.

 

Rob M,  you may find this useful. There are other  timesavers in butted mail, such as pre-opening half your link supply before even starting to cut the links.  You grab either end of a wire coil and stretch it out to slightly over twice its original length, spreading all its links open.  Then you cut these stretched coils the same way you cut the regular ones.  Attractively, these stretched coils use a different portion of the cutters' edge to cut with, mitigating wear and also avoiding any breakage, which has been known to happen.

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