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  • by Gwen Youngblood

    The Riveting Essentials riveting tools are a unique patent-pending set of tools designed by Gwen Youngblood to make riveting easy-peasy and nearly foolproof.  Rivets are formed with short pieces of wire, which are passed through holes in the jewelry pieces and the ends of the wire are flattened to secure the pieces in place.  The wire used to form the rivet must be of the proper diameter, and fit snugly in the holes.  And more importantly, the wire must be cut to the proper length—too short and the rivet will not be secure; too long and the wire will bend instead of flatten.  Learning to cut the rivet wire to the correct length to form the rivet properly has been the “trickiest” part of learning to rivet, usually requiring a great deal of practice. 

    In this course, students will learn to use the Riveting Essentials Rivet Gauges to cut the rivet wire to the correct length every time. 

    In addition, students will learn to use the Riveting Essentials Tiny Dapping Block to maintain the round head of the ball-head rivets.  Students will also learn some simple metal working techniques. 

    The tools can be found here: www.wubbersushop.com.

    •           MATERIALS        

      • Copper and silver sheet metal, 24 or 26 gauge 
      • Large bead cap
      • 9 inches of 14 gauge fine silver round wire, or
      • 9 inches of 16 gauge fine silver round wire, or
      • 9 inches of 18 gauge fine silver round wire

                 TOOLS          

                     CUTTING, TEXTURING, AND SHAPING THE METAL              

                     Step 1               

      Gather two contrasting metals, a bead cap, two templates, one a circle template and a permanent marker, such as a Sharpie. In this course, 26 gauge copper and sterling silver are used.

      Templates are available from a variety of sources, such as office supply stores, hobby stores and online sources. The ones used in this course are templates used by precious metal clay (PMC) artists to shape PMC.

       

                     Step 2               

      To determine the best size of the top metal piece (copper in the example), place the bead cap on top of the metal and lay the circle template on top. Repeat until the best proportion of metal to bead cap is revealed. There is no rule for this step – this is an aesthetic choice.

       

                     Step 3               

      Using the template and the permanent marker, trace the shape onto the metal.

       

                     Step 4               

      Using either metal shears or a jeweler’s saw, cut the traced shape from the metal.

      If using a jeweler’s saw, size 4/0 saw blades are recommended to cut 24 gauge metal. Size 6/0 saw blades are recommended to cut 26 gauge metal.

      Pro-Polish Pads can be used to remove any remaining permanent marker from the metal.

      If there any sharp places on the edge of the metal, use the flat hand file to gently file the edge to remove the rough spots and refine the shape. Hold the edge of the metal flat against the surface of the file. Push the file away from you to remove the excess metal.

      NOTE: Jeweler’s files only work on the “push”—no need to work the file back and forth.

      SAFETY TIP
      ALWAYS wear safety glasses when cutting wire and metal— small pieces of wire or metal can fly into unprotected eyes.

       

                     Step 5               

      Many methods exist to texture metal. For this project, two different textures are used—a piece of screen and a Fretz No. 13 sharp texture hammer. These are used to impart added interest to the metal.

       

                     Step 6               

      Place the top metal piece (copper in the example) on the bench block. Place the piece of screen on top of the metal and hammer randomly with the utility/household hammer (NOT the Fretz hammer).

       

                     Step 7               

      The screen imparts an interesting texture to the metal.

      Screen is available in most hardware stores. Small pieces of repair screen are often pre-packaged. Metal screen is the best. Nylon screen will work, but will not be re-useable.

       

                     Step 8               

      Place the bottom piece of metal (in this example, silver) on the bench block. Randomly hammer the edge with the Fretz No. 13 Sharp Texture Hammer. If the Fretz hammer is not available, the peen side of the chasing hammer can be substituted.

      Cutting and/or hammering metal may cause it to warp. If this occurs, place the metal on the bench block and hammer with a plastic or rawhide mallet. The plastic/rawhide mallet will flatten the metal without marring it or flattening the texture.

       

                     Step 9               

      The pieces of metal are now textured and more interesting for use in the jewelry piece.

       

                     Step 10               

      Additional interest can be added by using a chemical patina, liver of sulfur, to “age” the metal.

      Add a small amount of liver of sulfur (either gel or rocks) to a bowl of warm water. Do this in a well-ventilated area. Liver of sulfur smells like rotten eggs. Avoid getting the liver of sulfur on your skin/hands.

      Prepare a second bowl of plain water to serve as a rinsing bowl for the pieces.

      Dip each piece individually into the liver of sulfur solution. When the desired level of patina is achieved, remove and rinse in the plain water. A plastic fork is a good tool to use for this process.

      Copper and sterling silver react differently to the liver of sulfur.  Copper will accept patina much quicker than sterling silver. Because of this difference in reaction time, it is a good idea to patina metals separately whenever possible.

