SeanAud

First Scalemail Shirt - Beginner Question

28 posts in this topic

Hey there! I'm just starting my first scale mail shirt and I'm having a little bit of difficulty with the Stainless Steel 18g - 18ga 1/4 ID Machine Cut Jump Rings leaving a little gap when I close them (the gap is large enough that my scales are falling out). The technique I'm using is gripping the ring approximately two thirds up with two Wide Nose Pliers (Ringlord Brand) and holding the left side in place and pulling down with the right side. I do the same when closing except pulling upwards. I have a set of Chain Nose Pliers as well if you think those would be better to use. Any tips/tricks would be greatly appreciated :)

HNdMQne.jpg

l0iVWzx.jpg

The first pic has the gap, the second one is ideal (But I had to squeeze the ring together with the pliers to obtain that.)

Edited by SeanAud
Added pictures for clarification

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Watch the technique in this video. As you twist the rings closed, you can ease the cuts closer together.

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24 minutes ago, Rob MacLennan said:

Watch the technique in this video. As you twist the rings closed, you can ease the cuts closer together.

Which video? Sorry.

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Sounds like the vid, whenever it arrives, will show a method of twisting the links closed like revving a motorbike, combined with horsing the ends together as you twist, maybe taking a couple of repetitions to get the cut ends to grind together.

It doesn't quite sound like that is what you're presently doing to close your rings.

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22 minutes ago, Konstantin the Red said:

Sounds like the vid, whenever it arrives, will show a method of twisting the links closed like revving a motorbike, combined with horsing the ends together as you twist, maybe taking a couple of repetitions to get the cut ends to grind together.

It doesn't quite sound like that is what you're presently doing to close your rings.

Thanks for the response. I think i'll need the video to understand. I'm unsure about the meaning of horsing the ends together. I've been working on the scalemail for a few hours now and my current tactic is twisting open the rings to the bottom left and trying to twist left when closing them. Having more success, but still not the best :), but i'll keep chugging along :D. 

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You need to exert inward pressure as you twist the ring ends back and forth so that the gap (the kerf) gradually closes. You should hear the wire ends click as they brush against each other (you can hear this is the video). Just be careful when pressing inwards that your grip on the ring is secure - if you slip you can bang your knuckles or stab yourself... 

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What GForce said.  When you have too much g-force.  G for "Ghurrghn -- get in there!"

Needle nose pliers are very wicked for that -- keep away from them.  Use the broadnosed types like you said.

Twist and shove inward; brute power.  For projects like mailshirts that don't really need the most artful ring cuts -- most shirts get their links cut with boltcutters or snips and end up with link ends that look mostly like ><, I horse the ends in together and overlap the points, to where they end up like /\\/ (this view is rotated ninety degrees from the other, accepting a link that ends up slightly out of round -- not so very different from how historical riveted links ended up, tending as they do to bulge where the overlap and rivet closure is.

Jewelry-type mail projects of course  play by more demanding rules and can afford them.  Armor-type projects are nearly as functional -- not fancy -- as a Parkerized .45 pistol.  Parkerizing steel produces a rust resistant, though not altogether proof, just better than some, matte-gray finish to it.  Twentieth century military.  It isn't as much used any more on guns, as coating processes have advanced. It retains popularity in auto parts, how about that.

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Thanks for the replies guys, I really appreciate it. I've made progress into the start of my shirt and in two weeks work will lighten up and i'll be able to put toward much more hours toward it. I've started the left side of my neck/shoulders working down and the right side of my neck/shoulders working down. Is there any reason for me to not just carry on going downwards until I finish the front? I know some people recommend doing the shirt in pieces and then connecting it afterwards. Also would you guys recommend doing front then back? Or front and back at same time?

Thanks everyone :)

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I build up from the bottom. It's significantly faster for me to add scales to the top of a sheet. The drawback is not being able to easily test fit the work. I also make panels of ~300 scales and connect them later.

Is this your first shirt or your first scale shirt?

