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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Flattening by hammer
Hit the rings until the overlapping area is flat. You can use any big piece of metal instead of an anvil.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cutting rivets
Cut off tiny bits of wire. In the next step, you can use them as rivets. Try different lengths.
- 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.
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
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:
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.
Ironskins Guide to Making Riveted Chainmail PDF
An illustrated PDF-manual about making riveted chainmail.