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Handmade chains


#1

Carol,

 what an incredibly tedious process this is! 

Yes it is… but if you have any doubts about your ability to solder,
they will sure be silenced after you make your first chain… You’ll
be an expert “solderer” after all that practice!

I actually got into jewelry making thanks to a book on making

chains, and it was that process that led me to not be afraid to work
with metal, soldering, sanding, cutting, polishing, making clasps,
etc. In my opinion, a chain that is not soldered is just not a real
piece of jewelry, and a soldered chain will last for generations.
It’s funny how there is some sort of mental block that separates
"beaders" from “solderers”. I found it not to be intimidating, it’s
worth the time.

The excellent, clear, concise, and affordable book that got me
started was:

Making Silver Chains; Simple Techniques, Beautiful Designs. by Glen
F. Waszek.

I bought it at a Barnes and Noble of all places, for $15

But, it’s only $10 at Amazon! Here’s a link:


1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/103-9809270-1959843

Also, here are some tips for making the process less tedious.

  1. I don’t use solder snippets, instead I use a syringe full of
    liquid solder with a hypo needle on the end for precision. Available
    from Rio or your local supplier.

  2. Use a cheap power drill, with a mandrel (like a steel nail)
    clamped in your vise, and use it to slowly wrap the wire around the
    mandrel for huge coils of jump rings. Then tape them up and saw them
    with the jewelers saw. Or get a “jump ringer” which is a cool device
    made by a member of this list. (I am going to buy one someday)

  3. Solder closed half of the links on your soldering block first.
    This excellent tip was given to me by a member of this list. - Lay
    out half of your rings in rows on your block, say 4 rows of 10, then
    squeeze a wee bit o’ solder at each join, then just blaze away on
    each joint with your torch! Amazing! Now just link the other rings
    through, and you are already half done!

  4. Sand the whole thing, then drop it in your Lortone tumbler all
    night.

That should save you some time! Good luck!

Drew
Andrew Horn
Designer,
The Master’s Jewel
www.mastersjewel.com


#2

I enjoy the heat and light in my shop in the winter. In the summer
I spend my time outdoors. In the fall, I always start with making
chain-making…it gets my mind back on track with all of the details
that I need to keep in mind. All I have to lose is a chain link or
two. I find chainmaking the best way to practice to get back into
the groove. Howard