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Jerry Penner, The Chain Mail Guy

Authentic Armour - Cool Club Clothing - Gorgeous Jewelry

LINK 2005

January 2005 - Chain Mail Clearout, Making Room for New Stuff

February 2005 - New Rings and How to Get Rust Stains Out of Suede

March 2005 - The Second Best Way to Cut Rings

April 2005 - Summer Schedule, Greetings from Aceh

May 2005 - Fashion Show Highlights

June 2005 - No LINK This Month

July 2005 - No LINK This Month

August 2005 - Fixing Titanium Colouring Errors, New Knits, New Pictures, and New Rumours

September 2005 - Metric Rings Introduced, Hurricane Relief Announced

October 2005 - No LINK This Month

November 2005 - Website Updates, Tweaks, New Jewelery, and the Titanium Anodizer is Now Available

December 2005 - No LINK This Month


January 2005

Greetings, LINK Readers!

You won't believe the deals on this month!

CHAIN MAIL CLEAROUT

If you've been eying the wildly expensive haute couture pieces in my collection for some time but can't scratch together the cash to buy them, look again! For the first time ever, The Chain Mail Guy is having a Chain Mail Clearout sale. All of my in-stock signature pieces are priced at 75 - 80% off.

Why?

I've had them long enough. I've made them, the idea is out of my head and exists in reality, so the thrill is gone for me.

What's wrong with them?

These are all high-quality wearable wire-art pieces, undamaged, and ready-to-wear. I need to move them out of my showroom so I can make room for more cool stuff.

Why cut the price so deep? How much money are you making?

My prices are based on charging $6.00 CDN/hour ($4.80 USD/hour) before expenses like materials, tools, heat, hydro, and enough tea to keep me going. With the price reduced to 75 - 80% off, I'm clearing about $0.76 CDN/hour (about 0.60 USD/hour) after the price of materials and tools.

If the high price of wire art has been a factor in stopping you from picking up some high-quality wire art, then let's eliminate that factor!

What's on sale?

Check out http://www.chainmailguy.com and see some of the more prominent clearance items. For a full list of what's been deeply discounted you've got to visit or let me know what you're looking for and I'll see what I have in stock that's close.

MAKING ROOM FOR NEW STUFF

This month I've been focusing on making a few new things. I have a gladiator's kilt that will soon be appearing in the Men's section of the website, and a waist cincher and corset Women's section.

The gladiator kilt is based on a custom piece commissioned last year and it looked so great I has to pursue the idea further. The result is a stainless steel kilt with dagged panels that can are not connected to each other. They can move out of the way, giving more freedom of movement, and a very sexy revealing peek-a-boo look. It fits up to a 44" waist and is completely adjustable by means of two clips. Simply clip the inside clip to the belt of the kilt, then clip the outside clip to the belt and you're done!

Pricing: Approx. $360 CDN ($288 USD). Look for this piece soon at http://www.chainmailguy.com/men.htm

The waist cincher is for ladies (and men!) who don't want the constraint of a full corset but still seek the slimming look of a tied-up waist. Again this piece uses stainless steel rings so that maintenance is minimal. The piece comes with a black nylon sash cord for lacing in the back. This piece will require someone to help you get into it, but it looks so good you'll want to wear it outside your clothes and show it off. If you wear black underneath it, the lacing in the back will disappear, making the cincher appear to be held up by nothing.

Pricing: $60 - $120 CDN ($48 - $96 USD), depending on exact measurements. Look for it at http://www.chainmailguy.com/women.htm

The corset dress is currently one of my favourite pieces. This combines the silhouette-shaping properties of a chain mail corset with the modesty of a dress. If you're not happy with the way your belly hangs and think it might not look great in a corset, the corset dress is an excellent choice. This piece is also shipped with black nylon sash cord for lacing and the lacing does the same disappearing act here as with the waist cincher. Despite being made of stainless steel the weight is not considerable once you're wearing it. The weight is distributed across the chest and hips so that you don't feel weighed down. Like all my other chain corsets there is no boning or stays so there are none of the traditional "pinch spots" for a regular cloth or leather corset.

Pricing: $350 - $600 CDN ($280 - $480 USD) depending on the length and size. See it at http://www.chainmailguy.com/women.htm


Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy

www.chainmailguy.com

February 2005

Greetings, LINK Readers!

This month I bring you news of some new rings, some new upcoming products, and some cleaning tips for hard-to-clean items.

NEW RINGS

5/16" X 1/16" aluminum rings. These offer a compromise between 3/8" and 1/4", where the 5/16" holds together better than the 3/8" and don't take nearly as long to knit up as 1/4". The look is that of a tighter weave than 3/8" rings but not so tight as to be opaque like 1/4" rings.

