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  • by Patti Bullard, Ph.D.

    A truly unique design, this pattern came about when I challenged myself to make a bracelet using 20-gauge wire and the Wubbers Square Mandrel Pliers.  During a relaxed evening spent in my favorite chair with my pliers and a spool of wire, this bracelet was born.  After adding the final touches of an antiqued, brushed finish, it seemed fitting to finish it off with a name to honor the Western Cowboys of lore.  I sincerely hope that you will thoroughly enjoy making and wearing this exclusive design.

  •           MATERIALS          

    • 20-gauge dead soft sterling silver wire (45-59 inches depending on length of bracelet)
    • Square toggle clasp
    • 3.5 mm 18-gauge jump rings (2 are used to join each link to the next and 2 are needed to join the clasp, requiring a total of 20-30 needed depending on length of bracelet)
    • Liver of Sulfur Gel
    • Sunshine Polishing Cloth or Green Scrubbing Pad

              TOOLS          

                   MAKING THE LINK              

              Step 1          

    Cut a 4½-inch piece of dead soft sterling silver wire.

    A total of 10-13 of these 4½-inch pieces will be needed to complete the bracelet, depending on the number of links needed to obtain the correct size.

    Note: The bracelet pictured measures 8 ½ inches with the clasp and required 11 links.

     

     

              Step 2          

    Place one of the 4½-inch wires between the jaws of the Wubbers Medium Square Mandrel Pliers with about 1½ inches of wire extended beyond the top edge of the jaws.

    Press the longer end of the wire down against the side of larger mandrel.

     

     

              Step 3          

    Then, wrap the shorter end of the wire around the other two sides of the larger mandrel to form a complete square.

     

     

              Step 4          

    Using your fingers, start winding the shorter end of the wire around the longer. Continue wrapping to make a total of 2 to 2 ½ wraps, using a pair of Classic Wubbers Chain Nose Pliers as needed to finish the wrap tightly.

    Flush cut to remove the excess wire.

    You have now made a square on one end of the wire.

     

     

              Step 5          

    Place the straight end of the wire between the jaws of the Square Mandrel Pliers such that the first wrap rests snugly against the jaws of the pliers.

    TIP
    Work with your wire in a position that is about ½ inch from the end of the jaws as shown in the photo above to help prevent the wire from slipping when making the final wrap.

     

     

              Step 6          

    Wrap the shorter end of the wire around the other two sides of the larger mandrel to form a complete square, crossing the wire underneath so that you will be able to wrap over the wire and over the wraps previously made. Begin the wrap with your fingers.

     

     

              Step 7          

    Using Wubbers Classic Chain Nose Pliers, finish making 2 wraps.

    Flush cut the excess wire. Both cut ends of the wire should be on the same side after completing the wraps, and this will become the backside of each link.

    Check for any sharp edges. If needed, gently press the ends of the wire down using pliers to eliminate sharp edges.

    TIP
    If your squares become misshapen you can reshape them by inserting the square mandrels back into the shape and gently press each side of the square until it makes a nicely defined square. You might find it helpful to use the smaller square jaw of the pliers to shape the sides that are adjacent to the wrap as shown in the right-hand photo below.

         

              Step 8          

    Holding the link with the right side up, gently grip the very tip of the square between the jaws of the Medium Bail Making Pliers. Notice in the photo that the larger jaw of the pliers is on top of the square and the smaller jaw is below.

     

     

              Step 9          

    Begin to roll the tip of the square around the smaller jaw of the bail making pliers until it touches the wrap in the center back of the link. If needed, adjust the tip of the square so that it fits snugly against the back of the wraps.

    Repeat Steps 8 and 9 on the other end of the link. Once both squares have been rolled under, the backside of the link should closely resemble the photo above.

     

     

              Step 10          

    Repeat steps 1 through 9 to make as many links as needed to finish the length of bracelet desired.

     

     

              Step 11          

    Assembling the Bracelet Step 11 Lay the finished links side by side on the work surface with legs touching and the backside facing down as demonstrated. As you lay the links in a row, adjust the angles of the adjacent legs so that they will meet up with each other nicely. There will be slight differences among the links, but in this case you will be delighted to see that these slight differences simply add charm to your finished bracelet.

    TIP
    It is a great work habit to open jump rings in a consistent manner. If you are working right-handed, for most designs it is best to swing the left side away from you as you swing the right side toward you, with the opposite being true for left-handed jewelry makers.

     

     

              Step 12          

    The corners of the links will be connected to each other using an 18-gauge, 3.5 id mm jump ring. A total of 22 jump rings are needed to complete an 8 ½-inch bracelet that has 11 links.

    Open all the jump rings before starting to join the links. To open each jump ring, support one side of the ring by placing it in the Wubbers Bent Nose Pliers as shown while gently twisting the other side open with a pair of Wubbers Narrow or Medium Flat Nose Pliers.

     

     

              Step 13          

    Working from one end of the bracelet to the other, pick up the first two links, holding them back-to-back. Connect each set of the legs using one jump ring. Add each link in the same manner using two jump rings to finish the chain.

     

     

                   ATTACHING THE CLASP              

              Step 14          

    Using chain nose pliers, gently bend the two legs on each end of the bracelet in towards each other until they are touching each other.

     

     

              Step 15          

    Thread an open jump ring through the two legs of the link as shown and then through the loop of toggle bar. Close the jump ring.

    Repeat this process to add the toggle to the other end of the bracelet.

     

     

              Step 16          

    This bracelet was completed with an antiqued finish using Liver of Sulfur Gel. Mix a small amount of gel into hot water, and then immerse the bracelet in the solution. Once the bracelet has darkened, rinse thoroughly and dry. Remove excess patina using a Sunshine Polishing Cloth or a small piece of a green scrubbing pad.

    Your bracelet is ready to wear!

     

     

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