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Fitting Metal Cuff Bracelets


#1

I am fascinated by this discussion because I have never owned a cuff
that didn’t eventually break unless it was really thick and so not
flexible. As a result, I have never made any because I don’t want to
sell something that is going to break. What is the proper way to fit
one to avoid this?

Ann Kinsinger


#2

I think it is as much about how one makes a cuff bracelet as
fitting. In my opinion, they need to be formed with a hammer and
stake to give them a lot of spring-work harden them. Tho’ I have some
old SW Indian (probably Navajo) bracelets that are sand cast with
stones in them. I don’t flex them and do put them on carefully.

My own cuffs that I have formed I don’t use that caution. And they
have held up fine for years.

hth
Carla
www.carlamfox.com


#3

There is a proper way to put a cuff on and shape it. The cuff should
have enough opening to go over the inside edge of your wrist and
then be able to round over the arm and fall into place. ( I hope
that made sense, I tried). The cuff should also be shaped like the
wrist, slightly higher curve toward the inside of the arm, feel your
own arm and try putting one on, before you sell one. If you can’t
put it on without pulling it apart neither can your customer. Your
customer should not have to pull on the cuff to put it on, it should
just flow onto the arm.

jennifer friedman
http://www.jenniferfriedmanstudio.com
enamelist, jewelry artisan, hollow ware,
ceremonial silver, and restoration
Ventura, CA


#4

I have made and fit cuff bracelets most of my life and always
discourge the purchaser from “fitting” the bracelet to themself
every time they put it on. This squeezing and opening the bracelet
work hardens the metal and it has to break. If the bracelet fits
propery in the first place and the person is taught to put on a
correctly fitting bracelet the constant squeezing and opneing is not
necessary.

I teach any one buying my bracelets to 1) relax your hand, this
makes the wrist pliable and at it’s smallest with out the muscles
being flexed. 2) put one end of the bracelet between the wrist bones
and 3) roll the wrist into the bracelet. The reverse is the way to
get it off. The primary step is to relax the wrist or the next steps
will not work.

A properly fit cuff does not feel like it will fall off and it does
not feel constricting. I also ask the client to give it a few days
to get used to the feel of a bracelet if they are not used to
wearing one. Using the above steps to get the bracelet on I can,
myself, wear bracelets which look too small for my wrist.

To fit a bracelet, I ask if they have a bracelet they feel fits (
regardless of MY opinion of how it may look to me too tight or too
loose) and I trace the inside of their bracelet and on my drawing I
show where the ends are then I will cut down a bracelet at the ends
and squeeze it to fit the tracing. If they don’t have a bracelet
that fits I will squeeze the bracelet down to find the opening size
that feels good to them, so they don’t feel it will fall off or is
too hard to get on, then I will decide how much to cut off the ends
while they have it on, take it off them, trace the inside of the
bracelet showiing where the ends are, cut the ends off, re-finish
the ends, squeeze it to fit my tracing, final polish and hand it
back to the client and wathc how they are putting it on. I re-teach
the on-off method described above while watching them. Deciding how
much to cut off the ends is all experience, my dad taught me.

If the bracelet is too small, it can only be opened so much and a
new one might have to be made. My dad taught me to make all my
bracelets 6" and to cut them down. Now I work with a gallery and I
am not on site so I have taught the sales staff how to put them on
and off and make them in different sizes by listening to the staff
and what they feel will sell.

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.bahti.com


#5

Ann - It is not so much a matter of fitting as putting on and off.
The bracelet itself should never be stressed. Hold the bracelet like
holding the letter “C” and roll the other wrist into the opening. It
is always the wrist that moves and the bracelet that stays
absolutely stable. When a cuff bracelet is put on and removed in
that fashion without putting stress on the actual bracelet arms, it
can last for many, many years. When put on incorrectly, it usually
is pulled by one arm or the other around the bracelet opening and
begins to bend the metal, thus (over time) creating weakness and,
eventually, snapping.

Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co (Beadstorm)
http://www.beadstorm.com


#6

Hello everyone,

Back in the day I did lots and lots of inlay, many of the pieces
were done as cuff bracelets. One of the problems with inlay is there
is no flexibility, the cuff had to be dead on, it could not be bent
or shaped after it was inlayed. We made it a point to not sell a
cuff if it didn’t fit right but we did our best to duplicate it. Any
way here’s what we would do when a customer wanted a custom fit. We
asked the customer if they owned a comfortable cuff bracelet then we
would trace the inside of that bracelet and form our cuffs to match.
If the bracelet was not present we had the customer trace the inside
and mail us the drawing. This worked very well and eliminated broken
inlay and returned cuffs. If the customer didn’t have a cuff we sent
them a heavy gauge brass wire cut to approximate cuff length and
shaped in a basic cuff form, then we would let the customer fit
themselves and send a tracing of the inside of the wire. Worked like
a charm.

Sincerely,

Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Support
800-545-6566
505-839-3000 ex 13903
technicalsupport@tbg.riogrande.com


#7
Your customer should not have to pull on the cuff to put it on, it
should just flow onto the arm. 

This is something that bugs me a lot with customers, though I guess
they just don’t know better (I try to educate them…)

Many will grab a cuff and bend it as a matter of course, before you
can blink. Evidently, they take it as a given, like opening a clasp.
I made some neck-pieces for a while that were like torques-- made of
wire, opening in the front. They had to be donned and doffed
carefully. I quit making them-- people trashed them before I could
stop them. I started putting a nearly-invisible friction clasp in
them (this was one of Art Jewelry’s online projects-- I think you
can still see it) and I had to keep them out of people’s reach until
I could show them there was a clasp.

