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Making A Copper Link Bracelet : It's A Bit Harder Than I Thought!


To make a change from making bangles I decided to make a copper link bracelet recently. Since I've learned to solder I haven't attempted one yet and thought it would be a fairly easy, quick thing to make.
It probably is if you're not me..................


I started with 2.6mm copper wire and cut several lengths in two different sizes. I annealed the wire and bent it to form rough D shapes which makes it easier to join the two ends. My first idea was to solder and shape the links into rounds, texture and finish them then cut half of them open again and resolder to link them all together. Looking at how they lay when they were linked together I then thought the wire was probably too thick for this idea and the links might not sit very well when the bracelet was worn so I now needed to think about how to join the large links together in an interesting way.........

After some time thinking design thoughts {faffing about with copper wire in other words} I came up with a link design featuring a piece of wire balled at both ends which were then hammered and the wire bent over so the hammered ends touched and could be soldered together.




Soldering the small links.
I took this photo holding the torch in one hand and my camera in the other which is why the flame is miles away from the copper link {I can only concentrate on one thing at a time!}
Once all the links were done I hammered them with my mallet to flatten and elongate them and decided that putting two together facing different directions worked quite well and made the bracelet look a bit different.



I stamped a circle design on the ends of the links too and started connecting everything together. I liked the pebble shape of the large copper links so decided to leave them as they were. I then had to think about how the bracelet would fasten. I have a strange love/hate thing with fasteners and have never enjoyed making them despite making my own findings. I decided on a simple bar/toggle style fastener for the bracelet which could fasten with the copper link on the other end of the bracelet. It was simple to make - a length of copper wire with a loop soldered in the middle.


Once the bar was made I also made a small link to attach it to the last copper link on one end of the bracelet. I carried on with the hammered ball theme and made the small link by balling the end of a piece of wire, hammering and stamping then folding the wire into an oval shape and soldering the ends together.



So once everything was a ready I could start to solder the big copper links closed.



 After soldering and pickling and before cleaning up the excess{ive} solder!
 I started cleaning up the solder with a file and emery sticks then quickly changed to the much faster method of using abrasive bullets with my Dremel! The length of the bracelet at this point is about 8.5 inches so I need to shorten it by using my mallet to make the links wider. I also hammered them to flatten slightly and added some hammer texture to parts of the links
Incidently - has anyone noticed the mistake I've made yet? I realized my mistake just as I was about to put the finished oxidized bracelet into my tumbler.
The end link is too big for the bar......................bugger! I had a few options - make another longer bar, change the shape of the end link to make it thinner but this would also make the bracelet too long, or remove the end link and replace it with a smaller one which is what I did. I also had to use my torch to remove the liver of sulphur oxidation and clean up and finish everything again.


So here's the new version with smaller end link and a shiny copper finish again. Just why did I think making a link bracelet would be quick and easy?

Here's the finished oxidized and tumbled bracelet taken on my bench with my phone camera and experimenting with different settings which is why the photos all look slightly different.





I was pleased how it turned out in the end and I've learned what to keep in mind for next time! It was a prototype of sorts so the next one I make will hopefully be a lot easier and faster to make and will probably look a bit different to this one. I will post a couple of "proper" photos of it soon.


Comments

  1. Gorgeous!
    It has a flavour of the Medieval about it.
    It must be warm work for you just now.
    Heather :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Heather, I thought that too. It is extremely hot in my shed and my fan broke today too on the hottest day of the year so far :D

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  2. I love the final piece, esp the crossed over balled end links but I dont think i'll ever have the patience to try it. so kudos to you for making it and the photos look great for a phone camera

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  3. I definitely think it was a success despite the hurdles. The faffing around sounds exactly like what I do on a regular basis with my beads, and I thought that was probably one of the most perfect descriptors for that that I've heard. Great work!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Nicole. I do a lot of "thinking design thoughts" when I get stuck with something :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very very beautiful!!!!
    If you can, come tovisit may blog!
    http://bijouxgioieearte.blogspot.it/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well done! I can't wait to see the next bracelet. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kalaya! I changed my pickle today :D

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  7. Awesome work! It did not sound easy though, but that is how you learn. :) I love the links you made to attach them together. The finish looks great too!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Val, now I know what not to do!

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  8. I love the links you came up with! When I make chains like this, first I make all my jump rings and clean them up so they'll close nicely. I solder about half of them closed and then take a closed ring, add on two open rings, and solder those closed (so I have groups of 3 links). Then I join two groups of 3 with an open link, and continue on that way, joining larger groups together.

    I guess I could just solder half of the rings closed, join them all with open rings, and then solder them all closed but it's hard to arrange them all and not melt everything.

    Good luck!

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  9. Lovely bracelet! I love that chunky rustic feel to it. Well worth the trouble!

    ReplyDelete

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