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Jerry Penner, The Chain Mail Guy

Authentic Armour - Cool Club Clothing - Gorgeous Jewelry

LINK 2007

January 2007 - New Look, New Ring Pricing, New Winding Tricks

February 2007 -

March 2007 - New Suede and Chain Vest

April 2007 -

May 2007 -

June 2007 - Flame Coloring Stainless Steel

July 2007 - Shipping Story

August 2007 -

September 2007 -

October 2007 -

November 2007 -

December 2007 -

January 2007

Greetings, LINK Readers!

Today I'll tell you about changes at www.chainmailguy.com, a new trick I've learned, a bit of research on Nitrile rings, and confirm rumours of a new wire in stock.


I made use of the few days off at Christmas and New Years and tidied up around chainmailguy.com. The site is now easier to navigate, with all the navigation buttons always accessible from the left side. When I first set up the site 6 years ago, frame pages were not common, and not all browsers upported them. Today, all but the oldest browsers can suppoort frames, so I've implemented them to make navigation easier. All the back-issues of LINK are now easy to get to. There is some good stuff in there, check it out. The specials listed in back-issues of LINK are no longer available, but the tips and stories are still relevant and entertaining.

The Rings and Tools section now has the decimal inch, decimal metric, and gauge sizes of all the rings. I still wind mostly in decimal inch sizes, but with the decimal metric size of the same ring listed, it makes conversion and selection dead easy.

I still have to clean up the Gallery and make it navigable, but there are some cool pieces there to give you ideas you can steal and make better. Take a look around and let me know what you think.


I've been hunting for better pricing on wire for some time, and as of 2007 have made some new, less greedy friends. The price of the galvanized rings have dropped from $18.50 per bag of 500 to $9.75 per bag of 500 - nearly half. The pricing for nearly all rings under 1/4" (6.4mm) dia. has dropped to the same level. Thse are all in the Rings and Tools section.


Today I was prepareing an order for some small rings and was again frustrated with my winder. I wind my wire into springs then cut them. I use a U-shaped wooden holder for the mandrel, and attach a hand drill to the end of the mandrel to speed the winding of the spring. This works great for rings over 1.4", but not so great for smaller sizes. After the spring is would, I have to cut the wire, pull the mandrel and drill back, slide off the spring, and repeat the process. In the course of winding, I have to let go of the drill to cut the spring loose from the madrel and hold the end of the loose wire so it doesn't spring off in any old direction. This leaves the heavy drill hanging off the mandrel and for an 1/8" mandrel, this means bending the mandrel. A bent mandrel is difficult to work with, and requires that it be bent back before winding the next spring.

In a brief moment of clarity I looked up and saw beams and pipes hanging from the ceiling, right over my workspace. I grabbed some spare single-knit cable chain and a bungee cord. I wrapped the bungee cord around the drill, slung the chain over the appropriate pipe, and suspended the drill at the exact height required to allow the drill to sit perfectly when I removed my hands from it. No more bent mandrels and much faster winding since I no longer have to straighten them before each spring.


When I first started experimenting with rubber rings, I had certain criteria in mind. They had to be durable, wear resistant, and resistant to things found on skin like oils and saltwater, and not cause trouble for folks with latex allergies. Nitrile was the answer. It's what tap washers are made from. It has proven wear resistance, age resistance, and works with any number of chemicals and oils. The comparison charts for Nitrile, however, say it's not great when exposed to UV radiation.

I have a UV lamp for erasing electronic memory, and it puts out a full day's sunshine in 5 minutes. I put several rings under the lamp and let them soak up the rays, checking them every 8 hours for degradation. After 48 hours in this abusive environment they started to have a bit of a rough feel to them, but still wouldn't break under human stress tests.

The result is that Nitrile rings will withstand being in full sun for 576 straight days before showing signs of age. If you sunbathe in California every weekend, you'll wear out your Nitrile and titanium bikini in about 5 1/2 years by baking in the sun.