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I'm the opposite of Eric. I prefer to work top down. I like to ensure that I have my head hole and collar placed correctly and the panels draping over my shoulders comfortably. Then I work those panels down just far enough to link four to six rows under my arms. Most of my tailoring (except for a contraction or two in the small of my back) is done in that area, so afterwards I start making large, flat panels to hook on like Eric does. I do have a few, specific 'munitions grade' patterns that I weave by the panel and link together afterwards as well. Ultimately, you will learn what method is best for you by doing it. 

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I agree. From my point of view it's easier to start at the fiddly end (the top), get the sizing right there, then move on. It just works out better for me.

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 Thanks a lot guys. This is my first scale anything. My first crafting project really. It sounds like I will try Paladin's method. Of doing the front and back at the same time so I can get the head hole correct. Coincidentally, I think I may be working off your guide Paladin. Nice to see you're still passionate! If this is your guide "A Brief Tutorial on Crafting Armor from the Ring Lord's Scales" - 2nd Edition, I was wondering on page 5 of the guide there is a picture of a mans torso showing contractions, are each one of those orange marks 1 column of scale contraction? Or is it multiple columns ? Thanks again.

Edited by SeanAud
More specific

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Yeah, that's me. I had been weaving mail since I was a senior in high school, but when I first picked up some of these scales nine years ago, there were really no videos or other tutorials readily available, and I spent a couple of months just 'messing around' before I actually started weaving a shirt. Putting together a guide, even as basic as this one, also proved a more complicated undertaking than I originally thought.

As for the orange dots, they represent the start of a single contraction. They're not meant to mean you need a contraction at each point, just to show good spots to place one to help tailor the armor. Using a 45 degree seam, hexagonal neck hole, large scale shirt for an example, I commonly make the back panel up to three rows wider than the front, and between two to four rows 'taller', for freedom of movement and so the scales sit higher up towards my neck. Because of that extra width, I usually have one or more contractions placed in the small of my back, and another on each side underneath my shoulder blades at least. Without those contractions, such a shirt would tend to flap against my back and even want to pull backwards, tugging the front of the collar onto my neck when I move around. (This also means my shoulder panels are asymmetrical front to back.)

As for the passion, I have to admit it has faded after so long. I have one last, fairly simple scale and mail shirt under construction for myself, which I have been chronicling from its initial design to its eventual completion in order to create a companion guide. Also, I will make a minor addition or two to the second edition guide; like how to create an expansion seam. After that, I think I will be done for awhile... :yes

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You're the real MVP.

Thanks for the tip on the scale width and height, I hadn't considered that. I think i'm going to aim for a diamond neck hole. Trying to make mine similar to this scalemail weavers. Aside from the straps on the side (i'm not very craft savvy) 

 

Incredible dedication to the community after all these years. I may have a couple more scale projects after this for costumes :). 

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A few questions about contractions.

1) Would I be able to put in contractions after I complete my armor without having to take out too much work? (from my understanding it takes up a row of three scales [would I only need to adjust for like 9ish scales and not have to remove entire pieces of work?]) Ideally, i'd like to finish my armor and then decide if my armor needs contractions afterwards, but if it makes it too much of a hassle i'd do it as i'm working. I'm almost at the point where I need contractions on the front if I was to put some in and almost to the point where i'd need them on my back. But I may adjust the shoulders later on which could drop the front of back down a row of scales or two, which im sure would effect the contraction.

2) Does the contraction start at the beginning of the curvature ie: would the two side by side scales that need to be joined together be the part of the contraction that would start over the beginning of where on the body part curves down? Or would the hole be the spot where the body start to curve down and the two scales be right above when it starts to curve down.

3) Do contractions need to be used on curved parts of the body? Or can they be used to create the image of a muscular/physical body without having the curves around it? Ie: If you didn't have much curvature on your pecs, for example, could you make contractions to make it look like you did? Or would it do nothing?

4) Wont the scales naturally form the shape of your body?

http://www.theringlord.org/forum/index.php?/gallery/image/1064-rjpscaleshirtjpg/ Did this guy use contractions? Or did his sides just form to his body like that do you think?

