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Forged wire bracelet

Use dividers to create a well-balanced bracelet

For me, learning the art of metalsmithing was mostly a self-directed process. My first investment was The Complete Metalsmith, by Tim McCreight. That book provided the foundation for all of my work today. This chain is inspired by his section on chains. One of the first lessons I learned was the necessity of using dividers. This handy V-shaped tool helps transfer measurements, lay out straight lines, and make perfect circles.

For instructions on using dividers to make measurements, read below. For the step-by-step instructions on making the bracelet and matching earrings, click here for the free project PDF.


Finished bracelet: 19 cm (7 1⁄2 in.)

Copper wire:

  • 16-gauge (1.3 mm), round, 60 cm (23 1⁄2 in.)
  • 14-gauge (1.6 mm), round, 3 mm (1⁄8 in.)

Tools and supplies

  • Metric ruler
  • Dividers
  • Flush cutters
  • Flatnose pliers
  • Steel bench block
  • Hammers: ball peen, riveting, goldsmith’s
  • Sanding stick 600-grit
  • Center punch
  • Flex shaft or rotary tool with #53 (.059 in./1.50 mm) drill bit
  • #49 (.073 in./1.85 mm) or larger drill bit
  • Bur lubricant or beeswax
  • Needle file
  • Tumbler with stainless steel shot and burnishing compound or dish soap
Forged wire bracelet dividers 1
How to use dividers

Using dividers is the best way to ensure your measurements are accurate. Even a fine-tip marker can throw your measurement off by a millimeter. To use dividers, start with an accurate ruler. Place one tip of the dividers tight against the end of the ruler. Open the dividers until the opposite tip falls on the measurement line you desire. Use the horizontal lines already marked on the ruler as guidelines to ensure the dividers’ tips are parallel. Tighten the nut on the dividers to maintain the space between the tips, then use the set distance to mark your metal. Set one end of the dividers tight against the end of the metal and use the other tip to scribe a line.

Forged wire bracelet dividers 2
Find the center with dividers

Try this simple trick with your dividers to easily and quickly find the center of an object. Set your dividers just over half of the width of the object. For example this paddle is approximately 3 mm (1⁄8 in.) wide, so the divider is set to 2 mm (5⁄64 in.). Use the dividers to scribe a mark from each side. Find the center between the two scribed lines.

To learn how to make the bracelet, click here for the free project PDF.

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