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Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication

Lesson 18 of 22

Creating a Hinge & Clasp from Tubing: Part 1

Megan Auman

Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

18. Creating a Hinge & Clasp from Tubing: Part 1

Lesson Info

Creating a Hinge & Clasp from Tubing: Part 1

So our next option in terms of creating a hinge, is to do something that's a little bit more traditional when we think of hinges which is a hinge with tubing not as a rivet but tubing that actually goes across the surface. So when we think about hinges, I'm going to get out my little sketch paper here so I can draw you guys an example. A lot of times when we think of a hinge on a locket, what we might think of is a pretty traditional three knuckle hinge, right. So I have one, two, three pieces of tubing, two of which attach on one side, one of which attaches on the other. So this is definitely a hinge which is used a lot in jewelry; it's also not an easy hinge to make. Imagine taking three pieces of tubing roughly the length of our tube rivet and trying to solder those in place. It's doable, but it's not easy. So what we're going to do now is we're actually going to make a nice, easy version which is just a single tube hinge like this. So we're going to solder a piece of tubing to one ...

side, and then what we'll do is we'll actually thread a piece of wire through it, fold that wire over, and solder that wire to our other side. So that's going to be a nice easy way to do a hinge, especially in the beginning when you're just starting out. So, let's do that. So what you're going to want to do just to start is think about if you want to actually leave a place or if you want to just solder straight to this. So in this case I don't have a deck on this locket, and it's a little bit wonky, but I think we can make it work here. So I'm just going to pick a spot where I think I want to put some tubing and kind of mark this here so I have an idea of sort of how long I want my tubing to be. So whatever that is, let's measure that. I'll call that about seven millimeters. So I'm going to grab our tubing again. And when you start this what you want to make sure is that whatever piece of tubing you're using you have a wire that's going to go through it, because otherwise you're going to shoot yourself in the foot, right. So I think, yeah so this wire will fit and it's kind of a nice thick gauge which makes me happy because I'm not dealing with a tiny piece of wire. So that's perfect, I've got that ready to go. So I'm going to go ahead and cut this off and what I'm actually going to do here is while I'm cutting this, I'm going to cut a second piece because I can use this same kind of confab to create a clasp on this other side. So I'm going to cut two pieces of tubing right away. That way if I can we can try to solder it. I don't know if we're going to get it all soldered in one step but we're going to find out. So what did I say about seven? So we're going to come in here and just cut this guy down. Once again, keeping my finger on this so that we don't lose it. Alright, so I've got my two little pieces of tubing here. And my next step is figuring out if I need to do anything to actually, actually my next step is this has got a pretty big burr on it from cutting it so if that happens, our last tubing with our tube rivet came out OK, but in this case I'm just going to come in here and just knock that little burr off. So there was a nice, you could feel it wasn't quite smooth, and that was probably because I got a little lazy and broke it instead of sawing all the way through. So now want to kind of look at this and see do I think this fit is OK or do I need to do any filing? And as I look at this here and kind of the shape of the curve, this feels pretty good to me, like there's not a big gap, like if I put this on here and solder I'd feel pretty confident that my solder's going to do what I need it to do. Got a little burr on that one, too. I know I said no air filing; I stand by no air filing. Do as I say, not as I do, right? This one here, I think we can make that work as well but if I'm going to use this one for my clasp, it actually feels a little bit long. I think I want my clasp piece to be a little bit shorter. So I'm just going to go ahead and cut that down. There is no magic science measurement here. In this case I'm really making aesthetic decisions, right? Do I think that this looks like the right proportion? Generally, I'm not even going to try to cut that in half, I'm just going to cut a new piece. That seemed like a bad idea right from the beginning. So I'm just going to measure so I know what shorter looks like. Yeah, you know I just think visually, I didn't want the clasp to have as much weight as the hinge. It's purely an aesthetic decision in this case. I was lazy; I kind of broke that so we'll file off our burr. There's always those do as I say, not as I do moments. Things I just do in my own studio versus what I would recommend that you do. I like that better in terms of putting a clasp on there. It doesn't feel quite so big. So the last thing I'm going to do before we actually go ahead and solder these is of course I need to clean things so they actually will solder, particularity my dome is definitely dirty. So I want to clean those spots there where I want to solder that. Will the ink hinder you as well? No, because it's actually on the outside, like it's not where it is, it's the edge of where it is so I'm not so worried about taking that off and actually if I was smart, I would mark where I want the other one. This is one of those where you know you might want to do a little more measuring and a little less eyeballing if you really were working on a final finished product. You know if this is the locket you're going to put your grandmother's hair in you probably want to be a little more precise than I'm being at this moment. But we're doing a demo so we're going to let some things kind of go there. So I'm just going to do this as kind of a set things up and nudge them into place if I need to. I'm actually going to give just a little bit of, I already lost my sandpaper, I'm going to give a little bit of sanding to my tubes, too, just to make sure those are clean because I've just handled them a lot. That's this side, I'll just lay that there. So I'm going to flux this all in just a second. Stay, don't go, got it, that was a close one there guys. Things that are tricky enough in your studio without standing in front of a room full of cameras. Alright so that looks pretty good. I have to get a little bit of flux on there. I'm going to try not to get so much water in there. Still got a little bit of flux, put that guy into place. A little more flux, that guy into place. Come on, there we go, perfect, alright. So, I am going to, at this point, kind of if we were thinking through this process, if this had a deck and things like that on there, you're not going to be using hard anymore. Because if it's got a deck, you've already done some solder, so I'm going to go ahead and use medium pretending that we're further along in the process than we actually are. I'm a little concerned about this guy here wanting to stay. I've got a lot of flux happening there that's kind of forcing that guy away so I'm just going to kind of dig out that flux there and put him back. So I think in this case, on this side, one piece of solder should actually do the trick. I'm going to put two on this side. I'm resisting all of my bad impulses right now. Just a little bit of solder down there in that seam. So did anyone just think of a potential flaw with this entire set up; see if anyone can spot it. That there's air trapped underneath the... Yes, So as I was putting solder on here I was thinking, this is a completely solid dome without any way for air to escape as I am heating it. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to give myself, actually what I think I'm going to do is I'm going to give myself a little cheat. I was going to make a little binding wire sit up, but I like that these can kind of set flat. So I'm just going to slide this over the edge of my board a little bit. And I'm just going to add a little bit more flux to this guy because it's kind of not wanting to stay. So yeah, I could have done something that lifted this up but I'm kind of relying on the fact that these little hinge pieces are sitting on my solder board. So slide it down to the end and now I don't have to worry about trapping any heat in there. And since I have no idea where the piece of solder went on this one I'm just going to put a new one in there because I think it's like back there somewhere. And it's very possible that that guy's going to roll away so in addition to my tweezers, I'm also just going to go ahead right away and grab a solder pick and just kind of keep this in my hand because I have a feeling I'm going to have to nudge this guy back into place. So we can go ahead and turn off our lights. This feels like a ginormous torch tip for what we're about to do. So I'm just going to go ahead, this is a number two, I'm going to step down to a number one. Really there's no rule of thumb with this. It's just sort of, this is not quite as big and I'm doing this fairly small seam so I want to be able to kind of get in there with a little bit more precision. Let's take our painter's tape and do again that visual sweep, get my sandpaper out of there. Always check for that flammable stuff. So I'm just going to come in here. Trying to dry my flux but also keep an eye on my tubing. And this is a case where without a doubt my tubing is going to get hot so much faster than my dome because it's so little. So I am just going to go ahead and keep most of my heat on my dome. Keep an eye on my tubing here. And really I can make my life easier and put my torch in my nondominant hand. I'm going to actually crank the, So what I just did there is it felt like there wasn't a lot of power coming through so I went into the regulator on the torch and just turned that up by like a quarter of a twist. And you can see how that made my flame a little bit bigger, right? So the other thing that I just did in that moment was my solder had kind of flowed up so all I did was just push my piece of tubing up a little bit so that it actually went into my solder. So same thing there, my solder was actually flowing and I just sort of gave my tubing a little nudge and then as soon as I pulled the torch away the solder stopped flowing and everything stayed where I needed it to stay. So that is putting that tubing on and then I'm going to go ahead and quench this and pickle it. Do we have any questions about that? We can go ahead and turn the lights up. You're good on questions over here. Perfect, so what I think we can do now is throw this in the pickle. We can come back and we'll show you how to attach this to the other side.

