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MobileRez

Questions from a struggling new mailer with split ring

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Greetings all, 

I just recently started doing mail work and after ordering the necessary rings, tools, recommended pdf guides, and scales from The ring lord I am ready to start my journey and get started.  I know that what I have selected for myself is probably not the best for a new person to start out with, but even with all the content out here, I'm finding the questions I have are not ones that seem to be easy to find or are assumed to be known already in existing guides. for reference I'm using small anodized aluminum scales and the Small split rings listed on https://theringlord.com/cart/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=244&cat=Scales+-+Small+and+Tiny I am looking to craft a chainmail vest. The questions I have are as follows.

- Is there a correct ring orientation I should be following for the ring pliers with the ring? there seemed to be only one way that was natural, but this is causing issues when trying to work on the inner rings or the ring gets anchored in the grove of the pliers and struggle to remove it mid scale attachment.

 

- Any advice for dealing with the chaos that is the rows before the Patten stabilizes or figuring out "where am I" when doing the stacking on the inner rows?

 

- How do I do the non split ring weaves shown in the pdf https://sites.google.com/site/thehappybarbarianhordelands/scale-tutorial and elsewhere on the site (the shoulder pieces, expanding and contracting as a few examples)

 

 - When stating on any scale piece it seems to be that you work from the top down. this makes sense, but it also means I'm not sure about how to figure out length needed for the space between the two shoulders based on the head measurement I took which was circumference rather then a length.

 

- I assume it will be easiest to attach the 2 shoulder pieces with a v down the front but I don't start with that. I need to make more of a rectangle first? how do I know when to start the process to merge the 2 pieces to make the front side? 

 

- Given that orientation with the spent rings is important and the  back of the shirt is more then just a V shape but more rounded, and the above guides show non split rings, how the heck do I make the back part work?

 

- Edging with splint ring is something I am also struggling with given the orientation is important and what I've started out with is the rectangle shape but not sure how to orient my self when its only rings any advice would be welcome.

 

I know there are a few questions but I appreciate the help trying to figure these things out or any links to references I should look at the cover all this stuff specifically with split rings and not the butted / jump rings. I have also attached what I have so far from multiple different attempts.

Edited by MobileRez

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I don't work with split rings, but let's start with something simple and then go from there.

Rather than working with straight rows of scales and trying to keep them organized, try working with sets of four scales, connected in a diamond pattern, like on the third page of the scale tutorial. Just four scales, joined by four rings. After that you can begin joining groups of four scales, diagonally. That way it's almost self managing and the piece doesn't get constantly yanked out of line, while you're working on it. From there it's just a matter of filling in the gaps across the edges of the groups of four, in order to make a straight line.

Once you can easily make a sheet of scales, the rest becomes easier to accomplish. Just take it one step at a time.

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Thanks Rob, I may end up giving that a shot. The step Im constantly getting hung up on and how I managed to get this far still not figuring out what I'm doing is what's confusing me even more as I feel like I'm doing the same thing over and over and then I finally get success with no idea why. 

 

I overlayed the scale I'm currently on with a red one to make it stand out but it's this part where I attach the next row to the previous upper left. It's when I have to flip to attach it, and I think I have the orentation right that I struggle to get the ring in the 2 holes or one at a time and then when I do it's on wrong or tangled up

I have to be doing something wrong or missing something simple

received_3533314740098364.jpeg

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It's one of those things that takes practice and finding a technique that works for you. Try holding the ring parallel to the two scales you're currently dealing with and thinking about how the split in the ring needs, to open around them, in order to have the right orientation. Slip it over the first and continue straight on to the second, then worry about getting the ring turned to lock them in place. The rare times I've worked with split rings, that seemed to work best for me.

I did, however, eventually give up and just started using regular jump rings instead.

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2 minutes ago, Rob MacLennan said:

It's one of those things that takes practice and finding a technique that works for you. Try holding the ring parallel to the two scales you're currently dealing with and thinking about how the split in the ring needs, to open around them, in order to have the right orientation. Slip it over the first and continue straight on to the second, then worry about getting the ring turned to lock them in place. The rare times I've worked with split rings, that seemed to work best for me.

I did, however, eventually give up and just started using regular jump rings instead.

