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Are ther other choices for making a pin back?


Hello all,

I’m asking for your help and advice on creating pin backs for
brooches. My problem is that I would like to be able to make an
enameled brooch that is not mounted in a bezeled cup. It adds
unnecessary weight and is, dare I say, just a little too “convenient”.
I’ll explain that comment if necessary.

(What I really want to make is an enamelled fibula, but just don’t
know how. An explanation would create another thread. )

I’m very much an amateur and have used previously the findings one
can buy at your local store that supports us amateurs. However this
approach is unworkable for me if the piece has to be put in the kiln.
It also doesn’t work for me if they are applied after the firing as
this causes all sorts of problems with the enamel, at least with soft

I would also prefer to make my own pin backs. Although cruder they
would be at least they would be my own. My problem then, is where do
if find the steel to make the pin? And if not not steel, can I use
some other metal?

And what do the “pro’s” use?

I have IT solder and can use, I presume, what is called a “little
torch” consisting of propane or propylene and oxygen. So soldering is
an option (technically brazing, but that is another story ).
However, are there other choices of attaching the pin like riveting or
stapling? If so, how?

So folks, I would be grateful to each and everyone if you can help
me. I’ll try anything and am very used to “failure” aka “a learning
experience” .

David Popham in Victoria BC


Hello David, For the pinstem, use piano wire, available at better
hardware or music stores. For the hinge and catch, is it possible to
add a threaded post to each and drill and tap two holes in your fibula
(well, perhaps not actually your personal fibula)? Have fun. Tom Arnold


Tom Arnold, you mentioned using piano wire. I’m fond of steel and I
recently bought a fairly large diamter wire (~1/8") and found that I
had insufficient perseverance to saw through the dang thing. Yes, I
was able to scratch a groove into it, but it took 5 or fewer strokes
of the saw to reduce its blade to what felt like a waxed string. What
do you (all) know about working with piano wire?



Christine, I have been using stainless steel wire to construct pin
backs for some time now. It is stronger than silver in thin gauges
and will not leave an unattractive hole in the garment to which it is
attached. Ask your friendly dentist (they all are) to order stainless
steel orthodontic wire from his supply house. I use .032 gauge and
attach it in several different ways to avoid losing the hardness of
the wire. The wire comes in convenient 12-16 inch lengths packed in a
vial of 10 (or more) pieces. If you have difficulty in working out a
scheme of attachment, feel free to contact me of line and I will try
to help. Good luck, JZD


Hi Christine,

The quickest way to cut piano wire, or any ‘hard’ material for that
matter, is with an abrasive cut off disc. These discs are usually
about 3/4-1"(20-25mm) in diameter & about 1/32" (.9mm) thick. They
attach to a flex shaft or motor tool mandrel with a screw.

Run the motor tool or flex shaft at high speed while cutting the wire
or whatever. Don’t twist the discs sideways or you’ll break them.



Hello Christine, Most types of steel respond well to grinding. There
is a tool used in a flex- shaft called a separating disc. It will cut
through your bit of steel very quickly. Wear safety goggles. Have fun. Tom Arnold