The 5/16" aluminum rings are packed 1,000/bag and are $18.50 CDN. The buy-4-get-1-free deal applies as does free shipping over $60 CDN.

Rubber Rings: Currently available in 1/4" X 1/16", these are gorgeous for adding a new dimension to chain mail: S-T-R-E-T-C-H.

These come in black butyl rubber only, and look similar to the washers found in your kitchen taps. They are round, not flat. They are $18.50 per bag of 200, and the buy-4-get-1-free deal applies.

So how do you knit with rubber rings? These rings are complete circles, no openings. To knit them together you make chainlets using a regular metal ring as the center ring and rubber rings as the outer rings. Knit ribbons as you normally would. To join ribbons together, you lay them such that the lay of the knits are identical instead of opposite and add a row of metal rings between the rubber ones.

The result is a flashy piece that looks great as a choker necklace, arm bracer or bracelet, or if you're willing to work for an awfully long time, a fabulous and awe-inspiring skirt. One advantage to making jewelery out of rubber rings is that you don't have to worry about clasps. The rings have enough stretch that they make great watch bands. They can also make a continuous choker that sits comfortably on the neck. It lets you know it's there but doesn't restrict breathing or blood flow. Other sizes will become available shortly.

These rings are so new they're not posted on the www.chainmailguy.com website yet. They will be there soon, but until then you'll have to e-mail me and inquire. You heard it here first!

RUST REMOVAL FROM SUEDE

A number of years ago I did a stupid thing and put a suede skirt atop an annealed steel shirt when packing up at an event. It had been raining and I wasn't in a good mood, I just wanted to go home.

When I got home and took a look at everything and let it all dry out I saw that there were ring-shaped rust marks on the suede skirt. Crap. This suede skirt is a mixed-media skirt with purple titanium rings and purple piping along the edge where suede and titanium meet.

Shipping this off to a dry cleaner was not an option because their process uses a special washing machine that tumbles the clothes in dry cleaning fluid. The tumbling action may have cause some of the rings to come loose and harm the other clothes in the machine, or harm the machine itself. I was pretty sure any dry cleaner would tell me to remove the metal first, then bring it back for cleaning.

I let it sit, hoping I would come across some guaranteed means of getting rust stains out of suede but none have made themselves known to me.

This week I did a search for the info and stumbled across a paper prepared by Janis Stone, Textile and Clothing Extension Specialist at Iowa State University. Her paper mentions how to get 120 different stains and chemicals out of clothes by grouping them according to the type of stain and by type of fabric. She lists the chemicals required and gives the trade name and the active ingredients so you can find an equivalent if necessary. One interesting point in her paper is that you should NOT use bleach to remove a rust stain. Bleach will actually set a rust stain.

Rust can be removed from clothing with a mixture of salt and lemon juice rubbed into the stain and set out in the sun to dry. Since there isn't much sun or much drying action in Ontario in February I chose another option: C-L-R. The well-known calcium, lime and rust remover was rubbed in with an old toothbrush and then hand-washed in soap and warm water, rinsed in cold water, and hung to dry. The active ingredients in C-L-R are very closely related to the chemical names listed in Janis' paper.

What's the worst that could happen? The skirt is unsaleable with rust stains on it anyway and if I ruin the suede I'll take off the titanium an use it in another project. I tried an unobtrusive test patch inside the skirt to make sure I wasn't going to cause myself more problems. It seems that C-L-R works well on suede and does not draw the colour out of the fabric.

After a quick scrub of the affected area with a brush dipped in C-L-R I washed the piece by hand in warm water. I did notice some of the colour came out of the skirt but it was coming out uniformly and not in great shade-changing amounts.

Rinse, hang, and let dry. No obvious marks, stains, or discolourations. Cool! I can wash suede!

This 8 page PDF file on stains is so handy I think I'll put it in http://www.chainmailguy.com/freestuff.htm for everyone to get hold of.


Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy

www.chainmailguy.com

March 2005

Greetings, LINK Readers!

This month I'll talk about the second best way to cut rings.

THE SECOND BEST WAY TO CUT RINGS

About once a month I get a request from someone inquiring about the special cutting tools I use for cutting my rings. The cut is an angle cut with no burr around the face of the cut. This style of cut reduces the amount of time required to knit rings together because the faces don't have to perfectly align as they do with a straight-up-and-down cut, nor do they have to be polished after knitting because there are no burrs around the cut to be polished off. Side cutters will leave a point in the center of the face of the cut which makes it difficult to properly align the faces of the cut. The point in the center means that when two knitted rings move around through normal wear, their joints will seek each other out and come apart creating a "moth-hole", even though the rings were closed as best they can. With my special cutting tools the result is a ring that knits faster and holds together better than rings cut by other methods.

