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Dragonscale...just me?

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Ok, just realized I had some ring sizes that kinda work for dscale...so I thought I'd give this weave a try. It's one that I haven't tried yet, because every time I look at the tutorial I cringe and think...damn this is hard.

Well, I just grabbed the rings, and started going. Is it just me, or does this weave go together really well? What I thought was really confusing is making perfect sense. Perhaps it's combined with the fact that I decided to quit smoking this morning. I needed something to keep my hands busy, and figured I'd do some maille. And voila!

I'll post pics as soon as I'm done the piece.

Oh, and it's 16516 AB and um...I don't know the ring size, but it's copper. I had lots of copper rings left over from a project a year or so ago...I'll measure them later.

Anyway...that's my little ranty type thing...

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DS is a bit like that, if you have the right sizes it goes together very well.

I always liked the small rings closed method.

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I like *really* tight weaves, so neither closed method will owrk with the belt i've got going. Totally know what you're talking about with the 'going together well' part though. once I got past the part where I kept thinking I accidentally fell into double helm weave I'm going at about two square inches an hour. And it's fun to just play with- flexibility is amazing!

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I liked dragonscale and found it much easier than GSG. That one had me throwing pliers. So yeah, I found it relatively simple.

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Everyone will probably hate me for saying this, but I haven't really had trouble with any of the weaves I've done so far. Dragonscale is a lovely weave and I find it more time consuming than most of the others--but not harder ;) I will add, tho--that I learned almost all the weaves I know off of Spider's WONDERFUL DVDs and she kicks butt at teaching so that it makes great sense the first time!

I do seem to "see" spatially better than most people, so I think that really helps me with maille patterns. I was able to join the ends on JPL, HP 4in1, and several other weaves without looking at any instructions on how to do it. I could just "see" the pattern and how it would flow into the end. (Tho I will admit it took me a bit before it dawned on me that I needed to turn the JPL a litle to get the ends to meet exactly right!)

I think the reason people have trouble sometimes doing weaves is that they are trying to follow poor instructions, or they are just using a poor or even completely wrong AR for the weave they are doing. I got lucky and picked an awesome teacher, and learned with her recommended sizes for the weaves she teaches on the DVDs. IMHO that is simply the IDEAL way to learn!

Sorry to go on and on! LOL Congrats on getting DragonScale to work so well! It's an awesome weave--one of my top 2 faves so far (Japanese weave is the other).

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I'm a relative noob at mail, done some japanese and euro 4-1. I haven't seen an aweful lot of dragonscale weave on the web unless it was just a bracelet or something. Is this weave too tight to use on a shirt? Or maybe just some sleeves? I would love to work on half shirt, basically just the sleeves and connectors to go along with the scale chest peice i'm worknig on. Anyone have any tips/warnings on make dragonscale work for a shirt?

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I have a friend who is doing a dscale vest as his long-term project... though to be fair, he's probably had a LOT of time to work on it (stupid economy)

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gaaa! DragonScale is a dense, HEAVY weave. I can't imagine using it for clothes, personally. MAYBE if you used aluminum--maybe. :P

Just be careful that you can breathe or what have you--DScale will expand and contract, but not if it's "hanging"--if that makes any sense? I say, if you want to--go for it! Just know what you are in for, is all ;)

There was a DragonScale purse posted in here a while back--and it was WONDERFUL. I have no idea where that thread is now, but maybe someone can hunt it up?

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I've just recently made my first batch of DragonScale and I FRIGGEN LOVE IT.... omg. I'm using 16ga 3/8ths Al and 14ga 1/4ths bronze and it's B-E-A-UTIFUL. I'm working on a guitar strap out of it. I'm actually very tempted to up the price to over what the guy is willing to pay so I can keep it.... I also want a permy bracer of it. I had no problems at all.

The only thing I will complain about is that: well I generally buy my rings from TRL and the ring size consistency of my last two purchases haven't been that great so there are a few funky spots (mainly on the edges) where the rings don't lay correctly.

I, also, have never had a problem with any of the weaves I use. Which, granted, aren't that many. Though I will say, proudly, that I got HP4 to work the very first time. So ha.

The most difficult thing was making my Euro6 finger rings and trying to connect the two ends of that bastard.... I spent two hours, straight, staring at it until it finally clicked...

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Anyone have suggestions ring sizes/AR for a DS bracelet, using either three or four holed clasps?

ARs of 6 for the large rings and 4 for the small rings work very well e.g. 1mm wire 6mm ID & 4mm ID.

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I have half a vest done in dragonscale 16 gauge galvanized. It's a real beaut.

Alexander, your vest is gorgeous.

I'm posting in reply to your message because the material in your vest is the closest to the metal I'd like to use for a dragonscale bracelet - I'd like to use stainless steel.

I've made some chain mail but not a lot yet. newbie probably still fits.

may I ask a few questions for anyone to respond to?

1. how much arm and wrist strength are needed to work 16 ga stainless steel? My wrists aren't weak but I haven't tried making armor yet. I've been working in sterling silver and copper. this sounds like an unanswerable question, but someone could say, the Ring Lord's stainless is about twice as stiff as sterling ... or whatever your assessment is.

