Tag Archives: bracelets

Time for a new link.

I’ve been off my groove, but now i’m back with a new silver link. So, if you’re in the mood for fiddly, have a go at this. Just remember my disclaimer as I’m not available to tend to any injuries incurred …

First up, and this is very important, put your i pod down the inside of your t-shirt and clip it to one of the belt slots on your jeans. This prevents the ear phones from hanging down front where the dremel and torch like to play as that could get tricky and very painful, and you might have to do the drop and roll thing on the studio floor.

Not cool.

Then turn on your murder mystery, but don’t bother with this one (here) as it was a bit long-winded and boring.

Next up.

Make your jump rings.

I use this.


Which is the old version of this


It’s expensive. I don’t know if I would buy it again, but it’s really good at making coils. I’ve never got the hang of using the cutting wheel which might have made the cost more worthwhile, but now the coil cutting holding vise thing has been eaten away by rust so giving it another try is a pretty moot point.

Buy this tool at your own peril …


Pretty bad, yes?

Anyway …

I turned 16 gauge sterling silver wire on the 9.5 mm mandrel to make a coil.


Which I then taped up with scotch tape (to secure the silver from moving), and used my jewelry saw to cut across the top of the coil to make jump rings.


I then straightened the rings so that the ends were flush and soldered them together.


Next time I’m going to just try to fuse the silver together instead of using solder – just to see if I can eliminate the bump.


I then used a pair of round nose pliers to pull the links into an oval shape.



I use these cheap pliers. The expensive pliers are good (obviously), but for me these work just as well and I like how they fit in my hand. I have two each of the flat nosed and the round pliers. One for each hand, because that’s how I like to roll, and at that price, you can knock yourself out with as many as you want …


Next, put the link back on the round nose pliers and squeeze the middle together with another pair of pliers.



(Excuse my dirty fingernail. Do you think that blows my chance of being a hand model?)


When you have finished them all take your dremel, or buffer of choice, and brush the centers of the links clean as this is where you will do some more soldering.

You could also put them in the pickle, but I can’t be bothered.

I use a coarse buffer.


Take some 22 gauge wire and wrap it three times around the middle of the link.


I bend the wire first to give it a head start otherwise it can get a bit fiddly.


Once you’ve done them all they are ready for soldering again.


Put a tiny dab of solder on the back of each new coil so that it will fuse to the link.

(Note: I shaped my links so that the middle meets where I soldered the ring together the first time and there was enough solder there to re-melt and attach the thinner wire to the link. That’s probably because I used way too much solder the first time around. (I’ve been working on that). Shaping it this way also stopped the solder bump from being visible at the ends of the link. Remember – always use your mistakes for good – it’s the most useful superhero power you have).


When all of your links are soldered and you have made sure that there are no sharp ends, get the jump ring maker out again and this time use 20 gauge wire on a 4 mm mandrel to make smaller jump rings .

Tape the coil together as before.


Then put it into this handy, weird, plier thing to saw into rings. This makes you remember (again) that the jump ring holding cutting vise thing that came with the jump ring maker is still rusted, but you’re not annoyed about it or anything like that …


If you don’t have this remarkable contraption, just use a vise or something equally handy.

Next join the links together by soldering two jump rings between them, a little tricky but have some faith, and voilà! you should end up with a complete mess.


It doesn’t look as bad after pickling, but really? Does everyone’s work look this crusty after they solder?

Here it is pickled.


I wanted to show you what I made with it, but I sold it before I got a chance.

Once I’d buffed it up it was clean and not crusty, and it was made into a bracelet with other beads and such.

Now I’m just going to have to make another so that you can see the end result.

Happy chain making and, if you can decipher my brilliant step by step instructions, let me know what you make with it.

Note that you probably don’t have to solder any of this chain to make it, however, I haven’t tried making it that way. I use solder because I want my chains to hold up to wear and tear. I also think they’re easier to form, but I could be wrong.


So, where were we …

As you may remember I made this link.

Which was all well and good except that the chain I made with it costs 5 billion dollars as it was so time consuming to make the ends smooth enough so that they wouldn’t catch on your clothes. (This bracelet is still for sale btw if anyone has the 5 billion in cash).

finished bracelet

So, just in case people couldn’t afford the 5 billion, I made a revised version of the link,

this time with balled up ends.

finished bracelet

This one was, by far, faster to make but I’m not sure I prefer it to the first. However, I haven’t made a whole chain out of the link yet so I might like it more then.