What do I use? I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars developing my own cutting tools, and for that reason I will keep them secret.

The second best way to cut rings is with a hacksaw. Wind your spring and slide it off your winding mandrel. Slip a wooden dowel in the center of the spring and use it as a cutting guide. Cut a slot in the end of the dowel to allow your hacksaw to make a cut in the spring without the saw shifting and marring the rings. Make sure to cut a slot from the 12:00 to the 3:00 position if you're right-handed, and 12:00 - 9:00 if you're left-handed. Do not cur from 12:00 - 6:00, since this will give a straight up-and-down cut. The angled slot will put an angle on your cut and help reduce the amount of time you spend aligning the faces of the cuts when you're knitting the rings together.

You will find that the rings will stay on the dowel when cut, ensuring they don't go springing everywhere around the room during cutting. This is another advantage to using a dowel as a cutting guide. You'll also spend less time bandaging your fingers because the guide keeps the saw from slipping.

Make sure you use a fine-toothed saw blade. There should be at least 2 teeth in contact with the wire as its cutting. Less will simply grab and pull the spring, making it difficult to cut. a 24 TPI blade works fine for 14AWG wire and larger, a 36TPI blade works well for 16AWG.

After the rings are cut you can choose to polish them before working with them, or polish the finished piece when all the knitting is done. Polishing beforehand will keep the filings to a minimum when you're knitting, and reduce the number of metal slivers you'll get in your fingers.


Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy

www.chainmailguy.com

April 2005

Greetings, LINK Readers!

This month I'll talk about my schedule for the summer, and an interesting fellow I met last month.

SUMMER SCHEDULE

The requests for summer events are starting to come in and I'm sorting through them very carefully. I want to go to as many as I can but I have to watch the number of shows I'll be attending that start on a Friday. Why? School. I've headed back to school on a full-time basis to get my computer-geek license so that I can continue to afford to knit.

The Canadian government is paying my way through school in order to help me get on my feet again and two of the stipulations are that I show up every single day and get good marks. If I fail in either area my funding is in jeopardy.

Still there are certain events that I *will* be attending because they're so dang much fun. The Fergus Highland games are one, S/M'er Camp is another, and the Just for Grownups show is a third.

Just for Grownups is a sex show scheduled for the end of April in Toronto. Similar to the Everything To Do With Sex show, but on a much more affordable scale. Booth prices are so reasonable that little artisans like myself can set up right beside AOV and Stag Shop. Am I competing for the same business? Nah. They don't have hand-crafted wire art for sale, nor do they do custom work.

GREETINGS FROM ACEH

If you saw that in your inbox, in capital letters, you would automatically throw it away wouldn't you?

Doesn't it look like the opening line for a Nigerian money laundering scam?

I read these scams with some amusement, thinking that there's no way these guys are going to get me. While I read this one, it seemed to be hitting too close to home, as if they had actually seen my website, and are genuinely interested in my wares, and more importantly, were interested in coming to *my* house for a meeting. Never was a huge sum of money mentioned, nor any easy get-rich-quick scheme.

This fellow was part of a group of relief workers based in Toronto who are helping out the Tsunami Relief effort in their own special way. Their plan is to help rebuild the economy of the areas hit by the storm after the houses and streets are back in place. Fishermen are now inland, displaced by the storm, trying to make a living knowing only fishing. This group from Toronto is teaching these fellows how to farm crab to sustain themselves and to create hand-made art to help fill in the financial gaps.

Art like chain mail.

He came over for an evening of learning to knit and picking my brain on the artistry behind the work, the basic moves needed, and the economic possibilities for this craft. I found out that Aceh is a region of Indonesia that is quite comfortable with a low standard of living. The area does not have a government-sanctioned minimum wage but instead has a suggested minimum wage based on the price of certain necessities like enough rice for a 3,000 calorie-per-day diet. The minimum wage works out to about $21 CDN/month. At this rate it would be feasible to have an Indonesian artist farm crab during the day, assemble chain mail at night, and make enough money knitting to keep himself and his family handsomely above the poverty line.

One of the big sticking points with knitting chain mail in a first-world country like Canada is that the standard of living is too high for me to pump out hand-knitted art at machine-made prices. It's not that what I make isn't worth every penny (the quality will attest to that), but not everyone has a thousand or more bucks in their back pocket for a new shirt or dress.

