Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated but still a good book, 8 May 2013
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This review is from: Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop: Technique (Paperback)
I was expecting much more from this book, honestly.
While it gives clear visual guidance on the different weaves you can actually find on the net for FREE but if you like to have a book at hand instead of the computer monitor and messy printed pages the book is worth it (Amazon is still too pricey-maybe they started paying corporation tax to the UK?).
The designs are nice and great for practice but nothing exceptional.
The Aspect Ratio charts at the back of the book are quite useful if you are into mathematical data only (as in the UK you'll find 1.25 mm wire gauge as well and with sizes like this you'll still have to do your calculations and research maybe even cut your own jump rings) but in practice it would have been more helpful if she suggested the aspect ratio criteria for each of the different weaves in one place so we could work out if we were able to use a certain size jump ring with with the intended weave(s) or not before splashing out on supplies and saved time, money and frustration (please refer to comments to see discussion with the author).
British suppliers at the back of the book would come handy to save on research or on Customs charges in case you decide to import jump rings or tools. (British authors are able to source American suppliers I do not know why it doesn't work vice-versa?)
I found Chain and Bead Jewelry Geometric Connections by Scott David Plumlee ISBN 978-0-823033393-3 much better value for beginners with less weaves (as I said before the different weaves and clear visual guides are available on the net for free).
Please read comments to see what a helpful teacher the author is. And now, I am back to my chain maille project.
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Comments


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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 May 2013 16:45:41 BDT
Karen Karon says:
Dear Nikki,
The aspect ratio information you seek can be found in the Aspect Ratio Charts in the back of the book. Page 139 explains how to use them to determine aspect ratio without the need for a calculator (yay, no math!).

I'd like to point out that even though jump ring sizes for each weave are suggested in both AWG and SWG, here in the US, SWG jump rings that are commercially available come in a limited range of inner diameter sizes. Therefore, I suggest using the AWG sizes to determine the aspect ratio. You'll get a closer estimate this way.

Here's an example of how you can use the charts to determine what inner diameter (mandrel size) will work for a specific weave, using a specific gauge of wire. Suppose you want to make a Byzantine chain in 20g SWG. The book suggests sizes for 16g and 18g wire only. The recommended AWG sizes for Byzantine are 16g/4.5mm or 18g/3.5mm. Turn to the 16g AWG AR chart in the back of the book, and look in the ID column for 4.5mm. Follow that row across to find the rounded AR is 3.5. Do the same with 18g/3.5mm and you will see that the rounded AR is 3.4. Therefore, the suggested aspect ratio for Byzantine is 3.4-3.5. Since AR is a ratio and not a measurement, you can simply turn to the 20g SWG AR chart and look in the AR column for the number that is closest to 3.4-3.5. Follow that row across to find the inner diameter (mandrel size) that will work for the weave with that gauge of wire - 3.25mm is the closest id/mandrel size. Just by flipping a few pages (no calculator, no math) you can get a recommendation to a different size and convert to a different gauge scale.

If you want to use wire sizes not covered in the charts, the mathematical formulas you need to make the necessary calculations are also included in the book on page 139.

Be aware that slight variations can exist in tools, wire and jump rings from manufacturer to manufacturer and from vendor to vendor, so use the recommendations in the charts as a starting point for testing the materials that you intend to use. From there you can make the necessary adjustments to fit your unique project. I hope you find this information helpful.

Best Regards,
Karen Karon

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2013 19:42:06 BDT
NIKKI says:
Dear Karen Karon,

Thank you for your comment and guidance on the usage of the tables at the back of the book.

However, I still think that giving the suggested AR to each weave would have been quite useful as you said Byzantine (at Chain Maille Design 101) 3.4 to 3.5, Jens Pind X to Y, etc.
I still have to use that calculator and my maths skills, as I still have to look up the specific weave calculate the AR according the given table at each weave and match that up with the data at the back of the book (that's when I found the data sheets quite pointless).

I am sorry no disrespect here and I am sure that an awful lot of work and energy went into the making of this book which one can only appreciate.

Kind regards,
Nikoletta Rybar

In reply to an earlier post on 9 May 2013 21:39:57 BDT
Karen Karon says:
Hi Nikoletta,

I hate doing math, and so do most of my students, therefore I wanted to provide a way for readers to determine the AR calculation without having to do the painful math. In your reply, you stated that you "still have to use that calculator and my math skills... calculate the AR according to the given table at each weave..." Let me save you some work and assure you that you don't have to perform that calculation. All you need to do is refer to the table at each weave to see the recommended jump ring size. Then, look up that recommended size in the AR chart at the back of the book and you will find the AR has already been calculated and is right there in the chart for you. I hope this helps to clarify the use of the AR charts and their purpose.