I just removed a ring from the first row and my attempts to fix it meant I kept removing more rings so I'm starting over after a few choice words.  I'm using a thicker paper clip (the ones for large stacks) to keep the sales from moving around when I do fold them, but as I found out to my detriment, too much and I flatten the scale. That's also why I posted here, I've been asking around SCA Groups that I know of and finding someone who can work with split ring is more rare then I thought. Also I have 18,000 of these split rings either on order or already here. so id rather not give up unless I have no other choice.

But, thinking about it, perhaps let me ask this. you mentioned making the diamond. its not clear from the instructions but how would you do that orientation using the split ring just align it the right way, pull apart and put back together?

also, the video's on the store page the orientation is opposite of what id be seeing if I was trying to follow that. do you know if there is any plans to remake those videos or a way I can flip the orientation to match my POV? that also is causing me issues trying to figure out the issue I'm on.

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I'm not following on the "when I fold them" comment, with respect to the scales. Are you bending them when you're assembling?

I went looking for my split ring pliers and some split rings/scales, but I have no idea where I've tossed them. It's unfortunate that the video for split rings is done in a face-to-face manner, rather than an over the shoulder view. I can see how it makes wrapping your head around it difficult. I doubt that there's anything in the works to redo the videos. Putting the scales back-to-back, then running a split ring through them, insures that the orientation will be right when they're flipped back. I tend to do mine front-to-front, but the result is the same. I'm not set up to do any recording at the moment but I'll try to keep it in mind, if I manage to get things organized enough that I can.

I would suggest that you try doing just the four scales in a diamond pattern, as I mentioned before, so that you can see how they end up laying when done. It might help you to picture doing the whole sheet of scales better.

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So I was thinking about it some more and I think I may have found a way at least for now to make it work, though having a video the proper orentation still would be best.

 

What I'm doing is when I get to the part I struggle with, is open up the middle of the split ring a little, slide it on first to either the left or right ring, spin it to secure it, then repeat on the opposite side. That does the trick (see attached picture for new progress with one of the green as reference) but I worry it will effect the integrity of the weave long term. It may be how I have to do those difficult weaves till someone who can answer my other questions comes along.

 

But I still have to figure out how long to go before I start the v and where to go till I get to the underarm and how to work that together with the rest of the piece...

received_3554791001284329.jpeg

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Been thinking about it more and was laying out the rough dimensions based on measurements I took and how I think the scales should be woven together based on the pattern (outline of course)

blue is going to be front left increase

green is the front right increase. 

Red is where the arm hole part will start to fill out to the side and eventually meet with the back part.

 

Ignoring I'm using split rings, is this correct? Do I need to change any assumptions or any other type of weave like contractions, expansions, or 45 degree weave?

received_3025055621089852.jpeg

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Not knowing sizing or body shape, I'd just be guessing. Work in stages and check against yourself frequently. Generally speaking you may need a couple of contractions, below your chest, as you move down your body. This will become more evident as you get some length on the piece.Don't be afraid to go backward a bit as you go, in order to modify the piece. I've got an entire scale shirt that I'm going to be taking apart and reworking, at some point. Skills improve over time and sometimes I just can't look at something I've done before and *not* fix it ;)

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2 minutes ago, Rob MacLennan said:

Not knowing sizing or body shape, I'd just be guessing. Work in stages and check against yourself frequently. Generally speaking you may need a couple of contractions, below your chest, as you move down your body. This will become more evident as you get some length on the piece.Don't be afraid to go backward a bit as you go, in order to modify the piece. I've got an entire scale shirt that I'm going to be taking apart and reworking, at some point. Skills improve over time and sometimes I just can't look at something I've done before and *not* fix it ;)

I understand and fully expect to be doing something like that, but generally, what I am looking at is what I can expect to be the right path for now?

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1 minute ago, MobileRez said:

I understand and fully expect to be doing something like that, but generally, what I am looking at is what I can expect to be the right path for now?

Looks like it to me. If not, then it's a good starting point anyway.

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1 minute ago, Rob MacLennan said:

Looks like it to me. If not, then it's a good starting point anyway.

Sweet, thats what I wanted to make sure of as its how i see it in my head.

When you work with the less frustrating rings, what size pliers would be good to have to for the small rings? I got a few of the flower kits orderd and want to get the right tool

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2 minutes ago, MobileRez said:

Sweet, thats what I wanted to make sure of as its how i see it in my head.

