However, eagle eye here is bothered by
the tiny marks left by my pliers - even the round noses mark the sterling
slightly when I join the jump rings in preparation for soldering.
As a result of your msg I examined a number of my handmade sterling chains under
a 10X loupe. I don’t know if I’m just lucky, but I didn’t find any tool marks on
the links. That kinda suprised me cause I’ve got a grip like a vise.
I use an assortment of pliers, all smooth jawed & about 4 1/2 inches from jaw
tip to end of handle.
My favorite 2 pair have blunt tips about 3 mm wide & 0.5mm thick at the end. All
the pliers have jaws that come together at the tips & leave a slight clearance
(aprox .004 in) as you go back to the joint.
I grasp the rings with about 2mm exposed on each side of the joint & close to
the top of each pliers when I close them.
I use all wire guages from 10-30. If the links are to be solder the wire is half
hard just the way it comes from the supplier. If the links won’t be soldered, I
harden the wire before coiling it. I’ve used links from 2.5mm to 35mm.
Polishing is done in a small vibratory tumbler containing about 7 lbs of
assorted shaped steel shot. To that I add a pinch of burnishing soap & about 1
oz of household ammonia. Most chains come out looking pretty good in about 30
minutes, longer is better. I’ve found that getting a good white appearance on
the piece, from the pickle pot, before tumbling, results in what I think is a