5) How many contractions do you guys put on each pec? 

http://www.theringlord.org/forum/index.php?/gallery/image/1055-plumatalightjpg/&browse=1 I'd like my contractions to show rounder pecs these ones look kind of pointed down. Also would anyone be able to tell me if I would need to put a contraction between the pecs to make it lay like that or if theres no contraction and thats how his scales lay on his chest.

Edit: I'm using medium sized scales if that makes a difference

Thanks in advance.. Again :) Excited to continue working on my scales.

 

Edited by SeanAud
Using medium sized scales.

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1 hour ago, SeanAud said:

1) Would I be able to put in contractions after I complete my armor without having to take out too much work? (from my understanding it takes up a row of three scales [would I only need to adjust for like 9ish scales and not have to remove entire pieces of work?]) Ideally, i'd like to finish my armor and then decide if my armor needs contractions afterwards, but if it makes it too much of a hassle i'd do it as i'm working.

If you want to add a contraction/expansion in the middle of a finished sheet, you will need to add or remove many scales.  If your contraction takes a row from, say, 20 scales wide to 19 scales wide, then every row below that point will also be 19 scales wide. Doing that in the middle of a sheet requires removing one scale from every row below that point.

For your first shirt, it's hard to know where to place contractions before you've built the shirt and tried it on to see where it puckers. Chicken and egg problem. Go through the gallery and inspect the scale shirts and look closely for the contractions. I remember using Lorenzo's and Paladin's images for references when I started doing scale work.

1 hour ago, SeanAud said:

2) Does the contraction start at the beginning of the curvature ie: would the two side by side scales that need to be joined together be the part of the contraction that would start over the beginning of where on the body part curves down? Or would the hole be the spot where the body start to curve down and the two scales be right above when it starts to curve down.

See the attached photos. They may help show the behavior of expansions and contractions in different places. 

2 hours ago, SeanAud said:

A3) Do contractions need to be used on curved parts of the body? Or can they be used to create the image of a muscular/physical body without having the curves around it? Ie: If you didn't have much curvature on your pecs, for example, could you make contractions to make it look like you did? Or would it do nothing?

They will add a little definition, but I think something like this link combined with tailoring will be much more effective:
https://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=130769

2 hours ago, SeanAud said:

4) Wont the scales naturally form the shape of your body?

Scales are a little body conformal, but not nearly as much as maille. Tailoring really helps.

Scale_Bodice_WIP_front.jpg

Scale_Bodice_WIP_rear.jpg

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Thanks for taking the time to respond and explain everything Eric! Really appreciate it.

I'm going to start adding the contractions tomorrow, instead of adding them in at the end as per your advice.

I'm not going to add any additional padding, although that is a cool idea! Thanks for the link.

I'm still uncertain if I need contractions on the front. This is what I have so far. I've completed up to the nipple on the front (which is where i'm guessing would be where my first contraction should be. I'm also uncertain about the back, i'll probably need one in my middle lower back (and maybe under my shoulder blades?) The pictures are kinda hard to see, but any advice would be nice :).

https://imgur.com/a/Luv7vKI

Also will the contractions limit my mobility? I'll need to be able to raise my arms above my head, and pull the shirt over my head to get it on.

Thanks :)

 

 

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Take this with a grain of salt, because comfort is a personal thing. Given your shape, the size of your scales, and that you are making a pull-over shirt, I would recommend a contraction at your 'natural waistline' (The one well above your belly button) on either side, more towards your backside than your front side. Divide your sides by three and place in the third closest to your back, if the description makes sense. And another contraction or two at the small of your back. Unless you add an expansion at the top of your shoulders, I would not worry about a contraction underneath your shoulder blades. Each contraction effectively eliminates a row of scales, so things can get tight quickly if you are not careful. If you size everything so that the scales hang right at full extension you will find they conform to you better than you may expect; especially as the weight of the piece increases. This also leaves you a bit of room for expansion as you move. (Scales expand horizontally across the weave as they contract vertically, and contract horizontally as they expand vertically.)

