This is a story of how I designed a new bracelet that are intended to be gifts. I love bangles and sizing is always an issue. I know that the intended recipients are relatively small women but I didn’t feel comfortable enough to guess their hand sizes and make conventional bangles. I decided to make something that could accommodate different sizes.
I started out with thick brass wire forms that I purchased at Wolf Myrow a few years ago. I had originally thought they were tubes. In fact, they were solid wire maybe 8 gauge. I like the look of square wire so I annealed them and squared the wire in my rolling mill.
This picture shows the same wire in three stages. The top shows how it started out, the middle is after bending and the bottom is after a few passes in the rolling mill. The wire gets thinner and longer. You have to be careful not to reduce it too fast or you will distort the edges. And you also have to make sure the wire is properly annealed. Brass wire is hard.
After I squared the wire, I annealed it again and shaped it around a bracelet mandrel. I hadn’t yet decided what to do with the ends. I ended up sawing off a few inches,
Here are three bracelets with the ends sawed off.
I was considering soldering some bronze metal clay medallions that I had made earlier onto one of the ends or the middle of the bracelets, but I thought it would look wonky. Plus if the medallion was in the middle of the bracelet, the solder would get wear from the bracelet flexing when it was put on and taken off. So why not try making a dangle from a medallion? The brass is so hard that I made a mock up in copper to see how I liked the idea.
I drilled a hole in a copper bracelet and fashioned a dangle from a copper metal clay medallion. I like the bracelet and the medallion-just not together. For one thing, the dangle didn’t move the way I liked. I was limited in the side of the jump rings I could use because the hole in the bracelet could only accommodate 20 gauge wire. And the medallion only had one interesting side. That would work for a pendant, but not for a focal dangle on this bracelet.
Speaking of hole drilling, did I mention that brass is a hard metal? Still I was able to drill a hole in each bangle pretty easily, with patience, the right tools, and some safety precautions.
When you drill a piece of metal, you need to tape it securely to a sturdy piece of wood with masking tape. As you drill, the metal and drill bit get so hot that the wood smokes. See the dark spots? Those are burn marks from prior drillings. You remove metal when you drill and it scatters like dust. I like to wear safety glasses and a dust mask when I drill like this.
I finally settled on dangles made from brass shapes I originally made for a necklace clasp I designed. I drilled holes in them, added porcelain beads I made many years ago, and attached then to the bracelet with a jump ring that I soldered for added security.
The bangles have enough give to open wider when you put them on and you can close them a bit when they are around the wrist. I rounded off the ends with a file and sanded them smooth to make the putting on and taking off as comfortable as possible.
By the time you read this, I will be on my way to deliver them to the recipients. Of course, I had to make one for myself, too!