Bending spring tempered gold tubing

Hello Everyone,

I’m a new full fledge member, (un?)fortunately I’m self taught (going on year 3ish after taking multiple metal smith courses several years ago, which obviously isn’t/wasn’t enough, as you will see. I’m now learning via painful and near bankrupting trial and error…lots of error. I scour the www watching videos everywhere I can find them. And read used jewelry books, currently just started Kallenberg’s Modeling in wax for jewelry and sculpture, 1981. Who knew?! I should’ve started out using wax…I would saved several thousand dollars In burnt/melted ring bezels…sigh

I’m about to order two 12" length’s of spring tempered 18k gold tubing. As I have acquired 4 perfect “end pieces” for the necklaces/neck rings I plan to make. The tubing is medium gauge (0.4mm thick ) has a 4.06mm OD with 3.26mm ID (8gauge) when I spoke to the manufacturer about bending it for chokers (with a 4.5" gap (1" of which will be taken up by the gold end pieces I’m inserting into the tube ends) they recommended I use no less than medium gauge and to have it spring tempered, so to allow for the torsion it will be under when one twists it slightly to get it on and off the neck. Thus preventing eventual cracking from brittleness.

Before starting all this I made a 12" length of fine silver tubing same ish diameter out of fine silver sheeting to test my piece, well I kinked it in several places of course, as the hanger wire I used to bend it didn’t fill the silver tube sufficiently and the gauge of the silver sheet was quite thin…but I can see the end result will be magnificent… if I can actually accomplish it. Thankfully, just before I ordered, I asked another question about the kind of 8 gauge wire I’d need to use to bend the straight pieces without kinking them. They said sterling silver would be good at a length of 18", long enough on each end to be able to make the arc I need and could be reused on the second piece and then as another necklace. As the silver is about $83 I thought this was a good idea as it’s malleable I’m guessing I should get the sterling silver wire 1/2 hard? Thankfully, she told me not to use any heat on the spring tempered tubing, which, obviously, renders the tubing no longer spring tempered (duh? Actually I didn’t know this-I’m “pretty much” self taught…ah still teaching) so in order to put my end pieces in, I’ll have to hire someone with a laser. Argh. I encountered this with my first neck rings several years ago when I ordered lovely push button clasps for wires without knowing they couldn’t be affixed via soldering due to the internal mechanisms…) still, glad I found out in time. And I’ve searched for weeks, but can only find videos/prior advice on bending tubing for small projects like earrings, and the ones on bending gold tubing all show the jewelers annealing the tubing repeatedly to shape it. Since I’m getting it spring tempered I cannot do that. One more thing, will the heat of putting a high polish affect the spring temper? I’ve noticed when attempting to get a high polish the metal gets hot, sometimes very hot. They said absolutely no heat! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you and I love reading this forum, I’ve just officially joined as a member (I thought I had before, but I guess that was a non paying membership?) anyhoo, I’m rambling. No hint or tip too small. Sincerely, Paddy Peters


i saw a video using a technique that might work…in the video, the goal was a smaller coil…

they had a piece of wire, with a pigtail curl on the far end…

  • lets say that the straight portion of the wire is 24”, not including the pigtail curl

then they had a a piece of tubing that was shorter in length than the straight part

  • lets say your tubing is 20” in length

they stuck the straight end thru the tubing, and then thru a drawplate hole (a hole that easily fits the wire diameter, but smaller than the tubing OD) (the pigtail curl has not yet entered the tubing)

as the wire is pulled thru the tubing and drawplate, the tubing is stopped by the drawplate

when the pigtail curl portion gets to the tubing and is pulled thru, it curls the tubing,…

so i would venture to guess that the diameter of the curve controls the tubing curl…

perhaps create a wire with the proper shape for

your neckpiece and start to test…


Thank you! I’ve watched that video a couple of times and didn’t notice the end on the opposite side had a pig tail curve?!! I thought it was the force of pulling the wire through the smaller hole that was causing some sort of torsion to curve the tubing. Ai ya! I’ll go rewatch it right away. So, you’re thinking I have a longer 8 gauge wire, say 20-24" with a premade curve in the wire on the other side of the draw plate/vise… thank you very much. I love this community.

Best to you,
Paddy Peters