I have a new supplier for stainless steel. I can now offer #304 stainless rings in 1/16" dia. wire at substantially less than the price of #316L rings. #316L has a high nickel content and a higher abrasion resistance thn #304. it's also the stuff you need if you want to make hypo-allergenic chain mail. #316 is surgical stainless. #304 is what your sink is made from. It's a common stainless steel with very good abrasion properties, and you'll be hard-pressed to wear it out. It's 3/4 hard, and works about the sme as the #316L but for nearly half the cost. The new #304 rings are in the Rings and tools section.


This month I have no events, I'm going to stay home and play with my new stainless wire.

Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy


February 2007

March 2007

Greetings, LINK Readers!


I've started working more with leather and suede recently, mixing this with chain mail. The look is very stylish, very sexy.

In the past I've attached chain mail to cloth by sewing a bit of piping along the seam, and then knitting the chain mail to that. Recently I picked up a leather punch and grommet setting tool so I can put grommets into leather and attach the chain that way. Very clean look.

My newest piece is a women's vest in brown suede with a single-knit cable chain panel filling the front. Very sexy. The chain offers a peek-a-boo front that works well over a sweater, or nothing at all. Normally priced at $99, this piece is another March Special, going for $75 CDN (about $64 USD). Price includes shipping. You can see it in the Gallery . This is a one-off, never to be repeated.

If you have a piece of leather or suede you don't wear anymore and would like to freshen it up, contact me and we'll discuss style and pricing.

Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy


April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

This month I'm going to tell you about how to flame-colour stainless steel to make it look old. I'll also tell you about my new website specials and my ad experiment with Google.


Stainless steel has a high chrome and nickel content which is what makes it so shiny. It doesn't dull down over time as you can attest by looking at your stainless steel kitchen sink. Galvanized steel does have a more authentic old-world look to it but it requires cleaning and will rust over time. Stainless requires much less work to keep it looking good.

If you want to make a stainless piece look older, you can flame-colour it. A hand-held propane torch does the trick. Just heat the piece until you see the colour change. It'll go from straw-colored to bronze and dark purple as the heat goes up. This is even before you get to the point where the metal starts glowing. If you get the piece to glow cherry red, it'll cool to a dark brown or black, depending on how long you hold it at that temperature.

You don't have to get the whole piece up to the same temperature all at once, you can colour it a little at a time. You can also use the hand-held flame to colour certain portions of your piece, introducing designs. If you get good and can control the colour, you can get reliable colours into your designs as well. The hand-held torch method is the one I use for coloring my Wrestlers coifs as seen in the Men's section of http://www.chainmailguy.com.

If you want an even colour you'll need an even source of heat. Your regular kitchen oven will work for some of the lower temperatures, but for higher temperatures you may have to employ a barbecue.

To do this, clean your piece with alcohol to strip off all the oil, Make sure you're wearing rubber gloves so you don't transfer oil from your skin to your clean piece. Let all the alcohol evaporate off the piece. Set your clean oven or barbecue for the desired colour temperature:

When the temperature has stabilized, put in your piece. The temperature will drop. Wait until the temperature comes up again, then turn off the heat and let it cool.

If you want a piece that is truly black, you can get special blackening agents at gun shops for this. You can also darken your piece by coating it in motor oil and then heating it to 600F.

Do NOT do this with galvanized steel. Zinc fumes are lethal. Galvanized steel can be speed-aged with a plastic tub of warm bleach water in 2 - 8 hours.

For a piece that is going to be used regularly, this coloring method will need to be repeated. the colour is only a thin film of oxidized steel, and will eventually rub off.


Late last year I started experimenting with Google AdSense. According to the hype on their website, I can place ads on my website, provided it has enough content to be worth reading, and Google will pay me for each time someone clicks on an ad on my site. Google checks out the content of my pages, look for keywords and context, and then serve ads to each page that fall in context with the page. That way I get ads for jewelry and wire, and a site about tires gets ads for tires and car parts. Pretty slick.

How much will they pay? How much can I make? They were unclear about that in their hype sheet. It didn't cost me anything to join, so I started.

