Make a Chainmail Tie

2 Materials
$10
3 Hours
Easy
Hey everyone! This project is quite a bit different than my other woodworking tutorials, but I am super excited about it and know there will be some of you out there who'll enjoy it too.

When I was about 14 years old, I was obsessed with swords, amor, knights, etc. and I really wanted to buy a chainmail vest I saw for sale at a fair, but despite bugging my parents for months to loan me the cash for such a thing, they never did. So instead, I taught myself to make chainmail, and over the course of the next year I gradually wove a chainmail vest from electric fence wire, rolled into coils and cut into rings.

That was a number of years ago, and while I still have the vest tucked away somewhere, I rarely get occasion to wear it in my adult life. However, my fascination with chainmail amor never truly went away, so I decided to make something that would be slightly more relevant in our modern world, behold, my chainmail neck tie!

It is made from aluminum rings, is very comfortable to wear and doesn't weigh more than a regular neck tie. A lot of people don't even realize it is made out of chainmail, so I don't even feel like that much of a nerd wearing it!

I posted some photos on social media, and got a ton of interest in this project, so I made a very detailed instructional video explaining exactly how you too can make your own chainmail tie.
Chainmail isn't just the junk emails your weird aunt forwards to the entire family. It is an ancient metalworking art originally developed in Europe during the medieval ages as flexible amor capable of turning away blades and points, providing the wearer with protection during battle. If you've never made chainmail before, I've created an instructional video demonstrating all you need to know about chainmail itself. In the next step I've got another video showing the process of making the tie itself, however it brushes over some of the beginner details of making chainmail itself. Sorry to have all these videos, I just want to make sure there are enough resources here that someone could make this project with absolutely no prior knowledge of chainmail.
Once you understand the basics of making the chainmail 4-1 pattern, you're ready to move onto a more advanced project like this tie! Again, here is a video demonstrating the steps involved, which you can watch for an overview along with the photos in the following tutorial.
Tools and materials
The tools and materials I'm using for this project are:

~900 aluminum 1/4" 18g rings
2 pairs of jewelry pliers
(the watch is there just to keep track of the time the project took me)
Make 3 chains, 60 units long each.
Start off by making 3 chains of European 4-1 that are 60 units long (you can make it longer if you are taller than me, I'm about 5 10 and found 60 was the magic number for me.) Again, if you don't already know the basics of making European 4-1 chain, check out my other videos!!!

I'm using bright aluminum rings that are 1/4" and 18g, you could use 16g as well for a tighter weave but I wanted to keep weight down as much as possible. It'd be cool to add in colour too, I think the next one I make will use anodized aluminum to create some cool designs.
Weave the chains together
Line up the chains and continue the pattern as you weave them together using jump rings. To add colour, you could use coloured rings for this step. It's important to make sure the chains are lying in the same direction while you weave them together.
Create the Tip of the Tie
Pick an end of the sheet you created in the last step to be the bottom of the tie, and add rings 1 at a time in a pyramid formation to create the tip of the tie.
Make the 'knot'
On the opposite end of the tip, fold the ends over and connect them (the same way you would if you were weaving two chains together) using 4 links. I found this was easier to do by inserting something to separate the layers of tie while I was working.
Make a neck chain
Make a couple lengths of chain that combined will easily fit around your neck. Keep in mind you'll be wearing a collared shirt too, so leave some extra slack to account for that.
Connect the neck chain
Attach the two pieces of chain you made in the previous step to the top ands of the knot, as shown in this photo. The video on making the chainmail tie shows this in more detail also, you may want to check it out to see precisely where the chains connect to the knot. Finally, add a clasp or hook to one of the ends of the chain.
Enjoy your new tie!
All done! Thanks for checking this out and let me know what you think. I can post more projects like this if anyone is interested in learning more chainmail patterns.

Suggested materials:

  • Hook clasp   (metaldesignz.com)
  • 1/4" 18 gauge aluminum jump rings   (metaldesignz.com)

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