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PROJECT

BEGINNER | CHAIN MAIL

Lisas Chain
Chain Mail Bracelet

Learn to link modified Byzantine


knots on a simple 2 + 2 chain to
create a sinuous bracelet with substance.
by Howard Siegel

call this Lisas Chain because Lisa Roberts at the William Holland
School of Lapidary Arts was the one to show me this particular weave.
She purchased a chain at an antique store and, like all the greatest
inventors, took it apart to see how it was made.

This chain is a Byzantine chain variation where the Byzantine sections

extend perpendicular to the base chain, making a wider pattern than most
traditional chain mail. It is a relatively large and heavy chain a little over
two ounces of silver and makes a statement when worn!

2013 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced in any form
without permission from the publisher. www.ArtJewelryMag.com

www.ArtJewelryMag.com

This project uses 18-gauge (1.0 mm)


sterling silver jump rings with an inner
diameter (ID) of 0.172 in. (4.5 mm). There
are 72 rings per inch of finished chain.
It requires 504 rings to make a 7-in.
(17.8 cm) chain and 536 rings to make
a 71 2 -in. (19.1 cm) chain. Remember that
the clasp will add about 1 2 in. (13 mm) to
the total chain length.

Slide a needle tool between the above pair


of rings and through the lower pair of rings
(the folded-back rings) in the 2+2 section.
This forms a Byzantine knot [3].
Slide an open ring along the path of the
needle tool and close it. Repeat to add
three more rings along the same path [4].
Repeat to form a modified Byzantine
knot in each 2+2 section.

Make the base chain. Close two jump


rings. Slide an open jump ring through
the two rings, and close it. Repeat with a
second jump ring to form a 2+2 chain. Add
pairs of jump rings to the end of the chain
until you have made a 2+2 base chain of
your desired finished length [1]. (For my
71 2 -in. [19.1 cm] chain, I used 82 jump rings
to make my base chain.)

Connect the Byzantine knots. Slide your


needle tool through two of the four added
rings and one of the vertical jump rings in
a Byzantine knot [5].
Slide an open jump ring along the same
path as the needle tool, then through the
corresponding vertical ring and two of the
added jump rings on the Byzantine knot
directly adjacent, linking through a total of
six rings [6]. Close the ring. Slide a second
ring along the same path, and close it.
Repeat to connect each Byzantine knot
with the knot next to it.

Add the Byzantine knots. Slide an open


jump ring through the first pair of rings in
the base chain and close it. Repeat with a
second open jump ring through the same
ring. Add two more jump rings to the two
rings you just added. You now have a short
2+2 section perpendicular to the original
2+2 base chain.
Repeat to add a 2+2 section to every
other pair of rings in your base chain [2].
Fold back the two jump rings in the
lower pair of one short 2+2 section so that
one ring is on each side of the pair above.

Build the second side of the chain.


When you have connected all of the
Byzantine knots along one side of the
chain, turn the chain around and repeat
the previous steps to add and connect
Byzantine knots along the other side
of the chain.

materials

Sterling silver jump rings:


18-gauge (1.0 mm), 0.172 in.
(4.5 mm) inner diameter (ID), 536
16-gauge (1.3 mm), 0.172 in.
(4.5 mm) ID, 2
Sterling silver tube clasp

toolbox,
www.artjewelrymag.com/
toolboxes

Chain mail

suppliers
Silver wire: Hauser & Miller,
www.hauserandmiller.com
Pliers: any jewelry supplier

See Safety Basics at


www.artjewelrymag.com/howto

BASICS & VIDEOS


Learn fundamental techniques
in these bonus tutorials:

Making your own


jump rings
Opening and closing
a jump ring
Tumble-polishings

Basics, www.artjewelrymag.com/howto
Videos, www.artjewelrymag.com/videos

www.ArtJewelryMag.com

Attach the clasp. Open one 16-gauge


(1.3 mm), 0.176 in. (4.5 mm) ID jump ring.
Slide the open ring through the pair of
rings at one end of your base chain and
through the middle loop of a tube clasp
[7]. Close the ring.
Open one of the two remaining rings
on the last Byzantine knot on the end of
the chain. Slide it through the adjacent
loop of the tube clasp and close it. Repeat
to slide the second remaining ring on the
Byzantine knot through the same loop of
the clasp [8].
Repeat to attach the third loop of the
tube clasp to the other side of the chain.
Repeat to attach the second half of
the clasp to the other end of the chain.

jump rings

make your own

If youre like me, youll make your own jump rings instead of buying them.
That way you get better control over your materials and sizes. Check out my
previous stories to see how I made my own coiling tool and a clothespin tool
that will make creating your own jump rings for any project a snap!

Check out how to make


your own set-up to easily
and quickly coil your own
wire at any diameter: Make
Your Own Jump Rings?
Make Your Own Coiling
Tool (November 2010).

PROJECT

Crank assembly

Make Your Own

C ILING
T
L.
Raid your

Form the drive shaft. Thread a nut


flush with the end of a threaded rod, and
insert the rod through the perforated
strips enlarged hole.

can get costly and that youre limited by the gauges and diameters of

be expensive too. With just some wood scraps, a bit of hardware, a drill, and
these plans, you can build your own basic coil winder for cheap! With all the

56

Art Jewelry

38-in. (9.5 mm)


12-in. (13 mm)

Split-lock washer
38-in. (9.5 mm)

38-in. (9.5 mm)

These are available at most hardware and


hobby shops. A keyed chuck works like an
electric drill and requires a chuck key for
tightening; a hobby chuck is adjustable as
well, but is tightened by hand and needs
no key. The size of your chuck may affect
your measurements, so adjust accordingly.

hex nuts

washers (x 8)

hex nut

hex bolt

Thread a second nut on the rod until the


nut is flush with the strip. Using two
wrenches and keeping the first nut flush
with the end of the rod, tighten the nuts.

materials

1b

handle option
Cut a perforated strip. Using a hacksaw,
carefully cut a 4-in. (10.2 cm) piece of
perforated steel strip. Make sure that the
cut line lands between two of the holes.
File or grind the cut ends of the strip to
round the corners and remove any burs.

If you have a drill press, theres another kind of handle you could construct.
Heres how I made mine: Using a drill press with a V-block fixture, I drilled a
3 16-in. (5 mm) hole into the head of a bolt that was long enough to accommodate my block and chuck. I inserted a steel rod into the hole, and hammered
the rod until its end was flush with the other side of the bolts head, for a
friction fit. Using a vise and a pair of pliers, I bent the steel rod 90 to form the
handle. Then, I used sandpaper to remove any sharp edges.

Wood:
6-in. (15.2 cm) piece of 1x4
1
4 2 -in. (11.4 cm) piece of 2x4
-in. (13 mm) chuck (Jacobs or hobby)
with 1 2 -in. (13 mm) 20-thread hole in back
Perforated steel strip: 13 8 x 4 in. (35 x
102 mm) with 3 8 -in. (9.5 mm) holes spaced
1 in. (25.5 mm) apart
3 8 -in. (9.5 mm)-diameter hex head bolt:
1 2 in. (64 mm) long
2
1 2 -in. (13 mm)-diameter fine-threaded rod
(20 threads per inch): 4 in. (10.2 cm) long
Washers:
1
2 -in. (13 mm)-diameter flat steel: 10
3
8 -in. (9.5 mm)-diameter split lock: 1
Nuts:
1
2 -in. (13 mm)-diameter 20-thread hex: 2
3
8 -in. (9.5 mm)-diameter 20-thread hex: 3
Flush-head wood or drywall screws: 2 in.
(51 mm) long, 2
Alternate handle optional:
1
2 -in. (13 mm)-diameter hex head bolt,
long enough to fit your block, 1
3
16-in. (5 mm)-diameter steel rod,
4 in. (10.2 cm) long, 1
Mandrel

additional tools & supplies

money youll save, you can buy yourself plenty of wire for new rings.

