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Viking Knit Chains
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I don't have a dedicated webpage for Viking knit chains yet. I make them with meticulous attention to detail, one-wire construction (precious metals only), and aesthetic clasps which means they are exceptional, unmatched in quality and appearance. Inquire if you want one or need more information.

HISTORY - They can be traced back to the 10th century. Legend has it they were used as a means to "stash" treasure by making something purposeful.

CLASSIFICATION - The term for this type of chain is trichinopoly. They are broadly classified by the number of previous loops the wire passes through, which is usually one to three, and how many sides, which is usually three to six. Specific terminology would have to address the starting size mandrel, diameter drawn down to, wire diameter, length between loops, and more.

PROCESS - Wire is woven around a mandrel to ensure the diameter is consistent, align and maintain spacing/orientation between loops, and tame the wire. Working with long wires is unwieldy so it's common practice to use numerous shorter sections which are anchored near the end of the existing wire. Unfortunately, it leaves deformed and weak transitions with protruding, prickly wires that need wrangling.

People who work with precious metals should do it properly, i.e. single wire construction. Either struggle with a long wire or solder/weld on a new piece as the current one finishes. In reality, "no one" does it this way. Simply, if you lack the skills to weld or solder the wire ends together you have no business using precious metals. It's jewelry already!

APPEARANCE - Most chains are round-ish. All factors in CLASSIFICATION affect how it looks. Similarities to loop-in-loop chains are visual only. Loop-in-loops are more symmetrical, fluid, and well-constructed but require advanced skills and considerable time.

MATERIALS - Anything more costly than silver is a waste as the weaves aren't "good" enough. Thin wires (22ga and higher) are malleable enough to withstand the abuse and torture. Any metal could work but spring-temper or hardened wire is uncooperative. Most of the craft metals are OK except aluminum. Avoid all painted, enameled, plated, or coated wires since the finish won't endure.

PRECISION - Almost none required. These are by far the most forgiving chains, virtually idiot-proof...even for chainmaillers! Only by intention could they be made so poorly that they wouldn't come out of the drawplate looking OK. However, there is a HUGE difference between OK and exceptional so conscientious, talented artisans will strive for perfection every step of the way.

DRAWPLATE - The drawplate is a necessary evil. It lengthens, smooths, homogenizes, compresses, and gives rigidity to the chain. Wood and plastic drawplates are best.

ENDCAPS & CLASPS - A sleeve or cap covers the ends and is soldered or mechanically fastened. Multiple-loop versions have a much longer lead-in (taper) before the weave proper starts. Long end caps are an annoying focal point, some examples being more than 1-1/2" long on each side. It's a chain, not a clasp on steroids!

The logical solution is cutting off the tapered section entirely and figuring out how to make it all stay together. Most people leave both ends as-is which screams no talent and looks the part. Jewelry-quality chains demand symmetry and uniformity.

A legitimate artist would avoid commercial endcaps altogether as they are restrictive, aesthetically questionable, and have limited sizes. Whatever, however, and why-ever, as long as they are secure, look good, don't fall apart, and aren't bulky.

SUMMARY - Viking Knits are a quick-and-easy chain. Those meant for jewelry should be made to the highest standards with one continuous wire, real silver, and unwavering attention to detail. Silver Viking Knit chains are everywhere but I have yet to see another one made properly as described herein...except for me, because compromises are not part of my jewelry.

Posted by M: June 26, 2022

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