The chainmaille pen

Multiple sizes, 18-gauge stainless steel rings

Sometime between 2009 - 2016

For a while now, I've been contemplating doing a chainmaille coating for a pen. I've kicked the idea around here and there, and kept coming back to the theory that Inverted roundmail or Inverted spiral would be best. It wouldn't be as smooth or "clean" looking as say... a European 4-1 with really tiny rings, but I didn't want to spend 5 months working with ridiculously tiny rings. Hence... I eventually concluded to use Inverted roundmail. What prompted me to create it was that I had a Fisher space pen (which I dropped into a Parker-type pen casing for added length), but wanted to jazz it up. Now, as you can see, the ink cartridge is significantly smaller than the full length of the pen in its entirity. Given the full pen as-is was slightly short for my preferences, I had to come up with a way to increase its length. Hence... Captive inverted roundmail for any part past the bottom of the ink cartridge. Coincidentally, with the chainmaille size I was using, it kept it tight and stiff, with very little bending :D.
About 2 hours later, and we have completion. I covered the ink-cartridge in electrical tape, both to slightly bulk up the 'thinner' parts to make it even with the rest, and to cover up the text that's plastered to the side of the cartridge. The CIR worked great for the bottom, and I 'closed' the tip with a trio of rubber rings, which should keep the last captive ring from falling out, and making sure it stays tight without obstructing my sliding the pen behind my ear (which I do quite often). Most of it is 7/32" ID rings, but I tapered the tip down to 3/16" where the cartridge narrows. For a while I tried to figure out how to 'end' it. Using tiny rings made a very rough tip, not suitable for holding for a long time, or putting behind the ear. I eventually (and after many failed attempts and broken rubber rings) got a single 3/32" ring over the tip for aesthetics, and had it held there (and holding the last 3/16" rings) with rubber rings much like on the bottom. It's smooth, has a nice look, and I'm very pleased with the end result. God help me if the ink cartridge dies soon though... not exactly replaceable without dismantling the entire thing!
However, after working with it for a bit, I discovered two things:
1. It's too heavy to comfortably sit behind my ear.
2. The slight flexibility of the back quarter still annoys me, since that part sits right at the crook of my thumb.
Thus, back to the drawing board. I extended the 'cartridge' with a small metal dowel of about the same thickness, used a little plastic sleeve to keep the joint straight, and re-built the bottom of the pen. With the pen tip still holding out despite my repeated abuse (thank god for the durability of the Space Pen), I had finally completed it! As stated though, it's too heavy to sit behind my ear at work, so this shall now be my geocaching pen... especially because it'll work outside in the -45 degree temperatures of our winters (assuming the Space Pen works as advertised). Perhaps another weave (I'm thinking the aformentioned Inverted spiral, which is basically the same weave but in a spiral pattern) in titanium rings for my work pen to follow sometime in the future.
And less than a month into said future, we have the new pen. As stated, I went with the Inverted spiral weave in titanium, so it can now sit nicely behind my ear at work. For the base, I went progressively smaller for the last two rings to even it out (since it spirals downwards), and once again held it secure with rubberized rings. The tip is Inverted roundmail like the other pen, with the 'end ring' being held on this time by 24-gauge stainless steel wire woven through it for a 'cleaner' look. It was a massive fight however to make the Inverted spiral cleanly come up to the Inverted roundmail, using a variety of ring sizes in there (difficult to see in pictures), and a few that I deliberately made a bit oval, for the sake of filling the more unusual portion of the connection and not leaving any large, black gaps. All in all, it turned out very nice. Depending on if I can find 'plasti-dip' type stuff anywhere, I may give it a plasticized outer coating for comfort... but we'll see.


Back to chainmailling