Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets, Contemporary Wire Jewelry. Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. Working with found rocks can be challenging, but the results are worth it, especially when the rocks are found in places that have meaning to you.
After the Rain Bracelets
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Technique(s): Filing / Finishing, Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
Working with found rocks can be challenging, but the results are worth it, especially when the rocks are found in places that have meaning to you. Since rocks are all different in sizes and shapes, it is impossible to write a tutorial listing the amount and type of wire and sheet metal required or exactly how to make the bracelet. However, construction tips can help make the process much easier and can be adapted to the rocks you find.

Materials: I prefer Argentium wire and sheet metal because it is such a whiter silver than sterling when not patinated. It also does not get fire scale when soldered. Sterling silver will work just as well. The balls will be pitted, though, so you may wish to purchase Argentium wire to make them.

Because my hands are no longer as steady as they used to be, paste solder has become my go-to solder. In a pinch and early in the morning when I have more control, I can even pick solder with it. Since paste solder already contains flux, that is another step that can be eliminated.

Tools: A small blazer torch and a torch head on a butane canister were the only two torches used to construct the bracelets.

Materials

22 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-22SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $61.68
  • Gold Club Price: $46.26
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18 Gauge Round Half Hard Argentium .940 Silver Wire
H19-18H
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 5FT
  • Price: $27.06
  • Gold Club Price: $20.30
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28 Gauge 3/16" Fine Silver Bezel Wire
H9-28BZL
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $12.83
  • Gold Club Price: $9.62
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Tools

Basic Soldering Kit
G15-4
  • G15-4
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $58.95
  • Gold Club Price: $44.21
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Fire Brick
SOL-485.00
  • SOL-485.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $15.95
  • Gold Club Price: $11.96
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Master Jewelry Soldering Kit
G32-MASTER
  • G32-MASTER
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $239.93
  • Gold Club Price: $179.95
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Instructions
Step 1
Read through the tutorial before starting the project. Follow all safety precautions for the space you are working in as well as all safety precautions pertaining to the tools and supplies you will be using to complete the project.

Why make more than one bracelet at a time? Dovetailing tasks and assembly line strategies mean that more pieces can be completed in less time than the total time it takes to make each one separately. However, more pieces will also mean a higher probability of mixing parts up, so being careful and labeling is a MUST. Documenting each step with photos may help as well, especially if you must stop and can't get back to the project for a while.

Decide how many and which stones to use. Lay the stones out in a pleasing order. Remember that a clasp and connecting links will add to the length. Guesstimate the distance needed between each rock. Once happy with the layout, NUMBER THE BACK OF EACH ROCK. You never know when a pet or rambunctious child will knock things over-been there, done that, ugh! You may have taken a photo, but you may not be able to distinguish the top or bottom of some of the stones from a photo so design decisions need to be made all over again. For reference, the photos show stone size and placement.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 2
More likely than not, decorative bezel wire will not be able to be used on all the stones. It would be a nice design element to be used on one or two stones, but because it did not fit with the design of the bracelets made here, it was not used.

Make a bezel for each rock. Make sure the bezel wire is high enough that the top edge can be pushed over the stone far enough to hold the stone in place.

A Miter Jig and Vise makes it easy to create flat bezel wire ends that will create a strong and less visible join-first photo. It is habit for me to mark the left side of my bezels with an arrow pointing toward what will be the bottom of the bezel.

It is important that the bezel fits around the largest circumference of the rock, which may not be at the lower edge. Keep working the bezel wire length until the ends meet around the stone-second photo.

Remove the bezel wire from the stone.

Manipulate the bezel wire ends until they are perfectly flush and no light can be seen through the seam.

Place the bezel on a soldering block, seam side down and the bottom of the bezel facing away from you.

Place a bit of hard paste solder on the seam-left in the third photo.

The bezels are small so a small blazer torch can be used to solder the bezel seams.

Heat until the solder flashes silver and flows-center.

IMMEDIATELY tip the bezel back and hit the seam on the outside quickly to pull the solder through the seam and up toward the top of the bezel.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 3
Reshape the bezels around each rock.

The flat side of one half of a clothespin can square up the edges without pushing the top or the bottom of the bezel wire over or under the edge of the stone.

