Over the last couple of months I have found a new passion in the form of producing chainmail. It can at times be difficult to find supplies for this hobby locally. So here are a few places that I have found, locally and online, that will allow anyone to get started making chainmail products.
Crafting stores such as Hobby Lobby are excellent places to find anodized aluminum wire of many gauges and colors. Other specialty crafting stores, beading for instant, are becoming increasing popular and are also excellent places to find types of “fine” wire. This type of wire is excellent for making jewelry or accenting a piece of your work. Do not use it for armor if you plan on using it for any reason other than being decorative.
Hardware stores such as Blaine’s, Menards, TSC, or even a local non-chain hardware store are excellent sources of finding cheap bulk wire. Simply ask the clerk if they carry galvanized electrical fence wiring and pick the length you would like. This type of wire is not only inexpensive, but it’s also readily available, strong, and relatively easy to work with. There is a problem with this type of wire. It’s decently hard wire, making anything larger than 18 gauge pretty unrealistic to cut, any large number of rings, without the use of power tools, or someone very patient with a jeweler’s saw. With some luck I was also able to find some electrical fencing wire made out of aluminum. This was an incredible find as anodizing your own aluminum is a very real possibility. Unfortunately, this wire is expensive when buying a large spool of it. I should point out that it is much less expensive than buying already anodized aluminum, it is much more time consuming though.
If you are looking for any specialty type of wire that you are unable to find locally, I have found some excellent websites out there that have an extensive variety of chainmail supplies.Theringlord.com probably has the best variety and is also one of the cheapest. Artisticwire.com is another excellent place to find all different kinds of colored wire. There are a couple drawbacks to using either one of these sites to order your supplies. First, and foremost, the time it takes you supplies to arrive can sometimes force you put projects on hold if you don’t plan ahead. Another is that you should ALWAYS buy in bulk from them. Your shipping cost will be offset greatly if you order as much as you can without increasing your orders weight to the next tier.