I've been making chains from 20ga sterling silver links in
1/8"ID and 5/32"ID. My best-liked design uses 30 rings per inch,
and my most dense uses 35 per inch. My work is pretty tight, and
after burnishing I often require my loupe to find the split in a
Larger gauges of wire like that can be pretty solid, in a dense
weave, so unless you have places where only one or two rings are used
as connectors, you should be okay with plain closures.
that said... should I be soldering the links? Is there a point
where I should just say "good enough," and walk away?
It's up to you. Wear one for a while and see if it shows any signs
of coming apart under normal conditions, then abuse it a bit to see
how much it takes to open the links.
I did some full Persian with 27 or 28 gauge, ID of 0.095", and
soldered every link, but then I'm crazy. If you want to make things
a bit easier when you solder them, look for a microcircuit ground
probe from Tektronix, part number 206036401, which is made of brass
with steel claws; it will hold the ring steady and not melt when the
torch gets near it.
Here's a picture of one:
I'm also having a little difficulty with pricing. I've been
told (by a biased source) that a particular pendant design of mine
on a cotton cord should be sold for somewhere around $300 Canadian,
but I'm having a hard time swallowing that. How do I determine
Can't really help you there. Look at what others charge for
comparable work and charge about the same, I guess. I calculate my
hours involved in a task like that based on how fast I can do it if I
am doing everything perfectly, since I don't think it's fair to bill
others for my fumblefingeredness. Charge by either number of rings
or by inches of chain, and price various pieces on that basis.