The fellow left with knowledge of how to make this work physically and economically and took 3 how-to books with him; one for the Pakistani group, one for the group managing development in India, and another for himself and the Indonesian contingent. If he comes back in a few months with an Indonesian-made shirt, you may see my prices drop on the larger pieces. More on this as things develop.


Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy

www.chainmailguy.com

May 2005

Greetings, LINK Readers!

This month I'll talk about the adventures I've had at the past couple of events.

THE JUST FOR GROWNUPS SHOW - HIGHLIGHTS

The show was well laid out with lots of diverse vendors selling everything from clothing, adult novelty home parties, hardcore erotic products, lube, and the usual dildos and videos. The show was well-advertised, hosted in Toronto for a potentially huge crowd, nothing else significant planned in the same city the same weekend. Fabulous fashion shows and diverse speakers on various aspects of human sexuality presented their wares, and a Playboy Playmate even showed up to sign autographs.

The potential of 30,000 people coming through the gates was there.

800 showed up.

The severe lack of attendees didn't dampen my spirits however, I still put on my fashion shows as scheduled and even filled in an extra or two on short notice when another vendor wasn't able to do their show.

I had to provide my own models, so instead of bringing along a dozen women and having the whole thing a typical "stomp down the runway & back" fashion show, I had two girls in black leotards, a rack full of clothes and a narrator to describe the scene. The girls simply dressed and undressed each other on stage. What a sight! Not only did it offer a provocative new look to a traditional fashion show, it showed how easily these clothes come on and off. There are subtle differences in putting on chain mail as opposed to cloth clothing, so showing the public these differences is an important part of the chain mail experience.

Saturday I had the luxury of a male model who was willing to offer his services for my shows. Great! Now I have 3 people on stage, and can show off my men's wear as well. Saturday's shows looked very good even though there wasn't a whole lot of people to see the show.

Sunday I lost my male model. He didn't show up. 5 minutes before show time the stage manager told me my guy wasn't in today, nobody could find him.

I hung my head, thought a moment. I looked up, squared my shoulders, looked straight back at him and said, "Alright, *I'll* do it."

I got onstage wearing my chain mail vest, Gladiator's Kilt, work boots, leopard print banana hammock, two floggers and not much else. What the heck, why not? Let's put on a show! There were only a handful of people watching, it's not like anybody's going to see.

I got as many hoots & hollers for my amateur not-quite-in-shape performance as the professional strippers from Canadian Hot Bods. Would I do it again? As long as there is positive energy coming from the crowd, I'll consider it.

Sorry folks, no pictures to prove it; cameras were not allowed at the event.

THE ROCHESTER KINK SOCIETY FASHION SHOW - HIGHLIGHTS

I loaded up my truck with lots of cool clothing to show at the fashion show, brought two attractive female models with me, good directions, and headed toward the Canada/USA border.

That's as far as I got.

I was not able to convince the border guards that I was on my way to a fashion show to show off my wares, that I wasn't going to sell them, that everything that was traveling with me was coming back. They were concerned that I was traveling with with saleable goods that I *might* sell in the USA, and I'm getting them across the border without the appropriate paperwork. They only way to get them into the country was to get them in as samples, and to do that I needed to rip and tear and break every single piece to make it all unsaleable.

This of course makes it look horrid on the runway.

You can see my dilemma.

The only course of action left open to me was to come home.

It's a sad day when the U.S. Government won't allow a simple metal artist into the country to show off his wares and spread a little joy for an afternoon. In my mind, the terrorists have won: The U.S. Government is afraid of the Chain Mail Guy.


Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy

www.chainmailguy.com

June 2005

No Link this month.


July 2005

No Link this month.


August 2005

Greetings, LINK Readers!

You might have noticed a lack of Link in your inbox for the months of June and July. I've taken a little time off from Link because of school issues. That doesn't mean I'm not still making cool stuff and collecting interesting info to spread to my readers. This month I'll tell you about how to polish colouring errors out of titanium, what I've been writing, and a new knit I was asked to reproduce.

TITANIUM ERRORS FIXED

One of the drawbacks of using titanium is that the colours are difficult to remove if you make a mistake. When anodizing you can erase lower voltage colours by going to higher voltage colours but you can't go back to a lower voltage colour. Clearing the colour off requires abrasion or polishing and can be accomplished with a polishing wheel and rouge, or sandpaper, or if you're lazy like me you'll get out the tumbler and look for mediums.

For small polishing jobs where an abrasive is needed coarse salt works nicely. It doesn't break down under the stress of tumbling for hours and hours and can quickly remove the erroneous colour from a piece of titanium without human intervention.