Keep the bezels on the stones and keep the stones separated and in order.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 4
Level the bottom of each bezel.

Use a Sharpie to mark the bottom edge of each bezel.

Run the bottom edge of the bezel in a figure 8 motion over 320 or 400 grit sandpaper on a bench block. When the marker no longer remains on the bottom edge of the bezel, it will make good solder contact with the link backplate.

Check to make sure the bezel still fits the stone. If the bezel became misshapen because too much pressure was put on it when leveling the bottom, reshape it and level the bottom again.

About markers: Sharpie markers used to be used to mark metal when annealing. When the marker line disappeared during heating, the metal was annealed. Somewhere along the line, the formulation may have changed because the line does not completely disappear anymore. Markers can permanently stain some metals, including silver. Yes, alcohol can remove it, but not always all of it. Black would be better to use because any residue left on/in the metal blends better than colors. I use red on bezel bottoms because I can see it whereas black seems to blend too easily with the grey of the metal. In either case, it is best to remove any marker as quickly as possible from the metal.

Place the stones in the bezels and store them in the order they will be used. Notice each stone is numbered on a piece of tape. There is also an arrow pointing to the bezel seam to make it easier to position the stone later when setting it. I use painter's tape to mark the back of my stones. Some artists will mark directly on the back of the stone as the tape can fall off.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 5
Puzzle Time! Since all excess metal was to be cut away around each link, 24 gauge (or even 26 gauge) sheet metal is used to keep the bracelets light in weight as well as less expensive to make. If a metal edge was to be left around each stone, 22 or even 20 gauge sheet would have been used.

Position the bezelled rocks on the sheet metal in such a way as to conserve metal while also leaving approximately ¼" of metal around each. Draw separating lines as well as the corresponding stone numbers with an ultra-fine point retractable Sharpie.

Cut the pieces apart with a saw or metal shears. Engrave the corresponding stone number centered on the front side of each piece using a BeadSmith Micro Engraver.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 6
The back of each link is as important as the front so add a little something extra. Since these links were made with local stones, dried local leaves were roller printed on the back of each bezel backplate except for the hearts.

After roller printing, flatten the pieces. The front side of each piece should be cleaned to assure a good solder join. A light sanding and a swipe with an alcohol soaked pad will do the trick. As always, store corresponding pieces together.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 7
The backs of rocks are never perfectly flat. Some have one thin and one thick edge. Therefore, either level the stones or grind down the bezel edges to fit.

To raise one side of a stone, metal pieces can be soldered inside the bezels when the bezels are attached to the backplates-first photo. If the whole stone is to be raised, cut pieces of plastic, such as from a processed meat package, to loosely fit inside the bezel-this keeps the weight and costs down. LABEL each piece with the number of the stone. Store these pieces with the corresponding stones.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 8
Place tiny bits of medium paste solder alongside the inside bottom edge of a bezel-first photo.

Center the bezel on the front side of the corresponding bezel backplate and press into place-second photo.

Heat the unit with a butane torch head on a butane canister until the solder flows and there is a flash of silver around the entire bottom edge of the bezel-third photo.

Immediately remove the heat. That flash of silver around the bottom edge of the bezel is important. It means that the bezel is totally connected to the backplate.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 9
Jump ring gauges and sizes used as link loops and link connectors are as important in determining the length of each bracelet as much as the size and orientations of the bezelled stones.

18 gauge 4mm jump rings were used for the rings connected to the bezels and backplates. 16 gauge rings would look better, but the rings connecting the links would then need to be a bit larger. The bracelets would then end up longer, meaning that all of them would be too large for a small wrist. If a lip of metal was left around each stone providing more visual weight to each link or if the stones were much larger, heavier gauge jump rings would have been used as well as larger, heavier connecting jump rings. One of the links would then be removed from the bracelet to achieve the length desired. Another option would be to use two rings on either side of each bezel. Options, options!

The diagram in the first photo shows the minimum amount of jump ring to be filed away. With the seam facing out, secure a jump ring inside a miter jig and vise. File the excess metal away.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 10
Adding too many types of embellishments can become distracting. Using only two sizes of embellishment balls will add to the design but not distract from the stones. Using more than two sizes of balls can make it more time consuming to decide where to place each one, so keep it simple. After auditioning several different combinations, it seemed 18 gauge Argentium wire cut 3/8" and 5/8" lengths and then balled were visually the best combination to use.

