Medieval warriors wore chainmail shirts to deflect the worst of the blows delivered by such weapons as the bastard sword and the spiked mace. The tighter the link, the better the protection, though the payoff was more weight to carry about and less maneuverability.
Thankfully, we no longer need armor—but we do need chainmail. Based on an ancient pattern called Dragon’s Weave, this substantial cuff sports a silver plate, which recalls other pieces of armor such as the cuirass or gauntlet. At 2 inches wide, it consumes jump rings; narrow the width to extend your supply if need be, but keep the pattern even.
You can embellish the plate however you like (here, it is is simply hammered for texture), or you can make the plate larger or smaller. You can also skip the plate altogether and make a solid chainmail mesh. However, unless you’re an expert chainmailler, you need the plate if you really want to make this piece in a day.
Chainmail, regardless of its pattern, is a confusing technique to learn initially. Just relax and keep plugging away. Suddenly the pattern will make sense. You will see instantly where each ring should go. You will know if you’re on a 5-row or a 6-row, whether you should reach for a small ring or large. You may even begin to dream about chainmail in your sleep.
- 2 troy oz. sterling-silver jump rings, 6.5mm interior diameter, 18-gauge
- 1 troy oz. sterling-silver jump rings, 4mm interior diameter, 19-gauge
- Sheet silver: 2 3⁄8 x 2-inch (6 x 5.1cm) piece, 12-gauge
- Six-loop slide clasp
- Chainnose and bent chainnose pliers
- Steel block
- Engraved hammer or regular hammer and steel mesh
- Wood block
- Rubber mallet
- Power drill
- Metal files
- Liver of sulfur