(Originally posted on my old web site in 2014)
For several months now (in 2014!), I have been wanting to make a micromaille JPL chainmaille bracelet. Micromaille is chainmaille that is typically at or below 3.0 mm inner diameter. It’s little. Very little.
The problem, however, is that I didn’t have any way to coil wire into rings that size. The smallest coiling mandrel on the Pepe Ring Maker is 2.5 mm. I have made some nice JPL pieces in 2.5, but I couldn’t go any smaller.
Problem solved! I am using a 2.0mm knitting needle in my Pepe wire coiler, and a spool of 22 gauge (AWG) wire. I just stick the needle in the crank, load some 22 gauge wire, and start winding coils. I didn’t know if I would be able to cut the coils into rings, but they cut just fine, thus leaving me with a nice pile of micromaille jump rings for a very thin chain.
Will the chain be strong enough to hold up under the pressure of normal usage? Yes! The wire is a small gauge, but the rings are also very small, so they won’t distort or open.
Here are several ring sizes I use:
Jump Ring Size Comparison
The rings in this picture, from left to right, are 2.0 mm rings (22 gauge), 3.0 mm rings (20 gauge, my most common ring size), 4.0 mm (20 gauge), and 4.5 mm (18 gauge).
I had a hard time getting the chain started because I kept dropping the starting 3-ring mobius. It was very little for my fingers to grasp. Once I got the chain started, though, it wasn’t too bad. On the other hand, it’s going to take quite a while to make this chain because each ring adds very little to the overall length.
For another comparison, here is the chain in 2.0 mm rings compared to my bracelet, which has 4.5 mm rings in 20 gauge.
Box chain (silver) and JPL (brass)
I finally finished the bracelet. It took a long, long time, mainly because the rings are very hard to grasp, they tend to move around in the pliers when I’m weaving them, and with the teeny-tiny size, getting the closures acceptable is a challenge.
Here’s another comparison with the Full Persian bracelet in my hand, to give you an idea of how much smaller this is: