Making Matching Components for your Jewelry Design
Welcome to the third installment of the Handmade Components series.
So far, we have made two versions of the ever popular oval component, each with an eye loop.
Today, I am going to walk you through the process I used for creating these gorgeous diamond shape Bronze components.
Throughout the series, you can use my affiliate links for the tools and materials I use in the projects.
And I am going to walk you step by step through the processes and techniques I used and include all the photos and directions you need to be successful.
We are going to use some very basic metal and wire working skills to make our components in today’s project.
If you need a refresher on any of the terms, tools or techniques, I have severals posts available in Metalsmithing Jewelry that you may find useful.
Please remember to take the proper Safety precautions when setting up your Solder Station.
- Flush Cutting
- Creating Angles
- Basic Foming
- Making Duplicates
- Work Hardening
Tools and Materials
I have added my Amazon Affiliate links to these products for your convenience.
I can honestly tell you that I have purchased each one of these items myself from Amazon and can vouch for the quality and durability.
You can use any base or precious metal wire you prefer for your project. And you are free to use any thickness you want as well.
Using thinner gauges may present problems later when we begin the wire wrapping portion of our project.
I chose 16 gauge dead soft wire because it is easy to form and can be hardened afterwards creating a stable component for wire wrapping.
I recommend using Base metal for beginners as it is cheap and won’t break your heart if you make an irreversible mistake.
Gather your supplies and let’s get to it.
Flush Cutting the Wires
Begin by flush cutting two lengths of your wire to 5 inches each.
Use your flat file to make one end of each wire flush.
For more detailed instructions head back to the Brass Oval Component.
Before we begin forming, we first need to mark our bends.
Using your ruler and Sharpie, mark each wire at the following points.
- 1.5 inch
- 2.5 inch and
- 3.5 inch
Forming the Components
To form the center bend, place your flat nose pliers on the center mark.
Notice that the nose of the pliers is to the right side of the center mark.
I will begin to push the left side of the wire upwards to create the bend in the center mark.
If I had pushed the right side of the wire, my bend would not be on the center of my wire.
Now I will be shifting the nose of my pliers from one side to the other while I continue to form my pointed bend.
I don’t want the point to be too sharp as I plan to use the component for a wire wrapping project. So I create approximately 45 degree angle for my bend.
Repeat for the second wire.
For the next bends, I am going to work both wires at the same time to ensure that they match as closely as possible.
Line up your working wires as shown.
Align the Pliers to the right hand side or bottom of the marks on your wire and form another bend of about 45 degrees towards the inside of the component.
Flip the work over and repeat the steps above to form the bend on the other side of your compoenent.
Use your flush cutters to even up the ends of your wires in necessary and make sure that one side is flush and smooth.
Now we need to prep one side of each component before we can solder.
To do this we will use our half-round needle file.
Remember that in order for our solder join to work properly, the metals in the join area needs to be fully flush and in full contact, with not gaps.
I hold the file on the same plane as the left side of my component and file upwards on the wire to the right.
Check the fit often and continue working until your connection is completely flush.
Use your clamp to secure the connection and repeat the steps above for the second component.
Soldering the Shape
Apply flux to the join area and your solder pallion. Position the solder on the join.
Bring the torch in slowly warming the flux and metal, to set the flux and the solder pallion in place.
Get more aggressive with your torch and keep the flame moving in small slow circles until the solder flows
Remember that your clamps may be pulling some of the heat away from the wire, so occasionally apply heat to the clamp section too.
Repeat the soldering steps on the second component.
Quench the components and place in your pickle pot.
Finishing and Polishing
When it comes to finishing and polishing you have two options. You can either perform these tasks by hand or with power tools.
Use your files to remove any deep scratches or tool marks from your piece. Files come in various cuts or degrees of coarseness.
There are a variety of burs and stone accessories that can do the same task using a Dremel or Flex shaft.
Next, beginning with the coarsest and working through to the finest, you can use wet/dry sandpapers to refine the finish of the component.
There are also rubber accessories for your rotary tool with varying degrees of coarseness you can use to refine the finish of the component.
When using abrasives, make sure you follow established guidelines.
- Files usually only cut in one direction.
- Begin with the Coarsest and work to the Finest grit or cuts.
To polish by hand, cut a small piece of Pro-polish pad and gently polish and shine your component.
I hope you enjoy making your own components as much as I do.
I love adding that extra special touch to my work and being able to say with certainty what materials are used in my work and I can trust the durability of my pieces as well.
This wraps up my mini-series on creating perfectly matching components.
In the next few weeks, I will be presenting new wire wrapping tutorials in which I will be suing my new handmade components.
So stay tuned for more. Use the form below to follow my Blog and you will be notified by email when new tutorials post and don’t forget to subscribe to The Bead Mat Newsletter too.