Chainmail is the ancient art of making flexible, resiliant, blade-proof armor that has literally twos
of modern applications. Workers at meat plants often wear up to ten pounds of chainmail to protect against machinery and flying bone fragments. Butchers wear chainmail gloves to protect their meat-holding hands from the blades. Historical reenactors wear it because it's cool. And of course, inhabitants of the nightmarish dystopian future we will all someday face wear it to protect against axes, swords, and zombie bites.
Regardless of what you intend to do with it, chainmail is composed of hundreds, even thousands, of identical, or nearly identical rings, woven together in a regular pattern and overlapping each other to form a metallic cloth. There are actually three different types of join that can be used. Riveted, welded, and butted. In riveted and welded mail, the rings are sealed closed by the method noted. Butted mail simply means the individual links are closed into a circle but are not sealed. This is less secure, but easier and far less time consuming, and it's what I'll be constructing.
Butted mail begins with dozens of rings, all laid out like gap-mouthed peasants attending a sermon.
The pattern I will be using is 4-in-1 mail. This means that each ring passes though 4 other rings.
Here is the basic starting pattern. The ring in the center will pass through each of the outer four rings. Here they are unlinked...
To make a chainmail shirt, one must begin with the second-most difficult part: The collar. Essentially, what you want to end up with is the top of your chest- and back-pieces, as well as the tops of the sleeves. To do this, you need two roughly square pieces for the shoulders, and two long, thin pieces that will become the top of the chest piece.
Here's the chest piece, laid out.
Notice that any ring within the pattern passes through the four rings diagonally adjacent to it, creating rows or rings that lie roughly perpendicular to each other. there's a little give: the rings can be closed together or expanded.
Notice also that the rings are lying what is going to wind up being left-to-right. This will allow the shirt to expand horizontally to allow for breathing. If the rings were laid out so they expand vertically, the chainshirt would constantly be at it's most expanded as the weight of the shirt opens the rings. The shirt would then not afford as good protection as it will when the rings lie horizontally.
This is a blurry picture of the four template pieces laid out and ready to be linked together.
To be continued.