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Chain and maille


#1

Hi folks. This my first post to any mailing list ever, so please
forgive and/or correct any bungles I make here.

I’ve been making chains from 20ga sterling silver links in 1/8"ID
and 5/32"ID. My best-liked design uses 30 rings per inch, and my
most dense uses 35 per inch. My work is pretty tight, and after
burnishing I often require my loupe to find the split in a ring. So,
that said… should I be soldering the links? Is there a point where
I should just say “good enough,” and walk away?

I’m also having a little difficulty with pricing. I’ve been told
(by a biased source) that a particular pendant design of mine on a
cotton cord should be sold for somewhere around $300 Canadian, but
I’m having a hard time swallowing that. How do I determine fair
pricing?

Thank you.
Michael Balls


#2

Michael,

I can’t really address the pricing issue you raise, particularly in
Canadian dollars, except to say that you need to do competitive
analysis – what are similar designs and executions from competitors
selling for? That will tell you where your pricing stands in
relation to others (but still not whether your pricing is RIGHT for
you). Pricing is a delicate “dance” – determined by many things,
but most clearly by the willingness of your audience to pay it.

On the issue of soldering, however, you don’t say anything about the
STYLE or pattern of chains you’re making. That’s what determines
whether the links need to be soldered, because there are cases in
which it’s simply not possible/feasible to solder the links (tight
Byzantine comes to mind as an example). And realistically, those
patterns also distribute the load onto multiple links, so that no one
or two links are carrying the weight of the chain, making it less
likely to come undone.

And then there are others, like a straight cable chain, where not
soldering would be disastrous and would impair the integrity of the
entire chain, because each link could/would need to bear the weight
of the chain.

So it’s not really the number of links/inch that determines the
answer, but rather the pattern with which they are linked.

Does this help?

If you have a website showing your chains, a link to it might help
all of us better answer your question.

Best of luck,
Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller
Hand-crafted artisan jewelry


#3

You mentioned “tight Byzantine chains”, and if Byzentine, Birdsnest,
and Idiot’s Delight are all the same chain, i found a really good
combination of jump ring sizes for a nice, tight chain: 16g rings in
3/16" inner diameter for the second and third pairs, and 14g rings
in 3/16" ID for the first (inside) pair.

I found that you can’t use just 14g 3/16" ID or 16g 3/16" ID 'cause
they don’t fit right, and in desperation to finish my chain project
(i went to the Tyler School of Art for a jewelry class), i happened
to discover that the 14g had to be the inner pair, with the 16g the
rest.


#4
    Byzantine comes to mind as an example).  And realistically,
those patterns also distribute the load onto multiple links, so
that no one or two links are carrying the weight of the chain,
making it less likely to come undone. 

The two patterns I mentioned are, in fact, byzantine and a byzantine
/ mobius ball hybrid. I have a couple of designs where there are
single links in spots, so I’d best either double up or break out the
soldering gear. Thanks for the advice.

    If you have a website showing your chains, a link to it might
help all of us better answer your question. 

This is probably the best image I currently have online:
http://www.bmts.com/~othrside/images/Various1.jpg

-Michael Balls


#5

Michael,

   I've been making chains from 20ga sterling silver links in
1/8"ID and 5/32"ID.  My best-liked design uses 30 rings per inch,
and my most dense uses 35 per inch.  My work is pretty tight, and
after burnishing I often require my loupe to find the split in a
ring.  So, 

Larger gauges of wire like that can be pretty solid, in a dense
weave, so unless you have places where only one or two rings are used
as connectors, you should be okay with plain closures.

   that said... should I be soldering the links?  Is there a point
where I should just say "good enough," and walk away? 

It’s up to you. Wear one for a while and see if it shows any signs
of coming apart under normal conditions, then abuse it a bit to see
how much it takes to open the links.

I did some full Persian with 27 or 28 gauge, ID of 0.095", and
soldered every link, but then I’m crazy. If you want to make things
a bit easier when you solder them, look for a microcircuit ground
probe from Tektronix, part number 206036401, which is made of brass
with steel claws; it will hold the ring steady and not melt when the
torch gets near it.

Here’s a picture of one:

   I'm also having a little difficulty with pricing.  I've been
told (by a biased source) that a particular pendant design of mine
on a cotton cord should be sold for somewhere around $300 Canadian,
but I'm having a hard time swallowing that.  How do I determine
fair pricing? 

Can’t really help you there. Look at what others charge for
comparable work and charge about the same, I guess. I calculate my
hours involved in a task like that based on how fast I can do it if I
am doing everything perfectly, since I don’t think it’s fair to bill
others for my fumblefingeredness. Charge by either number of rings
or by inches of chain, and price various pieces on that basis.

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com


#6
    I found that you can't use just 14g 3/16" ID or 16g 3/16" ID
'cause they don't fit right, and in desperation to finish my chain
project (i went to the Tyler School of Art for a jewelry class), i
happened to discover that the 14g had to be the inner pair, with
the 16g the rest. 

I’ve been using a uniform 20ga 3/32" ID ring for my Byzantine chain,
and tripling up on the bridges. Don’t be afraid to muck around with
the pattern itself to achieve the desired effect - within reason.

-Michael Balls


#7

Oooo, i’ll have to try that…(20ga 3/32" ID Byzentine)

Which reminds me: i once helped one of my friends save his
relationship. His girlfriend thought he didn’t care about her anymore
(i encountered her when she was rather drunk), so i went to his room,
showed him how to close jump rings, and he used some of my jump rings
and made her a bracelet (IIRC, his pattern was 2 16g 3/16" and 1 14g
3/16" ID).


#8

Anyone interested in this type of pattern, can find hundreds of
patterns and instructions for free at www.mailleartisans.org and some
of my chains
http://www.mailleartisans.org/members/memberdisplay.cgi?key=327

Good Luck,
Brian Barrett


#9

I think I goofed in a previous post. I stated that I am weaving
byzantine chain from 20ga 3/32" ID rings. Somebody stated that they
wanted to try this as well - please don’t. I am using 20ga 1/8" ID
rings. If you use 3/32" at 20ga, the rings will be too tight to
weave.


#10

That would be me. Well, i’m getting some 20g wire, so i’ll just have
to look for a 1/8 mandril. Thanks for catching it before, though.