This is my first video series and it’s been a bit of a learning curve to understand YouTube and what I wanted from it when I uploaded my videos on there so I thought I’d just give a quick explanation of my thinking here.
When I made the videos I knew there’d be some extra notes that I’d want to include as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to talk and make the piece at the same time. I think I did pretty well with most of them, but there are one or two which I felt needed a little further explanation.
Also I’ve included a lot of links to the materials I’ve used etc. for those who would like to know and there are no notes for any of this on YouTube.
To be honest, the idea of anyone being able to watch this on YouTube worried me a little bit also. You guys may know how I muddle through and perhaps forgive me for it, but there’s a lot of stranger danger out there in the grown up world.
I’m hoping this will work out, but just let me know if you have any trouble.
NOTE: If you’re here and you haven’t seen my previous post which shows how I make the first part of the bracelet from hell you might want to take a look at that one first.
Otherwise here are the second batch of videos which show how I made the sides of the bracelet.
NOTE: That this is NOT stainless steel. It’s sterling silver.
This obvious lack of brain function marks where the bracelet starts to go off the rails. Had I remembered what material I was using perhaps I would also have remembered how to use the darn saw. If I had taken the silver to my bench pin in the first place things may well have been different.
But I didn’t and it wasn’t.
As for the vise holding thing. I’ve written before about my cack-handed relationship with it. I would like to say that it’s a love hate relationship, but I’d be lying. It’s a hate relationship. I know it can do wonderful things, but I seem to have an aversion to it and so only use it rarely. Consequently, when I do use it, I find I have completely forgotten how I managed to work with it the first time and so it’s a learning curve all over again.
You may find this curve painful. I certainly did when I played the video back.
2 X 2″ lengths of sterling silver 5mm x 2mm rectangular wire – Rio Grande #100552
Sorry that you can’t actually see the tape in this video. You might catch it in the others, but I have about a two foot length of it stuck on the edge of my table. I like it because it doesn’t get in the way and I don’t have to keep looking around for a ruler. It does wear out on my working table more than on the other tables I have because I’m scraping silver bits around and over it, etc., but it comes in a large roll and is easy to replace. There’s lots of different makes of this tape and some may be cheaper than the one I’ve linked. I like the one with both inches and centimeters on it.
Making and soldering the bars.
Wolverine ultra flux – If you google it you can find a couple of places that sell it. I haven’t linked to any because it seems too expensive on amazon and I haven’t checked out the other places yet for a good price. I think mine is a 7oz jar.
Finishing the caps on the bars.
1.5″ piece of sterling silver extension chain – Rio Grande #632812B
Infinity Stamps sterling silver tags – HERE – I use H
As I mention in the video the tag mate system with a custom stamp is quite expensive and actually the tags are also I think, but if you make a lot of jewelry and you’re interested in buying one with your own makers mark on it you’ll have to draw up your art work first. The way I did it was to draw my initials (which is all I wanted on my stamp) over and over again on a piece of paper until I came up with something I liked. Keep the paper white and the writing sharp. I think I used a thin sharpie.
I then scanned it to my computer and sent it to Infinity Stamps. (It was a lot sharper than the image here on my screen).
They charge you extra if you want them to do the art work, and they tried to charge me for alterations on another stamp I’d designed when I felt they hadn’t actually changed anything on it. This was probably an oversight on their part, but you have to be careful as it can add up. If you get the artwork right the first time and feel it’s nice and sharp etc. you should be o.k. Infinity stamps will reduce the image to fit the tag.
Taking one of the end caps off.
Not the most flattering working position, but I think I work it well…
Apologies as I tend to wear my old, worn out clothes in the studio. I’m not that good at keeping myself clean while I’m working. Perhaps black isn’t the best colour for buffing dust and cat cuddles 🙂
This is the video where I go on, again, about the solder going up and over. I tell you every time that happens to me I kick myself. I think I’m more reminding myself here than anyone else. I also didn’t realize how many times a person could say, there you go, in one sitting.
