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Making Chain


#1

Hello everyone!

Can anyone recommend a good book or online tutorial on making chain? There is a particular kind I am interested in making, and can’t seem to find the easiest method. I really like the rectangular chains in a 2x4mm (approx) size. I see so many talented artists making them, but cant seem to find a mandrel out there this small. I also can’t solder the pieces very well (without accidentally soldering the links together). Any advice would be appreciated!


#2

Hi,

Here is a YouTube video from “Scaffoal” channel that might be of interest to you.

He starts out using round wire, and round jump rings, and then draws the soldered chain thru drawplate holes to get a rectangular sort of shape to the links…

As far as shaped mandrels go, you can use anything that is strong enough, that has the shape you desire…you can go to the hardware store and look around for rectangular profile steel bars…or use two round or square rods side by side…or take a round rod and hammer it into a rectangle profile…hmmm, what else…

Best Regards,
Julie


#3

What about casting? I have made molds that create 3 link waxes to invest then cast and solder strings of links together. Other is cast in singles and create chains by soldering together.


#4

If you want the links to fit snugly make the winding mandrel by soldering together along their lengths two lengths of wire of the same diameter as the wire you will be using for the links. Use a harder wire for the mandrel than you intend to wind for the links. Brass generally works fine as the winding mandrel.


#5

Is this like making jumprings where you saw down the length? Then you would link and solder each? I really like this idea.


#6

The really heavy square section curb style chain is made up then put through shaped rollers in a rolling mill.
Ted.


#7

Yes. Saw through the narrow side. If you’re making a fine chain you can link them with the cuts adjoining and not worry about the chain seizing. Each pair of links will move as one, but in small sizes the slight inflexibility is not noticeable.


#8

So if you only solder every other on then the odd ones will be simply joined the same way an unsoldered jumping would work??:smirk::smirk:


#9

No, Ron. Then you solder the unsoldered ones.
Jerry in Kodiak


#10

You put the links together with the cuts touching, then solder only the joints where there are cuts. Each pair of links gets soldered together in what is a frozen joint, but the unsoldered ends move freely. It’s best to use solder filings or paste solder for this. This is only a good technique for small chain, say 3mm diameter or less. In larger sizes the frozen pairs of links become very obvious. The advantage of this technique is that you can link up the entire length of chain at once, apply the solder filing paste, and solder in one operation. Very time saving compared to soldering one link at a time.


#11

What an awesome explanation. Between you and @gerrylewy18 I’m advancing In knowledge now I have to increase the skill level. Thanks Bunches :smile::blush:


#12

I learned to make chains from Seng Au. He was a master at this. Learned in
the refugee camps in Thailand.
He could build a stunning Bot chain in one day. With minimal tools.
When cutting links he’d put his sawblade in with the teeth facing up. That
way the cut links would pop up onto his bench pin rather than falling down.
He made his own paste solder by filing a dwt. of hard 18 k solder and a
dwt. of 24 KT. Mixed them together and then further ground them up by
rubbing between two large files. A quick pass with a magnite to remove and
traces of the iron from the file and mix it with thinned paste flux.
He taught me to used a charcoal block with a bunch of slots carved into it.
Push 1/2 of the jumprings into the slots so that they’d stand up with their
seams at the top. He’d then add a tiny bit of the paste solder with a
little spoon he made for just this task. A quick wave of the torch over a
bunch of them at a time and voila! Half the links soldered quickly. Then
he’d hook up the other half of the life news and solder then one at a time.
Then a hard wood draw plate to draw the links through to get them evened
up. I have three of those wooden draw plates that were made for me by a
wood worker.
I love making chains when I’m in the right mood for it and my hands don’t
hurt too much. It’s almost like meditation for me.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#13

I recently joined SNAG and got my first issue of MJSA yesterday. It’s focused on chains as many of you know. I was absolutely blown away by the magazine. Even after 10 years of making artistic jewelry, I feel like a beginner and the magazine is a welcomed paradigm shift. I loved your comments, Jo, about the benefits of repairing chains when dirty from wear.


#14

smart


#15

So many amazing techniques here! Thank you all. I am printing these comments out and trying things out in the studio next week. :smiley: It might take some practice, but this is such a good foundation.