Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to Choose Chainmail, Part 3: Understanding Chainmail Ring Sizes

Chainmail is one of the best-known types of armor. It was used in countries around the world because of its effectiveness against edged weapons. Now chainmail is largely used by LARPers, butchers, cops, and shark experts. It is also one of the more aesthetically appealing types of armor available, and while chainmail can be heavy, it is not as cumbersome as plate mail or scale mail. Choosing your first full suit or even a single piece of chainmail armor can be extremely exciting, but it requires much more thought than many people realize.

Not only are there several different types of rings, which is further explained in the second blog of this series Types of Chainmail Rings, but there are several different sizes of rings. In fact, when it comes to ring size, you must consider both the inner diameter (IR) of the ring and the diameter of the wire (WD), also known as the wire gauge. Together, these figures are used to calculate the aspect ratio (AR) of the chainmail.

Aspect Ratio

The AR of the rings is crucial to chainmail armorers, but it is also important to understand if you are only going to wear the armor. Depending on the pattern of the chainmail, the AR tells you how thick or thin your rings can be so that they will fit into each other and hold strongly without being too loose or too tight.

The formula to determine aspect ratio is as follows: AR=ID/WD

For instance, a ring that has an IR of 8 mm and is made of wire with an ID of 1.6 mm has an AR of five. If you want chainmail with thinner wire in the same pattern, you can calculate the ID the rings must have to maintain the integrity of the chainmail with the following formula: ID=WD*AR. As an example, if you wanted to use 1.2 mm wire, then the ID of the rings must be 6 mm to maintain an AR of five.

Wire Diameter and Inner Diameter

The WD of chainmail rings can be difficult to determine because they are measured in several ways. The most popular way to measure diameter is through gauge, but there are two different gauge systems: the American wire gauge (AWG) and the standard wire gauge (SWG). A 10-gauge wire in AWG has a diameter of 2.5883 mm while a 10-gauge SWG wire is 3.2512 mm.

Ring size is from 6mm to 10mm. The most common ones are 9mm and 10mm. The smaller the ring size the harder the weapon can get through. For example sword tip or arrow. It takes more time and more rings to make a chainmail shirt with small rings, so it is more expensive.

To make matters even more confusing, the ID of most chainmail rings is measured in inches instead of millimeters or gauge. However, many manufacturers and distributors have made it easier by presenting the ID in millimeters or by offering a conversion chart.

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