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Dragon scale chain mail bracelet

Dragon scale chain mail bracelet
This version is in its original shiny state.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet patinated version
This version sports small rings patinated with liver of sulfur, and a heavy patination on the silver plate.

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.

SUPPLIES

  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 1
Step 1
Large ring 6-row/small ring 5-row combination. Connect 6 large rings with 5 small rings.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 2
Step 2
Large ring 5-row/large ring 6-row combination (first step). Place 1 large closed ring over the far left small ring. Place a second large closed ring over the small ring second from the left.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 3
Step 3
Large ring 5-row/large ring 6-row combination (second step). Secure the 2 large closed rings by sliding a large open ring through the 2 encircled small rings. Close the large ring. Continue this pattern across the row to finish the large ring 5-row.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 4
Step 4
Large ring 6-row (final step). Attach a large ring to the far left and the far right small rings to finish the large ring-6 row. The introductory rows are now complete, and the pattern becomes easier.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 5
Step 5
Small ring 6-row (first step). Starting on the far left, take 1 small ring and grab the large ring sandwiched beneath the first and third rows of large rings you just completed.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 6
Step 6
Small ring 6-row (second step). Use 1 small ring to grab the adjacent large rings between the first and third rows. Add 3 more rings in this manner. You should see an upside-down V-shape as you work.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 7
Step 7
Small ring 6-row (final step). Add 1 final ring to the far right, using the same technique as from step 5.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 8
Step 8
Large ring 5-row (first step). Loop a large ring through the 2 leftmost small rings from the previous small ring 6-row.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 9
Step 9
Large ring 5-row (final step). Continue the pattern from step 8, and add 4 more large rings to complete the row.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 10
Step 10
Small ring 5-row (first step). Loop a small ring around the 2 leftmost large rings sandwiched between the 2 topmost layers. Look for the upside-down V-shape indicator.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 11
Step 11
Small ring 5-row (final step). Continue the pattern from step 10, and add 4 more small rings to complete the row. Again, look for the upside-down V-shape.
 
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 12
Step 12
Large ring 6-row (first step). Attach a large ring to the far left small ring.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 13
Step 13

Large ring 6-row (final step). Now slide a large ring through the far left small ring (on the right side of it), and through the small ring that is second from the left. Add 4 more large rings in this manner to complete the row.

Repeat the pattern. Add length as follows:

  • Small ring 6-row (steps 5–7)
  • Large ring 5-row (steps 8–9)
  • Small ring 5-row (steps 10–11)
  • Large ring 6-row (steps 12–13)
  • Repeat

When you’ve reached your desired length for one side of the bracelet, attach a six-loop slide clasp to your first row. Start from the beginning to make the second half of the cuff. Or, skip the next steps and make an all-chainmail cuff.

Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 15
Step 14
Cut and texture sheet silver. Cut a 2 3⁄8 x 2-inch (6 x 5.1cm) piece of 12-gauge sheet silver. Place the metal on a steel block and texture it using an engraved hammer; use a regular hammer to pound steel mesh over the surface to imprint a pattern. Hammer away, but the more you do, the more distorted the sheet will get and the harder it will be to flatten.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 16
Step 15

Flatten the metal plate. Place the textured silver sheet between a steel block and a flat wooden board. Hammer on top of the wood using a rubber mallet to flatten the piece.

Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 17
Step 16
Fold the edges. Use the squared edge of your steel block to bend over the sharp edges of the plate. Extend 3–4mm over the edge of the block, and hammer the edge down at a 90-degree angle. Flip the plate over and hammer this lip flat against the underside of the plate. Repeat for all four sides, and file as necessary.
Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 18
Step 17

Drill holes. Drill 6 equidistant holes across the short side of your rectangular plate. Be sure the holes are large enough to fit your small jump rings. Use a round metal file to smooth the interior of the holes; also file the underside of the plate if needed. Repeat for the opposite side of the plate.

Dragon scale chain mail bracelet 19
Step 18
Attach the chainmail. Attach 6 small jump rings to the holes in the metal plate and to one half of your chainmail. Repeat on the other side to complete your cuff. The version, left, was entirely patinated in liver of sulfur. Note the purple hues.
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