Thursday, 21 February 2013

Jewelry Making Process of Chain Making

1 Coils of silver; 2 flat-nosed pliers; 3 round flat pliers; 4 stainless steel tweezers; 5 round-nosed pliers; 6 half-round pliers; 7 oblique cutters
With so many variations in the kinds of materials, linking systems, colors, lengths, weights, and fastenings, chain making can be an opportunity to let your imagination have free rein. There is also great satisfaction in making an object that is complete in itself.

The decorative aspects of chains follow from their functional aspects. If two sections of a chain are linked together with a single wire ring, the piece will be flexible because the sections will be able to move around the ring to form a curve as well as being able to move back and forth to curve in the opposite direction. 

A simple jump ring, although ideally suited to this purpose, does not always suit the design and may look ill-considered or simply boring. Therefore, while aiming to accommodate the principle of the jump ring, the challenge of chain making lies in the ways in which the simple jump ring's function can be translated into a decorative form.

Planning the chain

Solder the joints in a sufficient number of 1/3-inch jump rings to make the length of chain you require. Quench, rinse, and dry.

Before you make a chain, there are several points to consider. First, you must determine the length. If it is to be an exact length, you will need to work out the number and size of each section. This may not be critical on a long chain, but if you are making a shorter one (about 16 inches long), you should draw a circle with this circumference and divide it up until you have the correct number and length of sections.

Remember that the fastening is important, too. If it is made to be an integral part of the design, it will bring the whole thing together. Although bolt rings are useful, they can look rather like after-thoughts and spoil the effect of a well-designed necklace or chain.

Open the rings by holding them in two pairs of flat-nosed pliers and twisting one pair of pliers away from you and the other pair toward you.  Link the rings so that they lie in the same direction. Flux the joint and resolder it. You may not need to add more solder, but try one ring first to check. When you are resoldering, work on one link at a time and make sure that the joint is not resting on the next link: hold the ring upright in a pair of insulated tweezers.
You must also take the weight of the chain into consideration, and think about the weight of each link in terms of the sections it will be joining. A heavy chain will need a sturdy link; a light chain will need a proportionately delicate link.

Soldering chains

It is not always necessary to solder the links of a chain, but if they are not soldered, the links should be strong enough that they cannot be pulled apart by hand. For information on soldering chains

Writer – Jinks McGrath
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