When you work with the less frustrating rings, what size pliers would be good to have to for the small rings? I got a few of the flower kits orderd and want to get the right tool

It depends on the material I'm using but, generally speaking, for smaller rings I've been using the "chisel nose" light blue handled pliers at the top of the pliers page, on the TRL website.

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I think this is the video you're referring to?

I've only watched a minute of it so far but I can see already why you're having problems. This is a terrible video, don't use the technique it shows you. 

Folding the scales back to back like that spreads out your split rings, the split rings are already rough and uncomfortable to wear but woven this way it'll be almost like wearing a shirt made of fish hooks.

Split rings in general are for real armour, reasonably tough and cheap, sort of the munitions grade choice if you can't afford welded and don't have time for riveted. Since you're using aluminum scales they're of no benefit to you.

My advice is to return them and order some butted rings, they're going to make you a much more comfortable costume that's also a lot faster to make.

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Almost forgot, if you do stay with the split rings there's no proper orientation, it just doesn't matter.

There's really no need to use pliers either, I always use the edge of the scale to wedge open the split ring and then slide them on. It can be a little difficult until your fingertips toughen up but it's way faster and helps prevent deforming the split rings open.

You could also grind down the beak on the split ring pliers so it's a thinner wedge which makes them work a lot better in my experience.

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2 minutes ago, lorenzo said:

Almost forgot, if you do stay with the split rings there's no proper orientation, it just doesn't matter.

There's really no need to use pliers either, I always use the edge of the scale to wedge open the split ring and then slide them on. It can be a little difficult until your fingertips toughen up but it's way faster and helps prevent deforming the split rings open.

You could also grind down the beak on the split ring pliers so it's a thinner wedge which makes them work a lot better in my experience.

Thanks for the suggestion and good to know. I actually ended up doing the sliding technique you mentioned and my speed quadrupled to how it was starting out.image below is where I am at after 3 days of working and starting over twice. The second color is made from the titanium scales because of the color and what was requested. I'm still unsure if I want to switch to the butted rings or not.

received_252807366384992.jpeg

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You're killing me here, titanium scales and split rings is like buying a bottle of 30 year old scotch and mixing it with mountain dew. Mountain dew should only be mixed with the finest moonshine, as is traditional. :)

I highly recommend welded stainless rings for Ti scale armour or grade 5 Ti butted rings for costume use. At the very least you should buy better quality split rings from Worthco.com , the #3 fine are the size I originally designed the small scales to work with. They're lighter, stronger, and easier to work with.

Progress wise you're doing fine, it always takes a while in the beginning. My first scale shirt with split rings took almost 10 months, of course I had to punch out the scales too but most of that time was figuring out  the weaves.

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5 hours ago, lorenzo said:

You're killing me here, titanium scales and split rings is like buying a bottle of 30 year old scotch and mixing it with mountain dew. Mountain dew should only be mixed with the finest moonshine, as is traditional. :)

I highly recommend welded stainless rings for Ti scale armour or grade 5 Ti butted rings for costume use. At the very least you should buy better quality split rings from Worthco.com , the #3 fine are the size I originally designed the small scales to work with. They're lighter, stronger, and easier to work with.

Progress wise you're doing fine, it always takes a while in the beginning. My first scale shirt with split rings took almost 10 months, of course I had to punch out the scales too but most of that time was figuring out  the weaves.

I did something similar when I turned 21 when I first started drinking. And apparently according to the Canadians I know I was drinking crown royal wrong as well.

 

But alcohol aside, I would not of thought or known about this and that I was using not as good scales. ( I have planned to do more titanium scale work, though my wallet I not happy with me about the price)

 

So here's where I sit and would appreciate your advice on this. I originally ordered split rings because I wanted the strength and if the person needs to be able to fight in it and not have it pull apart on the person wearing it. I don't have access to a welder and my landlord would not allow it, so I'm stuck with split or butted. I found the rings your talking about but just now trying to figure out how to order from the website which is not designed for phone use. Is there a chart that shows what grade ring to use with metal scale type?

 

Since there are no patterns, what guides or things should I be looking for and keep testing on the person who it's being made for (not me) one if the instructions mentioned I may have to do contractions but not sure why I'd need to or how I'd know. It's also detailed about the joins for the shoulders but not where the piece joins under the arm? Do I just keep going in a circle and join the 2 sides once I get to where it starts closing up under the arm? 