Over the course of the next few months I watched the dollar counter go up. In a matter of 5 months I had a little over $50 coming to me. Google cuts a cheque for their webmasters once the $100 mark is reached.

Then Google turned the ads off and terminated my account.

They have a strict policy about abuse. Abusive use includes clicking on your own ads, getting other people to click on yor ads, and putting more than 3 ads on a page, to name a few things. Not wanting to have my account terminated, I didn't do any of these things.

They determined that someone had been repeatedly clicking on the ads on my site and for that, terminated my account, sent back the money I had accumulated to the advertisers, and banned me from having an AdSense account ever again. They offered me one chance to redeem myself, to prove that I hadn't clicked my own ads. I don't have that sort of tracking system in place, and was unable to give them that. Nor were they willing to share the data they had collected which caused them to turn off the ads in the first place.

I'm not interested in doing business with any company that has strict and unilateral business policies, which is why I don't offer my wares on Ebay either. I've taken my business elsewhere; I'm no longer advertising with Google. When you search for "Chain Mail" at Google, you'll no longer see my ad in the top right corner. I've moved over to MSN. If you search for "The Chain Mail Guy" at Google I'll still come up in the main results, but not in the ads.

Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy


July 2007

Greetings, Link Readers!

This month I'm going to tell you about one of the upcoming shows I'm doing in July and relate a story about shipping.


This month I'm looking forward to participating in the 2007 New HogsMeade Harry Potter Festival, July 20 & 21. This event has been put together by the folks at Meme's Cafe and Upper Case Books as a celebration of the release of the next book in the Harry Potter series.

Before your very eyes see Baden and New Hamburg transform for two days into the Land of Harry Potter. Buskers, musicians, swashbuckling, Hogwarts Academy at Castle Kilbride, Shrieking Shack, chocolate frogs, penny carnival, drum circle, Chinese dragon, human chess, and more! The town of New Hamburg will be renamed to New Hogsmeade by Mayor Roth for the occasion, and local merchant shops will also take on a Potterish flavour. Very kid friendly, with the high-point being the release of the new Harry Potter book at midnight July 20th at Upper Case Books.

For more details visit harrypotterfestival.ca


This is an inquiry I receive on a regular basis. When shipping to the USA, I ship via Canada Post Expedited Parcel unless the customer requests Premium Shipping. This service takes up to 12 business days and provides tracking at the beginning and end of the journey so that the customer and I can both see the status of their package. 12 business days does not include weekends or holidays, so shipments can take up to 3 weeks to arrive. The end of June is particularly troublesome since a shipment going out the last Thursday in June will be stuck in Canada an extra day by the Canada Day holiday, and an extra day in the U.S. Postal service by the Independence Day holiday.

This week though, I got an inquiry that deserved a different answer. A customer contacted me to inquire the whereabouts of her package. I found her order on the payPal website and matched it to my records here. It shipped a couple of days after the order came in. I checked the Canada Post tracking number at http://www.canadapost.ca, and saw that the package was successfully delivered 10 days later. As I started writing my reply, I noticed that the apartment number in her Paypal information was different from the apratment number in the inquiring e-mail she sent. The last 2 digits were transposed. I sent it to the address the customer specified in her Paypal account, and it was successfully received - by her neighbour!

Please folks, double-check your Paypal shipping and account information. You wouldn't want this to happen to you.

WIRE ON SALE The Chain Mail Guy is now selling wire. The first offering is #5356 0.9mm (.035") aluminum wire. This stuff is a great size for stringing beads, making findings like ear wires and clasps, and easy enough to work with as an all-purpose wire. If you like bending things into different shapes this stuff is great. It'll hold its shape, is easy to bend and cut, and is lightweight to wear. If you're making findings the best tool you can get is a pair of pliers with tapered round jaws. This allows you to make nice smooth bends of different sizes quickly and easily. It adds a very professional look to your already stunning design.

Jerry Penner

The Chain Mail Guy


August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

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