2. for 16 gauge, I've seen two ring sizes recommended:

19/64 = 7.54 mm for large ring

3/16 = 4.76 for small ring

The Ring Lord doesn't carry 16 ga 19/64 stainless rings. I'd have a choice between

1/4 = 6.35mm for the large ring

or 5/16 = 7.94mm for large ring.

Seems to me that using 5/16 would work better. but can someone tell me whether 5/16 ID would make the dragonscale weave too loose?

advice appreciated. I have two or possibly three bracelet orders depending on your advice, hopeful smile.

Mary

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I've just recently made my first batch of DragonScale ... I'm using 16ga 3/8ths Al and 14ga 1/4ths bronze.

..

Caden_Vekk,

this version of Dragonscale sounds gorgeous. definitely either keep this for yourself or make another one quickly!!

What made you decide to use two different gauges for your ring sizes, and how did you decide on these two ring sizes? The ARs are not close to the ring sizes I've seen in one pattern recommendation -

16 ga 19/64 = AR 5.88

16 ga 3/16 = AR 3.69

your ARs work out to

16 ga 3/8 = AR 7.38 (this is 1.25 times the size of the pattern above)

14 ga 1/4 = AR 3.9 (this is 1.06 times the size of the pattern above)

this is NOT meant to criticize your choices. I'm sure your weave is beautiful and hangs very well.

rather I'm trying to learn - I'm still fairly new in making chain mail.

Does the Dragonscale weave have a lot of leeway in choosing the smaller and larger ring sizes?

If this leeway exists, this may help me a lot because I'm trying to choose the best sizes of stainless steel to make a bracelet. The Ring Lord doesn't have the larger ring size in 19/64, so I'm trying to figure out what to use instead. your recommendations are welcome.

your decision to use bronze in your smaller rings will look stunning in your guitar strap. I may offer my customers the option of having either bronze or coppper as their smaller rings ... thank you very much for this idea.

Mary

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roopurt5,

thanks for the information AND for the link to the guitar strap pics. the guitar strap is gorgeous. I really like the way that colors were mixed and aligned on the strap to create such a nice pattern.

I'll be making bracelets, and I might still need rings that are somewhat smaller for the bracelets. but I'll keep these ring sizes in mind for larger projects - this turned out very well.

thanks again!

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Mary - DWD

To answer the "How much wrist strength does it take to work in Stainless Steel?" question...

It really depends on your tools, the ring size, and mechanical advantage.

Using curved nose pliers will help a great deal. You end up getting more "arm strength" transmitted to the closure then standard pliers. If I tried to use a pair of linesmens plier(flat opening, basically laying the pliers horizontally and closing the rings with each hand grasping the pliers laid out flat) I would have trouble closing SS rings in 14 or 12 gauge. But using the bent nose pliers or a pair of flat nose pliers vertically to the other pliers I get alot more mechanical advantage allowing me to close them.

I'd say Stainless Steel is easily twice as hard to close as Aluminum in the same wire gauge.

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Ski098,

thanks for your suggestion to use bent nose pliers on stainless. great idea - I would not have thought of this but you are absolutely right. this will help a lot.

when you are working with stainless rings, what type of pliers do you use? I have some very nice pliers normally intended for sterling made by Lindstrom - smooth inner jaws, strong.... expensive.

do you use "hardware store" type pliers with a ridged inner surface, or do you use smooth-jawed pliers? regardless of the smooth / ridged answer, where do you buy pliers intended for use w/ stainless steel?

you mentioned working with 12-14 gauge stainless rings. whew, that's a large gauge. I had originally intended to make my bracelet using 16 gauge stainless rings, but Spider told me that most women (and that would be me, I'm not ashamed to admit this) would not be able to close 16 gauge stainless rings. I would NOT be using spring temper rings. I'd be using "jewelry" rings but not sure what temper this is.

I have a few rings from TRL in their sample kits. I'll dig these out and see whether I can close the aluminum rings. this will allow me to figure out whether I might be able to close 16 ga stainless. if not the bracelet would be made from 18 ga.

advice on pliers welcome. thanks so much for the assessment of strength needed to close stainless vs aluminum.

all the best,

Mary

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I have done quite a bit of work in stainless steel, as have most people I gather. For pliers, I went to Canadian Tire here and bought some cheap pliers. Ones with teeth are very important I find with stainless. I was using rings from 16ga to 22ga with these little pliers and it worked fine for me. I would not recommend using pointy pliers as you may slip a few times...and that is the main reason for using pliers with teeth. Unlike with sterling silver, copper, aluminum (softer metals), you will likely NOT mark the surface of stainless too much.

So, my suggestion is, get pliers that are comfortable in your hands, have teeth, and are pretty strong. And yeah, 16gauge stainless is pretty tough to work with, but I got used to it. Just do about 20 minutes of stainless and then switch to copper...lots of fun ;-)

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I just bought some standard pliers from Lowes/Home Depot.