NOTE: In this next video when I say the ‘thin’ one, I mean the smaller torch head. I typically use a #0 torch head. The ‘thin’ one is a #00 and I sometimes use it for delicate chains. I mean really delicate, like under 20 gauge wire or if the chain has like micro links that you don’t stand a chance soldering anyway. Always up for a challenge. The larger torch head I use is a #1. I like the #1 because you can feather the flame around the piece and it heats everything up evenly all at once. This is good for a final once over if you want to make absolutely sure that all the pieces are solidly soldered or if you’re soldering pieces over a larger surface area. You have to be more careful with the #1 if you’ve got more delicate pieces that you want to attach as it can be a little fierce. However, you can adjust it to get a softer flame which is nice.
I use a #2 torch head to heat down my scrap pieces into maybe 1″ ish blobs which I can then take to my rolling mill to make small sheets. More silver than that is too much of a work out for me. I bought a #4 head to begin with thinking that it was a good one for the job, but it scared the bejesus out of me as it lit with a small explosion like sound and was like the flame thrower Signorey Weaver torches the eggs with on Aliens. That one’s on the top shelf now, out of harms way. For heating the balls at the end of the day, I turn off the tank and use my #0 torch head to use up the acetylene left in the hose. When the flame turns white I turn it off at the torch handle and then I turn down the pressure on the regulator.
I use an Smith acetylene/air torch, so I can’t recommend which tips you use with the other systems. I only used gas and oxygen once when I took some lessons at the community college. It always freaked me out as I could never remember which valve I had to open first. Just knew I was going to blow the school up. Too much anxiety right there.
AND finally, they are cross locking tweezers! Man! Almost drove me nuts trying to figure out what they were called.
This video stops abruptly because I’m recording it on my phone and the phone’s alarm went off. You’ll probably need a break anyway 😉
Joining the bracelet ends to the setting.
There are lots of ways you can hold two pieces together for soldering. I have a lot of success this way, but sometimes you just have to move it around to see which way is going to be best. My third hand tweezers need to have their ends snipped and leveled which would have probably helped make this set up easier this time.
This is also the video with the shaky hand. I think the inside of my arm was leaning against the side of the table in a funny way and it was resting on a nerve. This may have been because I was holding my arms awkwardly as I tried to solder in view of the camera. Either that or I’m going to have to stop the afternoon drinking…
The alarm went off again in this video because I had it on snooze. Sorry.
This is the bench lathe that I use – Rio Grande # 334016
And these are the buffing wheels that I use to get the result I’m looking for – Rio Grande #330541
I also use these – Rio Grande #332581 – to get into tight places before I give it a final buff with the wheel above.
Setting the stone.
I think I called the gravers engravers. They’re not engravers. They’re gravers. I would be the engraver, if I were engraving, which I wasn’t, not really, and the graver is the tool, not the person. Just to clear that up. And yes, those things that you can buy at the supermarket that help you see better. Those are glasses.
This is the bit that I like to use (this one or one like it) to clean out the insides of my pieces – Rio Grande #343124
Someone asked if I would write a tutorial on one of my latest bracelets, which I’m happy to do, but just for jollies I thought that this time I’d try to video my process.
I’ve never made a video of myself before and so I’ve never really heard my own voice other than on one or two voice mails so it was quite a shock really. I could definitely hear some american in my accent and it kind of surprised me. Perhaps not a lot of american, and some of you might not even notice it, but it was something I wasn’t expecting and it took a little while for me to realize that this is my voice now. Some of you may know that I come from England, but as I’ve been here for 28 years now I suppose it’s not surprising that the native tongue has mingled with my own. At times I think the cross contamination makes me sound a little Australian perhaps, but god knows I don’t want to offend any Australians out there. It’s bad enough to think I’ve messed up the whole American thing, let alone good old England’s thing.
Will they ever let me back…
Another thing I noticed and which I will warn you about now, is that I ramble. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone who’s ever read one of my blog posts, but it kind of surprised me listening back to it although I do seem to remember now that Peter and the kids have made it a long-suffering point to complete my thoughts.
And there I was just thinking they’d been brought up wrong.
