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[Source] Springs

I need springs. Every so often I get a repair job that requires a
spring. The latest one is a two-part sterling bracelet which is
supposed to spring closed. I can’t find little springs anywhere!

Can anyone direct me?


Ray, Cas-Kerr has assortment boxes (little plastic divided
containers akin to picture framing kits one buys at the hardware or
dime store) they are relatively cheap and you get a lot of them in
the package/ divided container. Another source (and I hate to give
this one up!) is American scientific and Surplus (…I
believe this month they added a spring assortment- though I haven’t
seen it,The description read something like’ tiny springs for
watchmakers’)…Sciplus has some great deals on stuff from gem trays
cheaper than ANY other source…to the occasional digital
microscope/camera for under a hundred bucks for photgraphing stones,
jewelry etc…Some offerings are identical to harbor freight’s wares,
and there’s a lot of Russian govt. surplus labware and technical
equipment sprinkled in too…a great source for leather and heavy duty
cloth studio aprons,containers, glassware,acid proof nalgene and
kimex bottles, ultra-sonic cleaners, tumblers with
abrasives…etc…they bombard you with catalogues and have speedy
service…all-in-all a great source for hard to find and comparative
shopping. RER


Try looking at or for stainless spring or
music wire. mcmaster is far cheaper but 1/4 pound roll of will last a
very LONG time. Since this stuff is form able (with determination) it
is not as good as properly formed, hardened, and tempered springs;
best to go with a slightly larger gauge than original.

I’ve used both companies with happy results although mcmaster is no
good if you live outside of the US.

Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing

Hello Doc,

For small springs, and lots of other really cool tiny parts, try
Precision Scale Model Engineering

The catalog is $14 up front, refundable on first order… but worth
having. Wow, people build some crazy small stuff! Great source for
raw materials in very small dimensions - aluminum, stainless, brass,
copper, steel, plastics of all sorts…


Hi Doc;

I need springs.... a two-part sterling bracelet which is supposed
to spring closed. 

I know what your looking at, like a coil spring with either end
jutting out. You’ll never find one to fit exactly. Look into Rio
Grande’s catalog for “memory wire”. You’ll have to make your own. If
you’ve got the old spring, it’s easier to match it. Bend the wire
cold, don’t anneal it and don’t try to temper it. You’ll figure it

David L. Huffman

Hi Doc,

I always make my own out of spring steel wire. It seems each spring
uses a different gauge wire, has a different coil diameter, and coil
length so it’s just easier to make them. Otto Frei or other watch
supply places carry the wire.



It’s not just outside the US that McMaster-Carr refuses to service.
Even for addresses inside the USA, it depends if they think you are
planning to export the goods. EXPORT IS BAD! Their LA office
explained to me that my company’s LA logistics address was on their
no-supply list, because they were convinced we would export the
goods, thus they would need to do extra paperwork.

Previously, McMaster-Carr happily accepted +$1000 pre-paid orders
cannot process your order, we regret any inconvenience". It appears
the US Department of Trade is concerned about technology exports and
has given out a list of logistics company addresses that will need
extra paperwork done. McMaster-Carr are not prepared to do that
additional paperwork.

I would understand completely when weapons, nuclear materials or
ultra-advanced technology were involved. The rather silly ruling (and
the weak-willed, lazy response of McMaster-Carr) means we have needed
to re-source such frighteningly dangerous goods as button-head cap
screws, abrasives, polyester braided sleeving, nitrile o-rings and
steel balls, used in making our rotary axis products. Many other
engineering supply companies have stepped in to supply us.
Especially, my hat is off to Travers Tool, a trustworthy and
reliable supply partner. The stupidity of the whole affair is
compounded by the fact that around 60% of our rotary axis products,
manufactured in Australia from local and foreign components, are
exported to the US, sending the screws, balls and springs home!
Desktop Engineering for January 2008 shows this in their page 40
article, or electronically at

And to close on a positive note, specifically for small springs,
Diamond Wire company is very responsive to our needs, with excellent
stocks of small springs.

Mark Bingham

Piano Wire will work. Just a suggestion.


spring wire is also available in 500’ coils from but it
is sold in english sizes or.001 inch sizes i think some coils are
avail as cheap as $5 a roll


In our lab we recuperate the springs from dead ball point pens. Also
from small toys and gadgets when they break.

Lois Martens

These are called “torsion springs”. They are the sort of springs that
make clothespins want to close. See spring suppliers like Century
Spring: for stock springs of this type.
They can also make custom springs for your specific purpose, but
those cost a lot more, at least until you’re looking at big

Andrew Werby

Try out the watch supply companies. They have assortment boxes for
case springs.

The only one that comes to mind is DRS in Manhattan. As many have
already posted

I make most of my own from spring wire which you can also get there.


The spring design in these bracelets is flawed. They must be carbon
steel, and they fail in time. Over the years I have come across quite
a number of these bracelets with broken springs.

Carbon steel provides sufficient force, but it corrodes and is no
better than the origional spring which failed after some time.

Hard stainless wire needs to be a heavier guage shoe-horned into the
available space; even so the wire just cannot provide the required
tension over the arc of travel.

After many experiments my conclusion is that the spring needs to be
as large as those found in clothes pegs, which have least five large
coils of heavier wire to provide reliable tension.

Now I advise customers that I can replace the spring, but it is
expensive and will only be marginally successful. Why not get a
custom clasp fitted that will last a lifetime?


For some clasps I’ve done in the past that involved a small spring,
I just stole them out of retractable ball point pens.

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

See spring suppliers like Century 

Thanks for the link, Andrew. Eeeeevery once in a while I need some
spring that’s rare. A tip for spring making - go to a music store and
buy a guitar string. Costs about a dollar, and they’re like 3 feet
long. One salesman said a big call for them is making cheese slicers,


American Science and Surplus is definitely worth a look. They have
an absolutely incredible buy on a blower with 24V motor. It’s priced
at $14.50, if I recall correctly, but the manufacturer (German) lists
a similar product at near $400.00! I picked up a 24V power supply on
"that" e-auction for about $10.00.

If anyone is interested to make up such a unit I’d be happy to supply
specifications on the housing I made. The unit is powerful, extremely
quite and 24V doesn’t make much of a spark.

Dr. Mac

Especially, my hat is off to Travers Tool, a trustworthy and
reliable supply partner. 

Yeah! is a very cool place - high-end, lower-end, as you
need it. Good outfit.

If you have to make your own spring you’ll find it very easy. When I
was in the army I made a lot of custom recoil springs for our
competition 45’s by the following method.

Use the appropriate diameter of “music wire” and form it to the
desired shape, including winding on a mandrel. The mandrel can be as
simple as a small drill. After final and complete forming stress
relieve it in the oven at about 550 F for 20-30 minutes. The stress
relieving process stabilizes the form and durability of the spring.
Music wire comes from hardware stores and guitar shops.

Good luck.
Dr. Mac

As mentioned its often easier to make your own, plus then you can
supercharge it. Heat treating can be done by dipping the finished
spring into molten lead, if you’re up for that sort of thing. For
some reason the lead doesn’t stick to the steel, at least it hasn’t
happened to me.

For some clasps I've done in the past that involved a small
spring, I just stole them out of retractable ball point pens. 

I would have thought the spring in a ball point pen is the wrong
sort of spring for the application in question. I think the type of
spring in question is the type where the two ends of the spring wire
are used and extend in two "arms, such that the required tension is
perpendicular to the axis of the spring itself rather than the pen
spring, where its tension is along the length of the spring. Does
that make sense?