See that little divot in the end of the ball?

Don’t laugh, but, I’ve just found out if you use .999 fine silver wire instead of sterling silver the balls come out perfectly. I found the wire to be a lot softer to work with, however, and it has a tendency to kink and bend and basically take on its own shape until you harden it by hammering or tumbling. Is the fighting with it worth it for the perfect ball and the non tarnished finish, I ask myself?

Myself has yet to make a decision on that count.

And, as we’re talking about tumbling …

When I first bought my tumbler a few years or six back I bought the wrong shot and it all went rusty after the first time I used it. But, even though I moaned and grumbled and wondered if I would ever use the thing anyway, I finally bought the correct, stainless steel, shot. Why do they even sell the rusty kind I want to know? When I tried it out a second time I was really put off by how long the thing had to run for it to even begin to shine the silver. I actually ran it for a good couple of hours and when I finally got really fed up with it and opened it up to take a look, the silver was still the same dirty old stuff I’d put in there. And I wont even mention the noise the thing makes, the constant droning, on and on and on, except that it’s really annoying. I even thought about putting it outside to do its thing but it’s that irritating the neighbours might complain.

Fast forward to now when I decided to give the thing another go. It bums me out that other people use tumblers and yet I can’t seem to get the hang of it and so the darn thing has been lurking in the background like a sore tooth, niggling away, and, I swear, just mocking me. So, I braced myself for the noise and disappointment, put some cleaning stuff in there along with the shot and water, and, what do you know, the whole thing leaks. The rubber seal has obviously sat too long in the cupboard. I got out an old empty glaze tub and improvised with that, just to prove to myself that this was not going to faze me, (I’d show it!), but, again, after hours and hours, the silver was still unchanged. I read on a forum somewhere that some people leave the thing running overnight. I just can’t see me doing that. And the bottom line – I don’t even like shiny silver. Must have forgotten that little detail when I bought the darn thing.

I am determined that this piece of no good equipment is going to work for me, however, and so today I am going to give it one last shot. This time to harden my silver, not to clean it, as for the life of me I don’t know if the thing would know how to clean silver if it had to save the world.

Here are my newest chain bracelets.

And a tiger eye and silver necklace.

In your face tumbler thing.


Links, murder and Atticus Finch.

Lots happening with the links.

As you can see I’ve made quite a few of them.

If you remember, this was the first piece I made with them.

And the second.

Then I got a bit carried away.

I even made a little something to go with them – just because.

Other jewelry news is that I’ve finally started to pay attention to pricing my work properly.

Thanks to Danielle who is also a jewelry maker and who has helped me begin to see the error of my ways, I have begun to work with a pricing formula. I have to say that this hasn’t been easy for me. Yep, the whole self esteem, lack of confidence, stuff comes back to bite me each and every time, but, and this is an important but, I am getting better at it. The more I work on perfecting my craft and the more I realize that what I want to do with the money I make from it is very important to me, the easier it’s becoming to take myself more seriously. Man, and it only took me fifty years!

Thank you Danielle for your nudge.

In between making the links I finally finished listening to, To Kill a Mockingbird. When I make jewelry I can only listen to audio books with earphones if they’re on my i pod. To Kill a Mocking bird is on c.d. and as I hammer a lot and plug my ears with the christmas gift, I miss a lot of the narrative so this time I could only listen when I was painting.

You wont be surprised to hear that it was as brilliant to listen to as it was to read. Sissy Spacek was the narrator. My favourite part each time is the part where Scout, Jem and Dill go to the court house when Atticus is sitting guard outside. Very powerful. Now I’m back to the murder mysteries, (don’t ask me why, maybe my therapist can enlighten me). Inspector Linley this time. I’ve seen this on the t.v. and have to say that I don’t really care for the actors in it, particularly the sullen side kick. But, she’s exactly like that in the book so who am I to criticize. The audiobook is just o.k. it hasn’t really grabbed me yet, although, again with the female impersonation. Why? is all I have to say. Why does the very nice male listening voice, have to try to play the woman as a woman? It never works. The women always come over as weak, pathetic, whiney, girly, silly people – and not in a good way. Just read me the story will you. I can imagine the rest.

Not that it upsets me or anything …

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