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Thread: The Flipside of Brooches.

  1. #1
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    Default The Flipside of Brooches.

    To make them wearable brooches need findings, which are attached along a line somewhere above the centre, so as to prevent the brooch from leaning forward in use. In the case of narrow brooches the pin might have to be positioned to operate at an angle , or from top to bottom, but always so that it hugs the fabric and does not fall out if the catch comes undone.

    Brooches are usually worn on the left and pinned on from right to left. So on the far left I solder on a small revolving safety catch with the opening facing downwards. For the far right I use a visor joint, which is small and can be adjusted for height. Before soldering it on, its gap needs to be corrected to match the chosen pin wire. Pretty well all my brooches are made of silver, so for the pin I use 0.9mm stainless steel wire, or for really short pins 0.8mm wire. Stainless steel is allowed under hallmarking regulations. It is very strong and will not mark light coloured fabrics.

    At one end of the pin I make a small loop to accommodate a 1.2mm silver rivet. I find that once the loops is started, the very tip is too tough to bend, so I nip this off with heavy duty pliers and then continue until it fits the rivet snugly. It will stay closed without soldering. The other end of the pin is eventually shortened until it protrudes by about 1.0mm beyond the safety catch, filed to a bullet point and polished with a rubber wheel.

    But first the holes in the joint are reamed out by hand to fit the rivet wire. The rivet is held with flat pliers, supported on a steel block and one end spread with a small hammer. It helps if the pliers have been customised by making a vertical grove on the inner side of the beaks for this. The other end of the rivet is sharpened slightly so that it can be pushed through the joint and pin. The sharpened end is then cut off leaving about 1.5mm still protruding. For a flush rivet the holes will have been slightly countersunk on the outside with a round burr. Then one end is supported on a steel block or small anvil while the other end is gently tapped, turning over several times until the rivet holds firm. Then the heads are filed flush.

    Although it is more fiddly, I prefer to form my rivet heads with two hollow nail punches, one in a vice to act as the anvil and one held in my hand. This is a bit of a balancing act, but leaves me with two round headed rivets which can be perfected with cup burrs.

    For very precious brooches it is also possible to add a small safety chain, secured with a tiny pin shaped like a clothes hanger. Below are some brooch backs showing pin placement, A lapel bug with a threaded pin and thumb nut, Some hollow punches in action and some more low-tech solutions using tubes. Dennis.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Lovely article - we should have a binder to save these "pull-out-and-keep" ones!

    I am curious about the fastener on the bug brooch, I don't recognise the findings, is that custom made?

    I make a number of brooches and am quite shamed by how lovely yours are even from the back!

  3. #3
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    Thank you, Joe.
    It's what I wear on my winter anorak. I tried a post and bought pin-back first, but nearly lost it. Then I put a thread on the post, but it did no better. Now it's a 1.4mm threaded post with the nut made from a knurled dome and a threaded tube. Winter will tell, but it's the shoulder strap of my briefcase that does it. Kind regards, Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 20-09-2010 at 10:24 PM.

  4. #4
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    What stainless are you using, Dennis? I've got a reel of 304 stainless that I've been experimenting with for brooch pins; off the reel it's far too soft, but if it is stretched and then twisted with a drill until it snaps, it develops a good hardness without being too brittle; seems pretty good for the application so far.

    The stretching is less about the work hardening - it doesn't do enough - than reducing the diameter slightly, BTW.

  5. #5
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    I don't have the exact specification Peter, it just says Stainless steel wire, K.C. Smith & Co, Hard. I bought the smallest reels of 0.9 and 0.8 mm over ten years ago, and still have enough to see me out. It is exactly what it says on the reel : hard as hell. You might have to phone them to circumvent registering etc, but failing that it's Chaperlain & Jacobs again Kind regards, Dennis.
    K.C.Smith (Monmouth) Ltd - K.C.Smith
    Last edited by Dennis; 21-09-2010 at 07:45 PM.

  6. #6
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    As usual, I feel a purchase coming on reading your posts - nothing I've bought on your recommendation has gone unused (and some items are in my hand every single day)!

  7. #7
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    Ah, oo. Looking at that website and bearing in mind my other thread on the forum.... Nickel.... again! It's a nightmare!

  8. #8
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    Dentures have stainless steel clasps, so I guess it's the medical quality for you Joe. That said, I have never had a brooch returned and some of my family get tingly fingers from metal buttons on mobile phones.

  9. #9
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    This is very handy thank you. I had a disastrous incident with a brooch I had made at college and the pin kept pinging out and sticking into my chest!
    The things I'd do for Crystal Beads.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2009
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    Very interesting tute as usual Dennis. You're a handy bloke to have around!

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