Mounting/Holding Bracelet Mandrel


I have a Durstom bracelet mandrel that has no tang. It’s a hollow tapered tube.

I once used a short length of threaded pipe about the sale diameter as the hole but it was not very good solution…there’s gotta be a better way!

How do you do it?!


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I have made and formed thousands of bracelets on a very old hollow bracelet mandrel. I hold it by placing it over a length of heavy round wood that fits tightly into a hole drilled into the side of my bench. Following is a link to some pictures. You can also make a special bench pin that the mandrel will fit over. Good luck…Rob


At the makerspace where I teach, we also have a hollow tapered bracelet mandrel, no tang. I’ve had pretty good luck using a large sandbag both to hold the mandrel steady and to dampen the noise. It will never work as well as a mandrel with the tang held tightly in a vise, but the sandbag is definitely an improvement. It holds the mandrel steady when used upright and allows the mandrel to be laid on its side.

You could also try a pipe vise. I don’t have one myself, but I know a jeweler who swears the pipe vise works better than holding a bracelet mandrel by the tang in a regular vise.


Here’s the plumbing fitting and flange I’ve used in the past. A 5" x 1.25" pipe bottoms out in the inside taper and holds it pretty tight. A couple wraps of electrical tape and it’s a snug fit. Easy to unscrew and just have the flange mounted till needed.

Plus it’s a mini round mandrel too!


Bonny Doon makes a horizontal vise that is useful for my work. I’m not sure how it would work for a bracelet mandrel with a tang. It is great for ring mandrels and sinusoidal stakes. Judy H


It would work great for a mandrel with a tang, but the OP’s mandrel doesn’t have a tang. I have thought of having tang welded on to my mandrel and buying one of these vise’s. I am sure that I would find other uses for it quickly…Rob


I think we are all “Gear Heads” at heart. We find ways that work for us to do the common job. Like brother Rob I have bent a few thousand bracelets over the past decades.

I use a 1" dia. Aluminum bar, about 4"s long set into a socket in the edge of my(Dad’s) bench, sticking out about 2’s. Slipped over the aluminum bar is a covering of neoprene hose. This rod bends more than 90% of the bracelets I build. I have a similar mandrel to Rob’s which is also hollow. This slips over the bending bar and it works more as a contoured anvil. I too have looked at the Durston horizontal bench vice with similar thoughts. The price is daunting.

I like the black iron pipe fixture. But I would add the neoprene hose sleeve. It does away with tool marks you won’t have to sand or polish out.

Don Meixner


I forgot to mention that I do a lot of my bracelet bending now on my 20 ton press with bracelet formers and urethane. Some designs don’t lend themselves to this method, but it makes nice even bends especially on designs where the thickness of the bracelet varies. I use Don’s neoprene protected aluminum rod idea to fine tune a bend that needs just a little nudging. This is another example of there being more than one right way to do things…Rob


A bit more on Robs comment about using the press for forming bracelets. I use my press for shaping heavy rings any more. I simply don’t need the fancy ring shapers. The press is far more versatile than just cutting dies. I can deep draw or tweak the beginning of something that would take gobs of hammering. Shaping earrings with a bid of middling curve, starting a spiciulum… Outside of a basic jewelers hammer, and a torch, I use it all the time. Judy H


I use a long piece of wood inside so it sticks out long enough to put it into a vice to hold it.