What thickness of silver sheet would you use?
Personally I like 16 ga. It gives a nice solid feel to it, and takes
hammering with a ball pein, or stamping, very well. Most times I
form the bracelet from sheet first, then solder on stones or other
additional things. The reason being that when formed into a
curvature, the addition of some things can cause stretching and
distortion, or even popping the solder joints. Its better to form the
smaller components to the curvature of the bracelet before soldering.
With 16 ga. sheet, you don’t have to worry too much about it being
What is better for forming... a stepped mandrel or one of the
continuous bracelet mandrels. Round or oval? Wood or steel?
For a cuff bracelet, an oval mandrel is best, unless it is a child’s
bracelet, or for a very heavy adult. Children and obese customers
tend to have much rounder wrists, and benefit from the round mandrel
shaping. Normal adults and children that are pre-adolescent to adult,
tend to have the more oval shape, because they’ve lost the baby fat
and have developed the forearm muscles. I prefer the steel mandrels
myself, because they will last forever. I’ve done hundreds of
bracelets on mine, perhaps as many as a thousand, plus a goodly
amount of students. Some prefer a wood mandrel because it’s got more
"give" than a metal one, and is kinder for stress induced injuries
and the prevention thereof. Steel forms faster than wood, however.
Six of one, half dozen of the other. Continuous mandrels are best for
cuff bracelets. A stepped mandrel is used for stretching, forging and
heavy forming; something that involves changing the shape.
Any other advice would be appreciated.
Use a rawhide or wood mallet to form on the mandrel. Start by
forming the two ends first, smaller than you want the final curvature
to be. Then form the middle, smaller than the final form.
Progressively push the form down the mandrel while malleting, down
the mandrel, until you finish with the final size. There should be 1"
between the two ends for children, 1-1/2" between the ends for
ladies, 2" between the ends for men, 2-1/2" for large men. Wrist
measurements are made with a tape measure (e.g. most ladies’ cuffs
are 6"), minus the opening necessary between the ends. Cuff
bracelets can also be made with wire forms, but they must have end
plates to prevent some wires from stretching too much from the
heavier wires, causing the ends to be uneven.
Good luck, but I think you’ll find it very easy.