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  • by Gwen Youngblood

    The Riveting Essentials Riveting Tools are a unique 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, i.e. 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 explore the use of the Riveting Essentials tools. 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. In addition to learning to create shape templates, 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 
      • Variety of decorative spacers/bead caps
      • 3 inches of 14 gauge fine silver round wire
      • 8-12 inches of 16 gauge fine silver round wire
      • 3 inches of 18 gauge fine silver round wire

       

               TOOLS          

                     MAKING A SHAPE TEMPLATE              

                     Step 1               

      Shape templates are easy to make. All that is needed to create a shape template is a scrapbooking paper punch or a hand-drawn design and a sheet of stencil plastic. Both the paper punch and stencil plastic are available at hobby and scrapbooking stores.

      For this project, two templates are needed – a Christmas tree and a small star to be riveted to the top of the tree.

      To create the star, a scrapbooking punch is used to punch a star shape from a sheet of stencil plastic.

       

                     Step 2               

      To create the Christmas tree template, draw a tree shape on a sheet of paper. Cut out the paper tree shape and tape it to the stencil plastic.

      TIP
      Graph paper will help you draw the perfect Christmas tree.

       

                     Step 3               

      Using the permanent marker, trace around the paper shape onto the stencil plastic.

       

                     Step 4               

      At the top of the tree, add a long, narrow strip approximately ¼” wide by 1 3/8” long. This strip will become the bail of the pendant.

      Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the traced shape from the stencil plastic.

       

                     CREATING THE SHAPES IN COPPER AND SILVER              

                     Step 5               

      Attach small “tubes” of tape on one side of the plastic template or use double-sided tape.

       

                     Step 6               

      Tape the plastic shape to the copper sheet metal.

       

                     Step 7               

      Using the permanent marker, trace around the plastic template, onto the metal.

       

                     Step 8               

      Tape the star template to the silver metal and trace around it with the permanent marker.

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

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

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

       

                     Step 9               

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

       

                     Step 10               

      The act of cutting the metal, especially with metal shears, or texturing the metal may cause the metal to warp.

      To flatten the metal pieces, place on the bench block and tap the surface of the metal with a plastic or rawhide mallet.

       

                     Step 11               

      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 offending metal.

      Use the small needle files to refine any small areas that were difficult to cut if the metal shears were used.

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

       

                     Step 12               

      Many methods exist to texture metal. For this project, two different textures are used—a Fretz Sharp Texturing/Raising Hammer and a Fretz Small Embossing Hammer. These are used to impart added interest to the metal.

       

                     Step 13               

      Place the tree (copper in the example) on the bench block.

      To texture the “strip”, hammer randomly with the Small Embossing Hammer.

      Use the Sharp Texturing/Raising Hammer to texture the tree. In the example, the hammer is struck diagonally on the metal to resemble the needles of a Christmas tree.

      Use the Small Embossing hammer to texture the “trunk” of the tree and the star.

      TECHNICAL TIP
      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.

       

                     ADDING A PATINA              

                     Step 14               

      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 patinated 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 may react differently to the liver of sulfur. Copper will 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 15               

      An alternative to liver of sulfur is the ink of a Sharpie permanent marker. Coat the star with the Sharpie permanent marker. Allow to dry briefly.

      Using the fine grit (greater than 300 grit) sandpaper, polish off some of the patina from the surface of both the tree and star 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.

       

                     CREATING THE BALL HEAD RIVETS AND DECORATIONS              

                     Step 16               

      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 the flame is pointed.

      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 away from you.

       

                     Step 17               

      Cut the 16 gauge fine silver wire into at least four 1½ inch pieces of wire.

      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 size you desire, 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.

      The rivets will not be the same length. Make a few extras to have on hand.

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

       

                     Step 18               

      Arrange the elements as desired on the base tree (copper) piece. Mark the position of the spacers with the permanent marker.

      Using the permanent marker, mark the desired positions of the ball-head rivets.

      The ball-head rivets will be set first.

       

                     Step 19               

      The ball head rivets are purely decorative. Therefore any gauge wire can be used to form the rivets. In this case, 16 gauge fine silver wire is used. The punch of the 1.25 mm hole punching pliers is a slightly smaller diameter than the diameter of the 16 gauge wire. The 1.25 mm hole punching pliers are used to punch the rivet hole. A round diamond needle file is used to enlarge the rivet holes just slightly.

