I want to make metal bands that will wrap around about 1 1/2 times
(think of a bracelet wrapping around the forearm). It should open
enough to slip on and with light tension fit onto the arm.
What kinds of metal would withstand this placement and removal and
not lose its spring?
you can spring harden all the traditional precious metals, and
copper(239).Tungsten,titanium, and certain alloys ( bronzes, and
tigold type combinations) can also be heat treated…or you can buy
spring-hardened strip, rod and sheet from a number of suppliers (
hoover and strong, Rio Grande( though they’re a bit higher than most
and don’t give as generous price breaks for quantity), d.fell
company,Ktco, Englehard, etc.). the Jewelers resource book, jewelers
bench reference and hoover and Strong’s catalogs all give directions
for the repetitive annealing that is involved in spring hardening a
metal…or you could probably search the ganoksin / orchid archive
and I’d bet Binnion,Stewart Grice or any number of others have given
instruction on how to…but in my opinion .925 silver or a low karat
gold -9-14kt ( the more alloy/copper the stronger) would withstand
repeated removals…historically bronze was used extensively for
armbands, as was gold just make certain the gauge is large enough,
and if you are making it for a specific person, measure…or consider
using hinges or rivets to ensure the person doesn’t loose the piece
as a safety measure.If this isn’t specific enough tuesday you could
call hoover and strong, ask for stewart and he usually has the time
to fully explain how to…without expensive equipment.
Work hardened sterling silver should work fine, as would many metals
in that state. Annealed would deform, cast would like to crack, mild
synclastic or anticlastic forms may work well (it would keeps its
form better, but reduce ‘springy-ness’). Of course there’s nothing
like experimenting to know for sure as we don’t know most of the
Hope that helps for a starting place.
K. David Woolley
Diversiform Metal Art & Jewellery
As you have mentioned nay metal, try German silver, it is not silver
but an alloy, try drawing wire from a rod of atleast 1.5 mm to 2 mm.
thickness, or roll it flat, thde spring works well, to reduce the
tension if it achives too much slightly heat the band. Avoid
overheating,will make the material soft and looe the spring effect.
a note on “german silver” or nickel as its more commonly called in
the US…some countries have banned its use in jewelery objects due to
the histamine reaction it causes in many people. So if you choose to
use or experiment with nickel, you may want to back or plate it with
silver or gold, or another non-reactive substance that provides a
barrier between skin and the metal.
You might want to consider a workshop on anticlastic raising. This
type of metalworking lends itself to the characteristics you want:
strength and flexability. Bracelets that retain their springiness, so
to speak. Even with daimonds set in them!!IMHO, the metal, whether
silver or gold, is not so much important as the technique. A good
place to start is looking at Jerry Scavezze’s anticlastic work on his
website. He also teaches a workshop on this technique. On a related
note, I recently attended a workshop there with Jacob Snow as the
teacher! It was great! Salida Colorado Rocks!! the link is
scavezzegoldsmith.com. usual disclaimers: just friends and a