Odd numbers always are more visually appealing than even numbers. Strictly following Odd Number Rule when making these bracelets is not necessary as long as there are enough Odd Numbers to keep the eyes happy. To follow that rule, possibly use just the smaller balls so three can be stacked in triangles randomly around the links, with sets of one and two interspersed as well.

Since the balls do not need to be perfectly sized, use a ball point pen to draw the needed length on a finger. Use that drawn length to "measure" the wire. Remember to cover the wire end when cutting so the little piece of wire does not go flying. How many to cut? Figure four of each size for each link, plus twenty extra balls because each rock will require different random placement of the embellishments as well as more or fewer balls. There will be balls left over, but they will quickly be put to use on other projects!
This is one of those do as I say and finally as I do tips-lol! I started making the balls on my old magnesia soldering block-the one I use when spraying a piece with flux to prevent fire scale. See all that black build up residue on the block in the first photo? It should have been taken care of before starting. It is fast and easy to "sand" the block off on a clean sidewalk-second photo. It is so nice to work on a clean surface that things won't stick to-third photo. Also in the third photo, the block is raised a bit. Make sure that when doing such time consuming, repetitive, mind wandering tasks that the surface height being worked at is comfortable. It is too easy to start hunching over, putting stress on your neck, shoulders, and back.
Unfortunately, I took the photos before I cleaned off the block. The flat bottom of balls made on the magnesia block have more surface area to securely solder to a backing, making them less likely to be knocked off during wear. Making balls on a charcoal block with shallow round divots impressed into it will result in more rounded balls and less cleanup.

A small blazer torch is a great choice for making these balls. Be careful. My brick is on an old cake pan lid on a turntable. The high lip of the lid stops any hot metal balls that are pushed off the block by the force of the flame from ending up on the floor, my feet, my work surface, etc., IF it is low to the lid. When raised, more care needs to be taken.

The photos are a time lapse of how Argentium wire balls up. The tip of the blue part of the flame is never touching the wire. When the wire is in a ball, a film will start to "peel" back. Remove the flame immediately and go to the next wire piece.
It is easy to just run the bottom of each ball across 320 grit sandpaper placed on a bench block to remove the solder block residue to make a clean shiny surface for soldering.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 11
Time to start putting all the pieces together. Determine where to place the filled off jump rings on each link. It may help to place a few balls around one link to help visualize where they will look best. It also helps to place the links side by side to obtain a guesstimate of the possible finished length.

Medium paste solder will be used again. Yes, we are supposed to work from hard solder, down to medium, and then to easy. Medium will work here as heat will not be concentrated inside the bezel. In this and the next step, it looks like a sloppy job of using paste solder, and it is. However, it not a problem here because all the metal with the excess solder flow will be cut away later. If a lip of metal was to be left, more care would need to be taken,

Add enough medium paste solder under each partial ring so the ring will adhere to the backplate as well as the bezel.

Press each ring into the solder.

Push each ring tightly to the bezel.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 12
Place the balls in the desired position around the bezels on the links of one bracelet.

Remove one or two balls from a link.

Place a small dot of medium paste solder-shown on the tip of the solder pick in the first photo-on the backplate-second photo.

Alternative: Drawing the back of a ball across some paste solder will usually put enough solder on it-third photo. Press a ball into the solder on the backplate. Repeat the process around the link. Push each ball toward the bezel so the two touch each other.

OOPS! It does not take much to get those little balls to go flying-4th photo. At least I had a photo to refer back to and did not have to re-think placement again! Finally, the rings and balls on one bracelet are ready to solder-fifth photo!
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 13
Place a link on a solder block.

Keep a solder pick in your dominant hand.

Heat around the link with a torch head on a butane canister.

Keep the flame approximately a finger width away from the outside of the rings and balls. The flux in the paste solder will flame as well as smoke a bit. For safety, use a fume extractor as well as wear a mask.

