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AR (aspect ratio)

The inner diameter to wire diameter ratio of a ring. ID / WD = AR. The values in the equation must be of the same units, either decimal inches or millimeters. Ring AR determines what weaves will and will not work with it. See also: minimum AR, general AR, and structural AR.

Example: If a ring's inner diameter measures .475" and its wire diameter is .080", then the equation .475/.080 is used, and the result is 5.9. (This is a 7/16" (.4375") mandrel wound ring with a 8.6% increase in inner diameter from springback.)


American Wire Gauge (see also SWG). A system used to identify the approximate wire size of mostly non-ferrous metals.
Not ideal for chainmail. Always measure wire and don't rely on gauge systems.

cage rings

In weaves with captive rings, those which surround and lock them in place. The term is sometimes used to describe the outside rings of weaves made with reinforced rings as well.

In the CFP6-1(C2) example displayed, the stainless steel rings make up FP6-1 cages.

captive rings

Appearing in captive weaves, rings which are held in place by sets of cage rings. As a rule, captive rings don't connect to any other rings. Exceptions occur with rings that serve a separate purpose, such as the connector rings in sheet expansions of CIR (see SCIRS, CIRS).

In the CFP6-1(C2) example displayed, the central bronze rings are held captive inside a FP6-1 chain.

See also orbital rings, reinforced rings.


A term used to describe a single, repeatable segment of a chain weave (or chain within a sheet). Often used with weaves that are ideal for captive, orbital, and/or reinforced.

chain sheet

A sheet weave that is composed of established chain weaves bolted together. Usually a row of connector rings is used. Examples include SCIRS, CIRS, SQCIRS, SBWS, SQRIRS, SCHC6-1S. In some cases, rings in the chains interconnect one another like in Byz Ringmaille, HC6-1S.

The SQRIRS(R3) example displayed is made up of connected QRIR(R3) chains.

See also directional sheet, square sheet, hex sheet.

chain weave

A weave form that is one-dimensional. Includes weaves that expand on one plane to form chains. E.g. Box, HP4-1, Spiral4-1, JPL, 2-1C, 2-1CC4-2C, CIR, FW, etc.

chainmail (also: chainmaille, mail, maille)

Flexible material composed of small interlocking metal rings. In some cases, chainmail can be made of rings that are made from a material that is not metallic (e.g. rubber), or a combination of metal and non-metallic rings.

coil (also: wire coil)

The product of winding wire on a mandrel. Coils, which resemble springs, are cut into rings.

dimensional weave (cube)

A weave form that is three-dimensional. Includes weaves that expand on three planes and are volumatic. Originates with J4-1Cube. Includes TOT Cube, OJ4-1Cube, Byz Web Square Cube, Persiantine Web Square Cube, Tetra Orb Cube.

Examples displayed are J8-2Cube, Orbit Byz Web Square Cube.

directional sheet

A sheet weave from the European, or Persian weave family with rows of rings that lean in alternating directions and follow a row and column structure. Originates with E4-1. Includes HP3S6-1, and 3QPS6-1, plus all x-y progressions, DS, HP2S4-1.

Displayed is HP33S6-1 which has a consistent row and column structure. Although it can be simplified to HP3-1, it's not a chain sheet.

See also chain sheet, square sheet, hex sheet.

general AR

The range of aspect ratios for a given weave that yield desired amounts of flexibility for general mailling purposes such as jewelry, clothing, and armour.

graduated maille / graduation

Chainmail that is made with gradually increasing (or decreasing) ring inner and/or wire diameters. Sometimes mail is graduated by changing the number of captive, orbital, or reinforced rings per cell where applicable. Article: Graduation / Graduated Maille.

Examples displayed are E4-1, FP6-1, BW.

hex sheet/hexagonally expanding

Usually perfectly symmetrical sheet weave expansion in six directions. Originates with J6-1. Includes J3-1, J4-1HW, Crenelated-3 Sheet, OJ3-1, OHC, JDS, COHC, Byz Web, Voodoo Hex, etc.

Example displayed is CJ12-2

See also square sheet, directional sheet, chain sheet.

ID (inner diameter)

Inner diameter (or interior diameter) is the measurement of the distance from one side of the inside of a ring to the other side. In many cases, chainmaillers will refer to the inner diameter of a ring as the size of the mandrel on which the ring was originally wound. This is a misnomer, as this value is the MD (mandrel diameter), which is lower than the ID (except under unusual circumstances*), due to springback.

*If the metal offers very little springback, the rings are saw cut, and the kerf is large enough, the ID can be the same as the MD or possibly slightly lower.

The ring pictured has an inner diameter of .475".


An image or pattern woven into chainmail fabric (usually a sheet weave) by using rings of multiple colours and/or weaves.


A cylindrical shaft around which wire is wound to form coils. For very small ring sizes, a piece of wire is used.

maximum AR

The largest possible aspect ratio that will work for a particular weave, above which its structure would collapse beyond the point in which the rings could be manually shifted into their proper configuration. Very few weaves have a maximum AR, JPL being one.

MD (mandrel diameter)

Mandrel diameter is the measuerment of the diameter of a mandrel in millimeters or fraction (or sometimes decimal) inches, and is almost always smaller than the ID (inner diameter).

minimum AR

Refers to the smallest possible aspect ratio that will work for a particular weave. Listed minimum AR values on this website refer to the smallest AR required to make an infinitely expandable weave. In some situations, a slightly smaller AR can be used, but the weave will lock up after a certain number of rings are added, making it impossible to continue.

