It’s a chilly Friday morning in Orono as I walk into The Nest to interview Shane Blodgett.

We’ve never met, but he’s easy to find – he’s the only person there who is wearing a coat of chainmaille.

Blodgett, 29, developed an interest in all things medieval as a teenager; he wrote a paper on medieval combat when he was a freshman in high school. He delved deeper into the subject of his fascination, learning about combats, weapons, soldiers of the time and more. He eventually got into live-action role playing and continued reading and learning all he could about medieval times.

But it was only recently that he took up a new hobby – making armor. It was something he had talked about in the past, but making the decision to do so came with a gentle push from his wife, Macy Lamson.

“I was on the holiday break from classes,” said Blodgett, a part-time mechanical engineering student at UMaine who helps care for his dad at their Grove Street home, “When my wife told me I should just get the supplies and make something. She bought me the material to make the links, I got the rest out of personal savings.”

Blodgett had watched how-to videos on how to weave armor and studied historical photos for context, but he never found one that quite satisfied his vision. So he developed what he called a hybrid technique, one that bridges the gap between historical and modern methods.

The material for the chainmaille came from Tractor Supply – large spools of 14-gauge galvanized steel typically used for electric fencing. Blodgett spun the wire (using a crafting jig that he created) into long coils, which he then cut into individual links. Those links then were woven together, one at a time to make a coat – a hauberk – that eventually was knee length and weighed 30 pounds.

It was a labor of love, one that Blodgett poured his passion into. By his own estimate, he spent 8 to 10 hours a day for a month in the basement of his home weaving the chainmaille – about 280 hours in total.

“I am very focused at anything I do. I put my heart into this,” he said. “It was the first piece I ever did, and I thought there would be a steeper learning curve, but it came out very well.”

So what does one do with a coat of chainmaille? Blodgett has been wearing it here and there to places such as the UMaine Dungeons and Dragons club he occasionally attends, the hardware store, and the grocery store. He also has been listing it on a few local buy, sell, swap sites on Facebook.

One might think that there would be extremely limited interest in Blodgett’s work. Think again.

“I’ve had people ask me about wallet chains, tassels for kilts for the Maine Highland Games, a necklace and a small version (of the coat) for a dog,” said Blodgett, who also is making a chain coif and a Viking shield. “I’m open to anything, but I’d like to primarily focus on medieval items. Right now, I’m trying to gauge the market for the chainmaille products; I’m going to be attending Renaissance Faires and live-action role playing (LARP) events across Maine this summer.”

If there’s enough interest in his wares, Blodgett – who said he has met one other person in his entire life who makes chainmaille – wants to expand his horizons further.

“My goal is to have there be enough interest that I can start a forge where I can do comprehensive blacksmithing, to make plate mail, swords, tools, and more,” said Blodgett. “I’ll have to see how it goes, but I am enjoying this.”

Anyone who has an interest in Blodgett’s services as an armorer/chainmaille-weaver can contact him at [email protected], where he will field project ideas, questions, and commission requests. He also can be reached via his Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/Blodgett-Maille-Shoppe-333532750621741/ ), or by phone at 707-382-0485.