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  • by Patti Bullard, Ph.D.

     

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Wubbers!

    These earrings are the perfect pairing for Patti's Geometric Links Bracelet.  These versatile earrings can be made with different shapes and accent beads to accommodate any outfit!

  •           MATERIALS          

    • 14-­‐Gauge Sterling Silver Wire, Dead Soft (about 8-­‐10 inches for 1 pair of earrings)
    • Sterling Silver Ear Wires (with large loops for the dangles—1 pair)

              TOOLS          

    • Wubbers Jumbo Mandrel PliersRound, Oval, Triangle, and/or Square
    • Wubbers Classic Pliers—Narrow Flat and Large Flat or Bent Nose
    • Lindstrom Shears
    • Solder
    • Cutting Pliers (optional)
    • Sterling Silver Sheet Solder—Hard or Medium
    • Solderite Pad
    • Jumbo Max Butane Refillable Torch and Fuel
    • Flux
    • Soldering Pick
    • Tweezers—Stainless Steel
    • Pickle Pot
    • Sparex
    • Copper Tongs
    • Dome Faced Chasing Hammer (polished)
    • Steel Block (polished)
    • Soft Brass Brush
    • Polishing Cloth
    • Safety Glasses

    SAFETY TIP
    Remember to always protect your eyes with safety glasses when making jewelry.

    Before You Start, Prepare a Pickling Solution: Fill a small crockpot about half full with water and plug it in to begin heating. Pickling solution cleans metal best when hot, but not boiling. Mix about ¼ cup Sparex into the water and stir with a pair of copper tongs to dissolve. Avoid direct contact with skin and clothing. Visit Wubbers University at www.wubbersu.com for free tutorials on using pickle solutions and safety practices when soldering.

     

                   Step 1               

    Using 14-­‐gauge dead soft sterling silver wire, form two large jump rings for each pair of earrings around the large barrel of the Jumbo Wubbers Mandrel Pliers in the geometric shape you have chosen. When removing the jump rings from the Mandrel Pliers, hold them securely together to prevent twisting of the coil.

     

                   Step 2               

    Cut the wire coil down the center of one side of the shape using a pair of Lindstrom Shears. It is easiest to cut two or three jump rings at a time. Placing the coil as deeply into the jaw as practical will provide added leverage, making the wire easier to cut.

     

                   Step 3               

    For larger geometric shapes, close each of them by using a back and forth, twisting motion to gradually move the cut ends together until they snugly closed. At this point, a tight close is more important than a perfect shape. After soldering, the rings can be “squared up” using the Mandrel Pliers. Large shapes are easy to manipulate with your hands, but Classic Wubbers Flat or Bent Nose Pliers are necessary to close smaller shapes.

     

                   Step 4               

    Cut the sheet solder into tiny squares using a pair of solder cutting pliers or a pair of shears. You will only need one piece of solder per each shaped ring, though it’s often a good idea to have a few extra handy. Dip or spray the solder pieces with flux.

     

                   Step 5               

    Place the geometric shapes on a solderite board or charcoal block. Spray self-­‐pickling flux onto the shaped rings. Use a pair of tweezers to place the opening of each geometric shape on top of a piece of solder.

     

                   Step 6               

    Holding a soldering pick in your dominant hand and a torch in the other, begin to heat each geometric shape evenly, working them one at a time. When the flux turns clear, begin to watch closely for the solder to flow. It will look very shiny, similar to mercury. Avoid overheating the metal—if it turns orange or red, reduce the heat. After soldering all the shapes, quench them in cool water.

     

                   Step 7               

    Using copper tongs, carefully lower the shapes into the warm pickling solution. After 2-­‐3 minutes, remove them and rinse thoroughly in cool, clean water. Dry each shape thoroughly.

     

                   Step 8               

    After soldering, the geometric shapes will be “annealed” and very easy to form. Place each shape back on the jaws of the Mandrel Pliers. Flatten each side of the geometric shape by pressing, rotating the shape, and pressing again. For the squares, it works best to flatten the first side, then the opposite side, then each of the two remaining sides.

    HELPFUL TIP
    If it is difficult to get the geometric shape back onto the jaw of the pliers, then use the next smaller jaw or angle the shape off the end of the pliers as shown in the photo in Step 8.

     

                   Step 9               

    With a polished, dome faced chasing hammer and a polished steel block, gently flatten each wire shape to the desired width. Take care to hammer with light taps so as not to distort the shapes.

     

                   Step 10               

    Using the ball peen end of the chasing hammer, lightly tap and begin to add texture to each shape.

     

                   Step 11               

    After achieving the desired texture, hammer right along the outside of each geometric shape to slightly bevel the edge, angling the hammer slightly as shown. This adds a “finishing touch” that will create extra sparkle as the light reflects off the edge of your earrings.

     

                   Step 12               

    Brush each shape with a soft brass brush. Achieve a beautiful shine with a polishing cloth that contains polishing compound.

     

                   Step 13               

    Now it is time to assemble each earring. To do so, “twist” open the loop of an ear wire using a pair of Wubbers Classic Narrow Flat Nose Pliers. Add a beaded dangle of your choice and slip the shape into the open loop. Then “twist” or “swing” the loop back into the closed position. Now, they are ready to wear with your outfit of the day!

     

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