I’m not proud of it. I tried several times whilst making this to get my head into straightforward explanation mode, but until I have some kind of remedial, how to talk in complete sentences, lessons I think I’m stuck with it for now.
It’s like I’m living in a dream land all on my own. All the possible words I could use and calls to action are just up there in my head bumping into each other. It’s like the sentences are completely unsure of whether they should even make the effort to get out of my mouth.
“Shall I go now? No, wait for it, wait for it… Now!
Nope too soon. Call it off. Abort. Abort…”
Really it’s not cool and so unless you think it’s not going to bother you, just save yourself now.
And lastly. What a nightmare!
Making this bracelet took me three times as long as it normally would, which I think is obviously because I was trying to explain my process along the way. (I use the term explain loosely). Also, and this is a huge, good grief!, moment, How clumsy can I possibly be? I think I dropped everything all of the time and the whole sawing using the vise fiasco really should have been my, walk away and do something completely different now! For heavens sake leave it!, clue.
But no. I slogged on and not only did I slog on, I decided to keep it all here, for you, so that those of you just beginning to make jewelry can see just how frustrating it can be even when you’ve been doing it for ages. Today I could probably make the same bracelet again and everything would go smoothly.
But yesterday was another story.
I don’t want to make excuses, but I do think I’ll have to practice if I ever decide to make another video because there has to be a way you can make and talk at the same time, and not only make and talk, but make sure that everything you do is actually in the line of the camera. Yes, I fell foul of that once or twice also. And why not? Everything else was hit and miss…
I also decided to leave everything in, minute by painful minute, because some of you might like to watch it that way. It’s broken up into snippets so that if, after reading this, you have decided to take your chances you can take frequent breaks.
…from which you may decide never to return.
You have been warned…
And so, without further ado, this is the piece I’m going to be working on.
It is also the piece which, from now on, shall be referred to as
The bracelet from hell.
Please remember that I am just a somebody muddling through. This is the way I do things. I am a wing it, try it, do it wrong, try again, sort of person. I do not maintain that I know what I am doing, only that I am trying to do it. Please feel free to enjoy my discoveries but follow your own research for professional advice and to perfect your skills. Above all, enjoy. Life is short.
The links to the tools used are only examples of the ones I use. There are many different types available of the same tools, some better than others. If you are beginning your jewelry adventure, please don’t just buy the ones in the links here. Research until you feel comfortable that you are purchasing the right tool for you.
You will need:
Medium sized cabochon. I got mine from HELGASHOP on Etsy – HERE
2 X 2″ lengths of sterling silver 5mm x 2mm rectangular wire – Rio Grande #100552
1.5″ piece of sterling silver extension chain – Rio Grande #632812B
This is a very short one because Peter phoned me half way through. That man. I tell you.
Taking it back to solder.
This is the one where I like to use the word burn instead of melt. It’s just a thing I do…
Note: When I’m soldering the first leaf onto the stem I mention that the key to soldering is that all of the pieces of silver need to be at the same temperature for it to work. In this case I meant only the stem and the leaf because those were the only two pieces to be soldered together at that time. Had I wanted to solder down the tip of the leaf to the back plate, I would have made sure that the tip was in place and touching the back plate and I would have brought the back plate up to the same temperature also. This would have probably involved concentrating my flame more on the back plate in the beginning as that would have taken longer to reach the soldering temperature than the leaf and stem would. In this way, by paying attention to the temperature of all the pieces around the area you’re working on, you can also avoid undoing previously soldered pieces. If you keep an eye on it you can tell when a piece of solder is about to flow or when a piece of silver is about to melt. There are products that you can buy to coat previously soldered areas that can help prevent solder from reflowing, but it’s not needed in this piece if you’re careful.
Cutting out the back plate.
Contenti snap on sanding discs and mandrel – HERE – I tend to only use the coarse discs because I’m really impatient. Not necessarily a good thing.
Sticky wax – Rio Grande #700187 – Warning. This is a lot of sticky wax. You won’t need to buy any ever again.
Finishing up the setting – continued.
Cutting down the bezel collar.
NOTE: It’s not a dapping punch thing it’s from my hole punch making Pepe thing. Also it’s not a ball bur, it’s a cup bur.
