You’ve learned some weaves, you’ve finished some jewelry, you think chainmail is a ton of fun, and now you’re ready for more! There are seven more weaves on my second DVD, and there is a lot more information squirreled away in the corners of this website. Before diving into details, I’ll give you some background on how jump rings are made. Knowing what goes into a jump ring will help you understand the information available on the rest of my site. I encourage you to consider this page as a miniature guided tour of the site. When you’re done looking at the information here, please wander the navigation menu — you’ll find more goodies!
first one: close-up camera from a first person perspective, and a clear step-by-step walkthrough of each weave. It contains another seven weaves, most of them trickier than the weaves in the first DVD.
Jump Rings 101
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about jump rings, but didn’t know you wanted to know…
All these rings that you’ve been working with start out as wire. We make Spiderchain rings from every gauge of wire between 22ga (tiny) and 10ga (huge). Small variations in wire thickness can have a huge effect on a chainmail weave, which is why I made the decision to carry all the gauges in that range, even the odd gauges.
We wrap that wire around round rods of metal, called mandrels. The “inner diameter” measurement of a jump ring is the mandrel measurement. Some people are more comfortable using inches for inner diameter, and others prefer millimeters. I want everyone to have their favorite type of rings, so I have both inch and millimeter mandrels. The combination of 13 wire gauges and 100 mandrel diameters yields an enormous range of jump ring sizes.
Cut along just one side of that coiled wire, and it falls apart into a zillion jump rings, eager and ready to make friends with some pliers.
So what’s up with these ring size codes? What do all those numbers and letters mean? They’re a compact way of identifying an exact ring size. With an inventory of several thousand ring variations, I need a clean way to reference each type of ring. The first number is the mandrel size, the second number is the wire gauge, and letters at the end identify the metal type. There’s an in-depth explanation on my FAQ page that goes into all the details. Please note that I do make rings in both inch sizes and millimeter sizes. You can get the same range of sizes in either measurement system, just work with the one that makes more sense to you. I personally prefer inches, but that’s just me!
You understand what the ring names mean, and how they relate to the size and thickness of the rings. But how do you choose the correct ring size for the weave that you’re making? I’ve done some math and testing for a few of the more common weaves. If you just want one specific size, you’ll probably be happiest with the chart of recommended sizes. If you want a bit more detail on a specific weave, check the family portraits section (currently under heavy construction).
But what if the weave you want to make isn’t on that list? If you know the aspect ratio of the ring size that works well for your weave, you can either break out your calculator and wire size lists, or you can “cheat” by using a spreadsheet that does the math for you.
The last area of the site that I’d like to specifically call to your attention is the gallery. You’ll recognize many of the sample pictures from my pages of recommended sizes, but you’ll also find some new gems. Search by weave type, search by ring size, or just meander through a heap of pictures. I hope you’ll feel inspired to make something pretty!
I occasionally write tutorial/educational blog posts. They’re all tagged with the category of “Learn,” and for your convenience, they’re all listed here. If there are topics that you’d like me to address in one of these posts, please ask!