Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wavy Soldered Bangles

I ended this week by making these sterling silver and copper bangles:

soldered wavy bangles

My friend Deborah (we think we are twin daughters from different Mothers, because of the many similarities we keep discovering we share) is to blame for these; a few months ago, she mentioned the new bangle presses available from Wubbers, and next thing you know, I had purchased yet another toy!

I let the presses age for a few months, as one does, and then I decided to give them a whirl. My first project was a pair of "Ruffled Hoop" earrings that Wubbers has a free tutorial for on their website (registration is required, but is also free); these earrings were an unmitigated disaster: the wire gauge proved to be too small to withstand the pressure from the press. Multiple attempts were made. So I gave up on the earrings, and a couple of weeks later, had time to try the bangles.

The bangles are also from a free tutorial at As with most of my soldering, the hardest part was trying to get the 2 edges of the join flush prior to soldering. But after several hours, I finally did. (Which is why I rarely solder - it just takes to long for me to get the 2 sides flush. Wish I knew why ... everyone in all the videos makes it look so easy. Aarrgggghhhhh!).

But anyway ... I did the copper ones first, not wanting to waste sterling in case I was as unsuccessful with the bangles as I was with the earrings!

large wave (top) and small wave (bottom) copper bangles

The top bangle was made with the large wave press, and the bottom one with the small wave press. I like the way they turned out, but all the effort I put into texturing the 2 bangles pre-pressing, just as described in the tutorial, was wasted, as the press smooshed all my hammering and texturing into what you see above. They look fine, but you can't see the beautiful textures I beat into each one!

Then I moved on to sterling, and I decided to try something different. After soldering the 2 bangles, I put them on my steel bracelet mandrel (separately), and hammered a beautiful texture into each one. (the tutorial called for hammering the wire flat/texturing it prior to soldering, which causes the flattening of the bangle to be oriented in a different plane than if you flatten the soldered bangle on the mandrel (trust me on this).

So, then I put the sterling bangles into the presses, one into the large wave press, and one into the small wave press.

When I started to hammer the small wave press, after about 3 or 4 good pounds, my bangle sproinged open at the join. Oops. I will have to doctor on that one later.

The bangle in the large wave press fared better, but interestingly, the press turned my hammered/flattened/textured surface 90 degrees perpendicular to the way it HAD been oriented, which I wasn't expecting. It's an interesting look, but, or course, the texturing only shows on one side.
So this idea has to go back to the drawing board, too, and I'm already mulling over some ideas on how to make this work the way I envision it.

large wave sterling bangle

But, in the course of soldering these bangles, I used up the last of the acetylene in my torch, so I can't make any more bangles until I get a new cylinder of acetylene!

wavy bangles

1 comment: said...

I totally missed this post - I am so envious - they look great now I so want those presses