is it possible to make headpins with balls on either end -- such
as on a hinge pin? Would need to be able to make one of the balls
while the wire is already through the *hinge*.
Hi Debra, I’ve done this successfully (balling up the end of a hinge
pin with a torch), and I’ve also failed at it, fusing the hinge
assembly on each of a pair of earrings. You can bet there was some
"colorful" language floating around the studio that day!
In order to do it successfully, you need a hot sharp flame… get in
and get out fast. Still has its risks, however. If it doesn’t ball up
right away, don’t linger or else you’ll have a big problem.
Another consideration is if the balling up of the ends of the hinge
pins will add to the design. It may be more attractive to have a
flush hinge pin, or one that is unobtrusive. It does seem a bit
extravagant to use a gold hinge pin in a silver hinge.
If you are going to create a “cold connection” hinge pin, you can
upset (flare) one end of the pin before ever getting it near the
hinge. This can be done by holding the pin in a pair of sturdy
pliers, with maybe 2-3mm sticking out. Use a jeweler’s hammer to
create a “head” by gently and repeatedly tapping the protruding end
to flare it. Anneal the wire beforehand.
Flaring the other end, after assembling the hinge is a little more
tricky. I’ve had trouble getting enough clearance around the end of
the pin to be able to get my hammer in there. In that case I use a
punch of some sort (steel rod) to make contact with the end of the
pin, and tap the punch with the hammer. Where it gets tricky is
trying to coordinate holding the piece on the anvil (or bench block)
in the right position, holding the punch and tapping all at the same
Tim McCreight also pointed out to me that a hinge pin doesn’t
necessarily require heads on each end to be secure. All you have to
do is ensure the pin will not fall out of the hinge. As long at the
pin stays in and allows the inner “knuckles” to swing, it will work.
I haven’t tried it, but theoretically, if you were to deform a
close-fitting hinge pin by squeezing near one end with a pair of
pliers, you could jam it into the hinge (deformed end last), and
friction would hold it in place. This would also make it easy to
drive the pin out if needed in the future.
Hope this gives you some food for thought!
All the best,
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)