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  • by Patti Bullard, Ph.D.

    Difficulty Level: Advanced Beginner to Intermediate

    The longer I work with the Wubbers Bangle Presses, the more I learn about their potential!  Discovering how to make the cuffs in this course was very exciting, and it broadened the scope of what I can now do with this amazing tool. 

    I love wearing lightweight cuffs.  They are comfortable when working, and I don’t find myself pulling them off and leaving them “who knows where.”  I know that you will find these cuffs delightful to make as well as a true joy to wear.

  •           TOOLS AND SUPPLIES          

              OPTIONAL TOOLS AND SUPPLIES          

             STEP 1 - SAFETY FIRST!         

    First and always, please be sure to remember to put on your safety glasses.

     

     

              Step 2 - CUT THE WIRE        

    Using heavy-duty cutters or a jewelers saw, cut a piece of 10-gauge dead soft wire to the determined length. The wire must be dead soft to form properly in the Wubbers Bangle Press.

    SIZING TIP
    To determine how long to cut the wire for the cuff, a good general rule is to take the exact measurement of your wrist, and subtract ½ to 1 inch from that measurement. For example, my wrist measures 6 ½ inches around, and I cut my wire to 5 ½ inches. Remember, it is better to cut the wire slightly too long than a little too short.

    Form the round, dead soft wire into a cuff shape. You can use an oval bracelet mandrel with a rawhide mallet or you can use the Jumbo Wubbers Round Mandrel Pliers.

    To begin to form the cuff with the Jumbo Wubbers Round Mandrel Pliers, allow about ¾ of an inch of wire to extend beyond the jaws of the pliers as shown above. Curve the wire gradually in small increments, turning the wire to alternate sides as you continue to shape it, forming the cuff evenly.

     

    The wire should now be shaped similarly to the above right photo.

    HELPFUL TIP
    Especially when using 12-gauge wire, it is important to remember that the wire must be dead soft. It is best not to hammer the wire before forming it in the Wubbers Bangle Press unless you plan to properly anneal it back to a dead-soft state.

     

     

              Step 3 - POSITION THE WIRE IN THE BANGLE PRESS         

    Place the wire into the Wubbers Bangle Press. It is helpful to place the wire such that it can easily be re-inserted into the same position on the press. The little peg on the center post of the Press can be used as a visual marker. It is also helpful to place the wire so that the ends are on a flatter portion of the design in the press. That way, a bend is not formed right on the end of the wire. To fit the wire into the desired position in the Bangle Press, the shape may need to be adjusted slightly.

     

     

              Step 4 - IT'S TIME TO CAREFULLY SWING THAT HAMMER!         

    Close the Press, being very careful not to pinch your fingers! Begin to hammer with the weighted rawhide mallet. With these larger sizes of wire, you will need to use extra force, so be very careful not to injure yourself! It works well to alternate the position of where the hammer strikes (i.e., 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 9 o’clock)

    HELPFUL TIP
    I discovered that hammering on the carpeted floor worked great. It was thinner commercial carpet—one that did not have a deep pile. This type of surface was firm enough, yet dampened the noise. Also, the Press did not slide around as much as it would have on a slick surface.

     

     

              Step 5 - CHECK YOUR PROGRESS        

    Open the Press and check the shape of the wire periodically. If you need to remove the cuff to examine it more closely, just be sure to keep track of the direction and position of the wire’s placement in the Press. You will find that the wire easily slips right back into place when you reinsert it for further shaping.

     

     

              Step 6 - ADDING THE FINESSE         

    After the wire is shaped to your satisfaction, use an Oval Bracelet Mandrel as a support to flatten the wire with a hammer. Tap gently, working slowly. You will find that as you hammer, the cuff will begin to gradually open and it will loose its cuff-like shape. But not to worry, it can easily be reshaped afterwards. At this stage, you can also decide whether to add texture to your cuff. The Wubbers Artisan’s Mark Hammers are an excellent choice for adding texture.

     

     

              Step 7 - TIME TO SHAPE UP!        

    After completing the hammering, reshape the cuff. If needed, trim the ends of the cuff to achieve a nice fit. It is best to trim a little length at a time so that you will not inadvertently cut the cuff wire too short.

    HELPFUL SIZING TIP
    To get multiple cuffs to lay properly on the wrist, a snugger fit is required. Also, the cuffs must be shaped identically so that they will nestle up to each other. When making a single cuff that will be worn alone, it can be sized larger and a little more rounded, allowing it to drop a little lower on the wrist.

     

     

              Step 8 - FILE AND FINISH        

    Once the cuff is the desired size, carefully file each end of the cuff, making sure that the cuff is comfortable to get on and off the wrist.

     

     

              THE SEQUEL - TIME TO GO BIG OR GO HOME!         

    Seriously though, I recommend this option cautiously. The silver cuff pictured above was made using 10-gauge dead soft fine silver wire. This is the largest wire that I have attempted to use with the Mandrel Press, and even though fine silver is very soft, it was quite a challenge to form the wire in this cuff with the Bangle Press.

    Working slowly and patiently, I was able to complete this 10-gauge cuff without harming the tool, the floor, or myself!

    I especially love wearing this version of the cuff. Each end of the wire is finished off with a little ball that makes the cuff even more comfortable to put on my wrist. Here’s how I did it.

    I placed the cuff in a third hand in the position shown above and braced the cuff on the soldering brick to securely (and safely) hold it in place. The firebrick and the third hand are sitting on a large solderite pad that is heat safe. Then, I used a torch to melt the end of the cuff into a ball.

    I tried using a refillable torch (the Jumbo Max torch) to see if it could melt the silver. I was able to melt one end, but it took so long and used so much fuel that I got impatient and got out my oxy-propane Little Torch.

     

     

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