PS Should I buy the "little torch"? It has been recomended by
some and it looks like it can solder in very tight spaces. I am
currently using a prestolite with the smallest tip. It works great
on general heating but is impossible on small jumprings on a
lobsterclaw. Any comments?
I use 3 different torches for jewelry work, depending on the
job. ( I like tools!)
A Smith 'Little Torch' for those small jobs that don't need a
large quantity of heat, but do need the high temp.
A 'Prestolite' torch for those silver jobs that need a large
quantity of relatively low temp heat.
A 'Blazer' hand held, butane powered torch for jump rings &
chain. I make alot of chain & the convenience of the push button
lighting, flame size & adjustment of the Blazer are great. There
are a number of import Blazer type torches available in the US
For casting I use a large Oxy/Acet with a bud tip.
Hardening ear wires
The easiest way to harden wire is to work harden it. Clamp one
end of the wire to be hardened in a vise or twist it around a
nail driven into something stationary. Attach the other end to a
hook held in the chuck of an electric drill. Stretch the wire
taunt & start the drill. Hold the wire taunt while the drill
twists the wire about its' own axis. Stop when the wire breaks
(usually at one of the ends) or is hard enough. If you use a
flexshaft, run it at a slower speed.
If you just want to harden a short length (1 or 2 ear wires),
use a pin vise instead of the drill & twist by hand.
Repeated bending of any metal will cause it to harden, too much
bending will cause it to break.
Drawing wire to a smaller size will also harden it. The amount
of hardening depends on the number of times it's pulled through
the draw plate.
Flattening a short section of round wire with a hammer will
cause the flattened area to be harder than the rest of the wire.
Sterling can also be 'heat hardened'. Put the item to be
hardened into a kiln or oven at 536 F (280 C) for 2 1/2 hours.