Here is what I have learned, plus “calculators” for working with chainmaille, and links to other online resources. I am as interested in the math, science, and technique behind chain jewelry as I am in making chain jewelry.
Chainmaille Aspect Ratios for Various Weaves
These are the ring specifications that I prefer when making various weaves. In the details below, I used the following acronyms:
AR = Aspect Ratio ID = Inner diameter GA = Gauge (in American Wire Gauge, AWG)
This list provides my preferred jump ring size for each weave, along with the aspect ratio. Of course, with the aide of the Aspect Ratio Calculator (below), you can change the chainmaille ring sizes and gauge and make your pieces just as nice.
WEAVE: Preferred AR (sample ring details), sample with these details
- Tryzantine Aspect Ratio: 5.5 (4.5 mm ID, 20 GA)
- Box Chain Aspect Ratio: 4.5+ (4.5 mm ID, 18 GA) see sample
- Byzantine Aspect Ratio: 3.7 (3 mm ID, 20 GA) see sample
- Full Persian Aspect Ratio: 5.5 (4.5 mm ID, 20 GA) see sample
- Perfect Jens Pind Linkage (JPL) Aspect Ratio: 3.1 (2.5 mm ID, 20 GA; 3 mm, 18 GA) see sample
- Reverse Tao Flower Aspect Ratio: 7.4 (7.5 mm ID, 18 GA)
- Rondo a la Byzantine Aspect Ratio: 3.9 & 5.9 (4 mm & 6 mm ID, 18 GA) see sample
- Turkish Round Aspect Ratio: 3.9 (4 mm ID, 18 GA) see sample
- Viper Basket Aspect Ratio: 5.6 & 8.6 (4.5mm & 7.0 mm ID, 18 GA) see sample
- Candy Cane Cord-Dense: 5.6 (4.5 mm ID, 20 GA)
- Candy Cane Cord-Loose 6.2 (5.0 mm ID, 20 GA) see sample
- Half Persian 4 in 1 Aspect Ratio: 5.6 (4.5 mm ID, 20 GA) see sample
Aspect Ratio Calculator
My Excel “calculator” for Inner Diameter (ID), Gauge (GA), and Aspect Ratio (AR). I use this every time I’m making a new piece. I created this calculator because I needed a way to ensure I used the right ring size and wire gauge for beautiful-looking chain. I hope you find it useful, too, as you work on your own projects.
Download/open the Excel Ring Calculator (file name: RingCalculator-2.xls)
(2,647 downloads as of 2/24/2017)
What the calculator will do for you:
- Enter the desired ID and GA, and the calculator will tell you what AR will result.
- Enter the desired AR and GA, and the calculator will tell you what ring size to use.
- Enter the desired AR and ID, and the calculator will tell you what GA you need. (This is the calculation I use most frequently.)
It also does the math for various measurement conversions, such as inch to mm, inch fraction to inch decimal, inch fraction to mm, troy ounce to regular ounce, and weight to length, and more.
The AR is the most important number to chainmaille. With the right AR, your pieces won’t be too loose or too tight. If the AR is too low, you might not be able to fit all the rings you need or the piece won’t be flexible. If it is too high (a sign of amateur craftsmanship), the rings will be floppy, and the chain won’t have a professional appearance.
Here’s what it looks like when opened (screen shot of the Excel file):
The calculator has a place for you to record desired ARs and chainmaille weave names so you can record and remember what AR you need. I added a few sample weaves and recommended ARs just to get you started.
Wire Length Calculator
You have just made or received a piece of chainmaille jewelry, and you want to make another one. How much wire will you need? If you know the weight of the jewelry, this Excel worksheet will do the math and tell you the length of the wire in the jewelry.
Download the Wire Length Calculator
Here is what it looks like:
To use this weight-to-length calculator:
- Determine the type of wire: silver plate (or copper), sterling silver, or gold-fill
- Enter the weight of the jewelry in regular ounces (not troy ounces)
- Enter the wire gauge using the pull-down menu: 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24
The Benefit of Using This Calculator: When you do these three steps, the calculator will tell you the length of wire in the jewelry. Now you know how much wire you will need for your next project.
Jewelry Care and Cleaning
Read my blog post on cleaning and caring for your jewelry. Topics include
- General cleaning
- Light polishing
- Removing tarnish
- Avoiding tarnish
- Damage from stress
PDF Download Chainmaille Tutorials (mine)
Chainmaille Tutorials (external links)
- 328 Weaves: Not really a tutorial, but images of 178 different weaves (some of which are variations on other weaves). Many have links to tutorials. A great display of weaves.
- CGMaille: One of the best sites for tutorials. Good variety, great instructions with excellent pictures.
- The Ringlord: Only a few weaves here, but the tutorials are nicely done and easy to follow.
- David Chain Jewelry: Good step-by-step images of a few fundamental chain weaves.
- Maille Artisans International League (MAIL): This links to the weaves index. It’s big. Many of the weaves here have links to their tutorials
- Video: Best method for making the Full Persian: This is not my video, but this is the method I use.
- Best photo instructions for Turkish Round: These are not my instructions, but this is the method I use.
- Video: Best method for making the Jens Pind Linkage: Again, not my video, but it’s the best one I’ve seen yet.
- Video: Jewelry Making Process: from Wire to Polished Bracelet: This is one of my posts and videos. I show the step-by-step process for making a bracelet.
My Favorite Suppliers (external links)
Contenti: I ordered the Pepe / Flexishaft combo from them, and I get most of my silver-plated wire and all my saw blades from them, too. Good price. Reliable. USA company.
Rio Grande: I made my first visit to their shop / warehouse recently, and I was quite impressed. I’ll be a regular customer, both in-person and on-line. Good price. Nice people. Huge catalogue. USA company.