How to Make Chain Mail

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Anvil
  • Mandrel
  • Gloves
  • Snips or a saw
  • Pliers
  • Riveter and rivets
  • Torch
  • Wire

How to Make Chain Mail. Chain mail is one of the older forms of armor. It consists of metal loops formed into a covering for the body. Chain mail predated many forms of plate armor. It was a good protector against certain types of weapons, but wearing chain mail did not make the wearer invulnerable. Making chain mail is very labor intensive, and if you are going to make a chain mail item, be prepared to spend many hours working on it.

Get your tools together. You will need a riveter, a pair of pliers, something to wind the metal wire around (called the mandrel) and a saw or pair of snips to cut the wire. A hammer can help you flatten the ends of the loops, making it easier to rivet. You will also need to acquire the wire.

Decide what you want to make. You can make a glove, a hauberk (body covering), a coif (head covering), or even something simple and fashionable, such as a belt. The belt may be a good place to start if you have never made chain mail before. It will let you practice.

Start making the rings. Wrap the wire tightly around your mandrel. You may need to heat it up first using a torch. Be careful not to burn yourself.

Cut the rings. Use a saw or tin snips. If you plan on riveting the rings (which is the traditional method of making chain mail), flatten the very tips of the rings. Make dozens or hundreds of rings at a time. Mass production techniques can save you a lot of time.

Get your pattern for whatever you intend to make. You will not need one for a belt, but you will need basic measurements for a hauberk. You can use an old shirt. Cut along the seams for the sections. For a coif, you can use a hood.

Start linking the rings. There are a number of patterns you can use. Check out the link in the resources box for a more detailed explanation of linking patterns. You will have to rivet the links one by one.

Once you have each panel of your chain mail item completed, link them together. Use links of chain to attach each panel. It will not hurt to double up your links at the seams.

Finish the item. When you wear it, you will have to wear some kind of padding under the armor. Heavy quilted or leather armor was used in the past for protection from stabbing and bludgeoning attacks.

Tip

Wear gloves while you are working. Chain mail is very heavy and hot. Be aware of your body, and do not overheat while wearing it.

Warning

Wear gloves while you are working. Be careful not to burn yourself if you use a torch.

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