OD (outer diameter)

Outer diameter is the measurement of the distance from one side of the outside of a ring to its opposite.

orbit rings

Appearing in orbital weaves, rings that orbit single rings, ring sets, or weave cells, but don't pass through any ring they surround. For all intents and purposes, they are still orbital rings- the distinction is necessary to differentiate orbit and orbital versions of the same weave. Typically a larger number of orbit rings are seen per cell than orbital rings in their respective weaves.

In the OrbitTR(O2) example shown, two orbit rings orbit around the sets of three connector rings of the TR chain without passing through any rings.

orbital rings

Appearing in Orbital weaves, rings that orbit connection points, but don't pass through any ring they surround. Orbital rings are usually under more stress than other rings, so AR reduction with multiple ring sizes is a good consideration.

In the O6-3C(O1) example shown, one orbital ring orbits around the connection points of the 6-3C.

See also captive rings, reinforced rings.

oxidation (also: oxidization)

The result of a metals exposure to oxygen and other elements. Effects generally include discolouring, due to oxide buildup. The degree of this consequence varies greatly from one metal type to another, and from the amount of exposure.

pinch cut

Regarding ring closure, the result of a ring cutting method which involves stressing the metal until it breaks, creating a >< closure. Tools used to pinch cut include side cutters, end nippers, and bolt cutters (provided the cutters are not used for score-n-break).

reinforced rings

Appearing in Reinforced Japanese, Reinforced European, and Reinforced Persian weaves, rings which reinforce the base weave. reinforced weaves is generally an alternative to captivating them. Example: CIR would instead be BW, or RIR if the rings added to IR were reinforced instead of made captive. Example 2: CFP6-1 would be FW, IW, WW, or EW if the rings added to FP6-1 were reinforced.

In the BW(R2) example displayed, the stainless steel rings reinforce the bronze IR chain.

See also captive rings, orbital rings.

saw cut

Regarding ring closure, the result of a ring cutting method which uses a saw blade to cut rings from the coil. A || closure is achieved. Several factors in a saw cut setup will contribute to the quality of rings produced, one of the most important of which is the thickness of the saw blade. Material is removed creating a kerf. Care must be taken to close these rings properly. Saw cut rings are the highest quality and most desirable, especially in applications where material smoothness is required, like jewelry and clothing.


A ring cutting method which involves marking the top and bottom of the next ring cut position on the coil with pinch cutters, then gripping the next ring to be and twisting it off. This method provides a better closure than regular pinch cut.

shear cut

Regarding ring closure, the result of a ring cutting method which uses shearing action, thus giving closures a // appearance. Aviation snips (tin snips), certain cable cutters, and other scissor-like action tools will yield shear cut rings. The quality is better than pinch cut, with only small divots at the top and bottom of the closure. Certain shear cut methods will warp rings slightly, which require more effort to properly close while weaving.

sheet weave

A weave form that is two-dimensional. Includes weaves that expand on two planes to cover an area. E.g. J6-1, E4-1, HP3S6-1, Voodoo, COHC, Gridlock, Crenelated-3 Sheet, etc.

Divided further as square sheet, hex sheet, directional sheet, chain sheet. Includes webs.

speed weave

A weaving technique involving the use of both pre-closed and pre-opened rings.


The tendency of a coil, once wound on a mandrel, to uncoil a bit after the tension is released. This causes it to expand slightly, making its inner diameter larger. The amount of springback varies according to metal type and hardness, MD (mandrel diameter) and WD (wire diameter), and to a lesser extent, factors such as winding speed. Article: Springback.

square sheet

Expansion in four directions that yields a perfectly symmetrical sheet weave. Originates with J4-1. Includes CJ8-2, OJ4-1, OSC, JDS4, COSCWeb, CZSF, Voodoo.

Example displayed is J8-2.

See also hex sheet, chain sheet, directional sheet.

structural AR

The range of aspect ratios for a given weave that provide little to no flexibility. This makes them more ideal for structural weaving purposes. The range of values is close to the minimum AR of a given weave.


Standard Wire Gauge (see also AWG). A system of use to identify the approximate wire size of ferrous metals.
Not ideal for chainmail. Always measure wire and don't rely on gauge systems.


Weaves that are three- or six-sided. Some are progressions of established four-sided weaves, e.g. RM is Box in triplicate form, and HC6-1 is FP6-1 in triplicate form. Other examples include RM-based TR, and IR, and IR progressions BW, and RIR. Adding additional sides yields Quad (4 or 8-sided), Quint (5 or 10-sided), Sext (6 or 12-sided), Sept (7 or 14-sided), etc. versions of these weaves.

The cross sections of HC6-1, and BW are shown.


A specific design or weave segment of usually a fixed number of rings. Units can be bolted together into chains or sheets, however, these are not always weaves themselves.

WD (wire diameter)

Wire diameter is the measurement of the diameter of wire. Not to be confused with wire gauge, wire diameter is measured using decimal inches or millimetres. Calipers or a micrometer are used to obtain proper values.

The ring pictured has a wire diameter of .080".


A unique and infinitely repeatable pattern of interconnected rings that expands as a sheet, cube, or chain. Weaves are characterized by the types of connections they have. Limitations on scope are the subject of debate.


A sheet weave with large openings which forms a net. Originates with J3-1. Includes J4-1HW, CVWeb, OJ3-1, OHCWeb, COSCWeb, Bł Web, Byz Web, etc.

Examples displayed are NT3Web, Voodoo Hex.

wire coil

See coil.

wire gauge

A numbered method of referring to wire sizes that is commonly used in North America. There are different versions, the two most common being Standard Wire Gauge (SWG), and American Wire Gauge (AWG). Because wire gauge is not precice (and can't be used to determine AR), it should be avoided for chainmail use. Valid systems for measuring WD (wire diameter) include decimal inches and millimetres.

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More chainmail terms: M.A.I.L. glossary.