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Heavy 14K Gold Cuban Link Bracelet


#1

Hello everyone,

I am very excited as I am going to make my first heavy 14K gold
Cuban link bracelet. I just finished making the mold and it looks
like the curb Cuban link came out pretty nice. Anyway, I’ve got a
question as to the procedure on how to properly assemble this
bracelet. Should I cast all of the links in 14K and then cut every
other one open and solder? Or…, should I make a cut in the wax
link before casting on every other link and thereby save the time of
having to cut through a metal link, avoid gold waste, etc? Your
comments, thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Glenn Block


#2

I had not heard the term “Cuban link chain,” so I looked in up on
Google and found one. It is a simple twisted curb chain with heavy
links that have been filed to a contour. Simple. In fact, this
bracelet is the subject of Chapter 4 in my book Professional
Goldsmithing. The final product is on page 66, much like the one on
google.com.

The most straight forward way to make this bracelet is to fabricate
it, making oval links from round wire. After the links are closed
and soldered the chain is twisted to line up the links. Once the
twisted chain lies flat, file the top and bottom to either a flat or
curved contour.

I suppose one could make a mold of a link and then join castings.
But that seems like an indirect way, when just making it works fine.
And the problem working with cast links is in bending them to join
the links and then clean up, all of which is far more complicated
working with castings. Soldering castings is how some would do it,
if they are not experienced in fabrication, but I do not think the
results will not compare to one that is fabricated.

Alan

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, Inc.
760 Market Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, California 94102
USA
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570


alanrevere@aol.com


#3

Hi Alan, I want to thank you for taking the time to reply to my
inquiry of making this bracelet.

You stated, "The most straight forward way to make this bracelet is
to fabricate it, making oval links from round wire. After the links
are closed and soldered the chain is twisted to line up the links.
Once the twisted chain lies flat, file the top and bottom to either a
flat or curved contour. "

This Cuban link bracelet that I am referring to is a very heavy
link. I am not even sure if there is gold wire thick enough to
fabricate the type of link I am talking about. Even if there was, in
my opinion, it would be too difficult to bend or twist, since it is
so thick.

I did go forth with the project, and now the bracelet is complete. I
made the links with a vacuum casting machine and hand soldered every
other link. A picture of the completed bracelet can be found at the
following URL. www.kbacpa.com\Cubanlink.jpg

The only thing I have yet to do is solder a safety clasp across the
gap on the end open link.

The unique feature of this bracelet, is that there is no clasp(other
than a safety), and the links themselves are weaved together to make
the closure. This design makes it almost impossible to lose the
bracelet, even if the safety opens.

Casting the links was a fun project and the good news is that I could
make 20 links on one tree and cut out a lot of hand fabrication.
However, I did have to file and hand finish each link individually.
But as you can see from the picture, the links came out uniformly
with ever so slight variations. This project called for the machine
made appearance as opposed to “the hand crafted look.” I love the
hand crafted look too, but there is nothing like casting to give a
uniform appearance if that is what you are looking for.

My original query was more pointed as to how to assemble the links
as opposed to fabrication. Since this was the first bracelet I ever
made, I was wondering if there was a method to join all of the links
together somehow without having to solder every other link. Perhaps
there is a way to cast wax links in a way whereby the wax links are
joined together in advance of casting. I suppose that can be done,
but must be pretty tricky to set up tree and sprue system. If
anyone has ever done this, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks.
Glenn Block
Shardan Jewelry


#4

Hi Glenn,

Your braclet looks nice, congratulations.

Just a note…If you had fabricated it as Alan had described you
would have found the braclet to be of a more dense material (ie: die
struck materials vs castings) and the link joints would be tighter.
Although to get the bevel done well and uniform would require
consistancy with a file on your part.

Both techniques have their advantages. (Available materials, tools,
strength, and skills.) Your method of one open and one closed link
probably the most efficient way to cast this. The bevel on the links
could have been done on your master model piece so that filing and
finishing time is lessened. Also, a lapper would make the bevels
more crisp.

Mark