Class Description

There’s nothing quite like the magic of turning a two-dimensional sheet of metal into a three-dimensional form. In Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication, you’ll learn how to create volume in metal through various forming and soldering techniques and how to take those forms and turn them into unique jewelry that will turn heads!

In this one of a kind class, designer and metalsmith Megan Auman will show you how to take your jewelry making skills to the next level to create unique and distinctive designs.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Make three-dimensional forms in metal - including spheres, cones, and organic shapes, and more.
  • Use hollow fabrication techniques to create your own ring.
  • Tackle more complicated soldering projects. (Without investing in more tools.)
  • Finish your forms so they’re sturdy and stunning.
  • Turn your hollow fabrication explorations into amazing earrings, bracelets, and pendants.

Whether you’re just getting started in metalsmithing, or you’ve been dabbling for years, you’ll leave this class with the skills and ideas necessary to take your jewelry designs to the next level. Plus, you’ll learn how to create distinctive three-dimensional jewelry - perfect to wear, share, or sell! Join us for Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication!



After watching Megan solder in this class, I felt like it was something I could take on. There's a lot of soldering in this class! But there's also a lot you can do without soldering that's covered. I have a better understanding of how jewelry is made from this class. I'm looking at things that I own and thinking that I now know how to recreate them!

Silvia Rossi

I liked this course, Megan explains a lot of things about techniques and materials and it's simple follow all the operations to create these types of rings. I think I'd purchase other classes of her.