Anyway, one thing that has not been mentioned, and which I show
people over and over at shows-- If one end on the cuff is pressed
into the space between the two bones of the arm, inside the wrist,
just towards the elbow from the large wrist bones (where the arm is
narrowest), it can then be rotated around the wrist much more
easily. This actually allows anyone to wear a cuff with a smaller
opening than otherwise. Try it!

Noel


#8
If the customer didn't have a cuff we sent them a heavy gauge brass
wire cut to approximate cuff length and shaped in a basic cuff
form, then we would let the customer fit themselves and send a
tracing of the inside of the wire. Worked like a charm. 

Wow! I’m temporarily blinded by the light bulb going on over my
head. This tip just solved my problem with custom inlay bracelet
orders. I’ve got to get some heavy brass wire before my next show.
Thanks Thackeray! And thank you Hanuman, Ton, and Charles
Lewton-Brain for all the hard work keeping Orchid going.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://rockymountainwonders.com


#9
we sent them a heavy gauge brass wire cut to approximate cuff
length and shaped in a basic cuff form, then we would let the
customer fit themselves and send a tracing of the inside of the
wire. 

I don’t get it. Why can’t you just measure the wrist?


#10
I don't get it. Why can't you just measure the wrist? 

Wrists come in all sorts of shapes, from quite flat to quite round.

Margaret


#11
I don't get it. Why can't you just measure the wrist? 

Not all wrists are shaped the same when you are talking about cuff
bracelets. Especially inlay cuff bracelets because once the inlay is
set you can’t bend the bracelet to the shape of the wrist. Some
wrists are more round and some are more oval. I’ve seen some fine
boned ladies wrists that defy sizing. Almost square shaped.

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
http://rockymountainwonders.com


#12
If the customer didn't have a cuff we sent them a heavy gauge
brass wire cut to approximate cuff length and shaped in a basic
cuff form, then we would let the customer fit themselves and send a
tracing of the inside of the wire. Worked like a charm. 

I missed this one the first time through, but thanks to the light
from Rick Copeland’s overhead light bulb, I’m having my own
why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moment. It’s a fantastic idea I sure wish
I had thought of years ago!

I didn’t have any brass wire, but I did have some 8 guage half-round
copper. It’s absolutely perfect! It’s easy to finger bend yet strong
enough to gently take on and off. Plus, the half-round shape should
make it easier to accurately follow the curves of the wrist than with
round wire.

I’m going to carry and use these for every custom cuff I make. THANK
YOU Orchid, and all you generous members! Subscribe!

Allan Mason


#13
I don't get it. Why can't you just measure the wrist? 

Good question,

Wrists come in all different shapes and sizes and while I can use a
standard bracelet measuring ruler to get very close to a standard
size wrist (if there is such a thing) it’s the shape that really
matters. By following the method I described previously, Sam P.
described a very similar process, each customer has a custom fit
cuff. The key is to prevent the customer from having to bend or
"tweak" the cuff each time they wear it.

Best,

Thackeray Taylor
Rio Grande Technical Support
800-545-6566
505-839-3000 ex 13903
technicalsupport@tbg.riogrande.com


#14

This is one of those places where jewelry is different than most
arts, the work has to ( at least in my opinion) fit the client’s
body and be functional to the point where it is not noticed by the
client after they get used to it. So, with that said, the cold facts
like wrist measurements or present ring sizes often don’t go into
the equation to the client. It has to fit the way they want it to
fit, regardless of how I want it to fit.

So I give guidelines to the client," It shouldn’t feel constricting
or like it’s going to fall off." or “please send me the tracing of
the inside of a bracelet that fits you” or " please let me trace
that bracelet ( that they wore in) and I will make this one to fit
like that one" Just like bracelets the ring sizing is extremely
subjective and I usually have the discussion with the client about
how in the summer the ring will feel a bit tight but in the cold
weather the ring will fit loosely so I have to strike that balance
with out discussing it too much. Otherwise you can think your client
right out of the sale.

I really like the idea of sending a piece of copper or brass wire to
the client and have them fit it then send it back, that would be
very helpfull in some cases.

Sam Patania, Tucson
www.bahti.com


#15
I really like the idea of sending a piece of copper or brass wire
to the client and have them fit it then send it back, that would be
very helpfull in some cases. 

Im in the same boat, escpeically with the thickness of metal that I
use. The wearer cannot adjust my bracelets by hand. So to work with
the few galleries that carry my work, Im developing a set of
standards made from aluminium that replicate the dimensions of
bracelets I produce. Reason for aluminium is cost, and ease of
machinability to produce these standards.

Problem comes, and many others have stated, the various wrist shapes
and dimensions. The standard set will include 9 lengths (5" thru 7"
in 1/4" increments), with two opening sizes. That beign said, with
custom orders the plan is to send out the standards that are in the
range of the wearers wrist, findin out which is most comfortable and
noting that. Then I can produce the bracelet to that exact shape. I
beleive Mr. Binion uses this technique with rings.

Once I get this project done, ill post photos of the standard set,
it might be useful for other artists.

Best Regards,
P@
www.patpruitt.com


#16
I really like the idea of sending a piece of copper or brass wire
to the client and have them fit it then send it back, that would be
very helpfull in some cases. 

This presupposes that the client is capable of fitting the wire to
his/her own wrist, doesn’t it? Iffy, I think.

In the case of hard-to-fit items by mail, I send a copper mach-up,
they return it with comments, I adjust, send it back… Can be
tedious, but it works.

Noel


#17

Thanks to everyone for your and advice on fitting and
shaping cuffs, and how to put them on & take them off. I have made a
wide silver cuff for myself for practice, and I understand about
"rolling" the arm in and out. I am wearing it right now!

Thanks again,
Ann