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Spring link necklace

Two quick bends is all it takes to transform a wire coil into a spring link
Spring link necklace
Change the look of this necklace by varying the length of the spring links or by making the flat rings in different sizes. 16 in. (40.6cm).

Make a chain of spring links using a variety of techniques, including wire wrapping, forging, soldering, and riveting. The featured necklace project combines a sampling of basic metalworking skills that will give you the freedom to create your own chain patterns. Experiment with different-sized links, and repetition will become a design element that is anything but predictable.

SUPPLIES 

  • Sterling silver wire:
    • 18-gauge (1.0mm), round, dead-soft, 2 ft. (61.0cm)
    • flat (1.5 x 5mm), 11⁄4 in. (32mm)
    • 16-gauge (1.3mm), round, dead-soft, 61⁄2 ft. (2m) (optional)
  • Copper wire: 14-gauge (1.6mm), round, half-hard, 1 in. (25.5mm)
  • Sterling silver jump rings
    • 9 14-gauge (1.6mm), soldered, 12.7mm inside diameter (ID) 
    • 103 16-gauge (1.3mm), 5mm ID
  • Flush cutters
  • Pliers: chainnose, flatnose, long roundnose, roundnose
  • Chasing hammer
  • Bench block or anvil
  • Wooden dowels: 5mm diameter (optional)
  • Bench pin (optional)
  • Jeweler’s saw, 2/0 blades (optional)
  • Soldering station: handheld butane torch, easy solder, charcoal block, pickle pot with pickle, flux, cross-locking tweezers, soldering pick
  • Flex shaft or Dremel tool, sandpaper cylinder
  • Screw-action punch or 1.6mm drill bit
  • Hand files
  • Sandpaper, various grits
  • Finishing items (choose from): polishing cloth, liver of sulfur, tumbler with steel shot and burnishing compound

INSTRUCTIONS

Spring link necklace 1
Photo 1
Spring link necklace 2
Photo 2

1-2. Make the springs. Work directly from a 10-ft. (3m) spool or coil of 18-gauge (1.0mm) sterling silver wire. Use flush cutters to trim the end of the wire. Grip the end of the wire in long roundnose pliers at the base of the jaw. Wrap the wire around the jaw [PHOTO 1]. Continue wrapping the wire around the pliers, making each wrap inthe same location on the jaw so that allthe wraps have the same inside diameter. Make five complete revolutions, and then cut the wire [PHOTO 2].

Spring link necklace 3
Photo 3
Spring link necklace 4
Photo 4
Spring link necklace 5
Photo 5
3-5. Make the spring links. Spread the top coil away from the rest of the spring with roundnose pliers [PHOTO 3]. Insert flatnose pliers in place of the roundnose pliers [PHOTO 4]. Holding the spring in one hand, use the flatnose pliers to make a 90° bend in the end coil, creating a half-loop that is perpendicular to the spring. Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other end of the spring to make another half-loop [PHOTO 5]. Repeat steps 1–5 to make a total of eight spring links.
Spring link necklace 6
Photo 6
Spring link necklace 7
Photo 7
Spring link necklace 8
Photo 8

6-7. Flatten and texturize nine 14-gauge (1.6mm) jump rings. Use a chasing hammer to flatten nine 14-gauge (1.6mm) soldered jump rings [PHOTO 6].  

Use the ball-peen end of the chasing hammer to hammer a dimpled texture on one side of each jump ring [PHOTO 7]. Repeat on the other side of each jump ring.

8. Cut and smooth a piece of flat wire to make a bar. Cut a 1 1⁄4-in. (32mm) piece of 1.5 x 5mm flat wire. Using a flex shaft or Dremel tool with a sandpaper cylinder, round and smooth the ends of the wire  [PHOTO 8].

Spring link necklace 9
Photo 9
Spring link necklace 10
Photo 10
Spring link necklace 11
Photo 11
Spring link necklace 12
Photo 12
Spring link necklace 13
Photo 13

9-11. Add rivets and texture to the bar. Use a screw-action punch or a drill to make a 1.6mm hole 1⁄8 in. (3mm) from each end of the bar [PHOTO 9]. Place a 1⁄8-in. (3mm) piece of 14-gauge (1.6mm) copper wire in one hole. Flare the end of the copper wire with the ball-peen end of the chasing hammer. Turn the bar over to hammer the other end of the wire, making a decorative rivet. Make another decorative rivet at the other end of the bar [PHOTO 10]. Using the ball-peen end of the hammer, hammer a dimpled texture on both sides of the bar [PHOTO 11].

12. Add a connecting loop to make the toggle bar. Cut one 16-gauge (1.3mm), 5mm-inside-diameter jump ring in half. For instructions on how to make your own jump rings, see “Make Your Own Jump Rings,” below right. File and sand the cut ends of the jump ring, and make sure that the cut ends are flush with the back of the bar [PHOTO 12]. Flux the bar and the jump ring, and use easy solder to solder the cut ends of the jump ring to the back of the bar. Pickle, rinse, and dry the toggle bar. 

13.  Make the chain. Using 16-gauge (1.3mm) jump rings, construct a 2+2+2 chain, which is a simple sequence of pairs of jump rings. 

To begin the chain pattern, connect the 2+2+2 sequence to one hammered jump ring. Connect a spring link to the 2+2+2 sequence. Connect another 2+2+2 sequence to the spring link. Repeat this pattern to the end of the chain, ending with a hammered jump ring. 

Attach the toggle bar. Connect a 2+2+2 sequence to the hammered jump ring at the end of the chain. Attach the toggle bar to the 2+2+2 sequence. Finish and polish the necklace as desired. 

FIND MORE: necklaces , wire , metal , chain mail

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