As this part of the bracelet is complete I’m going to stop here. I don’t want to push my luck as there are loads of videos in this post and I don’t know if WordPress has a limit. I’ll show you the next part of the bracelet in the next post.
I hope it hasn’t been too boring. I can assure you that it gets a lot more painful…
The two types of shears I use are both from Rio Grande – #111244 – #111289
But I thought I’d just pop out of hiding for a few minutes or so to let you all know that I’m still alive and to tell you a little bit about my mental state when I come to the realization that I’m going to have to step it up a notch.
Because I’m thinking it’s time again.
I liken my jewelry making to potty training.
Bear with me now…
You know when you put your kid on the potty every darn day for a month and they still pee in their pants so you throw your hands in the air and give up on it completely. Then a week later realize that every other kid in preschool has mastered the big toilet so you try again, not expecting much, but whoa, it’s like they’ve had these alien beings invade their little bodies since you last tried and they’re poohing like champions on the potty all the time now and laughing in your face like what’s been your problem anyways…
Yeah my jewelry making is like that.
Although not quite as messy.
It comes in stages, like one day I’m really struggling and then voila! the next it’s like I’ve crossed a bridge into I can do this with my eyes closed land.
O.K. So not quite with my eye’s closed, because that would be dangerous and I could lose digits or burn the studio down, but you get my drift.
And it’s so satisfying.
You feel like champion of the world for a day until you realize that there are so many skills left to master that from here on out you’ll always need to keep your spare pair of pull ups close by in case of emergencies.
It excites me when I see something that I haven’t done before and I just know that I’ll be thinking of it for a while until suddenly, that’s it, I’m going to have to have a go even though it looks really, really tricky and my old friend, You’ll never be able to do it, turns up uninvited and leaves me struggling with, I’ll never be any good at this, dammit!, until I finally decide to give up on jewelry making altogether even though I have all those tools and gadgets and stones.
Because I’ve completely forgotten about all the stuff I can do and have done and how far I’ve come since that one day when I thought, hey, that looks like a fun thing to do.
It’s a rollercoaster I tell you.
That said, when I look at all the great jewelry out there, and see all the things that I can’t do yet, I know there are challenges coming that I can’t avoid.
So right now I’m trying to think of one of the many skills that I shy away from because I think it’s beyond me.
And I’m thinking it’s going to have to be stone setting.
Not cabochon setting as I think I have that down now, but those fiddly little, how on earth don’t you just pop out, stones.
I might well have no hair left after accepting this challenge, but it’s been on my mind now for some time, and every time I see a video of someone setting those little boogers I can’t help the stubborn in me whisper, If they can do it, so can you.
So we’ll see what happens.
If, of course, I can get past the, Nah! Why would you want to bother with that anyway, voice.
I used 23 gauge fine silver sheet, 18 gauge sterling silver wire, and 10 gauge fine silver wire.
Remember that you’ll have to accommodate for the silver around the cabochon you choose to determine the final size of the ring.
First up this is just the way that I make my jewelry. I’m self-taught and make loads of mistakes and don’t always do things the best way.
I’m a bit of a muddler really and so the way I do things and the tools I use are not meant to be set in stone.
The best way to view this How To is to take a looksee and see if it’s something you’d like to experiment with.
I won’t be answering the door to any subpoena’s for incorrect information.
I start all of my pieces with a quick drawing to get a feel for what I’d like to start with.
Sometimes these are brilliant pieces of art work.
Here you can see that I’ve already made the collar for the cabochon, but you don’t have to do that first.
I just happened to have this one hanging around for a while because I started off with an idea for it, then couldn’t make up my mind.
I’ve got a lot of indecision on my table.
Then I stamp and cut out little pieces of silver.
Lots of little pieces of silver.
Which I then play around with on the sketch I’ve made adding some silver balls that I have laying around.
Every time I turn off my torch for the day I take out a charcoal block and use up the excess gas in the line to make balls out of the scraps I have laying around.
This way I feel as though I’m not wasting anything and the bonus is I have loads of little balls just waiting for a home.
