As you work through the steps illustrated here, most of the techniques will become self-evident. However, there are some points to bear in mind when you make catches and joints for pieces of jewelry.
Several types of catch are available readymade, so when you are designing a piece you should consider whether a handmade catch will help to create the effect you want to achieve better than a bought one. For example, you might want to consider the time you will have to spend in fashioning a tiny box catch for a small chain when a readymade one will look just as good.
Standard silver, which is a comparatively soft metal, is not always suitable for use on a spring-type catch. Silver can, of course, be made hard and springy by hitting it with a hammer on a steel support, but even this will not necessarily make it strong enough for your purposes. Nickel silver and steel could be used to make the spring, but they should not be soldered to precious metal if you want the work to be hallmarked. These metals could be riveted on or held in place under tension.
Remember that catches are put on when all other work has been finished, and usually soft or easy solder is used to attach them. Some bought catches the bolt rings, for example, which are widely used to close chains have a little steel spring within them. It is better to buy a catch to which the attachment ring has already been soldered so that any additional soldering will be done on the adjoining jump ring. Try to keep the heat of your torch away from the bolt ring as much as you can when you are soldering, perhaps by placing a small sheet of mica over the ring while you work.
Do not quench after soldering, because if the bolt ring is immersed in acid, it may be difficult to remove all traces of acid and the steel may contaminate the metal around it. Also, if it is quenched while hot, the steel will be softened.
Spring T-bars on cuff link findings should be removed before the back findings are soldered to the front, because they contain a piece of steel that acts as a spring within the bar. They should be replaced and riveted in place when all other work is complete.