Where are y'all getting the steel/copper/aluminum rods to use as
mandrels for all these jump-ringing operations?
One good option if you want to do the place-an-order thing and leave
it at that, assuming we're talking winding mandrels and not mandrels
that are going to get hacked up, is to buy a set from Dave Arens,
Frei & Borel, or whomever. Typical sets are in the 1mm to 12 or 16mm
range by .5 increments, more or less. They cost a few bucks but
they're usually graded, slotted, possibly drilled through and ready
to go. Can save you a lot of hassle.
A good metals supply place can be invaluable if you're a DIY guy, the
kind of place that supplies machinists and welders. The one is used
to frequent could get me pretty much any size from 2mm to 25mm in .5mm
increments, in any of the standard metals, within 3 days if they
didn't have it in stock. There were two catches: (1) minimums varied
from 3 to 10(?) ft and (2) you had to pick the stuff up at their
shop/warehouse (no deliveries, no shipping, nada). If you could live
within those restrictions it was a real gold mine for the eager
metals fetishist. Stuff like brass and iron was usually pretty darn
cheap too. Drill rod, tool steel and aluminium rather less so.
These days I just buy standard sizes and turn an appropriate chunk
down on my table-top lathe if I need something special or
For teeny sizes a good hobby supply shop usually does the trick.
When I go scouting for one I look in the yellow pages to find the
shops that supply gear to model railroaders as these guys seem to use
all the right stuff (wide variety of sizes, metals, shapes, etc).
And I quite agree, wood mandrels are generally not the material of