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Hi, I am new to chainmail. I have been wanting to make chainmail for quite a while however I have always struggled to find the wire. I was wondering if I could have your opinion an option I have found:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marko-Galvanised-Meters-Fencing-Tension/dp/B01BF7I0XK/ref=pd_sbs_60_6/257-5678027-8873725?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01BF7I0XK&pd_rd_r=f890c6e0-7021-11e9-b50e-d7a80895e95a&pd_rd_w=heq4Q&pd_rd_wg=qvxLJ&pf_rd_p=18edf98b-139a-41ee-bb40-d725dd59d1d3&pf_rd_r=DP6Q7QVE0VP9X1XBHWQ6&psc=1&refRID=DP6Q7QVE0VP9X1XBHWQ6

Also what size dowel would you recommend for a European 4in1/ potentially 8in2.

 

Thanks for any help you can give me.

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Welcome and well come; big question, really!

Size of wire is immediately subsumed into Link Aspect Ratio, a ten-guinea phrase for a 50p idea, but it's in long established use among the horny-handed maillers.  It's the ratio of link internal diameter divided by wire diameter, so AR = ID/WD.

Over there in metric-land, about any steel wire diameter between 1mm and 2mm is plenty fine for beginners working in humble, sturdy galvanized wire for armour projects.  A typical wire diameter for most mailler uses would be 1.6mm/.063" (16 gauge, but guage numbers can be misleading with several wire gauge systems, so international conversations go better with measured wire diameter).  You're looking at the right sort of wire, anyway -- the galvy stuff used for making fences.  2.5mm is distinctly heavy for mail; you could do it in large links (3/8"-7/16") but you wouldn't really want to bear its weight all afternoon.  I'd see what Marko offers in finer wire... for smaller fences I guess.  Hundred-meter coils are okay quantities, you're looking for some bulk in your wire purchase.  (In some wires, quantities of about 25 kilos and greater are economical if you decide to make a LOT of steel, ungalvanized mail.  You find amounts like these in welder wire.)

Now to tie wire diameter in with link A.R. -- in articles of mail in Euro 4-1 and related variants, an AR of 4 is a very good general-use starter point.  It makes a good shirt.  With .063" wire, it's an ID of 1/4".  This makes a fine, smooth mesh, not feeling coarse or anything, which is even fairly close to the link and wire of historical mail; it's just on the thick side as historical mail is usually right around .048-.050" wire.  And is fastened closed by riveting, which gives the fabric serious armor strength.

Don't use wooden dowel for your mandrel; it's not strong enough.  Use steel rod-stock/round stock from the hardware store.

Euro 8-1 or -8-2 (kingsmaille) need a larger AR, so either larger link ID or finer wire for either of these.

 

Heavier 2mm wire allows wider links, from 5/16" to 3/8" ID.  The former is heavy and very very strong as butted mail goes, the latter more open and lighter, if rather coarse feeling, and getting on the large side for historical-seeming mail.  Okay for fantastical Ren Faire and LARP use, popular with Creative Anachronists too, who may be rather more driven by a desire to get their piece finished expeditiously so they can get out there and fight in it.  Building the armour for them is a step to the end goal of playing the game, and big links mean fast assembly.  Well, fast for mail.

If possible, get your wire by the tens of pounds.  A butted shirt in 1.6mm wire could run 20-25 pounds even without sleeves.  You may prefer not having your shirt very much heavier than 30 pounds.  That's a volume of about three coffee cans/canisters of cut mail links, right around ten pounds each.

 

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I see Amazon.uk offers wire in 1.6mm and 1.25mm (sturdy enough for LARP boffer use, though preferably in a quite small link ID), from Merriway.  Get a half dozen coils at once, as 30 metres is rather a small amount for supplying a mail-making effort.  50- to 100-metre coils would be nearer to ideal for bulk, but really it's a pounds-and-pence calculation.  Some of those shippers like Marko seem to offer several coils packed in a box, which is convenient.

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My preference would be for the 1.25mm unless the wire is very soft, in which case the 1.6mm would hold up better at the cost of extra weight. I scanned the Merriway listings but didn't see the temper of the wire anywhere. It would be prudent to call them looking for more info or just get a small coil of each for testing first.

I wouldn't recommend the 8-2 weave with butted galvy rings in any case, 4-1 will get you better results for less work IMO.

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