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How to attach french barrette to sterling

Good Morning:

I just joined, this is my first post:

What I am trying to do is attach French barrettes to sterling silver.

Any ideas. I just bought some E 6000 but was going to try to avoid glue if possible.

Mary

Hello again:

I see I should have looked closer, this question had been asked before. I have just tried soldering the “staples” to my sterling barrette and it looks like it is going to work! Yeah. I will try to do some research before I post again. I am thrilled to be part of this community.

I am not sure what a french barrette is, but following is a link to two different barrettes that I made recently. One uses a spring wire to close, the other a stainless finding that is riveted to the back. You should avoid glue if you can…Rob

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Rob (et al) … in regards to the spring wire to close the barrette. I get the cold connections part … but how does one solder a work hammered or otherwise hardened catch, pin, clasp, etc. … to a big piece of metal without annealing the said pin, catch, etc. and removing the spring? Particularly with silver, a big piece is going to take a lot of heat to get it all hot enough for the solder to flow. The only solution I’ve ever been able to come up with is a cold connection. I can pull off stuff like commercial steel springs in clasps using a heat sink and a small, hot flame and getting in and out fast … on chains, but that don’t work with something like a barrette.

Have you tried using easy solder with Stay-Silv black flux? It needs to be hot and you need to be fast.

I don’t know what a spring wire is, but for most of my 50 year obsession with long hair accessories, the French Barrette was the most common barrette I could find across all price points from the expensive Alexandre de Paris hair accessories to the least expensive hair accessories. However, currently the plastic jaw clip is more popular for long haired folks because when they are removed, they don’t usually catch, pull and break hairs like the spring mechanism in the French Barrette.

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Coat the finished barrette with alcohol and boric acid, flux and solder with medium solder doing most of the heating from below is how I have always done it. The rivet is kind of self explanatory. The hinge is just a piece of tubing, the catch is rolled or pounded out wire left hard. I might use a pair of round nose pliers to re-harden the catch if it seemed a bit soft. The spring wire (model airplane landing gear wire) is bent once, passed through the hinge tube and then bent again. The “bent again” is the tricky part. Regarding fashion, I have only sold these to one customer in the last twenty five years. In the seventies I made a lot of them. Good luck…Rob

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Thanks Rob, now I understand the spring wire.

You make a very good point about fashion and sales.

Folks who spend years growing out long hair, are serious about containing their precious hair to prevent damage from tangles, collars, wind, chairs and automotive seat belts. These folks learn to avoid heavy hair accessories and ones that snag hairs. They are careful in selecting metal clips and often use sticks and forks made of lightweight materials such as wood or titanium. But if you are using wood as an artisan, adequate ventilation must be your highest priority especially with exotic and composite woods.

It requires a lot of practice to securely contain hair with sticks and forks. Therefore, unless your customer is experienced with how to contain hair, they are buying the accessory for what it looks like and are assuming they can use it.

Hi Salty,
I’ve done a bunch of these.
I usually file down the points from the holes a bit. this exposes a bit more metal on the clip.
I position it and use a spring tweezers to hold one of the sides in place. flux and use X easy solder.
when it cools, do the other side.
btw, I have never had one come apart. or be damaged by the soldering.
mtlctr

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If anyone has never seen the points at the holes that @mtlctr mentioned, here is link to a photo that can easily be magnified, which shows the pointed burs around the holes …they are on the side of the clip that you will attach to the decoration: https://ornabead.com/catalog/findings/hair-findings/french-style-barrettes/made-in-france/3-75-inch-nickel-silver-french-barrette.html

I’ve tried several things to attach French barrettes to silver or bronze. Soft soldering (Tix) works reasonably well, but it’s not strong. Hard solder has a problem with springy findings. Taking the bar off the catch part before soldering helps. What I’ve settled on is to solder a wire or two that will go through the holes at each end, and wind them into flat coils to attach the barrette finding. This has the advantage of being able to easily replace the finding.

Hey Betty2,
As a male who doesn’t have long haired female or male advisors, I appreciate the guidance on how potential users of this kind of piece would likely feel…so the spring clip french barrette may not be the thing, but how about a curved silver piece (I have seen the plans for one) lightened by sawn cutouts and bend into a bow, forged for some spring and fastened with a silver “stick,” said stick to have a decorative end and a blunted point (for safety) going through two holes in the bowed silver “barrette.” Always more than one way to skin a cat. If such would slip off, two silver sticks are also an option…just sayin’ -royjohn

That’s called a Slide, where a stick slides in and out to secure the accessory to the head. I’ve seen two stick versions also.

I think two sticks is more for appeal than function. Maybe two looks more secure. A large Slide might need a second stick, but the only way to know is to test your prototype on someone with the appropriate amount of hair for the size of the slide. Maybe offer a second stick as an add-on purchase, and maybe you could also market it as a shawl pin.

The standard advice applys: lightweight, smooth with no possibility of snagging a hair. You can only know this by testing it. Most hair accessories do not meet this criteria.

Also, the blunt point should be examined when testing. Blunt can break a hair when inserting, so you will have to find a sweet spot between sharp and blunt.

.if you use xtra easy or easy silver solder and solder one end at a time it wont come apart ever. believe me I’ve done many of these barrettes.My daughter in law has one I gave her 10 years ago she has big hair its still working.
filing down the points gives more metal to hold. I’ve used brass, copper & silver for the barrette.
no failures.

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Rob-
Could you say more about the model airplane landing gear wire? Where do you get it? What gauge is it? What about stainless steel wire?
Thanks-
Judi

Bought it at a Walt’s Hobby shop in Syracuse, NY, 18 gauge spring wire. Also look for piano wire. I bought enough to last a long time…Rob

Hi Judi,

I get mine at the same place as Rob buys his. I have used 18 ga. and 16 ga. and I have found it as K & S music wire. It is also listen at Wal-Marts on-line catalog. And if Rob has sold two barrettes in the last five years he has sold one more than I have.

Don

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Thanks! You’ve inspired me to make a barrette!

Judi

And don’t forget you can make hoop earrings from tubing with piano wire too … lol. That’s a neat trick everyone has to try at least once. I looked for instructions in the archives, but can’t seem to find them to post a link. I’m inspired to make a Barrette now … still pondering how to attach the clasp and probably going with a cold connection still.

Thanks so much. I hadn’t thought to fie down the points on the holes. I am having luck soldering rivets on the barrette and then using them as rivets.

Mary

Fabulous, I will give this a try. Thank you.