Chain Mail Construction
Chain mail detailing was added under the shoulder guards, then later expanded to cover the back of the neck, and upper back. However, the bulk of the chain mail is covered by the AMCW cloak.

The chain mail was constructed from aluminum wire. Approximately 80 feet of 100 Amp house wiring was stripped of the outer plastic sheath. Only the outer "ground" wire was used, as the two plastic-coated core cables were deformed from rolling. Fourteen loose strands are spiral bound around the two center cables, then covered with a vinyl plastic sheath. One of the fourteen strands is heavier than the others, and was not used. This left thirteen strands of aluminum wire that were actually used for chain mail construction.

Each of the wires was cut into about 8' lengths. The lengths of wire were then wound around a short length of brass tubing inserted in a hand drill. Once all the wire was wound into short coils, metal shears were used to cut the coils into individual links. (The plastic bucket is a large peanut butter bucket.)


A bucket of cut rings.

Putting it together
A simple 4-in-1 pattern was used. One starts by attaching four links through a single link (4-in-1). As additional links are added, the pattern maintains this ratio, each link should have no more than four additional links passing through it.
Two more links are first added to either end, then the pattern is repeated. As the mesh expands in size, it becomes easier to identify where new links attach, because the rows of links lay in opposite directions. To add to the existing pattern, attach a second link to each end so the pattern has five pairs of links.
Rows of links can be added to any of the sides, repeating the orientation of the links of the two rows in. Small sections of links can be constructed this way, then connected to the larger work, although all pieces must start somewhere. I find it easier to expand the work row by row, rather than trying to match up small squares of mesh.
To create a pattern to follow, a piece of cloth was laid over the costume's shoulders, then a pencil was used to trace where the existing edges were. I then cut the pattern out with scissors, and checked to see if it still fit around the shoulder guards.
As the mesh grew in size, I add enough links to extend slightly past the edges of the fabric template, without having to "stretch" the mail to cover the edges. I want the mail to hang loosely over the troll's shoulders, and have pointy bits dangling down similar to the shoulder pieces.
Eventually, the chain mail grew larger than the hotel room end table I was working on, forcing me to roll up the mesh and fabric where the pattern was complete. The finished chain mail piece has a long collar (at the left) with four pointy bits in the front and five more across his back. The large curved sections in the middle, flow around the shoulder guards.
Additional links were then used to attach the piece to the existing shoulder chain mail. Links along the neck were stitched down to the spandex to prevent it from shifting during wear.

The final piece of mail weighs 2.18 pounds, and used maybe 65% of the links made for the project.

[Back to Valhalla] [Night Watch Index]

Web site images and content is Copyright 2000 Chris Kramer unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved