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Gold or Gold-filled Balled Headpins


#1

Does anyone know where I can purchase balled headpins with balls
smaller than 2mm? Preferably gold-filled or even vermeil. I have
looked high and low… quite unsuccessfully. So far I am buying them
from Rio and going through them like water!

I have made silver balled headpins myself quite easily. The best
part of doing so is that you can control the size of the ball at the
ends. Does anyone know if I can use the same techniques with Gold
wire? I imagine making them out of gold-filled wire is out of the
question.

Thanks in advance


#2
        I have made silver balled headpins myself quite easily.
The best part of doing so is that you can control the size of the
ball at the ends. Does anyone know if I can use the same techniques
with Gold wire? I imagine making them out of gold-filled wire is
out of the question. 

You’re right - those would be brass/gold balls on the tips of
gold-filled wire. But you can do it with the karat gold wire just
like the silver. I have not found any gold-filled headpins with
balled tips. The closest is a small cupped head (rather than the
usual flat head) and they are costly even at the hundreds quantities.
If you can make them production style, karat gold wire might come
out about the same cost as ready made gold-filled headpins, depending
on the wire gauge you need. My experience was with about 22g wire. I
do many, many hundreds of these in sterling. What follows is the
method I worked out to maximize efficiency. With a little
forethought, this goes exceedingly quickly with the time per piece
mere seconds. It is perhaps tedious reading so continue at your own
risk. :slight_smile: Cut a large (capital letters would be shouting) batch of
the wires to the length necessary for your job. I draped the coiled
wire over something handy near my workbench and clamped the bottom
handle of a wire cutter in my vise. I have a flush-cutter with
various-sized holes for wire and a long, threaded length gauge. You
could something similar with a diagonal cutter and rig a length gauge
or mark the vise with tape or some such so you could cut identical
lengths. Use one hand to move the wire into the jaws and the other
to bring the top arm or handle of the cutter down - like operating a
paper cutter. Spread newspaper or something under a wide area below
the vise to catch the cut wires so you can easily funnel them into a
container when you’re done and only have about 20 or 30 pieces to
pick up by hand. Wear your eye protection. Place a strainer in a
container that has a pour spout (I use a 4 cup pyrex measuring
pitcher). Put the cut wires into the strainer and pour some fire
scale inhibitor (boric acid/alcohol solution) over the wires. Pour
the solution back into its regular container. Remember to put the lid
back on the alcohol/boric acid and put it safely away after using
tweezers to fish out the few wayward pieces that wiggled through the
strainer. I suggest you do this procedure on something non-flammable
and away from your work area and any heat source or physical
obstacles - I use a flat cookie sheet - and if you’re a smoker, don’t
smoke while you’re at it. Take the now-coated wires and an
appropriately sized low container of water to your torch area. I
clamp my torch securely in a small vise at the bench so the flame
will be aimed up a bit and away from me to an open area for safety.
Use the size tip which will allow you to draw a bead in a few seconds
or so but not so much heat that you’ll be likely to inadvertently
reduce the wire to a molten puddle. Place the bowl of water behind
your torch within easy reach. Pile the wires on a heat resistant
surface at one side of the torch. Light the torch and adjust the
flame. You now have 2 free hands; a spot to rest your elbow would be
helpful to keep the wire steady in the “sweet spot” of the flame.
Use your self-locking tweezers in your dominant hand, pick up several
wires in your free hand and use the tweezers to pluck the wires one
at a time from your stash and hold it over the flame. Drop the
balled-up wire into the water and take the next wire. Dip the
tweezers in the water occasionally to keep the tips from getting too
hot. Drain the water off the wires and pickle them. I have a
perforated plastic margarine tub in my pickle pot with a copper wire
bale so I can easily lift a batch of whatever out of the pickle
allowing the solution to drain back into the pickle pot before I
place the lot of them in water and baking soda to neutralize. Hope
this helps. Pam Chott Song of the Phoenix


#3

Hello Hsin-Yi Wu, I cannot give you a source to purchase your
headpins in GF or vermeil, but I have made them with 10K, 14K, and
GF wire. Melting a ball on GF wire will turn green, so I melt small
balls of 14K solder and just touch the GF wire to the ball. A
steady quick hand is needed, as you don’t want to melt off the
gold-fill. Be sure to dip in Borax and flame off to protect the GF
wire. Practice a few times, and you should do well. Hope this
helps, Judy in Kansas