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A cool idea for a bracelet "mandrel"

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Author Topic: A cool idea for a bracelet "mandrel"  (Read 3338 times)
Rockaholic
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« on: May 13, 2013, 10:58:11 pm »

Hello everyone,

I came across this last night completely by accident, but since I'm planning to do some bracelets I was happy to find it. Thought some may find the info useful.

This came from the 'jewlerymakingmagazines" site (affiliated w/ "Jewelry Artist? What a strange and long name...). It was part of the "25 of Our Favorite Tools" article. There's a tool they like called "Cindy's Bender" which retails for $52. It's basically just a thick plastic block and short length of PVC pipe placed on top of each other,  with holes drilled all the way through the assembly. Then bolts with wingnuts are attached to clamp it all together. The assembly is held in a vise, and you slide your cuff in between the block and pipe and form by hand.

You can see a picture and description if you search for "jewelry artist mag 25 of our favorite tools". It's a pdf for some reason. Since I ain't about to pay $52 and shipping on $5 worth of parts, I'm making my own. Hope someone finds the post useful. Nancie recommended a baseball bat, but I reckon this would be both cheaper and more compact.
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bobby1
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 12:35:45 am »

I've also seen a pick handle section used as a bracelet mandrel many years ago. Possibly can be had real cheap.
Bob
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RockIt2Me
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 04:39:42 am »

I have been using a youth aluminum baseball bat.
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Nancie
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Steve
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 09:55:59 am »

I'e been using a hickory pick ax handle for over 20 years now................It works great. I like it because of the tapered head to handle area that I use.............. yes
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sealdaddy
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 11:09:29 am »

If you haven't been using a hammer and bat method, this looks really good to me too, friend.
Here's a video on it:  yes
http://www.wholelottawhimsy.com/wo/content/learn/video/CindysBender
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Bentiron
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 03:32:11 pm »

I have been using the same old hickory or ash baseball bat for forty-five years and it works great. I did pick up a used cast iron mandrel at an estate sale the is oval in cross section but never used it much and then I found a round cast iron one at another estate sale, also don't use it much either. Pick handles are good for oval shaped bracelets and bats for round ones, no use buying something that expensive when cheap will do just fine. Her little doodad is really good for woven wire if you're into that but you can still use the bat for the same effect.
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sealdaddy
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 05:07:59 pm »

But he said he was going to make that doodad himself for cheaper that an axe handle or bat, probably, my friend.
Block of plastic or wood, two wing nuts on bolts, two 4" pieces of pvc.
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Debbie K
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 05:24:30 pm »

Wish I'd thought of the baseball bat or ax handle; I carved one with a draw knife out of a 4x4, it took forever.

Debbie K
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Isotelus
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2013, 06:25:18 am »

Skill with a draw knife or spoke shave is well worth developing. The ability to produce a forming tool ( your Mandrell ) that fits the specific work ( shape ) of your metalwork can help influence your style.

Sometimes the few hours or day spent making a tool that may be used for years is very in expensive in the long run. Remember those store bought tools all produce exactly the same curves and profiles in every ones work. Could get boring.
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Bryan
Bentiron
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2013, 06:11:38 pm »

Yes, it took forever but forever it is yours yippie For smaller ring mandrels I go to swap meets and get drift punches, they come in sizes all the way from 1/8" up to 3/4" and I have purchased them from twenty-five cents each to seventy-five cents on up depending on the condition. I clamp them in my vise and take a strip of 1" wide cloth sand paper and shine them up,  only take a few minuets and is cheaper than the ones you buy from a jewelry supply store. Gotta save that money you spend on tools for silver you know.
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Rockaholic
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2013, 11:36:56 am »

Thanks for the video link Don, and thanks to everyone else for the comments. I was curious to see it in action as I'm still waiting on a saw and a couple other things. I actually don't care for the more circular- than oval- (ovular? Is that a word?) shapes. I was thinking maybe a smaller pipe might make the shape a little less circular if I leave the top somewhat flat--tight radius on sides, more straight at top and ends of cuff. I can probably always 'smush' it down if needed.

Gotta try the hickory handle thing, too. Wish I had access to all my dad's tools out west >:(.....I'm trying to avoid the baseball bat since it's bulky and is another one of those $10-$15 things on the "to get" list....

Actually, quick question: when beating a cuff on a mandrel, what is the weapon of choice in general? Would this be a cross-peen hammer?
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Bentiron
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« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2013, 01:10:46 pm »

Use a rawhide or plastic mallet, you don't want to leave any marks on the metal. You usually do the bending after you have soldered the bezel on and are finished with all other soldering processes, then you bend it to shape. One silversmith that I watched uses two 1-1/2" polished black black iron pipes welded together as a mandrel. So you see there are a lot of different ways to bend a bracelet into shape. Hardware, ranch stores and farm co-ops have an abundance of unusual tool shapes that are not all that expensive for the jeweler that thinks outside of the jewelry tool catalog. Look around and see what you can find that suits your needs.
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Rockaholic
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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 03:37:08 pm »

Thanks, Bentiron. At long last I already have a useful tool on hand for this endeavour: a rawhide mallet from my leather crafting/ren faire days. Gotta get back into that. Actually, it would be kinda neat to have an "Other Craft" section on the forum.....made some sweet moccasin boots and (sleeveless) chainmail hauberk many years ago. Tandy Leather was my best friend for a bit  yes Would love to share the knowledge...
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Bentiron
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 03:46:28 pm »

Now you can make some of the nicest jewelry with maille, rings, bracelets and necklaces too. The sell very well in some markets. And if you want to experiment there is always knitting and Viking weave. I use to do a tube knit necklace and I would put fresh water pearls on the inside of the tube and then put cone end on to close the tube and then a toggle and ring. they sold well and after the silver tarnished a bit and left only high lights of bright metal looked even better. Lots of things you can do with silver and copper maille!
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Rockaholic
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 05:18:45 pm »

I've seen some of these fancy weave patterns before, and while I always admire the craftsmanship, I always think about how it must be an incredibly 'niche' market. That is, a lot of work that may or may not fetch much money for the labor. Not that I'm here for the money or anything....I guess I just have certain ideas I feel I want to focus on; that is, more of a rustic look.

And what the heck's up with a nice homemade patina recipe, anyway? Apparently Steve's experiment didn't work out....was mere ammonia vapor deemed the winner, errr...?
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