 

That said I know that I want to make the shoulders like the picture shown on page 18 of the scale PDF provided on https://sites.google.com/site/thehappybarbarianhordelands/scale-tutorial. I'm already doing a 4 in 1 weave apparently though I don't remember hearing a name for the weave I was following and it seems that is what was used for that as well which looks like a combo 45 degree link with the opening covered as shown on page 10. I assume I can still do this with the split rings?

 

Any other advice as I work and progress you would like to pass along either with the aluminum or Titanium rings or when measuring and working with sizing a person?

 

Thanks.

 

P.s. I've been asked if I could make a kilt and a dress out of scales. I have no idea how to ever respond to that question and if it's possible how I'd do it...

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I'm not sure what type of fighting you mean but if there's any impact involved like with the SCA then aluminum scales are just going to get mangled up anyways. Steel or titanium are the only real choices for durability in that sort of situation. Aluminum is good for LARP or light contact fencing mostly.

Worthco split rings are made for fishing lure manufacturers, they don't have much interest or experience with what we do but they do make the best split rings. From experience I can tell you that the #3F size work best with small scales and the zinc plated steel is the strongest material they carry. For medium size scales use a #5F and for large ones a #7F.

The best way I've found to get a good fit on another person is to use a duct tape dummy, there are lots of tutorials to learn how to make one and it's a pretty quick and easy process. Contractions are used to make a piece look form fitting around musculature or other parts of anatomy. Here's a picture highlighting the contractions in my first vest. It's probably not something that you need to worry too much about since for fighting gear you'll want to avoid form fitting and leave extra room for movement.

You should be able to do any technique with split rings, it just might be a little harder to get the rings in there.

My best advice would be to search the forum for my old posts about scales, I've been helping people with similar projects for 20 years on this forum and there's a lot of good info buried in there.

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6 minutes ago, lorenzo said:

I'm not sure what type of fighting you mean but if there's any impact involved like with the SCA then aluminum scales are just going to get mangled up anyways. Steel or titanium are the only real choices for durability in that sort of situation. Aluminum is good for LARP or light contact fencing mostly.

Worthco split rings are made for fishing lure manufacturers, they don't have much interest or experience with what we do but they do make the best split rings. From experience I can tell you that the #3F size work best with small scales and the zinc plated steel is the strongest material they carry. For medium size scales use a #5F and for large ones a #7F.

The best way I've found to get a good fit on another person is to use a duct tape dummy, there are lots of tutorials to learn how to make one and it's a pretty quick and easy process. Contractions are used to make a piece look form fitting around musculature or other parts of anatomy. Here's a picture highlighting the contractions in my first vest. It's probably not something that you need to worry too much about since for fighting gear you'll want to avoid form fitting and leave extra room for movement.

You should be able to do any technique with split rings, it just might be a little harder to get the rings in there.

My best advice would be to search the forum for my old posts about scales, I've been helping people with similar projects for 20 years on this forum and there's a lot of good info buried in there.

I guess I may not know what to search for right away but good to know. I was thinking about filming the process.

 

And I say fighting loosely as I have 2 day jobs and one is doing audio for film and one of the independent groups probably will have me start doing costuming and some of the actors really go at it. I think one did MMA fighting or something like that.  Normally I'd put the work off to people like yourself who know what their doing, but there's not much for the film industry where I live in this realm and I have not had much luck with the aca kingdom that our state is a part of.

 

The other job means I'll probably be reaching out to people to do interviews with this sort of thing and talk about their experiences, getting into the craft, etc.

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Okay, costuming for stunt work is actually very tricky. You're right to stick with aluminum or titanium scales to keep the weight down and it is best to use strong rings to prevent constant repairs. On the other hand if wearing the armour scratches up the actors it's a very bad thing, most production companies I've worked with are very careful about anything that could affect the look or health of the actors.

I'm going to reiterate my recommendation to use welded rings, if you're going to try to do this professionally then you should really make quality products and welding is faster than using split rings. I've lived in apartments myself and done a lot of ring welding in there, the equipment is not too bulky, about the size of a briefcase. Just covering the immediate floor and worktable with 1/4" plywood will prevent any burn marks on flooring or furniture and in the sizes we work in there's no real noise, flash or fumes, your landlord never even needs to know because it's none of his business.

