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Thread: Help hand making Belcher Chain

  1. #1
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    Default Help hand making Belcher Chain

    G'day,
    At the request of my wife I am attempting to hand make an 18kt Belcher chain Euro Clasp bracelet. I am currently attempting to learn the technique with Silver first but struggling hard.

    The technique I am trying to use is also the only info I can find on the internet, seen in this video at 1:30 https://youtu.be/3T-2JxG3AqU

    Studying the size of the strip he/she starts with and their fingernails I believe the material to be 0.3mm X 5mm Bezel strip.

    I have attempted this using .3mm sheet, pipe with wall thickness of .4 and .9mm. the only a I have had it with the 0.9mm pipe but that is way too thick to replicate with Gold. Essentially while the video produces this shape ( ) I can only make this shape [ ]

    Can anyone please help me where I am going wrong? My only option I can think of at this stage is creating a hot forge die press, and I'd prefer not to.

  2. #2
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    I have looked at the video and essentially the links are made from strip rather like the links in a paper chain, soldered and then tapped on a triblet to make them round. Then each side is tapped into a doming block to create the ball like shape. Then they are cut, linked and re-soldered.

    I would suggest you make it in 0.4mm copper first, to allow you to experiment with the best size for you. Remember you still have to devise a fastener, Dennis.

  3. #3
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    I completed the above answer in a hurry, because I was about to go out. Now that I'm back, may I also say that bezel strip is particularly flimsy and useless for this.

    You can order your metal already cut into strips and you will note that for copper I suggested metal of 0.4mm thickness. When you commit to gold, 0.3mm is probably enough, if cost is a problem.

    If I were doing this, I would make my first ring from a strip of copper measuring say 28mm long by 6mm wide and progress from there.

    I dont understand your sentence about pipe, but if you are suggesting cutting up tubing, I don't think you will find any suitable.

    You will select your gold according to your budget and colour preference. Dennis.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the reply Dennis, the issue I am having is with tapping in the doming block. When I do I cannot create that ball like shape, mine stay straight and parallel in the middle but the edges fold inwards at 90degrees and compress.

    I will try more with copper, I think I have a roll at work.

  5. #5
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    I have now done the experiment myself and it needs plenty of practice. Making the ring is easy enough, but doming the sides needs to be done gently with annealing now and then, as it quickly gets hard. If you continue, the hole gets distorted and difficult to correct.

    I have used my doming plate, as the holes are deeper than in the cube, but an arbour press would be more controlled than a hammer.

    Copper used, 0.4mm thick, 38mm long by 7.35 mm wide. I think i would now try it 6.0mm wide, which was my original guesstimate. Dennis.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Link For Belcher Chain.jpg  

  6. #6
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    Thank you Dennis, that sounds just like what I was getting. Now that I think about it, the very first bit was easy and it started requiring more force to progress, then the hole deformed. I will try your method tommorrow after work and post any results I have.

  7. #7
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    I just finished attempting it again, I made sure the rings were perfect, 3 light taps each side in the doming block and anneal again.

    It went better than before for a while, much more controlled and accurate. In the end though I still didn't get that ball shape, just bigger radius where the ring ends bent in.

    Tommorrow at work I will build a slide hammer jig. It will be a 5mm rod with a sliding dolly and sliding hammer. This will restrict the ring ends from compressing and hopefully force the ring centre to expand. It shall also make it much easier to keep the dolly perpendicular to the doming block.

  8. #8
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    I suspect that the width of the strip is too wide and /or despite my misgivings the metal could be thinner. Hence lack of doming at the centre.

    Don't forget annealing repeatedly.

    Also, I think an arbour press would be more effective, as it gives a steady pressure. I think that the impact of hammering probably hardens the metal prematurely: https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/1-ton-arbor-press/ Dennis.
    Last edited by Dennis; 20-06-2018 at 10:27 AM.

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