More About Tube.
Seamless tubing is very versatile, but its most common use is for mounting stones, taking it either straight from stock or more elegantly, made into tapered collets in a collet block. You need some practice to do this well. Another application is for making hinges and if the size of joint tubing available is not to your liking, you can thicken the walls by drawing down normal tubing, starting with about four sizes bigger than needed. As it comes in straight lengths, it can also be used as a light-weight rod, but it needs to remain vented to avoid trapping air or pickle.
Round tubing can be cut with a miniature tube cutter, from model makersí suppliers, which uses sharp disks, but it does leave a slight constriction at the cut end and it is limited to the larger sizes.
The cutting jig favoured by jewellers has a deep groove in which to seat the tubing, a lever to hold it down and a slot to guide the saw blade. It can also be used for rod or strip. The handle may be clamped in a vice, or held in the notch of a bench peg. Once you have decided on a size of saw blade convenient for you, for instance 3/0, you can unscrew the outer plate and rub down the spacers so that the saw will fit into the slot more snugly and make a straighter cut. It also helps to tension the blade well. The stem of the length stop can be customised by marking it at intervals with saw cuts.
As the outer plate of the device is made of hardened metal it can be treated as a filing block for trueing ends, but the real tool for this is the Bergeon chenier clamp. It is expensive and must be regarded as a luxury item, but it will allow you to file the ends of tube rod or strip to a perfect right angle, or to 45 degrees. It is also good for holding strip and wire when cutting and filing a V-shaped groove and for holding tubing to prepare it for stone setting.
By feeding in copper wire, stripped electrical cable, or flex that fits, round tubing can be bent on a mandrel or wire bending jig without collapsing. The wire is then extracted by pulling it back-to-front through a hole in the face of a drawplate, which will hold back the tube. My main reason for doing this is to make supporting bails for pendants to fit thin snake chain, or cable. However after soldering on a jump ring, the inside often becomes too rough to introduce the chain. This can be dealt with by polishing with wet string and scouring powder. It also helps to file the end of snake chain to form a taper.
Below: Test tube pepper and salt set , pourers and upright made from round tubing.
Blue topaz and aqua pendant made from square tubing
Amethyst pendant with square tube decorations and round tube support.
The common tube cutting jig and the Bergeon chenier clamp. Dennis.
I do tend to oil wire before inserting it into tube & bending (or drawing it down) to make removal easier; those working with gold tube have the dubious luxury of being able to etch out copper wire with nitric acid.
Being able to make your own tubing is useful - in this case, seamed rather than seamless - all it requires is a suitable drawplate (and ideally a small swage block to start it off).
I do like those pieces Dennis - particularly the salt & pepper set; the use of test tubes is excellent.
I have only thus far used tube as is for setting small stones and have been pleased with the result. I very much like the topaz piece Dennis, is it cable you have used to suspend it from?
oooh! the topaz pendant is beautiful! it looks like there's a golden mean thing going on.
are you going to do rods? I'm guessing they aren't the same as tubes in terms of how they bend etc.
Thanks Dennis for your descriptions for how the chenier clamp can be used. I received one for christmas and haven't made very good use of it so far!
Thank you for your replies,
1. I had been visiting Glasgow, so it's a touch of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
2. Yes it's silver cable, I like coloured tiger tail too.
3. Rod is solid, but bends like wire. At the time I shopped at Blundells in Wardour street and they didn't list it. Now I would just anneal wire and stretch it on my draw bench. the effect is quite dramatic. Dennis.
it does have a Glasgow School look to it!
I was thinking fatter rods, say 8-10mm diameter.
Originally Posted by medusa
Heh! You could make a whole piece out of one of Medusa's sprue-offcuts!
I did not think the price of silver would influence my sizing decisions... The world is mad!
I only said I was thinking of it!
Originally Posted by Dennis
my sprue pot weighs almost as much as my larger bangle
Originally Posted by Joe