Select your chuck. You can use either


a Jacobs keyed chuck or a hobby chuck.

Handle
212 in.
(64 mm)

alternate

whats commercially available. You may look into getting a coil winder or

Drive shaft

4 in.
(10.2 cm)

1a

f you love chain mail like I do, youll find that buying your own jump rings

In each section, refer to the illustrations for


exact measurements, placement of holes,
and component assembly.

12-in. (13 mm) rod

by Howard Siegel

Overview and prep

12-in. (13 mm) hex nut

Figure 1

12

scrap pile to assemble a basic coil winder.

jump ring system to make your own rings from wire. But those systems can

PROJECT

Assemble the handle. Insert a bolt into


the unenlarged hole at one end of the
perforated strip. Thread a split-lock washer
and a nut on the bolt. Using two wrenches
in opposite directions, tighten the nut and
bolt so theyre tight to the strip [Figure 1].
Place eight washers and a nut on the
bolt, and tighten the nut until it almost
contacts the washers. Thread a second
nut on the bolt until it contacts the first
nut. Using two wrenches, tighten the nuts
against each other. The washers should be
able to move but be tight enough to form
a loose handle.

Make Your Own Jump Rings?

NOTE: Be sure to orient the halves of the


clasp correctly so that the clasp can be
closed without twisting the chain.

12-in. (13 mm) hex nut

ALL LEVELS | TOOLS

Enlarge a hole on one end of the


strip. Place the perforated strip into
a bench vise so that only one hole is
exposed above the vise jaws. Using an
electric drill with a 1 2 -in. (13 mm) drill
bit, drill through the hole in the strip to
enlarge it [1a]. Alternately, you can clamp
the strip in a drill press [1b]. Using a file,
remove any metal burs from the hole.

Hacksaw
Files
Bench vise
Drill or drill press
Screwdriver, to match screws
Adjustable wrench or vise-grip pliers: 2
Utility hammer
Beeswax or lubricating grease
C-clamp

Find out where to buy supplies, page 79


See Safety Basics, page 76

November 2010

www.ArtJewelryMag.com

57

BEGINNER | WIRE

Finish the bracelet. Tumble-polish the


completed bracelet for about one hour
in a tumbler with stainless steel shot and
a small amount of burnishing compound.
Rinse the bracelet in water, and dry it with
a soft cloth. Pull the chain through your
hand to ensure that all of the burrs have
been removed and that the chain feels
smooth. If the chain feels rough, place it
back into the tumbler and tumble it for
another hour or two.

Heart-to-Heart

Chain Mail Bracelet

Learn how to fuse fine-silver jump rings and form them into
interlocking heart-shaped links.
by Howard Siegel

mater
ials
Fine-silv

1
2

using is fun! With practice, you can form finesilver wire into simple chain links with no visible
join and, because theyre fine silver, they dont

require pickling. You can make this bracelet with Argentium sterling silver as well, but if you do, I recommend you
use a touch of flux at the join when you fuse the links. After

additio

than close when you squeeze the handles. With only a few
additional forming steps, you will create a delicate bracelet
flexible in one direction; you never have to worry about
putting the bracelet on upside down!

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2012 Kalmbach Publishing Co. This material may not be reproduced


in any form without permission from the publisher.

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you complete the rings, you will stretch them using snapring (or bow-opening) pliers, pliers whose jaws open rather

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Heart-toHeart Chain Mail Bracelet


includes instructions for
making a specialized
clothespin tool to keep
the correct tension on your
wire as you wind a coil for
your own jump rings.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Howard Siegel has


a Masters degree
in metallurgy and
works in lapidary,
silversmithing,
and chain making.
He teaches at the
William Holland
School of Lapidary Arts, the Society for
Midwest Metalsmiths, the Craft Alliance,
and the Jacoby Arts Center.
Contact: hjsiegel@swbell.net

www.ArtJewelryMag.com

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