NEW KNIT

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to knit up a custom choker using a knit I hadn't seen before. The fellow sent me a picture of the new knit and asked if I could duplicate it. The new knit is called "Mobius". Its a mix of French rope and double-knit cable chain. It looks really great in two colours like purple titanium and bright stainless steel, or purple titanium and black butyl rubber.

NEW PICTURES

Finally my schedule allows me to add some new pictures to the website. Thank you to Maggie, Peter, Arnon, Cara, Rowan, Jitka, Mary, and Theresa for coming over and playing dress up. You'll see the new stainless and rubber pieces in the Women's section, a new coat in the Men's section, and I plan to post pictures of all my sterling silver jewelery pieces with Paypal button in the near future. The new Mobius knit will be added there as well.

RUMOURS

Some months ago I was contacted by Lark Books to help them with their new chain mail how-to book. They were looking for submissions from beginner to advanced from numerous well-established artists in the wire-knitting field. They selected two of my projects, one a titanium and rubber combination, the other a sterling silver and enameled copper set. More information when the book is released in the distant and indeterminate future. To check out the various crafting titles they have already released visit http://www.larkbooks.com.


Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy

www.chainmailguy.com

September 2005

Greetings, LINK Readers!

NEW RINGS!

Just recently I've been receiving inquiries about metric-sized rings. Being a child of the 70's when Canada was just introducing the metric system into schools, I was already well-versed in good old Imperial measurement and still think in it. Since most of my ring sales are to American buyers, it didn't occur to me that U.S. knitters would want metric rings.

I was wrong.

I do know my metric conversions (1mm is about .03937", or nearly .040") and can convert my Imperial ring sizes to metric. I haven't yet sourced metric wire winding equipment, but I am keeping a casual eye open.

If you want metric ring sizes, let me know what you're looking for and I'll let you know how close I can come.

NEW RUMOURS

Red enameled copper rings are soon coming in a larger wire size. 14AWG or .064" (1.5mm) is in stock and will make dandy 1/4" and 5/16" rings. Pricing to be announced in the next LINK. You heard it here first, but you didn't hear it from me.

HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF FUND

Louisiana, home of American jazz, blues, and below-sea-level towns. OK, so maybe it's not the smartest place to build, but it does have a reputation for a rich cultural heritage and being a place where artists can thrive.

As an artist, I feel for these folks and am prepared to send 10% of all proceeds collected during the months of September and October from the sales of chain mail to the Red Cross. By making your chain mail purchases for the next two months you'll be helping hurricane survivors get out of the water and back on their feet.


Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy

www.chainmailguy.com

October 2005

No Link this month.


November 2005

Greetings, LINK Readers!

This month I offer new rings, a screaming good deal on sterling silver rings, and I'll bring you up to date on the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund

RED ENAMELED COPPER RINGS

Red enameled copper rings are now here in different sizes. 19AWG and 14AWG wire (.036" and .064" respectively) is in stock and can be wound into 1/8", 3/32", 1/4", 5/16", and 3/8" rings. These make great jewelery and are wonderful accents for sterling silver or stainless steel. Note that the strength of these ring is as low as sterling silver, so if you'd like to experiment with sterling jewelery without the price, copper rings make great starters to get you past the hump of working with something really expensive.

STERLING SILVER RINGS SPECIAL

Sterling silver is wonderful stuff to work with. It's as easy to knit as copper but much prettier. Sterling can make a mediocre design into a fabulous one simply because of the lustre and sheen. It brings up your work to the next level.

For folks who want to dabble toes first in knitting with sterling I offer 1/8" X .040" and 3/32" X .040" sterling rings in bags of 100 for $20 CDN. This is enough to make a few pairs of earrings, or perhaps a simple bracelet.

For those who are ready to go big or go home I'm offering a special this month of 100 grams for $125.00 CDN (about $108 USD). In 1/8" rings this is about 750 rings, in 3/32" it's about 600 rings. This is more than enough to complete several significant projects and have them ready for Christmas presents. If you need findings like lobster clasps, spring ring clasps, or ear wires, let me know and I'll price those for you as well.

As usual, shipping is on me for an order this size.

HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF FUND

In September I announced that 10% of sales made in September and October would go to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Thanks to your purchases, they will be getting $150. These folks are still without power, running water, a regular supply of food, or a steady flow of building supplies. Without power the gas pumps don't work, so lineups are beyond compare for simple things that we take for granted.

Just because it's out of the news doesn't mean the problem has gone away.


Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy

www.chainmailguy.com

December 2005

No Link this month.