      Twist the diamond file back and forth in the hole until the hole is enlarged just enough to accommodate the wire.

      NOTE: Diamond files work in all directions.

      TECHNICAL TIP
      The diameter of the hole must match the diameter of the rivet wire. If 14 gauge rivet wire is used, use a #52 drill bit in the drill to drill the rivet hole; a #56 drill bit or 1.25 mm pliers for 16 gauge wire, or a #60 for 18 gauge wire.

       

                     Step 20               

      Test fit the ball head rivets in the rivet holes. The tail of the rivet must fit snugly through the rivet hole. If the hole is not large enough, enlarge slightly with a round diamond file.

      Insert the tip of the diamond file in the rivet hole and twist back and forth, enlarging the rivet hole.

       

                     Step 21               

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

      Place a ball-head rivet through one of the rivet holes. The ball of the ball-head rivet will be on the front, with the tail extending through the rivet hole to the back.

      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 is perpendicular to the tiny dapping block and does not wobble. It is helpful to place a finger on either side of the rivet and exert firm downward pressure to stabilize the rivet

       

                     Step 22               

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

      Place the index finger and ring finger on the rivet gauge and exert firm downward pressure to stabilize the rivet, making sure the rivet is perpendicular to the tiny dapping block. Place the middle finger on the end of the rivet wire. This will serve to control the tail wire during cutting, so it doesn’t fly off.

      TOOL TIP
      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 wire, those stamped with 16 are to be used with 16 gauge wire and those stamped with 18 are to be used with 18 gauge wire.

       

                     Step 23               

      With the back of the flush cutters firmly against the Rivet Gauge, cut the tail of the rivet wire. Be sure to control the cut tail wire as described in the previous step.

      Don’t forget to wear your safety glasses for this step!

       

                     Step 24               

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

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

       

                     Step 25               

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

       

                     Step 26               

      Complete the remaining ball-head rivets.

       

                     Step 27               

      The next step is to work on riveting the spacers in place.

      Arrange a variety of spacers to decorate the tree. Mark the position of each spacer with a permanent marker. Often, the tip of an ultra-fine Sharpie will fit through the spacer to mark the metal below.

       

                     Step 28               

      An easy way to make the holes for rivets is to use the 1.25mm hole punching pliers. The hole created by these pliers can be enlarged just a tiny bit to accommodate 16 gauge wire and enlarged a bit more to accommodate 14 gauge wire.

      In these situations, use the round diamond needle file to enlarge the hole. Insert the tip of the round diamond needle file into the hole and twist the diamond file back and forth in the hole until the hole is enlarged just enough to accommodate the larger wire.

       

                     Step 29               

      Alternatively, the holes can be drilled with the proper size drill bit. First, each hole to be drilled must be marked with the center punch. Place the metal tree piece on the bench block. Position the pointed tip of the center punch on the rivet spots. Tap the end of the center punch with the utility/household hammer to 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 30               

      Determine which gauge of round wire fits snugly through the hole of each spacer. The wire should fit snugly in the hole of the spacer. The wire should not “wobble” around in the hole.

      Occasionally, a spacer 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 spacer. Twist the diamond file back and forth in the hole until the hole is enlarged just enough to accommodate the larger wire.

      Make a note of which spacer uses which gauge of wire. This will be important when it is time to drill or enlarge the holes.

       

                     Step 31               

      For those holes that will be drilled, securely tape the copper tree piece to a wooden block using painter’s tape. Painter’s tape will not leave a residue on the metal.

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

      Remember, the diameter of the hole must match the diameter of the rivet wire that will pass through the spacer.

       

                     Step 32               

      To start forming the first rivet, place a Rivet Gaugeon the bench block. The Rivet Gauge should correspond to the gauge of rivet wire, which corresponds to the size holes drilled in the metal.

      Test fit the wire in the holes in the spacer and metal piece. If any of the 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 33               

      Stack the spacer and metal piece on top of the rivet gauge, aligning the holes for the first rivet.

      Flush cut one end of the rivet wire. A flush cut is achieved by holding the flush cutters so that the flat back of the cutters is pointed towards the length of rivet wire and nip off the end of the wire.

