Wow so this is going to be winded, I’ve kind of split these into Generations (you’ll notice some weaves mention these). Anyway this began when a friend of mine in shop class started bringing chainmail to work on (we had a lot of downtime, hell I wrote a book that year), now I’d thought chainmail was cool, but naive me thought that was either history mueseum stuff or for movies. I really wanted to make my own (and not buy like a friend of mine did soon after), but I had an issue – I was a poor kid with no job in high school. So farting around at home I noticed that poptops were close enough – they had holes and were made of aluminum right? This began the 1st gen which was solely ChainTab – meaning that it’s only tabs no rings. I must have destroyed hundreds of tabs trying to piece them together till I eventually settled on the location in ChainTab Prep – a single cut at a thick part to ensure stability. From there I made 2-ChainTab and was hooked – my wallet, necklace, anything I could get a chain on sported one, and I then began to fiddle around some more – If I could make a chain I could make chainmail right?
I started with my first weave 8 in 1 ChainTab, first making a simple pullover vest (I wish I had taken more pics as I developed) which became a shirtless piece. Then by the Summer of 2006 I went to Connecticon – I am a massive nerd, so I was excited to wear my first “cosplay” which means I was just me in armor going as nobody, but hey not like I can walk around town right? (<– has done this at multiple cons)
That’s the first image of all this crazy mess (most photogenic person ever btw). I had actually made a weapon using a foam base and the soda bottle handle. It literally broke in a single swing (not hitting anything apparently spraypaint can be corrosive), the handle worked well though and was used later.
After that con I began working on arms, and it’s here where I had a brief stint with using string to make what would eventually become Banded TabMail, but it was so bad and came apart so easily I never even got a picture of it, and the image from that con was just arms + a sword borrowed from a friend (boffer).
I had another con appearance though soon after where I had done something very new which was the creation of Banded Tab (the TabMail came later) and I had made my first weapon.
The banded tab came from string (you can kinda see it’s black and blue as opposed to the current blue/silver), and the sword was crafted from wood, bottles, and a welded threaded rod to hold it together. The cans were layered but the effect still looked really good esp, with the bottle pommel and jolt can hilt piece.
Otakon that year marked the beginning of the armor including true TabMail made from 1/4 rings, I had been told about Ring Lord from chainmail people – and using some wire measured out a rough size for Banded Tab rings and ordered a sample, once it all worked I’ve been ordering the same size until 6th Gen where I started exploring what I can make with larger rings.
A couple months later I had expanded the banded tab, and started my first foray into plate mail, which was actually held on by 10 in 1 (holed: meaning it wasn’t filled in). This was actually a test of making a stronger chainmail weave.
Now if you look back up at the first image you may see a hole or 2, these as I mention in it’s tutorial is a weakness of 8 in 1 ChainTab which is that continued use causes said holes. After CTCon that year I had been fed up with repairs so I stripped it almost bare and began work on a stronger weave which became 10 in 1 ChainTab.
Now oddly I lack images from the con I went to shortly after making the first 10 in 1 aside from a close up, and an image of the lance. Sadly the a top section of the sword had actually broken during storage (snapped top of one blade off). So I set out to make an improvement. This involved making a just under 7 foot Lance using the whole handle of bottle tabs and the reformatted pieces of the old sword.
Here you can also see a closeup of the new 10 in 1 – there’s also a little Coke emblem which is coming off a chain at the end of another sword I had made using most steel plate backing and the cans. (It proved unbalanced)
Soon thereafter I was working on the first cape (using Flat TabMail Reinforced), and leg pieces using the same weave. I wish at the time I had started using the very new weave of TabScale for the cape instead of trying to make a larger TabMail Reinforced, but I lacked foresight and was really doing things very ad-hoc.
Here you can see that not only have I made proper leg pieces, I had included Flat TabScale for hands and the 1st cape. I’d also made myself another sword, but I didn’t really like it, so it’s been destroyed since.
Now I didn’t show myself at many cons until next year CTcon 2009 – I had improved slightly for Otakon 2008, but they banned my costume for being chainmail (which oddly you could still buy at artist alley, just not wear). However when I came back for CTcon 09 I had made myself elbow and knee pieces and some shorts. The issue is that these new joint pieces only connected on one side and made it weird to move and ultimately hard to get out of.
Taking the armor off and on took about a half hour by myself due to the archaic way I had made arms and leg bracers work. Rather than going all around and being able to close in and not drape I had made them as a sheet with keyrings on one side and some 2-ChainTab on the other to snap into place. This took quite a while and was much harder to do while wearing the armor since it limited mobility (I can only just touch my shoulder) Usually I had help; however on 1 day of the con I did not, and thus had to get out of the armor myself. I was barely able to get legs and arms off, but the issue was the main armor now had elbow pieces and I couldn’t pull it off myself after 20 mins of trying. My arms simply could not bend in a way that let me lift the armor without getting them stuck.
I had to grab my cutters (which thankfully I keep a repair kit of tabs, rings, and tools with me) and had to cut through the TabScale Reverse section of the elbows. It was here I decided that I had to stop this ad-hoc nature. I couldn’t continue to pile on pieces and weaves as I went – finishing and testing them days before a con appearance.
After 5th Generation there was sort of a pause on convention appearances (it also coincided with graduating college, and getting a job). However I threw myself into doing redesigns of the armor as a new cohesive whole. This also included doing a whole bunch of new weaves like Arma for example:
That is actually a single piece where the different weave styles are connected and go all the way from my hand to my neck – all while giving me as much freedom of motion as I can. Aside from new weaves though I also began using weaves in a smarter – for example using Tabscale for things like the cape:
This turned what was a previously difficult item into something that really moves like cloth, and flows nicely.
Which leads into the current generation – here I am putting the final touches on various pieces for my return to the convention scene clad in aluminum. I am also really getting esoteric with weaves as evidenced by recent things like Captured ChainTab.
I finally also began work on something that I’d been wanting to do for a while – scale mail (or PopScale as I call it) using the actual chad from cans that tabs push down.
I also have a ‘scarf’ containing all the ways I’ve made chainmail from tabs in a a quilt/patch like manner.
Stay tuned to blog posts and weaves page for updates!
To get a look at the current pieces, plus some other images simply check out my Gallery page.