The teeth are important for holding those slippery stainless steel rings, one of the things you can do to make them work better is to slightly modify them from their 'out of the package' setup. Take some sandpaper or a file(or ideally a nice belt sander w/an old worn belt) and very slightly round the teeth and the outside edge of the pliers. The teeth aren't intended to "dig" into the surface of the work to hold it, they simply hold the piece with less surface area so you have a firmer grip. Say you're holding onto the piece w/20 ft/lbs of pressure. If that's spread equally over the entire outter edge of the ring you've spread your pressure out tremendously. The teeth cause that 20 ft/lbs of pressure to only be spread out over very small "slices" which allows you to hold your piece more firmly. You can round them off a bit so that you're less likely to scratch or mar the surface you have gripped. If you live in an area that has snow and ice you probably already know this. The more air in your tires = the thinner their profile = less surface area to spread out the cars weight = the less you slip on ice.

From experience the thing that will scratch rings the most is the outer edge of the pliers as you try to twist them closed. Usually the edges of pliers are pretty sharp as you normally want to be able to grasp small edges firmly. I'd be hard pressed to mar stainless steel just by squeezing them with teethed pliers. Usually they scratch when you're trying to close them and it slips over the outter edge of the plier teeth. Smooth that edge out will remove most of that.

You don't have to sand them much. Just a very small curve to the outside edge of the pliers teeth will give you a great reduction in the amount it will dig into rings. They usually come from the factory pretty sharp anyway, I've cut myself on the edges before trying to grasp rings.

And like I said earlier. Use mechanical advantage to your advantage. Use longer handled pliers and grasp the rings as close to the fulcrum in the pliers as possible. The closer to the fulcrum you can grasp them = the more of your grip force will be used to hold the rings.

I ended up buying a selection of pliers from Lowes one time while I was just wandering around at lunch. I use these 8" Lineman pliers from Lowes in my right hand when I'm weaving 5/16" rings. I just grasp the right side of the ring with the tip of the pliers. I hold the pliers horizontally to the direction I want to close the ring.(so the openning would be at the top - 12 oclock, the pliers would be horizontally grasping the ring at 3 oclock) The very end is smooth and I rarely have the ring slip when I have them in place.

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=253682-16878-50509&lpage=none

In my left hand I usually use a pair of 6" needle nose pliers. I hold them upside down(point down). Using the right hand to hold the ring straight up and down, I pinch the left side of the ring(from 10 oclock to 8 oclock with the plier nose pointed straight down) with these pliers and twist with my left hand to do the closure.

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=253679-16878-50503&lpage=none

I haven't found a good pair of bent nose pliers yet. I'm still looking. I've got a smaller 4 1/2" pair of bent nose pliers that I use occasionally for hard to reach rings. But everything I've been working on so far is 5/16" or larger.

One other thought I haven't tried out yet. Someone else suggested getting a good pair of locking pliers for your "hold" hand. Whichever hand you hold your rings in. You can screw them to just the tightness to hold your ring and once you squeeze it down that eliminates having to "hold" that pressure. I haven't tried it yet either but I'm looking for a good pair of locking pliers to test it out.

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I just bought some standard pliers from Lowes/Home Depot.

The teeth are important for holding those slippery stainless steel rings, one of the things you can do to make them work better is to slightly modify them from their 'out of the package' setup. Take some sandpaper or a file(or ideally a nice belt sander w/an old worn belt) and very slightly round the teeth and the outside edge of the pliers. The teeth aren't intended to "dig" into the surface of the work to hold it, they simply hold the piece with less surface area so you have a firmer grip. ...

One other thought I haven't tried out yet. Someone else suggested getting a good pair of locking pliers for your "hold" hand. Whichever hand you hold your rings in. You can screw them to just the tightness to hold your ring and once you squeeze it down that eliminates having to "hold" that pressure. I haven't tried it yet either but I'm looking for a good pair of locking pliers to test it out.

Ski098,

thanks very much for these tips and the detailed technical info. I'll definitely try some ridged pliers (hubby an I probably both have some) and will also definitely round the edges of the pliers. I've already learned this trick working w/ sterling rings ... regular el cheapo beading pliers leave horrible gouges unless the edges are rounded.

the idea of using locking pliers is also appealing because my wrists aren't very strong yet. only problem w/ this is that it breaks up the rhythm of finishing one ring and picking up the next. I hope I can get my strength to the point where locking pliers aren't necessary for me.

I bought 18 ga rings from BlueBhudda. One of the staff folks worked out a good weave w/ somewhat larger stainless steel rings plus bronze rings. should be gorgeous.

the fact that the stainless rings are larger means that they'll be a little easier to close, in theory.

my first attempt to CLOSE one of these stainless rings was hilarious. I could move the two ends of the ring back and forth and back and forth ... but couldn't move the two ends toward one another (I kept telling myself that the goal is to CLOSE the ring, not to let the two ends "wave" at each other!!) I finally closed one ring and laughed at myself a lot.

now I know that I can work with these rings but that it will take concentration for me to get used to the heavier metal. I'm set to go, all I need is time to play.

thanks once again for all your thoughtful advice. you don't need to reply to this post unless you'd like to continue the conversation (fine by me if you do... I wanted you to know that you've answered all my questions.)

Mary

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