I would think about your shoulder seam as well. The current arrangement looks like it will eventually become rather uncomfortable and have trouble holding together as the weight of your shirt increases. Since you mention raising your arms above your head; the scales do not flex as well horizontally along the sheet as they do vertically. Meaning you can find the sides of the panels being driven into your neck as you reach for the sky; especially if you have full sleeves, large 'spaulders', or even broad 'straps'.  As it looks now, I do not think you will have that issue, but I would not narrow your head hole any. A 'quick' fix that would reinforce your shoulder seam without resizing anything could be a single row 90 degree link. There is a picture in the guide that shows one from the top and bottom. The arrangement seen with the aluminum scales would likely work best with what you presently have, if you want to try it. Keep up the good work!

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17 hours ago, Paladin said:

Take this with a grain of salt, because comfort is a personal thing. Given your shape, the size of your scales, and that you are making a pull-over shirt, I would recommend a contraction at your 'natural waistline' (The one well above your belly button) on either side, more towards your backside than your front side. Divide your sides by three and place in the third closest to your back, if the description makes sense. And another contraction or two at the small of your back. Unless you add an expansion at the top of your shoulders, I would not worry about a contraction underneath your shoulder blades. Each contraction effectively eliminates a row of scales, so things can get tight quickly if you are not careful. If you size everything so that the scales hang right at full extension you will find they conform to you better than you may expect; especially as the weight of the piece increases. This also leaves you a bit of room for expansion as you move. (Scales expand horizontally across the weave as they contract vertically, and contract horizontally as they expand vertically.)

I would think about your shoulder seam as well. The current arrangement looks like it will eventually become rather uncomfortable and have trouble holding together as the weight of your shirt increases. Since you mention raising your arms above your head; the scales do not flex as well horizontally along the sheet as they do vertically. Meaning you can find the sides of the panels being driven into your neck as you reach for the sky; especially if you have full sleeves, large 'spaulders', or even broad 'straps'.  As it looks now, I do not think you will have that issue, but I would not narrow your head hole any. A 'quick' fix that would reinforce your shoulder seam without resizing anything could be a single row 90 degree link. There is a picture in the guide that shows one from the top and bottom. The arrangement seen with the aluminum scales would likely work best with what you presently have, if you want to try it. Keep up the good work!

1

Thanks Paladin, I spent hours yesterday playing around with contractions around my pecs. Which was basically me just adding and removing contractions over and over again, I didn't see much of a difference I think because there isn't much of a decline from my pec to my abs. I just want to confirm with the contraction at my natural waistline, you say on "either side", i'd be putting one on each side in a roughly equilateral location, approximately around the location where my ribs kinda flare out and decline down toward my lower abs is that correct? Also you said "nearer to the backside than your frontside", these contractions are still going on the front side correct? Just nearer to the side of my body/kidneys rather than the centre/stomach, or do you literally mean on my back on my natural waist line? 

I'm a little bit confused on the dividing the sides by three part.

How does one know if a contraction in the correct or wrong spot? Are there any warning signs or positive signs?

When you say "a contraction or two at the small of your back" do you mean a contraction side by side to another contraction in the lower back? or a contraction in the middle of the lower back and then another contraction either above or below that one in the same column? 

From my understanding, there will be 2 contractions on each side of the front of my body at the natural waistline, nearer to the sides of my body. And 1-2 contractions on the small of my back. Is that correct? I wont need one under each armpit (i'll be scaling underneath my armpits soon to create the wrap around shirt)? Or is that what essentially the two front contractions will be doing.

I'll look into adding the 90-degree link, thanks for the heads up! 

Thanks again for all your information. I'm going to remove my two contractions on each pec again and scale my way down to the waistline and to the lower back. Really appreciate the help. I might be able to finish this thing by the end of next week!

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If you look at a muscular anatomy chart with the figure facing right, you will see the latisimus dorsi (farthest left/back) serratus anterior ( more in the middle) and external obliques (further right) then the ol' abs along with the pecs above them. Around where those first three groups are meeting up is often a good place for a contraction: the relative bulk of the pecs and the lats are 'narrowing' down to the serratus muscles, before things begin 'flaring out' again at the obliques. This area is more towards the backside of the torso than the front. 

