First Hinge (pendant)

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First Hinge (pendant)

This is the first hinge I've ever done. It went ok as far as the hinge part goes. Although I did get some bend in the 'pin' maybe I needed to use a thicker gauge metal. What ended up causing the most trouble is that I used nickels to prop my piece (I had read that somewhere) and I ended up with a huge mess of melted money which came up around the edge of the seam and all into my bezel..what a mess. Take home message - don't use nickels to prop your work!

Rich Waugh's picture

Janice, The old trick of


The old trick of using coins (nickels and pennies, generally) to prop up work was fine several years ago when nickels were actually made of nickel and pennies were actually copper. These days, they're mostly zinc, and not suitable. Progress, huh? (grin)

In the future, I'd suggest using either scraps of silver or brass, painted with a coat of yellow ochre so solder can't flow to them, or pieces of stainless steel wire. I also sometimes carve differing levels on a soft firebrick when that is appropriate. There are lots of solutions to the problem of positioning work and securing it, and you just have to do some experimenting to see what works best for you.

Hinges are a fun challenge, aren't they? There is a high requirement for accuracy and perfect alignment for them to work properly, and then the design challenge of incorporating them into the work in a way that is visually effective. Good for you for taking on that challenge!

JaniceF's picture

Great tips Rich!

Thanks so much. I sometimes use copper stacked up, or brass.....I thought the coins sounded neat and so I tried it. NEVER again! :) The hinge still came out okay - it works, swings freely, just has a little tiny bend in it....I'll get an overheard shot and put it up later. :)


visitor's picture

yeah, zinc melts at 780 and

yeah, zinc melts at 780 and it's real easy to melt accidentally.

Stefani's picture

solder flow

I know this sounds crazy but in a pinch one time I used white out. It worked to keep the solder from flowing. I can't remember where I learned that. You might be interested in knowing too....that if you break a drill bit off in a piece you can put it in a cup water with allum in it and it will eat the steel away. Wallah!

marilyn's picture

I think many jeweler's do

I think many jeweler's do the whiteout thing but I'm sure that I have read that the fumes are not good for you unless you have the whiteout without the solvent in it. Charles Lewton Brain over on the Orchid forum has written a book on the hazards of metal working. You might want to read this.


marilyn's picture

Hinges are hard.

Hinges are hard. Congratulations on being bold enough to takle them.