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Borosilicate glass to sterling connection dilema


#1

I hope someone can help me with a problem I have been trying to solve
forsome time now. I am trying to attach borosilicate glass beads or
buttons to a piece of sterling to create a pendant or earring. I have
tried the following without success:

Soldering a wire to the sterling, placing the bead through the wire,
protecting the bead with heat sink or something similar to keep the
glass cool, and balling up the end of the wire. The bead didn’t make
it, and even if it had, the ball would have needed cleaning up and
pickle would have broken the bead.

Riveting a wire to hold the pieces together. I couldn’t find a way
to do this without cracking of chipping the bead as I used the hammer
to make the rivet. Pre-balling the wire, and placing the bead and
sterling through so the wire comes out the back of the piece. For an
earring, I tried to run the wire up the back of the sterling to make
a hook for the earring, but the piece wouldn’t stay firmly
"sandwiched" together, and the weight of the material made the
earring fall forward when placed in the ear.

I am at a real dead-end and any help would be unbelievably
appreciated!!

Thanks,
Tracy


#2

Hi Tracy,

If the beads are borosilicate, you can use a torch carefully near
the bead without damaging it.

Soldering a wire to the sterling, placing the bead through the
wire, protecting the bead with heat sink or something similar to
keep the glass cool, and balling up the end of the wire. The bead
didn't make it, and even if it had, the ball would have needed
cleaning up and pickle would have broken the bead.

What gauge sterling wire are you trying to use? If it is relatively
large in relation to the size of the bead, the bead may become too
hot before the ball is formed. Using a hot flame, well-directed on
the wire end and avoiding the bead is key. The flame should be large
enough and hot enough to do the job quickly but not so large as to
envelop the bead, too.

Try a scrap of wire to see how much the length will be reduced by
making an appropriate ball on the end. Cut the wire to the length
needed for the bead and to form the ball with a little clearance at
the end of the bead. Place the earring part (with the wire pointing
up) in a third hand or holding device. Place the bead on the wire and
direct the flame horizontally toward the wire and across the bead.
Let the whole thing cool naturally and place it in the pickle after
it has cooled so you won’t shock the glass. The ball can be cleaned
up if necessary by hand if you don’t have other tools for metal
finishing. You can also try silver polish on a soft cloth or fine
abrasive paper. Try it out on a scrap wire first to find what works
best.

Riveting a wire to hold the pieces together. I couldn't find a way
to do this without cracking of chipping the bead as I used the
hammer to make the rivet. 

This can be done but takes a careful touch and practice. It may help
prevent (or hide) chips if you place a small domed disk (like a bead
cap) between the bead and end of wire rivet.

I am at a real dead-end and any help would be unbelievably
appreciated!! 

I hope this solves your construction problems.

WARNING, the following is shameless self promotion:

If you still cannot accomplish your goal, you might consider looking
at earring styles in my BEADifferent’ findings for handmade glass
beads.

http://www.songofthephoenix.com/beadifferent.php3

My best,
Pam
www.songofthephoenix.com


#3

without a picture of the beads, i’ll give this:

ball the end of a 2" length of wire, pass it through the bead, make
a bend up from the bead, then form a loop and wrap the extra bit of
wire around the straight bit coming up from the bead. or: make a
slightly over-sized triangle with wire, where the base is made up of
two ends that one passes into the bead from the front, and the other
passes into the bead from the rear.

make a bezel with a soldered on jump ring, set the bead within the
bezel and attach it to your ear wire. or: tap and die findings.

or…look at some fishing lures, and the different swivels used to
connect things…

hth


#4

It seems to me you might be better balling up the silver wire,
putting it through the glass bead and making a wire wrap connection
to the ear hook or the rest of the pendant. This is what I do when
attaching pearls to a piece.

All the best,
Jenny


#5

Just a note that borosilicate glass is unaffected by pickle. I guess
that you’re thinking that dropping it into the pickle while it’s
still hot will shatter it? That’s true - but you can let it cool and
then pickle. I have had no difficulties in balling up wire over
glass of this type.

Tony Konrath


#6

Brownells acraglass epoxy, used by gunsmiths


#7

Tracy,

When I tackled a project similar to this, I used a small tube as the
rivet. I drilled a hole in the glass large enough to allow the tube
through, measured and cut the tube to be the correct length (long
enough just to extend through the hole in the glass), soldered the
tube to the back piece, pickled and polished the metal components,
slid the tube through the glass component, and slightly flared the
tube to hold the glass. To flare the tube, I inserted a scribe into
the tube and gently moved the opposite end of the scribe in a wide,
circular motion, forcing the tube that extended beyond the glass into
just enough of a flare to hold the glass firmly on the background. I
then actually drilled a seat in the flared tube and set a small
faceted stone in the tube to complete the look. My only caution would
be to be sure and have the tube sitting firmly on a hard background
when you flare the tube. You want the metal to take all the
pressure… NO pressure should be on the glass or you could chip it.

Hope this helps.
Alice


#8

Success! I actually tried several techniques and found one that
worked. I used a really small cucible and packed it wih a lot of
third hand. Then I placed the pre-balled wire through the bead and a
domed circle and “buried” it really well. I added some water to help
keep it cool, cut the wire as the right spot and went in with the
torch directly on the wire.

The only difficulty I experienced was how long it took the wire to
ball tight to the dome; I thought it was never going to start moving
with the water working against it. Nothing like holding your breath
hoping a somewhat expensive and beautiful bead doesn’t crack. I
actually even got it to work with pearls but I’m guessing that might
really be hit or miss.

I am also going to try the riveting method the way it was described;
I particularly liked the idea of setting a stone in the tube.

THANK YOU so much for taking the time to repond both online and
offline and help me through this dilemma. It seems like such a small
thing, but I was really struggling. I have already been able to
complete 3 designs I had been working on without success and I’m
really happy with the results!

Tracy Arrington