Possible to make balled headpins as a hinge?

Speaking of balled headpins, 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. I want to use gold wire through silver parts, allowing the
silver parts to move. Couldn’t figure out a way to do it with a
hammer either! I’m afraid I’ll have to settle for a loop of wire,
but not very pretty. Would appreciate some idea of what is possible
before I purchase the gold wire. Thanks in advance! :slight_smile: Debra

How about making the ball on one end the usual way, threading the
wire through and then making a clay dam to contain water, put the
finished end down into the water to keep the heat from traveling,
and go at the exposed end with the flame and quickly ball it.


I use gold wire a lot to repair hinged bracelets. You put the wire
throught and use a hot flame to quickly bead the end of the gold
wire. It helps if you counter sink the hole…that is use a round
burr a little bit larger than the hole size and when the wire is
balled up you can hold the piece on a steel block upright and tap
the ball, flattening it and then file off the excess metal.

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

Debra, Yes it is possible to make a hinge pin with balls on each
end. What you do is first make a ball on one end as described in the
recent thread on headpins. Put the pin through the hinge, flux the
end with no ball, hold the piece so that end is pointing down, and
with a very small hot flame, ‘tease’ the end of the wire until it
balls up. If the two ends don’t look exactly alike, dress them up
with a small file. It is a very nice way to finish off a hinge,
been doing it for years. Of course, you cannot do this with the stone
in the setting unless it is not heat sensitive. You must also be
very careful with the small flame not to melt or fuse anything around
the pin! Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where
simple elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut1

   , is it possible to make headpins with balls on either end --
such as on a hinge pin? 

Debra, wire ends can be balled up very quickly, as the wire heats
quickly. If the item you’re ballin the wire up next to is heavier
weight, then often you can just hit the end of that wire with a tight
hot flame (natural gas or propane with oxygen, works best, not just
a fuel / air torch, though often that works too) Point the flame
across the side of the wire, so it’s not pointing at the hinge
itself. The wire will ball up, and the ball wiill travel almost all
the way to the hinge. Sometimes it will travel right to the hinge,
other times it will stop just short, depending on how careful you
need to be about heating the rest of the piece. If there’s still a
little looseness to the fit, then you can support one ball, and
hammer (lightly!) the other one in. The wire inside the hinge will
upset a little, and the balls can be tighted up. Try this on a
scrap first, as if you overdo the hammering, you can mess it all up.


Debra Yes it is possible, I do this often but you have to be quick
and practice before doing it on a piece of jewellery. In the UK we
use a torch called a microweld which allows me to us a very fine
torch tip. This gives a tiny flame. To do it, I ball one end of my
wire put it through the hinge cut the wire so it protrudes through
the hinge a little ( experience will tell you how much) flux the wire
end well and melt with a very fine and small flame as quickly as
possible until the wire end melts into a ball. You have to practice
when to take the flame away but with practice this works well and can
be used in places where it is not possible to use a hammer to
flatten the ends of pins such as in some earrings etc. Regards Alan

The Watch & Jewellery Workshop