Buy one of these things, they're cheap, reliable and plug into a standard outlet.

https://www.harborfreight.com/120v-spot-welder-61205.html

Replace the tongs with some battery cables and set the electrodes up the way you see in this old video I made for TRL. Since you work with audio equipment this should be pretty basic for you, it's super low voltage and everything you need can be bought at any hardware store.

In the video I've also replaced the switch with a timed relay and foot pedal but you don't need to. With a little practice and you can judge the timing right by eye 95% of the time.

It's really that simple and you'll be able to use any butted stainless rings and weld them for 10x the strength.

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5 hours ago, lorenzo said:

Okay, costuming for stunt work is actually very tricky. You're right to stick with aluminum or titanium scales to keep the weight down and it is best to use strong rings to prevent constant repairs. On the other hand if wearing the armour scratches up the actors it's a very bad thing, most production companies I've worked with are very careful about anything that could affect the look or health of the actors.

I'm going to reiterate my recommendation to use welded rings, if you're going to try to do this professionally then you should really make quality products and welding is faster than using split rings. I've lived in apartments myself and done a lot of ring welding in there, the equipment is not too bulky, about the size of a briefcase. Just covering the immediate floor and worktable with 1/4" plywood will prevent any burn marks on flooring or furniture and in the sizes we work in there's no real noise, flash or fumes, your landlord never even needs to know because it's none of his business.

Buy one of these things, they're cheap, reliable and plug into a standard outlet.

https://www.harborfreight.com/120v-spot-welder-61205.html

Replace the tongs with some battery cables and set the electrodes up the way you see in this old video I made for TRL. Since you work with audio equipment this should be pretty basic for you, it's super low voltage and everything you need can be bought at any hardware store.

In the video I've also replaced the switch with a timed relay and foot pedal but you don't need to. With a little practice and you can judge the timing right by eye 95% of the time.

It's really that simple and you'll be able to use any butted stainless rings and weld them for 10x the strength.

Thanks for this info. And yea the jump welder is not something I knew was out there, and I'll have to look into especially if I do get into this professionally. Right now it's just more of "who has x skill and can do y". 

That 10x strength is also good to know about and seems stupid to not take advantage of. But also means if I need to make adjustments that I'd have to cut apart the ring unless there is some way to unweld like there is in soldering.

I want to use up the rings I have. But the next ring order I'm either going to go with something I weld with what you showed above or at the very least, the rings you mentioned me getting for future Titanium scale piece work. I assume there's not much besides welding that I can do to decrease the scratching from the split rings when wearing it. I made extra space with my measurements as so there is room for clothing underneath besides the normal little extra room for wear.

 

I've also enjoyed just sitting at different places with my scales and rings and just working a bit and the conversations that come up with individuals because of it has been nice to have especially right now. Lots of people I know are interested to see how my first project turns out. And on my part I am excited to see how it fills out especially when it comes to the joining of the 2 sides. And I appreciate the advice you have given and the opportunity to lean form those with more experience than myself (it's too bad there are not apprenticeships for this thing anymore, this seems like something I would of like to do as a job beyond just for fun and compliments how my autism has manifested it's self) 

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10x is an average vs. butted rings in the same size and material, split rings are usually 2-3x. There is no way to un-weld but it's pretty quick to cut and replace, usually I cut out split rings when I'm doing alterations too, my time is worth more than the rings.

If you can solder there is another option to reduce scratching, just get some thin brass wire from the hardware store and hard solder a dab of brass onto the end of the split ring that faces the wearer. It's almost as strong as welding too but it takes some time. Borax and water works for flux and a butane or propane torch will put out enough heat but a soldering iron won't.

It's a pretty good job, I'm not complaining but anything can become a grind and you do lose some enjoyment when you have to do actual production line stuff instead of working on interesting projects. A lot of people who get into mailling are also on the spectrum, I won't get into names since that can be personal and private info but you might be surprised how common it is.

Anyways if you want any more advice I'll be around, just holler. I generally check in once a week or so.

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I figured their might be more on the spectrum doing this work l, you just don't hear much about it it's always coding or something like that.

 

The temp hangers to keep the scales organized that I made from twist ties are starting to not like the weight of the scales. I still have the left and right side separated so I'm not sure if transfering to a coat hanger with some rings pushed into it is a good idea yet to manage and keep the 2 sides apart.

What do you do in this stage? Do you just not keep on anything or do you have something that keeps the scales manageable?

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