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These sample instructions are provided here for FREE. They also come with every one of my chainmaille kits. All instructions for kits have a photo for each step just like the instructions below. To order kits, go to the Chainmaille Kits section.


Opening rings correctly is one of the first important skills a chainmaille artisan learns. Rings are created by winding wire around a dowel or mandrel and then cutting this coil down the length. Usually, when you receive them, rings are not open or closed but just as they were when they came off the mandrel (Figure A). To open and close rings you cannot just push or pull with the pliers, because that would deform their perfectly circular shape and make them into ovals.

1. First, hold two pairs of pliers, one in each of your hands. Pick up a ring and hold it just near the cut with the first pair of pliers. Grab the ring with the second pair of pliers on the other side of the cut.

2. Hold the ring firmly but gently and twist your pliers in opposite directions, towards you and away from you, and the ring will open. Rotate your wrists, not the pliers or your arms, so that the pliers are an extension of your hand. Only open the ring enough to fit about 3 of the same thickness of ring through the opening. Opening it too wide (or closing and re-opening too often) can put stress on the metal and possibly break the ring in half.

3. To close a ring, just do the reverse motion until the ring is closed and the two ends of the ring (where it was cut) are flush. On some rings, this is a vertical cut, on others it is angled, so just make sure the ends are as close to each other as they can be. The less you can see the cuts, the more attractive your chainmaille will be.

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