Of course, however many balls I have hanging around I never seem to have the exact size I’m looking for.
Life can be complicated like that sometimes.
Once I’ve come up with a plan I then take a piece of 18 gauge wire and wrap it around the stone.
I try to do this loosely to give it a little personality.
Here I’ve used sterling silver because that’s what I had hanging around and so I annealed it first to make it more pliable.
If I were using fine silver I wouldn’t have to anneal it first as it’s much softer.
Once I think it’s interesting enough and balances out the stone nicely, I place the little pieces of silver on it to get another feel for it.
And then cut out a piece of the 23 gauge fine silver sheet to solder it on to.
I usually cut out the shape of the pencil line I’ve made around the piece so that I don’t waste so much silver, but for today I’ve just measured out a rough piece to work with.
I did have lots left over to make new leaves though so it’s all good.
Now I clean it up with my handy sanding pad.
And place the collar and wire on it to solder.
NOTE: I cover all of the plate with flux.
Some old gentleman at one of the shows I did a couple of years ago told me that this helps prevent fire scale, so I decided to believe him and that’s what I’ve done ever since.
Seems to work.
(See more info on this at the bottom of the post)
Also you can see above that I haven’t cleaned the wire for soldering.
I know you’re supposed to, but I’ve found that it’s really the correct heat and the area you heat around the piece you want to solder that is the key. I do, however, always clean the back plate.
I’m not recommending it, just explaining what you see in the photo.
Next I sand around the area to clean it up.
Sometimes this is enough, but sometimes you will need to pickle it.
I then check that the stone still fits using either dental floss to ease it out again, the sticky wax on a stick thing, or, if it’s willing, by just tapping it out.
And now you add the bits.
I have attempted to make a little youtube video showing how I do this.
It’s quite boring so I’ve sped it up a bit, but if you want to take a look at it I’ll put it at the end of this post.
You’ll see that I place each piece of stamped silver individually around the collar. Sometimes heating a little blob of solder on the bottom of a leaf etc.,and then taking it over to the piece works well enough, but this time I found that I needed to place the solder on the wire around the collar first and then place the leaves, etc., on it for it to stay put.
I use tiny chips of solder from Contenti to do this.
I heat the wire a little then I gently heat a stamped leaf piece as I take it over to the solder. I melt a tiny piece of solder onto it’s underside and then I bring it back to it to the piece to fix it in place.
If you watch your flame and control where your heat is you won’t undo the pieces you’ve already soldered.
Continually watch the silver. You will see when a piece of solder is going to re-flow. Just take your flame away and come in gently again to the piece you want to solder.
This will work most every time once you get the hang of it..
NOTE: You can place all of the pieces on the piece at once and heat it up evenly until they’re all soldered, but I find that not all the pieces will stay put and I also like to make it up as I go along. You’ll see in the video that I sometime try different sizes of balls, for instance, or I might like to add or take away something.
Now I pickle it and cut it out.
You don’t have to use a sharpie to out-line it, but I find it helps me to keep the back plate just a little proud of the top which is the look I’m going for as, for me, it adds to the depth of the piece.
And now this stage is done.
Next up is the ring shank.
You can make this anyway you prefer, but for the purpose of this How To I’ll show you how I made mine.
I took two pieces of 10 gauge wire which I rolled slightly through the rolling mill.
You can leave them round if you wish, or gently hammer them if you prefer.
Once I flattened them slightly I then bent them so that their middles met to be soldered.
That’s when I found out that I’d used one piece of fine silver, and the other piece, which I’d found lying on my table, was sterling.
Told you I mess up a lot.
My life, I tell you.
But we’re not going to talk about that anymore.
Needless to say, when you have joined two pieces of the correct wire together you will bend them around your ring mandrel.
Depending on whether you measured out you wire before hand, which I didn’t, you may have some excess which you can then mark off at the size you want the shank to be.
And cut down accordingly.
You will then need to take your rubber/rawhide hammer to shape the ends around the mandrel.
Next you will need to angle off the cuts so that they will sit flush to the base of the ring top.
You can do this a couple of ways.