Yes, I meant in a single column for the contractions in your lower back. You can place one nearer the top, skip a row or two, then place the second underneath. As far as warning signs go, if it does not sit comfortably or binds when you move, you'll want to think about adjusting things. 

So, think two contractions the same height on either side of your torso, more towards the back than the front, at your natural waistline, and two contractions, one above the other, centered in the small of your back.

As an aside, the link below is to a shared album. The pictures of the dark gray scale shirt was my first one when it was nearly complete. (I still had some mail to add to one sleeve.) That shirt had no contractions anywhere when those pictures were taken. The back panel was a few rows wider and taller than the front, and I sized everything so it all hung right at full extension at rest, that is all. I modified it later on, gaining a bit more freedom of movement with less 'stretching' of the back panel. 

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNUYvN7QgIhQMMt11pXLnE9A_Zq6CXMbhED42hAY3RWiiTsKgu3dMLvQ6wFGtgN7w?key=WkxaRHlyXzRYQVlUVk5hV09WdGI0M1VmU0tfWmlB

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12 hours ago, Paladin said:

If you look at a muscular anatomy chart with the figure facing right, you will see the latisimus dorsi (farthest left/back) serratus anterior ( more in the middle) and external obliques (further right) then the ol' abs along with the pecs above them. Around where those first three groups are meeting up is often a good place for a contraction: the relative bulk of the pecs and the lats are 'narrowing' down to the serratus muscles, before things begin 'flaring out' again at the obliques. This area is more towards the backside of the torso than the front. 

Yes, I meant in a single column for the contractions in your lower back. You can place one nearer the top, skip a row or two, then place the second underneath. As far as warning signs go, if it does not sit comfortably or binds when you move, you'll want to think about adjusting things. 

So, think two contractions the same height on either side of your torso, more towards the back than the front, at your natural waistline, and two contractions, one above the other, centered in the small of your back.

As an aside, the link below is to a shared album. The pictures of the dark gray scale shirt was my first one when it was nearly complete. (I still had some mail to add to one sleeve.) That shirt had no contractions anywhere when those pictures were taken. The back panel was a few rows wider and taller than the front, and I sized everything so it all hung right at full extension at rest, that is all. I modified it later on, gaining a bit more freedom of movement with less 'stretching' of the back panel. 

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNUYvN7QgIhQMMt11pXLnE9A_Zq6CXMbhED42hAY3RWiiTsKgu3dMLvQ6wFGtgN7w?key=WkxaRHlyXzRYQVlUVk5hV09WdGI0M1VmU0tfWmlB

7

Thank you so much again. You've just given me everything I need to complete my first scalemail shirt. Really excited to finish this thing up :D.

Your scalemail looks awesome. I like how you strung pure rings around the armpit.

I'll probably have to tailor mine a bit after I complete it i'm sure, but it wont be much longer now!

Edit: Picture I used of muscular anatomy chart facing right. For anyone who may be following this post in the future.

https://www.google.ca/search?biw=1152&bih=588&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=19caW8ndLMnE0PEPioOi2Ao&q=muscular+anatomy+chart+facing+right&oq=muscular+anatomy+chart+facing+right&gs_l=img.3...21329.22533.0.22662.13.12.0.0.0.0.109.714.10j1.11.0....0...1c.1.64.img..2.1.64...0i30k1.0.7qbmX3xJums#imgrc=CRRoB1Q4TK94hM: 

Edited by SeanAud
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What do you guys use to clean the rings/scales after you finished your armor? The stainless steel rings leave smudge marks all over my body.

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2 hours ago, TitaniumMithril said:

blue dawn (or equivalent) dish soap is the standard.

Thanks for the response TitaniumMithril, what steps do you take typically? I'm afraid of the rings rusting, Do you just submerge the armor in your sink and add blue dawn, then scrub it down with a sponge or something and dry it with a towel afterwards??

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