Once the flame and smoke are gone, circle closer to the bezel. Quickly pass over the center of the link once or twice. The solder will flow quickly. It may be necessary to push one of the rings toward the bezel with the solder pick. Be careful with the torch heat at that point. It is VERY EASY to melt the bezel. Repeat the process with each link.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 14
Pickle and rinse the links. Sometimes there is an orangish cast inside a bezel after pickling, rinsing, and drying. That is because there is pickle left on the piece, even after a good rinse. Mix a bit of baking soda in water, swish the parts around in it, rinse again, and dry. So, Pickle, Rinse, Baking Soda, Rinse, Dry
Step 15
A saw works best to cut away the excess metal around each link.

Be careful not to cut so close that part of the thin bezel wall is cut away.

What to do with excess metal? Silver nuggets? Or how about torn paper art earrings? Your mind can go wild with ideas while cutting out so many pieces!
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 16
Use a hole punch to make holes in the rings on each link. It is best to use a hole punch smaller than the ring and then enlarge it if needed.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 17
A micro-motor system and attachments makes it easy to refine the outside edge of each link. Files, sanding pads, and sandpaper will work just as well but will take longer.

When done cleaning and refining the outer edge of each link, follow Step 4 to level the top edge of each bezel.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 18
Once all the links are filed and refined, throw them in the tumbler for several hours to smooth them out a bit more.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 19
Note: For the following steps, the links were dipped in LOS patina to make it easier to differentiate the jump rings connecting the links from the links themselves in the photos.

Connect two links together with two 18 gauge 3mm ID jump rings. Connect the remaining links together in sets of two.

Pro Tip: When using something different than used in a tutorial, take a photo. When the project is finished, assemble all the photos in order in a document, date and title it, referring to the tutorial, and print it out. Make any other notations needed on that sheet, then store the sheet with a tutorial. You may never make that project again, BUT you never know when parts or all your idea changes will come in handy.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 20
Magnesia soldering blocks are easy to carve divots and troughs in, especially along a crack.

Place the links on either side of a trough with the connecting jump rings, seam side up, hanging over a trough. This is the one place in the whole bracelet where easy paste solder is used.

Hold the two links apart tightly so the connecting jump rings don't move and add a bit of easy paste solder to the top of the jump ring seams.

Use a small butane blazer torch to heat the rings until the solder flows, closing the rings and connecting them together.

Connect the remaining links in sets of two in the same manner.

Finally, connect the sets together.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 21
Clean and refine the connecting jump ring joins.
Step 22
This step is optional. Check the length of the link sections. Making the small connecting rings used here into an oval shape only added a hair over 1/8" in length.

Position the soldered together rings so the soldered seams are inside a link ring. When the rings are made into oval shapes, the seams will be hidden.

Use flat nose pliers to press the connecting rings into oval shapes. Do this process slowly, in increments, moving from one side to the other. Be careful not to compress the connecting rings so tightly that the links will not move freely.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 23
People with larger or smaller than average wrists do not often find bracelets that work for them. Extender chains are wonderful because they make bracelets multi-sized. Larger lobster claw type clasps are easier to manipulate for older fingers than smaller ones that are most often used on bracelets. Adding just these two things to a bracelet extends the pool of potential buyers a great deal.

Why use 16 gauge rings here when 18 gauge rings were used on the links? The heft of the rings looks better with the size of the lobster claws used.

Making sure the seams are as tight as possible, close four 16 gauge 6mm ID Argentium jump rings. Put the rings on the solder brick with a small dot of medium paste solder under each seam. Heat until the solder flows.

Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 24
Open three 16 gauge 6mm ID jump rings.

Add two closed rings-solder brick residue can be seen on one ring on the top left in the first photo. Tightly close the seam.

Place a small dot of medium paste solder on the seam. Position the rings in a trough on the solder block so the new ring opening to be soldered is facing the block.

Heat until the solder flows. Repeat the process one more time.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 25
Connect the two sets of three rings with the remaining open jump ring. Close the ring.

Solder the seam closed in the same manner as in Step 24.

Clean and refine the soldered seams.

Form each ring into a slight oval, making sure each soldered seam is at an oval end. As with the rings connecting the links, the seams will then be slightly hidden.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 26
Connect the lobster claw closure on one end of bracelet. The two jump rings may need to be a smaller larger gauge and/or size, depending upon the thickness of the lobster claw and the size of the opening.