By holding it in you fingers to file down.
Or your thumb.
Or you can sand it.
I stick a piece of that sticky backed sanding paper on my table next to my bench block.
Once the ends sit flush you are ready to solder it onto the ring top.
Here I’ve already stamped the bottom with my mark and silver content. You can do this as I’ve done or you can stamp them on the ring shank itself.
I usually stamp my pieces after I’ve made them and before I’ve set the stone.
I balance the piece on one of my disc cutting punches and stamp it that way.
Don’t question me. It’s just a thing I do…
And now you’re ready to finish up.
I cleaned up the bottom with my new favourite abrasive wheel.
You can choose the best way for you.
Then I cut down the collar.
I ran a pencil around the inside of the collar keeping it flush to the top of the stone.
You might want to cut off the collar differently depending on the cut of the cabochon. This one had a distinctive curve that stopped without transitioning smoothly to the flat top of the stone and as I didn’t want the collar to sit short of the top I decided to roll it over the sides of the cabochon to meet the flat top.
I don’t know if that makes sense, but a long story short I felt that the collar would look wrong curved just half way up the edge of the stone.
I next brushed it with Black Max and buffed it down as much as I could at that point.
After which I set the stone and covered it with masking tape to protect it and finished off buffing it until I got the finish I was looking for.
I prefer this brushed look, but you can finish yours using the method you prefer.
And there you have it.
Your new ring.
Hope that all made sense.
I’d love to see what you make.
Happy Mother’s Day.
As I didn’t want you to watch sugar dissolving I sped this video up a bit, but I think you’ll get the gist. Here I’m soldering the bezel collar and the 18 gauge wire to the back plate using a larger #1 Smith nozzle on my torch which helps to heat the whole area evenly. The solder pieces are already placed inside the bezel collar and the whole piece is raised up from the honeycomb block on one of those titanium strips which I’ve bent into a triangle shape to support it. Once the solder pieces (pallions) begin to shine slightly you might just be able to see that I lift the corner of the silver plate up from the titanium prop with my pick. This allows the heat to get underneath the piece and helps the solder flow.
This lifting of the corner is a great tip and my solder flows every time I do it. I use less solder because of it and it really flows evenly around the whole area leaving no pits on the inside or outside.
Depending on how much you use some of the outside wire will be caught up in the solder flow, but generally only those areas that are closest to the collar. You’ll see that after the bezel collar is soldered I use my pick to pick up small chips of solder to attach the outer edges of the wire to the back plate. In this instance I didn’t need the wire to be completed soldered down as I wanted it to lay in a more natural flow around the piece. I just needed it to be secure, but you can use this technique to fix it all down if you need to.
If you use this technique, at times, if the pieces to solder aren’t evenly heated, you might find that as you bring the solder on your pick to the piece it will flow up over the wire and not underneath it to join it to the back plate. If this happens take another small chip of solder and hold it down with your pick as you heat it so that it doesn’t have the chance to go where you don’t want it to.
This second video, which isn’t 7 minutes long by the way, but is thankfully only as long as the first video, shows how I attach the small leaves and balls.
I flux everything and then heat it up. As I mentioned above at first you can see me taking each stamped piece to the small chips on my board, heating them slightly so that the solder sticks to their undersides and then taking them back to the place I want to attach them to. Usually this works fine, but for some reason today, (probably because I was being watched) they wouldn’t stick. To remedy this I then took the small chips and placed them on the wire where the attachment was to go and soldered them that way.
Let me know if I’ve missed anything out, or something doesn’t make sense.
UPDATED INFORMATION – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FROM FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK.
If you have anything to add that may be of relevance just let me know and I’ll update it here.
First commenter: Only one issue: that particular flux is not a prevention flux for firescale. It’s a flow flux, to facilitate solder flow. No need to put it all over the piece; just use a little where you want your solder to flow.
From another commenter: I thought all flux covered firescale & flow. No?
Original commenter: No. There are flow fluxes and barrier fluxes. Neither does both jobs.
Another commenter: Sooooo cupronil says it’s both a flux and a fire coat preventative … is that not the case?
