Making A Synclastic Bangle

I wrote a blog post a while ago where I practised making a mini synclastic bangle using a pair of synclastic pliers and dapping punches. I thought it was about time I made a proper sized bangle!

If you're wondering what on earth a "synclastic" shape is it's where the surface curves towards the same side in all directions or in the case of my bangle rather than having a flat profile when viewed in cross-section it's domed. Or if you still don't understand it...just look at the photo :D

I started with a strip of copper that I'd added a stripe pattern to...

Once it was soldered and the join tidied up I rounded it on the bracelet mandrel and sanded both sides to get them flat. I cut the strips of copper sheet myself so they are inevitably a bit wonky to start with but it's easy to sort out once the bangle is soldered.

I decided to make a medium size bangle and cut the length longer than normal to allow for the decrease in the inside diameter of the bangle as the sides will be curved inwards as the synclastic shape is formed.

I then used my synclastic pliers to start off the curved shape. I went round the bangle once then flipped it and did the other side.

The result is a little bit wonky and not as curved as I want it. The marks left on the inside of the bangle by the pliers are surface marks and disappear with a rub with some wire wool.

After annealing the bangle I started to shape the curve a bit more using dapping punches fixed in a vice and a nylon mallet. The nylon mallet won't flatten the metal just move it so the striped texture will be preserved.

It took a bit of hammering and a few annealings but I managed to even out the bumps and the wavy edges and get the curve pretty smooth.

The next stage is to flatten the bangle so it sits flat and to smooth the edges.

I use a file and sanding sticks to take the edges off the metal so it's comfortable to wear then pickle the copper to clean it up.

The bangle ready for oxidizing.

The finished bangle.

Using the dapping punches as a stake to make these synclastic shapes is ok but does make the process a bit fiddly as they tend to move a bit in the vice.
Which is why I treated myself to one of these!!

It's a Bonny Doon Anticlastic/Synclastic Forming Stake available from Rio Grande and Bonny Doon.
It's the perfect size for the narrower anticlastic and synclastic bangles and earrings I want to make. 

My parcel of goodies from Rio Grande arrived today and I've literally just opened the box and got the stake out to have a look at it as I write this post. I haven't had chance to try it yet {that will be another post!} but it looks like it's going to make life a lot easier.

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  1. Very cool Tracy! This looks fun to form. I hope you love your new tool. :)

  2. Nice bangle! Yep...that tool will make your life a lot easier. You take great pictures too! Amazing that you can take a pic with one hand. :D

  3. Thanks Kalaya. I'm amazed I can take photos with one hand too, they are pretty blurry most of the time :D

  4. Great post - very interesting to see the process of creating this beautiful bracelet. The synclastic shape is a very flattering and popular style particularly for bracelets. Using the copper was a good choice, and is always a striking colour choice on most skin types, along with rose gold. Enjoy your bracelet!

  5. This is so cool! I would totally wear this. Sounds like your new tool is coming in handy.

    1. Pretty darn cool... I read the whole post and saw all the pictures from beginning to end and I have to say you are a professional jewelry maker and designer. Very beautiful work!


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