Monday, October 6, 2008

Easy Cuff Bracelet

Even if you aren’t an experienced metalsmith, with a few simple tools, you can make this easy cuff bracelet.
You will need:
Bracelet mandrel
Raw hide hammer
Ball peen hammer
Jeweler’s saw and No. 2 blade
Assortment of jeweler’s files
6" by ½" 16 gauge sterling sheet

1. First use a saw or metal cutting shears to cut a piece of 16 gauge sterling silver sheet into a piece that is 6" long and ½" wide. Pieces of sheet this size can also be ordered from metal suppliers. They may charge a fabrication fee to precut the piece, but it is very minimal.

2. After cutting the sheet, you may have bent it a little. Don’t worry. Just use a raw hide hammer and anvil to pound the sheet straight again.

3. Next, use shears or a saw to cut off the corners of the rectangle you made in step 1.

4. Now a lot of filing is needed all around the piece of metal. This is required in order to smooth out the rounded ends of the sheet and also on the straight areas so it does not poke or cut the wearer. You will notice the sides of the metal are very sharp. Be careful while handling the strip so you do not cut yourself.

5. Texturing is the next step. Though this is not a required step to make this bracelet, I think it adds a lot to the look and it’s fun to do. Use the round end of the ball peen hammer and lightly tap the strip of metal while holding it on top of the anvil. It does not take a lot of force to create this textured look. Texturing only needs to be added to the side that will be the top (or outside) of the bracelet.

6. Once the piece has been textured, it is time to shape it. I use a round bracelet mandrel, but an oval one would also work. Use your hands to press the sheet (textured side out) around the top part of the mandrel. Hold the sheet against the mandrel with one hand and hit the sheet carefully (watch those fingers!) using a raw hide hammer.

7. Take the sheet off the mandrel and put it on your wrist to see how it lays. Adjust with your hands if necessary.

8. Finally, polish the bracelet using a dremel or polishing wheel.
This cuff bracelet is easy to make and looks great.