       

                     Step 11               

      Using the fine grit sandpaper (greater than 300 grit), polish off some of the patina from the surface of the metal pieces. This process removes the patina from the “high” spots of the texture, while leaving the patina in the “low” spots of the texture. This action highlights the texture. Remove as much or as little of the patina as desired.

       

                     Step 12               

      A wooden dapping block is used to change the shape of the top piece to a bowl-shape. The wooden punch used will not mar the metal or alter the texture.

       

                     Step 13               

      Place the top (copper) piece in one of the concave areas of the dapping block. Choose a larger, “shallower” area first.

      Place the wide, flat wooden punch on the center of the metal piece. Tap lightly on the opposite end with the utility/household hammer. The center of the piece will depress slightly to conform to the shape of the dapping block.

       

                     Step 14               

      Move the punch to the outside edge of the piece. Tap the opposite end of the punch with the utility/household hammer to conform to the shape of the dapping block. Continue moving the punch around the edge of the piece and tapping the punch until the entire piece has been shaped.

      The piece can be moved to a “deeper” bowl and the shape of the piece continually changed. Continue this process until the desired shape is achieved.

       

                     Step 15               

      Copper “bowl” ready for the next step.

       

                     Step 16               

      Determine which gauge of fine silver round wire fits snugly through the hole of the bead cap. The wire should fit snugly. The wire should not “wobble” around in the hole.

      Occasionally, a bead cap will have a hole that is too large for one wire, but too small for the next larger diameter of wire. In these situations, use the round diamond needle file to enlarge the hole in the bead cap. Twist the diamond file back and forth in the hole until the hole is enlarged just enough to accommodate the larger wire.

      NOTE: Diamond files work in all directions.

      Make a note of which gauge of wire fits through the bead cap. This will be important when it is time to drill holes for the rivet.

      Place the bead cap “inside” the bowl. Insert one of the drill bits through the hole in the bead cap and mark the copper bowl. This mark denotes where a hole will be drilled for the center rivet.

       

                     Step 17               

      Highlight, with the permanent marker, the mark made with drill bit.

      Place the bowl on the bench block.  Place the sharp point of the center punch on the mark and tap the opposite end with the utility/household hammer. This will make a small divot in the metal.

      The small divot will provide a place to rest the tip of the drill bit when drilling a hole. The divot prevents the drill bit from “skipping” across the surface of the metal

       

                     Step 18               

      Securely tape the copper piece to a wooden block using painter’s tape. Painter’s tape will not leave a residue on the metal.

      TIP
      A bit of beeswax on the drill bit will help the drill bit go through the metal and keep from wearing out the drill bit.

      Rest the tip of the drill bit in the small divot and drill the hole in the bottom of the copper bowl.

      TECHNICAL NOTE
      The diameter of the hole must match the diameter of the rivet wire that will pass through the bead cap. If the bead cap accommodates a 14 gauge wire, use a #52 drill bit in the drill to drill the hole; a #56 drill bit for 16 gauge wire, or a #60 for 18 gauge wire.

       

                     Step 19               

      Place the copper bowl on top of the silver metal piece. Adjust the placement of the copper bowl as desired. Mark through the hole in the bottom of the copper bowl to the surface of the silver piece. This will mark the location of the center rivet. The center rivet will pass through the bead cap, the copper bowl and the silver metal piece.

      Using the permanent marker, mark spots for additional decorative rivets. The example has decorative rivets in three corners.

      Mark the spot for a bail. The example has the bail located in the fourth corner.

       

                     Step 20               

      Place the silver piece on the bench block. Place the sharp tip of the center punch on the center mark. Gently tap the opposite end of the center punch with the utility/household hammer to create a small divot in the metal. Repeat for all the remaining marks.

      Tape the silver piece to a wooden block using painter’s tape.

      Drill the holes for the rivets (but not the bail) using the drill bit that matches the gauge of wire that fits through the bead cap.

      TECHNICAL TIP
      Again, the diameter of the hole must match the diameter of the rivet wire that will pass through the bead cap. If the bead cap accommodates a 14 gauge wire, use a #52 drill bit in the drill to drill the hole; a #56 drill bit for 16 gauge wire, or a #60 for 18 gauge wire.

                     MAKING THE RIVETS              

                     Step 21               

      To create the ball head rivets, gather the heatproof surface, butane torch, quench bowl of water and cross locking tweezers.

      Set up your work area with your quench bowl in front of you on the heat resistant surface. Your torch should be set up such that the flame will be over the quench bowl. Be careful where your flame will point.

      Fill torch with butane according to its instructions. Remove the butane from workspace. Light your torch and set it on your heat resistant surface such that the flame is over your quench bowl and is pointed at an angle away from you.