Cupronil contains some boric acid and some do use it like Prips as both, but I have not found it to be as good as using 2 separate fluxing preps- all in what you get used to and how you were trained. My training was to fire coat thoroughly, then use flow flux only where you would solder.
I’ve been enjoying making the cuffs and up to now have used the strips that Rio sent me that one time when I messed up my order and ended up with six, 6″ x 1″ strips instead of a 6″ x 6″ square.
Always check the order form before you click submit.
I was a little bummed at the time and they hung out in the draw for a while as they seemed a little too special to use, like they had some heavenly purpose for being there, but then I decided I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it.
And so my cuffs were born.
Except that the 1″ width frustrated me at times.
Sometimes I wanted a little over and sometimes I had to saw them thinner which was fine if I was going to use the crinkle edge on them, but annoying when I couldn’t get 6″ of a perfect saw line.
I used my Jedi mind powers, I did, but there was always that one time about 3″ in when just as I was thinking how well I was doing I’d end up messing up.
Over confidence can be a killer.
So new tool number one!
The table shears…
I didn’t want to pay a tremendous amount for the times that I would be using it.
If I was a mass producing beast of a cuff maker – maybe.
I’ve since noticed that you can get it cheaper at Contenti, and Otto Frei has one although the cheapest one is for a 4″ cut, but I’ve got so many good girl spending points at Amazon that I ended up getting it for nothing.
Can’t beat nothing.
It cuts like butter through the gauges I need it for even though it’s much cheaper than some of them.
And to further aid in my recent cuff making frenzy I also bought one of these from – HERE
Because although I already have a mandrel I find it hard to hold and couldn’t find a bench attachment for it.
Also this one swivels.
And that’s always fun.
So, there you have it.
My new tools.
I feel spoiled when I think about being able to get these things for myself, and I am grateful, but I have been good, promise, and just think of the damage I can do with that shear….
I had the old end of the world earthquake dream this morning.
It wasn’t all bad.
As we waited for the pre-quake green black apocalyptic storm clouds to totally cover the sky a small van pulled up down our road handing out supplies to the residents.
Did we need any survival supplies?
I chose a couple of dust masks.
You know, those simple ones with the little vents in the front.
Seemed as though they’d come in handy.
A large high rise was due to fall onto us once the quake started. Instead of moving away from the object of our imminent death, we instead contemplated the chances that the gaping hole torn into the side of the building would fall exactly over where we waited thereby saving us from being crushed to death.
I tried to calculate the exact trajectory of the high rise’s collapse, but ultimately knew that the life saving cavity would miss us by a few inches.
Still didn’t get out of the way though.
In other, less violent, news I just managed to send off another $7,000 to charity.
This is a very simple chain which you may have already seen on my Instagram page, and I promise this post is not as long as my last one.
I used 16 gauge sterling silver wire.
I haven’t calculated how much though, so sorry about that.
First up you will need a torch to ball up the end of the wire.
After which I like to use a large cup bur on it to round it out.
You won’t need the bur if you use fine silver as it will make a perfect ball when you heat it, but I tend to use sterling for most of my chains.
If you have never balled the end of a piece of wire before simply hold the wire vertically in a pair of tweezers and move the flame up and down the bottom of it until a ball forms. If you keep the flame on the ball for too long after it has formed it may fall off, so be sure to remove the flame when you have the size you need.
Now make a loop as shown.
Solder the ball end at the spot it crosses over the other end of the loop and then make another smaller loop and cut off the extra length of wire.
This loop is turned and soldered just under the first soldered join.
Take the remainder of the wire and ball up the end again.
Make another loop.
This time you will thread the larger loop into the smaller loop of the first link before soldering the loop together.
After soldering it make and solder the smaller link as before.
And continue until you have the length of chain you desire.
I made sure that the balls were all sitting the same way and that all the links matched.
No rules though.
You can mix it up if you want to.
Here are some more photographs of the process.
Now put a catch on it.
And you have a new bracelet.
Now I’m going to get my survivors guide to the end of the world out and see if there’s anything else I might need to start collecting other than dust masks.