DIY Chainmail, or How I Admire My Dorky Husband

Okay, so this whole thing started, as I imagine many a crackpot scheme does, because of Lord of the Rings. Last Friday, in a grand, sweeping gesture that I immediately regretted, I offered to make good on a promise I had successfully avoided fulfilling since the we started dating: to watch a marathon of all three extended Lord of the Rings movies. Now, don’t get me wrong–I love me some Tolkien. Really I do. I read Lord of the Rings in high school and geeked out with the best of them, Elvish pronunciation guide and all. But in truth, I liked the story much better as a book than as a movie, and epic or war movies in general tend to be a watch-once-a-decade sort of thing for me. And I ALWAYS wimp out on movie marathons, even ones that are decidedly less demanding of my attention span, like a George Romero-fest or all the varied incarnations of Batman.

But Marc is my boo, and I was momentarily love-drunk because of some small sweet thing he did, like let me have the last cream cheesy bite of a bagel we shared or offer to drive even though he hates it and in truth it was my turn. So I offered, and the LOTR blitzkrieg began. And after all three movies were watched over the course of four days and my eyes had absorbed just about all the CGI fantasy creatures they could hold, Marc decided something. He was going to take up a new hobby: Chainmail-making.

I came home the next day from work to find the entire living room table covered in wire, pliers, and the humble beginnings of what Marc sheepishly explained to me was going to be his “mithril haubergeon.”

And it was in that moment that my husband taught me a much-needed lesson about enjoying life rather than just living it.

Does Marc need a chainmail suit of armor? Although we do live in the hood, probably not.

Are his lofty aspirations of selling his wares at the local Renaissance Festival going to bring us fame and fortune? Not likely.

Will he utterly abandon this project once the cuts and bruises on his fingers start throbbing and he’s on to watching Green Lantern trailers and dreaming in spandex and laser beams instead of metal and leather? Possibly.

But none of that matters to Marc because of two things: he has the self-confidence to like what he likes because he likes it, and the relentless imagination to make his fantasies reality.

Although as an outsider, I could not even fathom the appeal of joining hundreds of tiny metal circles together in mind-numbingly complicated patterns if you aren’t going to get any kind of practical use out of the thing, I knew that in Marc’s mind he was Gimli forging battle armor in the mines of Moria, and that was all the appeal he needed. Nearly all of my adult life, I’ve felt this pressing need for everything I do to have some solid purpose or application, and I often have trouble carving out time in my “busy schedule” for any enjoyment or pleasure that I can’t justify as being productive. My dorky husband has shown me that yes, there is a time to work, but there is also a time to play, and that time is just as important to our souls. Enjoyment, discovery, and imagination are all too often left in the dust of our childhood when they should be carried joyfully and stubbornly to our graves.

Let the chainmail ring!

with guileless affection,



Learn more about chainmail!

The Chainmail Basket – a step-by-step introductory tutorial on chainmail making

History of Chainmail – a short history on chainmail in the Middle Ages



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Filed under DIY, general nonsense

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