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Cuff links mechanisms

I’ve got a commission to make some cufflinks to match a brooch that I
made years ago. I don’t wear cufflinks, so I need some opinions on
the mechanisms. Do more people prefer the spring style mechanism with
the decorative element on one end and that thin rectangular piece on
the other side? I like the idea of making 2 decorative elements, one
smaller, with a small length of chain in between, as I saw in The
Complete Metalsmith book.

Which cuff link mechanism works best and is most pleasing for the

Are there any good detailed instructions on fabricating cuff links
online or in a particular book?



I just completed a pair of 18kt. cuff links for a client. They wanted
the connection between front and back to be the type used in the
early 20th. cent. which consisted of a short piece of tube on the
back of the plates. A round jump ring was then placed through the
tube and soldered shut and finally an elongated oval jump ring
connected the two round jump rings.

This was a very simple but effective way to create them.

Of course you should discuss with your client all the options that
are available and let them make the choice.

Good Luck
Greg DeMark
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry


Check out “Cuff Links,” by Susan Jones and Marilyn Nissenson (Abrams
1991). A gem of a book all about cull link styles in the 19th and
20th centuries. You will find tons of inspirational material!

As someone who wears cuff links and tuxedo studs, I have a definite
preference for the type that have a bar connecting the back of the
cufflink, not a chain. Unless you have a “partner” who will help you
dress, or a valet, one needs to be able to attach the cuff links
with one hand. They must also pass through the hole in the cuff, and
not all holes are the same size. Most ready-made cuff link findings
using the bar come in two basic types: those with a hinge opposite
the toggle, and those that are soldered directly to the cufflink. To
me, they work equally well. I made a master model years ago that
uses a more elaborate toggle than the commonly available ones, and I
have a mold (toggle and bar are separate components—use a stainless
steel wire through the hinge joints to keep them open in the mold)
that I can cast in various metals. The toggle is heavy enough that I
can engrave it, carve the wax, add Kuem-boo, granulation, or
whatever I wish. A thin flat piece of spring gold in the toggle locks
them closed. I also made a pair recently using two sections of
telescoping tubing, with magnets inside. Two projecting pins on the
inside tubes fit into slots on the outside tubes, and a twist locks
them in place. These are absolutely the easiest ones I have ever had
to put on! You could also adapt a bayonet clasp to work like this (be
sure to remove…and don’t lose…the tiny spring inside it before
soldering). The magnets are easy to make, though, and work great!

Have fun,

Douglas Zaruba
33 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-1107

Hi Kirsten,

This is one where (if possible) you ask the end user. The 'aeroplane’
backs are much easier to use, but some men prefer the more
traditional chain.

When I first started designing cufflinks I was adamant that I would
only do chain backs, but really it’s up to the customer. Here is a
link to the aeroplane backs that I use if that is what they want.


On the subject of cuff link mechanisms, I have made a few pairs of
cufflinks using pre-assembled “torpedo” style sterling mechanisms.
These I got from IJS - they looked nice and worked well, but because
of the steel rivet and the risk of losing the spring temper, I ended
up attaching them to the cufflinks with low-temperature StayBrite
solder. This looked tidy, seemed strong, and preserved the spring
temper, but…well…it felt like cheating, and I’m sure you all
know what I mean.

In short, is there a better way to attach pre-assembled cufflink
backs? Or should I suck it up and buy the solder-first,
rivet-later kind? (Oh, and I’m using these on sterling cufflinks,
not the high-end whoop-de-do gold ones previously discussed.)

Many thanks,
Jessee Smith (who is writing way too many posts on a much-needed day off)


There is a torpedo-style back available that has a hinge joint
opposite the torpedo. You can remove the hinge pin, solder the joint
to the cufflink, and reassemble the mechanism. They work fine, and
will allow you to use a higher temperature solder. Otherwise, you
will have to isolate the spring mechanism with a heat sink or wet
paper towel and solder quickly. I would use easy solder, so you could
remove it years later if you had to repair them. They do get stepped
on occasionally. I would not trust the ultra-low solders, like TIX.
There is a lot of stress on this solder joint, and the solder may

Douglas Zaruba
33 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701
301 695-1107


I don’t like to use the hinge mechanisms. I like to make both ends
decorative. Sometimes I use chain, usually I use hand made tubing.
Most people comment that they are too expensive, but when a real
cufflink connoisseur sees them, they’re usually bought on the spot.
So I guess it depends more on economics and turnover than design or
anything else.