Pin catch problem

Hi Friends, I just had a client bring a pin back for some work, and
I’m a bit perplexed. I’m hoping someone out there might have
encountered this and have a suggestion. The pin is for her Mom, who
is up there in years. Apparently she has a problem operating the
catch on the pin because the two protrusions on the rotating part are
too small. It’s one of those catalog standard pin finding sets in
sterling: hinge, pin stem and catch. The piece is set with a total of
ten bezel set stones, so I don’t want to consider soldering on a new

I was thinking I can maybe forge them out a little with some careful
tapping, but that will only get me so far. I don’t think it would be
feasible to solder a wire on the protruding bit (for lack of a
better term)… but is that the only answer? It is at times like this
I wish I had $25k to drop on a laser welder!

Does anyone have any clever solutions or suggestions they can

Many thanks,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi Dave; How about some small lengths of tubing, crimped onto the
ends of the little tabs, then a little TIX soft solder to secure
them? David L. Huffman

Hello David Sebaste, If it’s a commercial finding, you can probably
"pry" the catch apart (think of pulling a clam shell apart), remove
the part that rotates, and then enlarge at least one tab. Forging
would be easier then, and you can always solder something larger to
the little tabs. Putting the piece back into the catch and
squeezing the halves back to just the correct position is the tricky
part. I’ve taken a catch apart a couple times - not out of choice,
mind you - and it can be done. Hope this helps. Good luck,

Judy in KansasJudy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936

Dave, In cases like that I’ve used “stay-brite” solder applied with a
small electric soldering iron. It’s flow point is low enough that
stones have never been damaged. I haven’t done it often but haven’t
had any returns. Jerry in Kodiak

Dave, is there a place on the front side where you can do a
decorative rivet? I’m thinking you can make a cold connection fibula
catch. The catch part of a fibula is sometimes a short curlique or a
pig’s tail. The pin stem slips under the one coil and is caught by
the other, in order to prevent it from opening. You will have to
solder on a small washer to the pin side, to prevent the wire from
being pulled through (this can be done before the riveting, off the
piece), then rivet the other side of the wire to the front, then make
your curlique on the pin side. If you have a problem visualizing what
I’m talking about, email me offline, and I’ll send you an
attachment showing this.

Sparkie welders are a lot cheaper and very efficient. I think that
company offers a larger pin catch.

Other solution is to fabricate a catch, solder it to a small sheet
of the same metal as the brooch and rivet it to the brooch,


G’day Dave. This is not an isolated problem, I have had a great deal
of customers come in with Pins / Broaches with a ( What I call A
roll Catch Fitted ) that they cannot operate due to Arthritis or
other problems. And because of certain problems with the pin I
cannot solder another catch onto it so here is what I do. I remove
the centre rotating section and squeeze it together, I then file a
deeper slot in the catch and then bend the pin so that when it is
placed into its normal closed position there is a certain amount of
spring back, This spring back will then cause the pin to sit in the
deeper filed grove and hold it there.

I hope I have described this well enough and perhaps I should have
provided a simple line sketch as a simple line sketch is worth the
proverbial 1000 words.

Best wishes. Michael W Kohlleppel Art Tech Castings Australia
@MWKohlleppel or PS your posts have
always been most Informative and I hope this may be some
help to you.

Dave - This is just a thought that may not help at all. Rather than
messing with the protrusions on the catch, maybe you could coat the
catch itself with something akin to the material we dip our tool
handles into. This, if applied carefully so as not to interfere with
the rotation of the catch, might increase contact between finger and
catch making it easier for the woman to turn. Of course, it may also
increase friction with clothes…but, at least, it wouldn’t require

Cheers -
Debra Hoffmaster

Here’s a couple of ideas:

Before doing anything, find out if the woman can manage the moving
the bits if they are right in front of her. If so, no changes are
necessary if she can get in the habit of putting the pin on the
garment BEFORE she puts the garment on herself. I find it’s a lot
easier to fiddle with a catch when you can look at it directly.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, perhaps you can simplify the
catch. Why not a simple spring stem and hook-like catch? (i.e.,
eliminate the rotating thing with the protrusions). If it’s springy
enough, it shouldn’t come undone.

CQ in Littleton, Mass., USA

Dave, I’ve got a Sparkie fusion welder for findings. I’ve had this
tool for 10 years and use it on inlay pieces , ect. You would cut the
old one off and zap a new one on. I charge retail $14 per finding.
Sam Patania, Tucson

Could the whole pin be set into a new back using a bezel to hold it
in place? If so, there are catches that can be built that could be
easier for the women to use. Sometimes those catches don’t work
easily after being through the pickle. Perhaps burr Lite or some such
would make it move easier.


dear Dave if you are willing to spend $25-30 than you can send the
piece to be repaired at a service shop with a laser,it would be a no
brainier for those people.I know of two places in Philadelphia,I am
sure there are plenty of laser shops to pick from.

Hratch Babikian
P.O. Box 54147
Philadelphia, PA 19105
tele215 465 9351

Dave: File off the nub’s, drill and tap a hole in it’s place, thread
a wire, screw it in, add super glue or locktite, cut and polsh wire
to length.

Or just drill and push wire all of the way thru and bind the hole
with a punch. Art Smith

Hi Dave, I am not a supporter of QVC but they sell a magnetic adapter
for pins. I have not been able to find it elsewhere. One part of
the magnet has a hole through it into which the pin is placed. The
other part of the magnet fits under the material. The magnets are
very strong. It might be a solution to the ladies problem. QVC
number is 1-800-345-1515. Sure would like to know if anyone knows
of a vender for the magnetic pin converter. iT works very, well
especially for ladies who do not want to stick a pin through their

Good luck