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Reach Out and Armor Someone: How To Make Chainmail Gloves
Chain-Mail Gloves and What You Will Need
One of the most basic items of armor is gloves, so lets go over some instructions on how to make yourself a pair. Be careful when working with the pliers, they can slip when your crimping the links together and smash fingers up pretty badly. Always wear gloves while you work, and work at a table or desk when you can, in order to support your work. Grip each ring that you are bending firmly between your sets of pliers before applying pressure. Also, I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures of the finished project. I don't have a camera, but I hope to upload some images soon of the finished project.
What you will Need:
2 needle-nose pliers
2,000 chain-mailing rings (rough estimate)
2 pairs of leather gloves (one for you to wear while you work, the other as your pattern)
Four in one is the most basic of chainmail weaves. All it means is that every single ring, is connected to four others. This rule can be followed by rows, adding individual rings, or by adding up to the total of four before you close each ring. Its up to you how you do it. This is a basic image of what four-in-one looks like. You will have to modify the pattern as you go to conform to the curve of your hand, but that is up to you to decide how, since everyone's hands are shaped differently. I have included some information on how below.
Step by Step, How to Make Your Gauntlets
Step 1: Grip on either side of the slit in a ring with your pliers, and bend it open vertically to about the thickness of a quarter. Do this with about one-fourth of your rings. While you are at it, check to make sure the rest of your rings are set into smooth circles, leaving no raised edges to catch on skin.
Step 2: Slip four of your closed rings onto the open one, and bend the ends back so they meet securely. You now have a butterfly shape, with the "wings" being the four new rings lying in one direction, and the "body" being the central ring and lying in the other direction.
Step 3: Lay out your butterfly shape on the table in front of you with two of the outer rings lying on top in row 1, and the central ring would make row 2, while the other two outer rings on the bottom make row 3. It should look just like the little 'butterfly' shape up above.
Step 4: Thread one of your open rings through two of the fresh closed ones from your supplies. Thread the open ring through the two closed ones on the right side of your butterfly before twisting the open ring closed. Continue this process until the strip of rings is long enough to wrap around the base of your glove and meet at the other side.
Step 5: Make strips like the one you just finished, moving up the back of the hand. Line them up and attach them to the first strip by adding rings to the rows that started the project twisted open. Your rows should alternate, one heading away and the other heading toward you.
Step 6: You should end up with about three to four inches of finished mail before you reach the base of your thumb. Just make sure that you cover all of the glove. Once you reach the thumb, continue adding rows, but don't join the strips together on the side where the thumb is. You will make the thumb separately and add it to the whole once you have the palm and back of the hand finished. Once your work is past the web of the thumb, go back to combining those edges. Continue the strips until you reach where your knuckles would be.
Step 7: Making the thumb is just like the rest of the gauntlet. Start adding the central ring and the 'wing' rings until it wraps around the side of the thumb on the glove. If you can trick a friend into being a model for you by putting the glove on while you work, it can help make sure that you have the right proportions. Add rings until your thumb cover is clear of the web of your thumb, then wrap them all the way around to connect on the other side. Think like a caterpillar wrapping itself in a cocoon as you work your way around.
Step 8: When you reach the top of the thumb, there should be a couple of rings with their sides up, taper them by skipping away from the 4 in 1 pattern that we have been using. Loop half of them with one ring, then the other half with another before locking those two together. This brings the thumb to a snug point. Congratulations, that is the hardest part of the project.
Step 9: Now for the rest of the fingers. If you want, simply repeat step 5 for each of the fingers and attach them following the angle of the weave. This tends to force the hand into uncomfortable positions because the metal does not flex like leather does. Making the broad, flat mitten hand like a pair of winter gloves makes the process easier while allowing freedom of movement. Add rows like the rest of the glove, leaving the top seam open as the rows reach the ends of the gloves fingers. Seal up the top like you did before with the thumb.
Step 10: Now just get some heavy twine or strong thread and stitch the leather glove to the underside of your chain-mail gauntlet. The leather keeps your skin from being pinched by the metal and allows for more comfort. You will want to stitch all around the wrist, a few spots on the back of the hand, and the tips of each of the fingers.
Step 11: For the other hand, just start back at step 1 and use the other glove. The rings will lay in the same direction, the only change is the placement of the thumb. When you're done, run a thick strip of craft leather through the links at the wrist of each glove. It can be tightened to keep the gauntlets from sliding off. Congratulations on your new chain-mail gauntlets!