Most European chainmaille you will find is crafted in the “4 in 1” pattern. There is no mystery to the name, it simply means four rings in one ring. If you are repairing a coif, hauburk, or Chain leggings it is most likely in this pattern. I have highlighted 4 pink rings inside one blue ring. With the coloured rings you should be able to see this pattern repeating itself throughout the image. If you have confirmed that this pattern matches the item you are repairing you will need two pairs of pliers to simply bend the rings (open & closed). It doesn't matter what kind of pliers you use though I find on large chainmaille repairs two pairs of toothless needle-nosed pliers work best for me. On a small repair I just grab the first two pairs I can find in my tool box. If you are missing a few rings don't worry, I will tell you where to get them at the end of this tutorial.
If you lay your piece out flat with all the rings in their natural direction you should be able to determine how many rings are missing. By visualizing the 4 pink rings rings in the one blue I quickly discovered that I am missing one of the pink rings.
We already determined that we needed to replace one ping ring, I'm no Giotto but to illustrate I will draw in the missing ring. Once I drew in the pink ring it became very apparent that I need two rings to fix this pattern. I drew in the second ring for a reference and to show you how to weave them over and under the existing rigs. If you have trouble visualizing it take your time, have a look at the 4 in 1 pattern beside it and weave it through the same way.
Now you have found which direction to weave them through grab your pliers of choice and close the ring. Simply bend the replacement ring closed and we will move on to the final ring for this repair. If you are using pliers with “teeth” like I am in this tutorial be careful not to squeeze them to tight as you could mar or scratch your rings.
Now we have put in the first ring this illustration shows us very clearly that one more will complete this job!
Weave your ring as shown here, close er' up and your chainmaille is as good as new! This is not a difficult repair that anyone can do. If you have trouble visualizing the patterns just take your time and if you put a ring in wrong, just open it back up and try it again. Now, where do you get your rings?
Most people automatically think, “Where do I buy replacement rings?”. If you search around the internet you will most likely find several people selling them. The nice thing about butted chainmaille armor is you will never notice if you remove the entire last row around the waist of your shirt, or the end of each sleeve, the last row of each pant leg or even the final row of your coifs mantel. These rings are made from the exact same material as the rest of your armor and have even aged to that perfect patina that the rest of your suit has taken years to achieve!
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