Retainer chains

Well I didn’t get any replies about the retaining chain kits, so I decided to just go ahead and make my own. I bought a wire bending jig at Hobby Lobby for $12 (after my wife’s discount) to help bend the shackle clips. I used bailing wire to make them, and heated (tempered) them to retain some “spring” tension. I spent a total of $16.50 including the jig to make my chain set!

I found some 1/0 plumber’s chain at a local (old school) hardware store. The 1/0 is still a little larger that the factory chain, but it beats ordering it. I paid $1.50/ft and bought 3 ‘ of it. I was able to make 6 chains with 10 links each, or 7 chains with 9 links and 1 with 10 links.

I made my own ring type retainer clips (still don’t know what the real name is) using a 1/2″ diameter wd-40 pen, wrapping by hand. After wrapping it, you have to tighten it up with pliers, then heat it with a torch to dark blue to get a little spring tension back into it. I used bailing wire, but apparently it is not high carbon wire, because it never did get real “springy”. Music wire would be a better choice, but I used what I had on hand.

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I also made my own seat pivot pins out of 6d finish nails, and top bow support rod “s” clips out of bailing wire. I heated each up to blue hot to temper them a little without annealing them. Let them cool slowly – don’t dip them in water or oil.

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I couldn’t find anyone locally that stocks “u drive screws” to attach the chains to the shackle brackets and the top bow support rods. I was able to solve the support rod problem by making a couple of clamps that secure with small screws and nuts and have a hole drilled for the retaining clip. I will replace these when I get my order of u drive screws. I just hate to have to buy 100 screws to just use 4 (my back shackles still have chains attached). I might just improvise on that since the support rod clamps look ok.

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2 responses to “Retainer chains

    • It was alot easier than I thought out would be. Of course, all of them don’t have the pretty, perfect bends, but not everyone will even notice – MOST people won’t. The bending jig isn’t really even needed – I bent one shackle clip without using it (only used needle nose pliers). The only recommendation I have is to use music wire or some other form of high carbon steel wire instead of bailing wire do that you can temper it to give it some spring.

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