The plates that I supply have been mechanically punched and deburred and polished by tumbling, but the quality of the deburring varies between the various production runs that I get. You may wish to further bevel each of the lacing holes yourself.
I suggest using 550 cord for lacing. Almost anything else will abrade through the constant motion between the plates.
The plates have 12 holes. In the following notation, the holes are lettered from top to bottom, proceeding clockwise from the curved end. Therefore A is the uppermost hole, B immediately below it. C and D, and E and F are paired along the right side, G is the right hole on the bottom, H is the left. I and J, and K and L are the side holes on the left side. You will do most of the lacing with the plates “wrong side” up. A capital letter in the stitching notation indicates back to front lacing through that hole, while a lower case letter indicates lacing from front to back (up towards you). The number following the letter indicates which plate number the hole belongs to. The number preceding a letter indicates which row it belongs to.
The first step is to assemble horizontal rows. Determine the length that you need and count out the number of plates you need. Each plate adds 13/16 inch to your length.
After the knot, lace C3, L4, k4, d3; C4,L5,k5,d4, knot. Continue this pattern until you reach the end of your plates for this row. By this notation, you are lacing left to right, and adding a plate on to the bottom each time.
Now lace the second set of holes, with the second cord. Starting with a knot and a tail, lace E1,J2,i2,f1,E2,J3,i3,f2, knot and so on until you reach the end of your row.
Lace together the remainder of your horizontal rows, both long (belly) and short (chest and upper spine.
Assuming you want the curved end up on the outside, proceed as follows:
Again working from the back, align the rows of plates with the lowest row (Row 1) beneath the second row (Row 2).
Start without a knot in the cord here, as you will tie a knot after the first how is laced.
However, still leave 6 to 8 inches on the cord, in case you need to add more plates.
Lace 2H1, 1A1,1b1,2g1. Tie a knot. Carry over to 2H2, 1A2, 1b2, 2g2; 2H3,1A3,1b3,2g3. Tie a knot. Continue this pattern until you reach the end of your rows.
When joining the chest and spine rows onto the main rows, realize that the corner knots at the bottom of the chest and upper spine rows are effectively going to bear the weight of all of the added plates that go around the side. Some people have riveted this corner joint, others have used a leather piece shaped like an L to help spread out this weight.
I know this description has been too wordy, but I hope I have gotten the idea across.