View Full Version : Silver box construction help please
11-10-2010, 06:14 PM
Can anybody please share some hints/tips on how to silver solder a small box?
I'm thinking of a large locket type box approx 25mm square, with sides about 6-8mm deep, and a lid of similar proportions.
Most of my work is organic in nature, and I usually just prop things together and solder away! But this time it all needs to be at exact right angles and accurate.
Binding wire isn't much use for this, so do you have any tips on constructing flame proof jigs or supports?
Thanks in advance.
11-10-2010, 06:49 PM
James is the best to answer this, he came up with a template where the box and sides are one piece with square corners cut out and the fold lines scored or filed then you only have to solder each corner if you get wha I mean, hopefully James will see this and explain it much better
Hmm, I'm inclined to agree with Wendy, that the box design is largely appropriate. James also has a neat design for a fold scoring tool, which is also described in Tim McCreight (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Metalsmith-Illustrated-Handbook-Jewelry/dp/0871922401) but not so well.
But that would be to ignore the questions about propping and jigging.
Dennis wrote a lovely thread about brooches (http://www.cooksongold.com/forum/tutorials-bench-tips-step-steps/3066-flipside-brooches.html)in which he recommends KC Smit (http://www.kcsm.co.uk/)h for stainless wire. I can't resist Dennis' recommendations and immediately contacted them for some wire: fabulous, quick and cheap! But they had a minimum order quantity of £15, and with 30g reels just £1.44 I was hard-pressed to find enough I wanted, until I spotted that they had some 11x0.25mm stainless steel tape at £12. James had already written about making clips and clamps from stainless stock (http://www.cooksongold.com/forum/need-help-ask-experts/3046-ear-posts.html#post38974) and I couldn't resist bulking my order with it - it really is perfect for the task!
Also, at the risk of stating the obvious, have you come across honeycomb soldering blocks (http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/Honeycomb-Board---Small-135mm-X-95mm-X-12mm-prcode-999-972)? The holes let you thread binding wires around all sorts of shapes to hold pieces in place against each other, obviating some of the problems of wrapping the wire around just the workpiece.
I do hope Dennis and James make suggestions, they came up with some brilliant ideas for wiring bangles recently. I have my mental notebook ready and waiting...
11-10-2010, 09:58 PM
There is no basic information about you , so I don’t know your level of skill, however this is how I would set about it, but you do need some good callipers:
Make a square the height of the bottom and the lid together, by scoring and soldering two L- shapes of the right length. You then solder the Ls together, first at one leg and then the other. This can be checked at every stage for sqareness by placing on graph paper. The parts can be stood upright for soldering without any binding wire.
When you have a pretty good square, solder on a slightly oversized bottom sheet for trimming later. Then turn upside down and solder on the top. Now with a waterproof pen, resting horizontally on something of the right height, mark where to cut the lid away from the bottom by turning the box against the steadied pen. Then cut apart, first at the corners and then along the sides. Scribe a hidden mark to ensure that the lid goes back the same way later.
All that remains is to make an internal square to fit the lower part of the box closely but about 2.0mm taller. This will retain the lid when closed . As the lid will usually only go back one way (hence the mark above) you may have to add some device to alert the user to this. Alternatively you could add a hinge.
Ref: Tim McCreight’s book on Boxes and Lockets
Today’s post ‘Help! With Soldering.’
Dont quench your work when very hot, or it will distort. Kind regards, Dennis.
12-10-2010, 07:47 AM
Making box parts is easy to show but not that easy to explain in words. For a 25mm square box, you should have some basic tools such as a dividers and a steel square. I use a scoring tool which is home made, as you cannot buy them, but you can achieve the same effect that they produce with a 3 square file or a scorper/graver.
Here is my method;
I would cut a square from 1mm thick sheet, with dimensions of approx. 33mm. square
(9mm+25mm+9mm) for a box shell measuring 25mm square with walls of 8mm. I will then file the square using the steel square to check it's perfection. Then check out the photos to create the box shape. Have a look at these photos and have a practice before trying the actual box then get back to me if you need clarification. For a perfect box remember when you pierce out the corners allow extra metal so that you can file a 45 degree corner joint before soldering the corners.
12-10-2010, 01:14 PM
Two great responses which will have you creating boxes in no time!
I've got Tims Lockets and Boxes book - hmmm methinks time to read through it again :)
13-10-2010, 10:03 AM
I have the book too Nic and re-read it often, but not had the courage to try anything yet. I love James' idea too. And brilliant tips from Joe and Dennis. I have also just made a little round pill box using the techniques from one of Luis F Moreno's BenchTube tutorials.
14-10-2010, 04:33 PM
Thanks for all the replies.
@Joe: Yes, I have one of those blocks, but wanted to avoid binding wire as I can't get it accurate enough.
@Dennis: Thanks for the tips, I ended up using a variation on your approach. The sides were all constructed from 1 strip of silver, a bit like a bezel setting in a way. I made a jig by putting 4 nails into a wood block and bending round it and soldering up halfway along a side. This gave nicely rounded corners. I have no idea why this approach didn't occur to me before - I envisaged having to prop up 4 separate side pieces!
I didn't know you could set personal info on the forum - I'll look into it.
Can't find Tim McCreight’s book for a good price on the net - presumably out of print. ho-hum.
@Goldsmith: Thanks for the photos, I'll have a go at this method next time.
I'm wondering if the same kind of thing could be used to make a watch case - I've always wanted to make myself one of those rectangular looking deco/thirties watches.
Some kind of interior catches and a pierced out square for the watch face should do it!
Thank you so much Dennis and James; it's brilliant that you share these ideas and techniques.
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