      Pass the wire through the holes of the spacer, the metal piece and the Rivet Gauge, making sure the flat end of the wire is firmly against the top of the bench block.

       

                     Step 34               

      Thread the second Rivet Gauge over the rivet wire (rivet wire passes through the center hole of the Rivet Gauge) and stack on top of the spacer and metal pieces.

       

                     Step 35               

      Holding the Rivet Gaugein place and properly controlling the cut tail of the rivet during cutting is important to the riveting process. One way to accomplish these tasks is to use the index finger and ring finger to hold the Rivet Gauge in place and the middle finger to rest lightly on the end of the rivet tail wire.

       

                     Step 36               

      Cut the rivet wire by pacing the flat back of the flush cutters firmly against the top rivet gauge. Cut the wire, being sure to control the wire after it is cut.

      Remember…you should be wearing your safety glasses!

       

                     Step 37               

      Remove the top Rivet Gauge, exposing a short stub of wire.

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

       

                     Step 38               

      Keep tapping the end of the wire until the stub is completely spread and flattened.

       

                     Step 39               

      Remove the remaining Rivet Gauge from the bench block. Turn the piece over and place the finished front side of the rivet against the bench block. This exposes a small stub of wire on the back of the piece.

      Using the peen side of the chasing hammer, tap the end of the wire and watch the wire begin to spread and flatten. Continue tapping the end of the wire until the stump is completely spread and flattened against the back of the piece.

       

                     Step 40               

      The corner of the bench block can be strategically used to support the current rivet and avoid crushing/marring previously completed rivets.

       

                     Step 41               

      Complete the remaining rivets.

       

                     ATTACHING THE STAR              

                     Step 42               

      Using a permanent marker, mark the center of the star.

      One of the ball-head rivets made in Steps 19-20 will be used to attach the star. These rivets were made with 16 gauge wire.

      Use the 1.25 mm hole punching pliers to make the rivet hole in the center of the star.

      Test fit the ball-head rivet in the hole in the star. If the hole is too small, use the round diamond file to enlarge it until the wire just fits through the hole. The wire needs to fit snugly in all the holes through which it passes.

       

                     Step 43               

      Arrange the star, as desired, at the top of the tree.

       

                     Step 44               

      Using the permanent marker, mark through the hole in the star to the copper metal below.

       

                     Step 45               

      Use the 1.25 mm hole punching pliers, to pierce a hole in the copper piece.

      Test fit the 16 gauge ball-head rivet in all the rivet holes— bead cap/spacer, silver star and copper piece.

      If any of the holes are too small, use the round diamond needle file to enlarge the hole. Twist the diamond file back and forth in the hole until the hole is enlarged just enough to accommodate the wire.

       

                     Step 46               

      Pass the tail of one of the ball-head rivets through the bead cap/spacer, the silver star and then the copper metal piece.

       

                     Step 47               

      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.

      Hold the piece firmly so the ball-head rivet is perpendicular to the tiny dapping block and does not wobble. It is helpful to place a finger on either side of the rivet and exert firm downward pressure to stabilize the rivet.

       

                     Step 48               

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

      Place the index finger and ring finger on the rivet gauge and exert firm downward pressure to stabilize the rivet, making sure the rivet is perpendicular to the tiny dapping block. Place the middle finger on the end of the rivet wire. This will serve to keep the tail wire from flying after it is cut.

      With the back of the flush-cutters firmly against the Rivet Gauge and cut the rivet tail wire.

      Remember, only one of the Rivet Gauges plates is used with ball-head rivets.

       

                     Step 49               

      Remove the Rivet Gauge, exposing a short stub of wire.

      Using the peen side of the chasing hammer, tap on the exposed end of the rivet wire. The wire will begin to spread and flatten. Continue tapping until the wire stub is completely flattened. It will resemble a tiny mushroom cap.

       

                     Step 50               

      The Wubbers Medium Bail Making Pliers will be used to form the bail.

      Grasp the very end of the “strip” of copper metal at the top of the tree. Using the thumb of the free hand, form the strip of copper around the bottom mandrel of the pliers.

       

                     Step 51               

      Continue forming the bail until a circle is formed to complete the bail.

      The piece is ready to wear with a cord or chain.

      Check out the Wubbers University Sliding Knot project under the Beading and Stringing category for an adjustable leather cord.

       

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