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Balling Metals


#1

A few of us are attending an intermediate class and wondered how do
you get a nice, round, melted ball at the end of a brass wire…and
if possible…can you ball 2 ends of a wire used in a rivet? One end
is easy, but with the added metal between it seems impossible to ball
the other side. We have had quite a time with this…but have seen
other pieces made with this technique [using Cu & Ag]. We can’t seem
to get any of these metals to cooperate. Most of us are using
acetylene smith torches. Thanks for your advice! Barbara A. Hopkins
Oyster River High School 55 Coe Drive Durham, NH 03824 603-868-2375 FAX
603-868-2049


#2

Hello Barbara, You should have better luck with a propane / oxygen or
natural gas / oxygen torch. Your flame is not hot enough. Timothy A.
Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
E-Mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen
Web-Site: www.home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft


#3
A few of us are attending an intermediate class and wondered how do
you get a nice, round, melted ball at the end of a brass
wire....and if possible....can you ball 2 ends of a wire used in a
rivet?   

Flux the end of the wire and suspend it in locking tweezers or
hemostat so that the end that’s going to ball is hanging down. Heat
gently in a reducing flame until the wire end starts to melt and
follow the melt up the wire until the ball is the size you want. But
don’t try to get the ball too large, or -Ooops, splat - gravity will
win and what can I do with this interesting metal splash ( Safety
Note
- Do Not Perform This Operation Above Any Portion Of Your
Anatomy For Which You Have An Inordinate Fondness) To ball the second
end of said wire, note the length of wire consumed to produce ball
#1, leave that length protuding from the far side of the piece(s) to
be riveted, and repeat the procedure. You may need to use a hotter
flame for ball #2, as you’ll probably get some heat-sink effect from
the material being riveted. Good luck

Mike


#4
A few of us are attending an intermediate class and wondered how do
you get a nice, round, melted ball at the end of a brass
wire....and if possible....can you ball 2 ends of a wire used in a
rivet? 

Someone else posted on balling the first end, so I won’t re-describe
that except to mention you want the wire hanging straight down; if
it’s at an angle, your ball will be off center, too.

For the second end, Fred Zweig showed me a neat trick. Take an old
pair of chain nose (or some such) pliers, and saw them off so you just
have about a half inch stub left of the jaws. Using a diamond ball
bur, gently close the plier jaws on the bur as it’s running in your
flexible shaft machine. You should end up with two half-round
depressions opposite each other.

After you have made the ball on one end of hte wire, put it into the
place you want to rivet it into and cut the second end to rivetting
lenghth (avout .5 the diameter of the wire). Fit your plier jaws
around both ends of the wire , and gently squeeze. Both sides can end
up matching dome shapes, if you’re lucky and hold your mouth right.
One caveat–the previously made ball can’t be too big to fit, as a
dome, into the hole. Well, it can, of course, but the result won’t be
as neat.


#5

Regarding the pliers with the diamond round bur cut into the jaws;
what do you mean by fitting the plies around both ends of the wire?
How does the second ball get formed? Just by the pressure? Confused.


#6
Regarding the pliers with the diamond round bur cut into the jaws;
what do you mean by fitting the plies around both ends of the wire?
How does the second ball get formed? Just by the pressure? 

Yes, just the pressure. But it doesn’t form a ball–it makes both
into domes.


#7

One my first jobs many years ago in London was to fit gold watch
straps to the cases, make the snaps etc. After putting the cheniers on
to make the hinges we obviously riveted them. This was done by making
two steel (tool) rods tapered at the ends. We then ball burred the
tapered ends to suit the size of the rivet and hardened them. They are
just like oversized graining (beading) tools. One of the tools would
fit into a small drill press and the other in the drill clamp. You cut
the rivet with just enough showing on each side to form the rivet. It
is important to get this right, too long it could bend, too short you
might not form the rivet without scoring the metal. With the rivet
resting in the clamp end bring down the drill and it burnishes a very
neat rivet head. Turn it over and do the same on the other side. It is
a very quick and easy method once you have made your tools.

Chris Hackett


#8

Since I love putting hinges in my work but dread the process of
flattening the ends to ensure that they do not slip out on either
side of the hinge knuckles, I read your post with great interest.
However, I must confess I am a little confused about the process.
Please bear with me if it is obvious to others but here are my
questions.

  1. What is the relationship between the end of the rod and and ball
    bur? Should the bur be the same circumference as the rod or larger,
    or smaller?)

  2. I don’t quite understand the description “One of the tools would
    fit into a small drill press and the other in the drill clamp” - Does
    this mean that the rod/tool is the rivet itself (which is what I
    thought you meant) and would be held at one end in the mechanism
    which holds the bit in a drill press leaving the other end free to
    apply the ball bur with a flex shaft? Or am I missing something?

  3. How much longer than the knuckles do you leave at each end of the
    rivet? I usually shoot for 2mm and can’t imagine getting a firm grip
    on that little bit with a drill clamp. Clearly, I think I am missing
    something or have misunderstood your description. I love the concept
    but I want to do it correctly. Thank you so much in advance for your
    patience. If you would like, feel free to contact me off Orchid to
    give me some additional instructions.

Shael
@shael_barger


#9

Hello Shael

I will try to answer your questions.

  1. First you have two steel rods made of tool steel. These would be
    about 4mm to 5mm diameter and about 4cm long. This is just a rough
    size to give you an idea. You taper the ends of the rods to look like
    two small sharpened pencils leaving a flat on the bottom. If you are
    using say 1mm wire to rivet your hinges bull bur the end of the taper
    so you have a half-sphere that is larger than the wire. They are
    basically oversized beading (graining) tools. After you have made them
    harden and temper them to straw yellow. You can remove the oxidization
    on the inside of the half-sphere by turning it on a buff stick. If you
    have a setters “Fion” you can use that to finish the half-sphere
    before the hardening and tempering procedures.

2.When you have done this you should have two identical tools. You
put one of the tools in the chuck of the vertical drill press and the
other in the vise clamp on the table of the drill press. With the
drill going and both tools in line to each other. Place the hinge with
the wire protruding about three quarters of a mm each side (trial and
error will soon let you know how much to leave) and bring down the
drill press on the rivet. It should leave a nice burnished half dome
larger than the wire. Turn it over and do the other side.

Hope this helps
Chris