Glossary

For a much more extensive list of chainmail-related terms, please visit the M.A.I.L. glossary.

AA

Anodized aluminum.

alloy

The composition of different metallic and non-metallic elements that make up a certain metal.

aspect ratio (AR)

The ring inner diameter to wire diameter ratio. ID / WD = AR. The values in the equation must be of the same units- either decimal inches or millimeters. The number received represents the total number of wire widths that fit inside the ring. It also dictates what weaves will and will not work with it.
(More info: Everything you've ever wanted to know about Aspect Ratios - zlosk.com)

Example: If a ring's inner diameter measures .274" and its wire size is .063", then the equation .274/.063 is used, and the result is 4.3. (This is a 1/4" (.250") ring with 9.6% springback.)

AWG

American Wire Gauge. A system of use to identify the approximate wire size of mostly non-ferrous metals.

cage rings

In a Captive / Orbital weave, the rings that serve to surround captive rings and lock them in place.

captive rings

Appearing in Captive / Orbital weaves, rings which are held in place by sets of cage rings. As a rule, captive rings don't connect to any other rings, except in special cases, such as staggered sheet progressions of CIR (see SCIRS).

cell

The term used to describe a single segment of a chain weave. Usually used with weaves that are ideal for captive, orbital, and/or reinforcing purposes.

chain weave

A weave form that is one-dimensional. Includes weaves that expand in one direction to form chains. E.g. Byzantine, FP6-1, Spiral 4-1, etc.

chainmail

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, or a combination of metal and non-metallic rings.

coif

A maille hood which covers the head and has an opening for most of the face. Coifs sometimes extend to the edge of the shoulders and beyond.

coil

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

dimensional weave

A weave form that is three-dimensional. Includes weaves that expand in three different directions and expand volumatically. E.g. J4-1Cube, Byzantine Web Square Cube, etc.

general AR

The range of aspect ratios for a given weave that yield desired amounts of flexibility for general mailling purposes.

graduation / graduated maille

Maille that is made with gradually increasing ring sizes and/or wire diameters. Sometimes mail is graduated by increasing or decreasing the number of captives per cell in Captive / Orbital weaves. Article: Graduation / Graduated Maille

hauberk

A maille shirt with 3/4 to full length sleeves, which extends down to the knees. It normally has slits that start from the bottom hem and extend up to the mid-top of the thighs, either on the wearer's sides (footman's slits), or on the front and back (horseman's slits), to allow for greater leg mobility.

inlay

An image woven into chainmail fabric (usually a sheet weave) by using rings of at least two different colours, multiple weaves, or a combination of the two.

inner diameter (ID)

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 actually called the mandrel diameter (MD), which is lower than the ID (except in rare cases), due to springback.

listed ring size

Wire diameter, and mandrel diameter. e.g. .048" 3/16" for imperial, or 1.2mm 4.75mm (metric). Some people list wire gauge instead of the measured wire size. e.g. 18G 3/16". This sometimes causes confusion because there are different wire gauge systems in use, so it's at least better to include the system used, i.e. SWG or AWG (18SWG 3/16").

mandrel

A cylindrical shaft around which wire is wound to form coils.

mandrel diameter (MD)

Mandrel diameter is the measuerment of the diameter of a mandrel. It is usually measured in fractional (or sometimes decimal) inches or millimeters, and is smaller than the inner diameter (ID).

maximum AR

Refers to the largest possible aspect ratio that will work for a particular weave, beyond which its structure would collapse. Very few weaves have a maximum AR, Jens Pind (JPL) being one.

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.

orbital rings

In weaves from the Captive / Orbital family, orbital rings are those which orbit around connection points, but don't pass through the inner plane of any ring, except in special cases.

oxidation (also: oxidization)

The result of a metals exposure to oxygen. 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

In certain weaves, especially those which are ideal for captivating, rings which pass through otherwise cage rings in each cell. Examples are found under Reinforced European, and Reinforced Persian sections.

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 achieved, 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.

score-n-break

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 yield warped rings (of a varying degree), which require more effort when weaving.

sheet weave

A weave form that is two-dimensional. Includes weaves that expand in two directions and cover an area. E.g. E4-1, J12-2, Voodoo, etc.

speedweave

A weaving technique involving the use of both closed and open rings, the purpose of which is to save time.

springback

The tendency of a coil, once wound, to expand after the coiling tension is released. This causes the coil to expand lightly, thus making the inner diameter of the resulting rings slightly larger than the diameter of the mandrel on which they were wound. Springback varies according to metal type and hardness, mandrel size and wire size used, and to a lesser extent, other factors such as winding speed, etc. Article: Springback

structural AR

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

SWG

Standard Wire Gauge. A system of use to identify the approximate wire size of ferrous metals.

temper

The degree of hardness of a metal.

weave

A unique and indefinitely repeatable pattern of rings, characterized by the connections between rings, and containing only rings that serve to maintain the physical structure thereof or to connect an instance of the pattern to an adjacent instance.

wire diameter (WD)

Wire diameter is the measurement of the diameter of wire. Not to be confused with wire gauge, which is a specific unit of measure, wire diameter is measured using decimal inches or millimetres. Because many suppliers of wire use gauge systems, calipers or a micrometer are required to obtain proper values.

wire gauge

A numbered method of referring to wire sizes, that is commonly used in North America. There are different versions, the 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), avid chainmaillers will adapt a better system for measuring wire diameter (decimal inches or millimetres).