Hi everyone, I’m looking for a way to make a channel in sterling
round wire (12g or thereabouts) to use as trim pieces on a sharp
edged bangle bracelet. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to make
this? I have access to most of the basic tools.
I’d do it by making some tubing that doesn’t quite close. Calculate
width of strip required, bend it U-shaped in a swage block, and pull
it through consecutive holes in a draw plate until it fits. Much
quicker than cutting a channel in wire.
Regards, Gary Wooding
If this is a one off thing I’d suggest using a cut off disc to start
the channel. Once you’ve got the rough configuration you could widen
it as needed with either a fatter cut off disc or burs. If you try
burs I’d start out with a krause and if needed move to a small bud
or flame bur. You’d be holding the shaft parallel with the groove but
angled up somewhat. As you might imagine the bur will want to jump
out of the groove so you need to move slowly and as much as possible
use the tip of the bur. A back and forth motion, advancing a little
bit more each time will keep jumping to a minimum. If this channel
is to fit around the edge of the flat sheet or however your bangle is
made, you might then need to make the groove with a
square(perpendicular) cross section. After you’re satisfied with the
groove dimensions you could use a small wheel bur to cut the groove
square. Wheel burs tend to really jump because they have corners
that dig in and grab.
If you intend to solder this wire onto the edge to act as a bumper
of sorts, it might be easier to simply use a file to flatten
lengthwise along the wire AFTER forming it to the bracelet and solder
that flat to your bracelet edges. The reason I suggest this is that,
OK you’ve grooved your wire and now you need to form it to the
curvature of your bracelet. I think you’d have problems keeping that
groove in proper alignment during the bending process. I think the
groove would tend to work its way to the outside of the bend.
If you want a groove to primarily act as a locating agent during
soldering you could simplify the process by using a few small tabs or
’dowels’ to lock into corresponding holes instead.
If this any sort of production piece maybe warm up the bracelet with
your torch and use that to gently melt a groove into a wax block,
then carve away til its what you want and cast and mold that,
assuming you can keep the bracelets consistent from run to run.
Generally, I find it most efficient when fabbing a mechanism, to
start with the most crucial aspect of it and work from there. In this
case it would be the fitment of wire to bracelet. And usually the
simplest method works best.
That is, IF I understood the problem correctly.
Pretty difficult to make a groove in a piece of wire. How about
soldering two equal lengths of round wire that equal 12 ga in width
and you will have a groove.
Richard Hart G.G.
I'm looking for a way to make a channel in sterling round wire
(12g or thereabouts) to use as trim pieces on a sharp edged bangle
Instead of trying to make a channel in round wire, I’d try shaping a
strip of sterling into a “U” shape with my draw plate. Draw the
strip through progressively smaller holes until the opening fits
snugly over your bracelet edge, stopping before tubing is formed.
BTW, I’d solder the channelized strip onto the bangle metal while it
is flat, then treat it as a single unit to shape the bangle.
If you want hard angles inside the “U”, put square wire inside your
“U” shaped strip, then pull the two pieces through your draw plate.
The problem with this is, I’m not sure if the square steel wire can
be easily found in the proper dimension.
I’m watching to see how others would solve this problem. Maybe by
hammering the sharp edge to round it? That seems easier.
Judy in Kansas, where it’s a chilly 34 degrees, but we can see that
funny yellow orb in the sky! What a welcome sight.
You say you have access to most basic tools, may I ask does this
include a lathe. If so here is a method I have used before quite
successfully. I am assuming that your G12 size wire is about 3mm
diameter. This is my method. First turn the wire into a true circle
that is similar to the size of the bracelet diameter, then solder it
together to make a full circle of wire, then using a mallet, a
bracelet mandrel and a flat steel to roughly make it a true and flat
circle of wire.
Then on a wooden chuck fitted in my lathe I will turn a ledge on it’s
end, a ledge that fits inside the wire circle tightly, it is best if
the wire circle is a tight fit and needs a gentle tap with a mallet
to push it in place on the wooden chuck.
Then when the wire circle is secure and running true on the lathe, I
use a specially ground lathe cutter tool to cut a channel into the
face of the rotating wire. If you are a confident hand turner this
groove can be cut carefully with a flat end graver. But as I have
used this process many times I have ground down a standard lathe
cutting tool to suit this purpose. I have used this method many times
when making fitted mounts for guilloche enamelled bases on my flowers
and other jobs. I hope this all makes sense.
James Miller FIPG
Or perhaps there is an easier way. On page 177 of my new Rio Grande
Tools and Equipment Catalog, way down at the bottom, is “Sterling
Slotted Twist wire” which looks like it would work quite well for
your use for edging. Not sure how big the twisted wire is, but the
slot is 18ga.
Cheer Jim J
Have you tried the channel wire available from Rio (and perhaps
If you try this, please report back your results. I’m curious if it
will work as you describe.
The slotted twist wire works great around belt buckles…so far that
is the only thing to be created with it. Think it took the 18 ga
sterling. Was a real dickens getting it to stay around the buckle
until we managed to get it gently bent. I think we used T Pins to
hold it in place on a soft solder brick while we soldered the ends
together. I was in Beaumont, TX with a student, who just had to do a
couple of the buckles! I never tell a student something might be a
little over the head. Worked and we both profited!
Might make an interesting channel for inlay!!!
Rose Marie Christison