       

                     Step 22               

      Cut the correct gauge of fine silver wire into at least four 1½ inch pieces of wire. Remember, the gauge of wire used corresponds to the gauge of wire that fits snugly through the bead cap.

      Grasp one end of a wire piece with the cross- locking tweezers. Hold just the very tip of the free end of the wire piece in the flame.

      The end of the wire will begin to form a ball. Don’t let the ball get too big or it will drop off into the quench bowl. When the ball is the desired size, take the wire out of the flame. Let it cool until the glow is gone and lower into the quench bowl to cool.

      Turn off the torch.

      SAFETY TIP
      ALWAYS wear safety glasses when using the torch and when cutting wire and metal – small pieces of wire or metal can fly into unprotected eyes.

       

                     Step 23               

      The silver piece and the ball-head rivets are now ready for the next step.

      NOTE: The ball-head rivets may not be the same length.

       

                      RIVETING THE PENDANT              

                     Step 24               

      Place one of the ball-head rivets through one of the corner rivet holes in the silver piece. The ball should be on the front of the piece, with the “tail” extending through the metal to the back.

      If any of the rivet holes are too small, use the round diamond file to enlarge the holes until the wire just fits through the hole. The wire needs to fit snugly in all the holes through which it passes.

       

                     Step 25               

      The tiny dapping block will be used to set the ball-head rivets.

       

                     Step 26               

      Invert the piece and place the ball-head in one of the small cavities of the tiny dapping block. Use the smallest cavity that accommodates the head of the rivet. This will help stabilize the piece. There should be a small amount of space between the top of the dapping block and the face of the piece. This will prevent any marring of the piece when the rivet is set.

      Hold the piece firmly so the ball-head rivet does not wobble. It is helpful to place a finger on either side of the rivet to stabilize it.

       

                     Step 27               

      Place the corresponding Riveting Essentials Rivet Gauge over the tail of the rivet and hold the assemblage of pieces in place, stabilizing the pieces with two fingers.

      TECHNICAL TIP
      Riveting Essentials Rivet Gauges come in pairs and are marked with the wire gauge to which they correspond. Only one of the pair is used with ball-head rivets. Rivet Gauges stamped with a 14 are to be used with 14 gauge rivet wire, those stamped with 16 are to be used with 16 gauge rivet wire and those stamped with 18 are to be used with 18 gauge wire.

       

                     Step 28               

      When cutting the tail from the rivet, use a finger to hold the end as shown, so the cut wire doesn’t go flying.

      The way I do this—use a forefinger and my ring finger to hold the Riveting Essentials Rivet Gauge and my middle finger on the tail.

      With the back of the flush cutters firmly against the Riveting Essentials Rivet Gauge cut the tail of the rivet wire. Control the cut tail of rivet.

      NOTE: Fingers, as described in the previous step, are not shown for clarity.

      SAFETY TIP
      ALWAYS wear safety glasses when cutting wire and metal—small pieces of wire or metal can fly into unprotected eyes.

       

                     Step 29               

      Remove the Riveting Essentials Rivet Gauge exposing a short stub of rivet wire.

       

                     Step 30               

      Using the peen side of the chasing hammer, gently tap on the exposed stub of rivet wire until it begins to spread and flatten.

      Continue tapping until the stub is completely flattened. It will resemble a tiny mushroom cap.

       

                     Step 31               

      The corner rivets are completed first. They have a lower profile than the center assembly. When planning the order of rivets to complete, the lower profile rivets are completed first.

      Complete the remaining corner rivets.

       

                     Step 32               

      To complete the center rivet, pass the tail of one of the ball-head rivets through the bead cap, the copper bowl and then the silver metal piece.

      Invert the assembly and place the ball-head in one of the small cavities of the tiny dapping block. There should be a small amount of space between the top of the dapping block and the face of the piece. This will prevent any marring of the piece when the rivet is set.

       

                     Step 33              

      Hole-punching pliers may be used to make a hole in the piece to accommodate a bail.

       

                     Step 34               

      Place the punch of the hole-punching pliers on the remaining mark on the silver piece. Gently squeeze the handles of the pliers. The punch will “pop” through the metal, making a hole for the bail.

       

                     ATTACHING A JUMP RING BAIL              

                     Step 35               

      A large jump ring will serve as the bail.

      To open the jump ring, grasp one side of the jump ring with the Wubbers Classic Medium Flat Nose Pliers and grasp the other side with the Wubbers Classic Chain Nose Pliers. The opening of the jump ring should be between the two pliers.

       

                     Step 36               

      Twist the pliers away from each other to open the jump ring like a gate.

       

                     Step 37               

      Thread the jump ring through the hole in the silver piece. Grasp the jump ring as before and close the jump ring like a gate, reversing the process outlined above.

      The piece is ready to wear.

      Try pairing this piece with the Sliding Knot Leather Cord class on Wubbers University!

       

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