Starter Chains for JPL

3 08 2013

Jens Pind Linkage (JPL) is a bit tricky to start. I finally mastered it after having done it quite a few times. It’s a great-looking weave when done correctly.

A little about the JPL chainmaille weave

JPL is basically a spiral weave with a low enough aspect ratio to keep from uncoiling. The rings overlap as they pass through other rings, and with a low aspect ratio, they don’t un-overlap. Once the weave is started, with at least 5 or 6 rings, it becomes fairly easy to do. The problem with JPL, however, is getting to that point where the weave is “stable,” meaning it won’t come uncoiled and will hold its shape.

JPL needs an aspect ratio pretty close to 3.0. I like 18 gauge, 3 mm inner diameter rings (aspect ratio 2.9), but I have seen people making it with bigger gauges, even up to 12 gauge! Still, 18 gauge is my favorite. With these wire specifications, you get a chain like this:


Here are some sample gauge / diameter combinations that work well for JPL, with AWG wire gauge and inner diameter:

  • 20 gauge, 2.5 mm ID (aspect ratio: 3.1)
  • 18 gauge, 3.0 mm ID (aspect ratio: 2.9…perfect!)
  • 16 gauge, 4 mm ID (aspect ratio:  3.1)
  • 14 gauge, 5 mm ID (aspect ratio 3.1)
  • 12 gauge, 6 mm ID (aspect ratio 2.9…perfect!)

Aspect ratio of 3.1 is just a hair loose for my taste, but I generally like dense weaves (i.e., more rings per inch, less wiggle in the rings). With JPL, the increased density is what makes the weave so nice and keeps it from unraveling.

JPL tutorial video

Over in the Chainmaille Resources page, I put a link to the best video I’ve seen for starting and weaving the Jens Pind Linkage chainmaille weave. It’s by Amy Sanders, and it’s great. You can access the JPL tutorial video here, too:

The JPL starter chain

Starting the JPL gives people a lot of problems. To help people make this great chain, I made a bunch of extra “starter” chains. Starter chains are basically short sections of chain that people can add on to. Then, when the new section of chain is long enough, the starter is removed.

A starter chain, therefore, helps people get past the difficulty of starting the weave, which is the hardest part. Here’s a picture of one of the starter chains:


Click for a closer view

The JPL starter chains are a little more than 1 inch long, so they are stable and long enough to hold comfortably. They are only in 18 gauge, 3 mm ID. I used 3 colors, just like in the completed bracelet above. The pattern is copper-brass-silver (or silver-brass-copper, from the other direction). With three colors / types of wire, the pattern is easy to see and continue, even in single wire type.

For someone who wants to make this beautiful and classy chain, but who is frustrated trying to get it started, the JPL starter chain is a perfect solution.

I’m selling these for $4 (plus $1 shipping) through my Etsy shop at




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