Friday, August 22, 2014

FREE Tutorial: Eyeglass Suspender

This jewelry component is practical as well as pretty: a double-looped wire link that holds your reading glasses in place while you work. You could suspend other items too, whether they’re useful or purely decorative. Try using a suspender to hang a name badge, keys, a jewelry pendant, or anything that needs to be kept handy.
Tools
Wire flush-cutters suitable for cutting up to 12-gauge wire
Ruler and/or measuring tape
Small steel bench block
Chasing hammer
Indelible pen
Materials
12-gauge dead-soft round wire: one foot
16-gauge dead-soft round wire: six inches

Step 1: Measure and flush-cut a one-foot length of 12-gauge wire. I used copper wire in the sample, but you can use sterling silver, brass, or any other type of wire you choose with the exception of colored craft wire. (Forging craft wire with a hammer will cause the colorant to split and flake off.) Find the halfway point and mark it with an indelible pen:
Step 2: Grasp the wire at the halfway mark in the very back of the jumbo tapered round mandrel pliers:
Step 3: Bend one end of the wire up and one down, pressing the wire firmly against the tool as pictured:
Step 4: Continue bending the wire all the way around the tool as shown:
Step 5: Place the bottom jaw of the tool in the top loop:
Step 6: Bend the wire up and around the tool until both wires are pointing straight up:
Step 7: Remove the tool from the wire. Flip the wire over, and insert the bottom jaw into the top loop:
Step 8: Continue wrapping this wire around until each wire end points in the opposite direction, as pictured:
Step 9: Remove the wire from the tool. This is how it should look at this point; if your sample looks different, retrace your steps and try to redo your link until it resembles the one pictured:
Step 10: Use a chasing hammer to lightly forge each end of the straight wire. Your objective is to slightly flatten the wire, making it easier to bend during the next step:
Step 11: Use round-nose pliers to begin a spiral in each end of the wire:
Step 12: Tighten the baby spiral by pressing it firmly with chain-nose pliers:
Step 13: Place the spiral in the back of the chain-nose pliers and continue spiraling in the wire. Bend the wire in small increments to avoid distorting it:
Step 14: As you spiral the wire in toward the center of the link, allow the spiral to open up a bit:
Step 15: It may be necessary to shift the position of your tool on the wire as you get closer to the double loops in the center of the wire link:
Step 16: Repeat steps 12-15 with the second length of straight wire, and spiral in both ends until they meet at the center of the link as shown:
Step 17: Use a chasing hammer to forge (slightly flatten) the two wire loops:
Step 18: Use a small chisel texturing hammer (or any texturing tool of your choice) to add surface texture to the two flattened loops. Avoid hammering other areas of the link for now:
Step 19: Use a chasing hammer to forge (slightly flatten) the two wire spirals. Take care to only hammer the outer edges of each spiral:
Step 20: Texture the flattened areas of each spiral using a texturing hammer or other tool of your choice:
Step 21: Flush-cut a six-inch length of 16-gauge round wire and bend it in half using flat-nose pliers:
Step 22: Insert one end of this wire through the link and out one of the loops as shown:
Step 23: Bend the wire all the way around and pull it tight:
Step 24: Bend the wire end as needed to insert it down through the loop as pictured:
Step 25: Come back up through the opposite loop:
Step 26: Continue wrapping both wire ends around the center of the link as pictured, making sure that you use both wires equally. It may be necessary to stop now and then and press the wrapped wire with flat-nose pliers:
Step 27: When you have four complete wraps and both wire ends are on the top (textured) side of the wire link, stop wrapping:
Step 28: Begin spiraling in the two wire ends:
Step 29: Use chain-nose pliers to tuck the spiral against the 12-gauge wire link:
Step 30: Here is the finished Eyeglass Suspender. It’s ready to use as-is, or:
Step 31: Artificially age the wire using a solution of hot liver of sulfur. Polish it with 0000 (superfine) steel wool, rinse it clean, and dry it before attaching it to the necklace chain of your choice.
You have many options for the necklace chain itself. You can use silk cording, macramé fibers, a beaded necklace, a commercial chain, or a wire link chain such as the one pictured at the top of this post.
I hope you enjoyed my latest free tutorial. If you need to see wireworking instruction in motion, I have several instructional DVDs available in my etsy shop. Check 'em out!
Happy wrapping,

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