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Thread: Help with jump rings

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default Help with jump rings

    Hi all,

    I'm hoping you can give some advice - I sold a simple bracelet design (pic attached I think!) to a lady in New York and she's just been in touch to say the 'links keep breaking' and asking for advice. I suspect that she's caught it on something and pulled it out of shape, so I've suggested she send it back to me, tell me her ideal bracelet length and I'll fix it for her. BUT I am now worried about the strength of the jump rings I'm using. This bracelet is made with oval 2 belcher chain, the clasp is made with 1.5 silver wire and the wire the stone is on is 0.7 wire. I think the jump rings are 0.7 thickness as well, but I don't solder them.

    I should probably also say that I buy my jump rings from Cooksons and don't make my own!

    So, do you think I should be using larger/sturdier jumprings? Should I be soldering them?? I have to admit I'm reluctant to do this, so any other tips on how to strengthen jump rings also gratefully received! I'm sure this is a really basic question, but kind of essential to get right!

    Many thanks,
    Shelley

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    Default

    Hi Shelley,

    Bracelets receive some nasty tugs on a regular basis and even sturdier jump rings will eventually come undone if not soldered. So unless you want to spend the rest of your career repairing work and loosing your reputation, learn to solder. It is not a big deal and for these small items requires very little equipment.

    Regards, Dennis.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Default

    I'm going to disagree slightly (and very unusually) with Dennis here.

    A properly sized and closed jump ring made from the appropriate weight for its size shouldn't open with normal wear. If it opens when caught, that's a good thing from a safety point of view - far better for the ring to break than the wrist. As a general rule, the thicker the wire and smaller the ring, the stronger it will be.

    However, 0.7mm is certainly not heavy enough for a single jump ring on a bracelet, even in a very small size. The options are to double up with the same weight, or (more sensible IMO) to use a much heavier ring. A ring made from 1mm half hard wire with an inner diameter of 3mm or less should be more than strong enough for this design. I'd be inclined to also increase the thickness of the wire you're using for the stone, which will be stronger, and will look better, and more generous as well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default

    Thanks Dennis - you're absolutely right - I don't want to lose my reputation when I'm just starting out and you have given me the kick up the bottom I needed.

    Do you have any tips for me on the best way to do this? I regularly solder individual components, but this will have to be one of the last things I do on a piece. I'm a bit concerned that some of the beads I use, (vintage especially), wouldn't tumble well. Although an extra tumble would work harden the jump rings nicely too I guess... I'm rambling now and a little lost! Please help!!

    Many thanks,
    Shelley

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Thank you George. I've got a Cooksons order lined up, so I'm going to order some smaller and thicker jump rings for all of my pieces taking your advice. I will however also take Dennis's advice and try soldering the jump rings on my bracelets - it'll be a new and useful skill to learn!

    I hadn't thought of the safety angle though and I've actually just remembered I have a beautiful amber bracelet at home with soldered links which actually snapped when it caught on a door handle and was therefore very difficult to mend. (No damage to my wrist though.)

    What a dilemma - perhaps I should only sell to very coordinated people who give me their exact wrist size?!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    In honesty Shelley, you'd find the most useful skill would be learning to cut your own jump rings - then you could always ensure you have the right size and gauge available. A basic sawframe and a pack of blades costs really very little and will last you for a long time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default

    Again, very good advice, thank you! I have a little handsaw I use for cutting thicker wire, so I might give that a go too. Off to look at other forum threads on that subject now...

    Much appreciated!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    Jump To It.
    I bow to George’s experience when it comes to the strength of jump rings, but in mitigation I have been asked to mend bought bracelets which have repeatedly come undone due to solder free jump rings. I have also had numerous objects on steel chains come apart myself because of quite a small gap appearing in a jump ring over time. This has turned me into a belt and braces type of person.

    What you need to begin to solder, if you take this route, is:
    1. A hearth consisting of an old baking tin and a soldering brick,
    2. A jeweller’s minitorch,
    3. Some easy solder paste,
    4. A pair of fine tweezers, not steel. I prefer the short(130mm) titanium ones from Cooksons, as they keep their points.
    5. A cheap mini slow cooker with a ceramic insert for warming pickle and some alum or safety pickle salts.

    The procedure briefly is:
    1. Rest most of your chain on the brick, hold the jumpring about 2.0cm up off the brick with tweezers, the joint uppermost and apply a small amount of paste behind the joint.
    2. Heat from infront with a slightly reduced flame approaching slowly so that the whole ring heats evenly. The solder will smoke and then flow. Stop as soon as the solder flows. This is best done in semi darkness.
    3. Pickle until clean. Radial disks give a quick polish Dennis.

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