Best Regards,
Karen

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2013 18:47:54 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 May 2013 00:55:09 BDT
Karen Karon says:
Dear Nikoletta,

It was very kind of you to revise your original book review/rating, but that was not my intention when I commented on your post. The only reason I commented on your post was because of the following statement you made in your original review (and still remains in the edited version) which I believe to be misleading "it would have been more helpful if she suggested the aspect ratios for the different weaves so we could work out if a certain wire gauge on a certain mandrel would work with the intended weave or not".

I just want to clarify that the suggested aspect ratios for the different weaves can be found in the book. While it is true that the suggested ARs for the different weaves are not shown in the tables that accompany each weave, they are indeed provided. My experience in teaching chain maille to beginner-level students has taught me that introducing the concept of AR too early in the process can be overwhelming. "Newbies" just want to know what size jump rings and how many. Therefore, I made a conscious decision to omit the AR information in the tables provided for each weave to keep them uncluttered and "beginner-friendly". As students gain experience and feel more comfortable with the concept of AR, they can then turn to the charts in the back of the book to find the suggested AR for each weave based on the recommended jump ring size. I know it is a bit inconvenient to have to turn to the back of the book to find the suggested AR for a weave, but that was the compromise I made in deciding how to best present the material. In my personal copy of the book, I have hand-written the AR information in each weave table to save me the bother of flipping the pages. :)

Thank you for referring to me as a helpful teacher. That is my goal.

Best Regards and Happy "Maille-ing",
Karen

In reply to an earlier post on 11 May 2013 10:28:05 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 May 2013 19:52:45 BDT
NIKKI says:
Dear Karen,

I can understand your point that you find it misleading that was not my intention I meant that if you give that info especially for a beginner it is much more helpful.

According to your system first I flip the weave, look up the jump ring sizing , then flip to the back look up AR to the given gauge/gauges and do a subtraction ( Chain Maille Design 101) of the 16G AR and the 18G AR. While I would certainly get this essential data with a few flipping and and a bit of basic maths I still would not know if this AR would work with other weaves or not (id. 3.4 - 3.5) especially as a beginner I would like to try as many weaves as possible with as little calculation as possible. As a creative mind hate maths but jewellery making in general involves an awful lot of it (bezels, ring sizes, etc.) I am sure you know it better as you have more experience than I do.

My personal experience in the UK as a beginner I would start working with what I have at hand (get my mandrel and some copper wire out first and test an idea with my cheap pliers) then decide if chain-maille-ing is really for me or not before I splash out on some expensive pliers and silver.
I would go to a trusted and well-known supplier of jewellery making materials and look up what they have and this is what I found:
'5mm Heavy Sterling Silver jump rings. Outside diameter 5mm. Wire thickness 0.9mm. Please note all Silver Jump rings are sold by weight, approximate weight for 100 pieces is 8.5g'.

Now when I look up this data in your tables first of all it is going to be approximate second the AR is 3.6 so what can I use AR 3.6 for? and that is when the suggested AR for each weave would come very helpful (you have already done a great work with conversion charts and all those AR charts and giving guidance on jump ring quantities so a quick list of weaves and AR criteria chart could have been squeezed to the back of the book as well). And this was the point when I had to open the other book (why do I need two books?) to see if I would be able to do anything with these jump rings before purchasing them.

I would have found a list of suggested UK suppliers handy at the back of the book as well as your book is marketed in the UK as well. As I mentioned in the revised review importing can be quite expensive for a hobbyist (this is rather a note to your publisher).

However, I can see that your book works perfectly well in the US market.

I hope this helps to understand my viewpoint better and probably it could help when publishing a revised edition.

Kind Regards,

Nikoletta Rybar

In reply to an earlier post on 12 May 2013 00:52:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 May 2013 20:49:35 BDT
Karen Karon says:
Dear Nikoletta,

I really appreciate your taking the time to explain your comments. The way you stated your desire for AR information in your review can be interpreted as meaning that AR information for each weave is not provided in the book at all. I found that very concerning and wanted to make it clear that AR information for each weave can be found in the book. From your latest post, I believe what you meant by your original statement was that you would have liked to have seen that information consolidated in one location in the book.

When I teach beginners, I am constantly asked the question "What size jump rings do I need to make this weave?" I have never been asked "What weaves can I make with these jump rings?" which is the question I think you are seeking an answer to. You can get an answer to this question using only my book. It does, however, require some page flipping. You would have to check each weave table, weave by weave, and then check the charts at the back to see if the AR for that weave is consistent with the jump rings you have on hand, ruling out the weaves that were not compatible with your jump rings. I agree that if someone were to seek that information, it could be more easily ascertained if it were contained in a single location in the text. That is a very helpful suggestion and I appreciate your taking the time to pass it on. I will definitely keep that in mind if a revised edition is ever published.

As for British suppliers, I do not have any sources to share. As you stated above, importing can be quite expensive, therefore I use only North American suppliers. I would not feel comfortable listing sources in the book that I have not used.

Thank you for making the effort to help me understand your needs. As a teacher, I find this kind of constructive feedback from students to be invaluable.

Best Regards and Happy "Maille-ing",
Karen
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