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Shaped metal mandrels


I’m searching for something and don’t quite know the right name or
where to fid them.

I saw a collection of mandrels made of brass in different shapes,
square, teardrop, diamond, etc. at a friends studio. She doesn’t
remember where she got them, but I would love to find these.


Karen Christians

I dunno about brass ones, but Stachura Co. has a set in cast iron.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

I have a set like this I bought from Stachura Wholesale years ago.
They are made of steel. Seems they still have them - called bezel
mandrels, approximately 4" long



I think these may be what you are looking for.

Tracy Arrington
Contemporary. Timeless. Artisan Jewelry

Karen, I didn’t see anyone answer your questions but I have gotten
some small ones similar to what you are looking for from Stachura
(spelling? don’t have the catalog here) and they are on Orchid.

Donna in VA

I can’t help with finding shaped brass mandrels, but it makes me
think of posting about some custom-shaped madrels I have to make for
someone. These will be for forming bezels, and of course they aren’t
worried about mandrels for their easy shapes, because the easy shapes
are easy enough to shape by hand. No, they say “we want you to do the
spiral, the flower, the bone, and 20-odd others”. So, the problem is
to make a shallow mandrel, stubby things about 1/2" tall/long that
are shaped like the designs, only one size for a given shape, which
eliminates the need for a long mandrel. They need to be straight at
the base, the bottom 1/4", so the bezels can be formed around them
with straight sides. The upper 1/4" or so needs to be tapered…or
does it?. With complex shapes, the ins and outs mean the bezel has to
be long (starting out as a big, crude circle for soldering ), while
the design itself is small in comparison to it’s bezel length.

This means that the bigger, unformed bezel will fit down over a
straight mandrel easily (in many cases), instead of like with a
simple-shape bezel, where the bezel has no extra length and the
mandrel therefore has to be tapered.

Anyway, instead of trying to make bezels that fit around a specific
part blanked out of a specific die, they want the bezels to fit down
on top of said specific part. If the bezels were to fit around the
part, I could simply stack a bunch of pieces on top of each other and
solder them together, and more or less be done. Shape the bezel
around a mandrel of exactly the same shape and size, and the bezel
will fit around a single part cut from the same die as the mandrel
parts…perfectly. With the bezels going on top of the parts
instead, the problem isn’t quite so simple. I thought of blanking a
bunch of parts and sawing them all down a little bit all the way
around their edges, then stacking them. I thought of making wax,wood,
or clay models and using them to make cast bronze pieces as mandrels.
I thought of (and made 2 for belt buckle twist-wire rims) making
plates with sets of pins/pegs that you bend the bezels around (and
this may be useful for pre-forming some bezels before mandrelating
them ). Then I snapped, and saw that it would be easiest to make a
’temporary ’ blanking die of the intended shape, but slightly smaller
all around, stack and solder those together into the 1/2" tall
mandrel blocks.

The original plan was to make the straight-bottomed half, and make
the top half the same way, but taper it before soldering it onto the
bottom half. However, while writing about this, I saw that the need
for the tapered top half wouldn’t actually be real for many of the
shapes in question. The difference in shapes that determines this
one way or the other is concavity; shapes with concave areas need
extra bezel length that doesn’t translate into adding to the overall
size of the mandrel, but does make for a larger unformed bezel that
will fit over the correspondingly smaller mandrel. With convex
shapes , the situation is completely different, with any 'extra’
bezel length ending up as a sloppy-fitting bezel.

The only really problematic thing I’ve run into is that the parts
being cut from the blanking dies I’ve already made are not 100%
consistent. We never planned for something like this, and I
introduced some slight irregularities into the dies to mimic the
inconsistency of hand sawing parts. This is biting my butt to some
degree, but all it means is some fiddling with the final shape of the
temporary die, so that the pieces from it, when stacked as a mandrel,
don’t stick out so far as to make the fitted bezels not fit on top of
their parts. So, I’m definitely happy I decided to yap about this,
because not having to taper 1/4" thick shapes that are 2" across will
save me tons of hassle, and I’ll be lobbying for making the concave
designs, although tapering convex ones wouldn’t be hard.

Dar Shelton