Making Riveted Chainmail – How to Make Riveted Rings

This is a practical guide to make riveted chainmail from a piece of wire. You can make round rings or flat rings with dome rivets or wedge rivets.

The Process of Making Riveted Rings for Chainmail

Riveted chainmail is made out of wire that is coiled into a spiral. You take the spiral and cut off rings with overlapping ends. Later you flatten these ends by hammer strikes to provide space for a hole.

During manufacturing, the rings become harder as you deform the metal. To make work easier, you soften the rings twice by heating them and slowly cooling them.

Time per riveted ring: 2 minutes.

With these 8 steps, you make riveted chainmail rings:

  1. Coiling wire into a spiral

    Take iron wire and wind it around a metal rod. You can build a rack as in the picture or use your hands.Coiling wire into a spiral for making riveted chainmail rings.

  2. Cutting rings off the spiral

    Cut off rings with an overlap. It is useful to have a modified pair of pliers for this. Read below how to make or get them.
    Cutting rings off a spiral for making riveted chainmail rings.

  3. First annealing

    Collect a few rings in a can. Heat them in a fire to red hot. Then let them cool as slowly as possible. This will make the metal soft.Annealing ring to make them soft for making riveted chainmail rings.

  4. Flattening by hammer

    Hit the rings until the overlapping area is flat. You can use any big piece of metal instead of an anvil.Striking rings by hammer to make them flat for making riveted chainmail rings.

  5. Second Annealing

    The rings have become harder by the deformation. Heat them again in a fire to red hot. Then let them cool as slowly as possible. Making rings soft for the second time in the process of making riveted chainmail rings.

  6. Punching a hole for the rivet

    Take a pointy screwdriver or nail to punch a hole through the overlapping area. Alternatively you can drill a hole.Punching a hole into a ring for for making riveted chainmail rings.

  7. Cutting rivets

    Cut off tiny bits of wire. In the next step, you can use them as rivets. Try different lengths.Cutting wire into pieces to become rivets for making riveted chainmail rings.

  8. Setting a rivet

    Set a rivet into the rivet hole. Align it to the center. Squeeze the rivet with pliers. Ideally, you have modified pliers with dents in the jaws.Setting a rivet in a ring for making riveted chainmail rings.

Now that you know this, watch the full process of making riveted rings. For some steps like cutting and flattening, the video shows several ways to do it. If you want to see more, subscribe to the Ironskin-Channel on YouTube!

Tools for Making Riveted Chainmail

Buying Tools for Making Riveted Chainmail

Ironskin Toolkit for making riveted chainmail.
Ironskin Toolkit for riveted chainmail.

Surely you were wondering where and how you can get chainmail tools as shown in the images and in the video. Especially the cutting and riveting pliers might be new for you. Luckily you can buy the Ironskin Chainmail Toolkit here on the website.

Making Tools for Riveted Chainmail

Alternatively, you can make the chainmail tools yourself. You can buy pliers and parts in your local tool shop and modify them. For some steps, you need heavy workshop equipment to sand or forge. I strongly believe that it’s better for you to buy my toolkit because it will save you time and effort. To prove that, I also show you how to make chainmail tools yourself:

Plan for making a rack to coil wire spirals

Instruction to make pliers for cutting chainmail rings

Guide to making chainmail rings flat

How to make tools for punching and riveting chainmail

Round Rings or Flat Rings?

You can make riveted chainmail rings in two different shapes:

To make Round Rings, you keep most of the wire in its original round shape. In other words, you only make the overlap flat. In contrast, when you make Flat Rings, you make the entire ring evenly flat.

Dome Rivets or Wedge Rivets?

Regardless of the shape of a ring, you can also make different rivets.

For Dome Rivets you take a piece of wire and press it. You make it form a round half-dome shape. To make Wedge Rivets, you cut a triangular wedge out of flat metal and push it into the ring. Then you press the tip of the wedge until it forms a half-dome. The other side becomes perfectly flat.

If you want to learn more there is a detailed 17 page PDF manual in the shop-section. It shows you the little tricks and preparations to master each step with questions and answers.