1. Must I scrap these failures, or can I work harden them
and try again, perhaps in a vibratory tumbler with shot?
If you were trying to fuse it in the first place, it wasn’t
going to remain so hard any way, was it? So whether you can
reuse it depends on fire scale and how badly you messed it up.
If you actually melted the link, or melted anything onto it, I’d
guess it’s more work to salvage than is worth the effort. The
basic rings are easy enough. Scrap the bad ones and keep
working on good ones, I’d say. Tumbling will slightly work
harden the surface, but not really the whole link. Sterling and
many gold alloys CAN be heat treated, though, to harden the
alloy. This can be just as effectively done after the chain is
assembled and shaped too, and this will improve the wearability
of the chain in some cases.
- Is the Blazer hand held torch hot enough to fuse?
I doubt it. for fusing effectively, you usually want a small
pinpoint localized flame that won’t heat the whole thing, but
will heat the area of just the join, so you don’t melt the link.
The blazer isn’t really that type of torch. But maybe I’m wrong.
I solder my links. Who knows what you could manage if you work
- I have seen both torch, and kiln suggestions, which is best?
Never tried a kiln for this. I use a torch. But never having
used a kiln, I can’t say which is better. let me know if you
decide, will you?
4. What is the best way to cut through the links to avoid
I rather like cutting links with a seperating disk. I often use
drill bits as mandrels (you can get any size you need easily, and
drills are cheap. Plus, the flute gives you a place to hold one
end of the wire with pliers, holding both the wire and the drill,
and it won’t slip out of the groove. The you wind your coil on
the smooth shank part of the drill. Usually good for a nice
reasonably length of coil. For greater lengths and more rings,
use plain steel rod, whatever type you want, but keep it cheap.
You can chuck it into a variable speed drill too, for power
winding… Then, I use the super thin seperating disks that are
now available. There is one that’s only .006 inches in
thickness, giving a cut comparable to about a 6/0 or 8/0
sawblade. run at high speed, with the rings still held on the
drill, you simply slice down the coil, running the disk slightly
into the drill too, which keeps it from giving you a burr. (You
can chop a Lot of these grooves into the drill before it starts
to affect the rings you’re winding, and then a new drill is real
cheap.) Be sure, when cutting, that the coil is not held under
tension, tightly wound. If it was going to spring back on itself
to be slightly larger, you should let it do so in coil form, or
the rings will be slightly open when cut. Be sure to use eye
protection when using these disks. They can break easily. But
they’re MUCH faster than using a saw, once you get the hang of
it. With mandrels other than drills, like plain steel rod, you
can anneal the rings still on the mandrels if you need to. Just
quench in water, not pickle.
5. Why do some links unwind, and others do not?
They unwind if the wire wasn’t annealed, or if winding the wire
work hardened it sufficiently to give it spring. Fully annealed
wire will usually not unwind, in silver or yellow golds.
I would like to make Gold Idiots Delight Bracelets for my
family for Christmas. It has been suggested to me that the gold
would be too soft, is that indeed a fact?
Nope. Works well. If you’re worried, wind the links from a
wire that’s already about half hard drawn, instead of annealed.
Use a slightly undersize mandrell, so that when the springy wire
unwinds a bit, the end size of the link is what you desire.
Might take some trial and error to get the mandrel size right.
Don’t use too hard a wire, though, or you’ll have problems with
rings cracking when you open and close then to form the chain.
And, if you’re really into masochistic exercises, you can solder
all those itty bitty close together links shut as you build the
chain. Solding isn’t so hard. It’s cleaning em all up after
soldering so you don’t see the seams that will drive you batty.