Solder the jump rings closed and together in the same manner as the rings connecting the links. Be careful to keep flame away from lobster claw as much as possible. The spring mechanism inside it can be irreparably damaged by too much heat. The rings do not need to be made into ovals, but clean and refine the joins.

Attach the extender chain using at least two FULL HARD jump rings but DO NOT solder them closed. These are the breakaway links for safety. Because of that, two full hard jump rings, not dead soft, are used. Another option would be to use split rings to connect the chain.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 27
Pickle, rinse, neutralize, rinse and dry the bracelet.
Step 28
Patina the bracelet if desired. Rinse and dry the piece.

Remove excess patina with 0000 steel wool to highlight the design. This will leave a nice satin finish on the metal.

Tumble the bracelets again for 20 to 30 minutes if more of a shine is desired. This was done with all the bracelets shown.
Step 29
Think about temporarily securing the stones in place. Normally, I would set one stone at a time but too many pieces means there are too many chances for things to get mixed up, even with all the labeling, AND I have a curious cat that knocks things over.

Also, temporarily securing each stone in place would free up the storage tray for the next projects in the pipeline. If you are making only one bracelet, this is not as important.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 30
I started with stone #1-first photo. While trying to clean it up a bit, it went flying and I have no clue where it went. Unless I could find the original stone or a stone that might fit the link, I would have to make a new link. Cue the search music-one hour looking for the original stone, ten minutes looking through my lake rocks. I found one that I thought might work, but it was a bit soft and had a rusty color that continually rubbed off. I sealed it with several coats of UV resin-second photo-and then started working the bezel in over the stone, which was slightly different in shape than the original-third photo.

In the end, it did work-fourth photo-but looked very different compared to the other stones-fifth photo.

There are many ways to treat the natural stones. For this type of project I chose wax as I wanted to keep a very natural look but intensify the color of the rocks a bit. Once the wax was applied to the other stones and buffed, I could then work the new stone with a coarse polisher to obtain a similar look-sixth photo.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 31
Sometimes a tiny bit of glue can help hold things in place, like the little plastic pieces used to raise stones.

Once a stone was in a bezel, a clothespin was used to push the bezel in to temporarily hold it in place. O

ne at a time, stones were held in place this way. It was so exciting to see everything taking shape!
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 32
Being just a home hobbyist working in my laundry room, I don't have a lot of specialized tools that can be used for only one thing.

The Whaley Hammer is a precision hammer, meaning wherever the hammer head is placed is where it will hit and is one of the tools always on my desktop. Since the little balls got in the way when finishing setting the stones, and the stone edges were so irregular, I used the Whaley Hammer to avoid hitting the little balls. Placing the anvil on a yellow jar opener gripper pad on by work surface held it in place.

The bracelet link was held in place on the anvil with fun tack. The surface of the jar opener kept the links from sliding around during some of the smoothing the top edge of the bezel.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 33
The darker muslin wheel has been used only on dark lake and river stones and the lighter one only on lighter lake and river stones. The wheels have picked up some of the color of the stones. I used the dark wheel once on a lighter stone and the wheel imparted a dark cast on the stone-lesson learned.

Wax was applied to each stone and buffed with a muslin wheel. Use one muslin wheel for darker colored stones and a different one for lighter colored ones. Several layers of wax and buffing were done. Over time and with wear the wax will wear away but hand and body oils will start to replace the wax, adding to and preserving the beauty of the stones.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 34
Stone/link size determines the length a bracelet must be made. Each bracelet in the first photo was clasped on the extender chain link closest to the bracelet. The shorter bracelet sits at 6¼" on the bracelet cone so it was labeled as fitting Small, Average, and Large wrists. The longer bracelet sits at 6¾" and was labeled as fitting Average, Large, and Ex. Large wrists.

Side note: Any larger pieces I make to give to family members are marked with my initials and .925. Sometimes I attach a charm and sometimes stamp the back of a piece. I try to remember to put a story card with each piece. Some pieces have already been passed down to the next generation and they are happy to know where the pieces came from, who made them, and the story behind them. They are becoming family heirlooms.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Step 35
A change in the size and shape of the gemstones, such as these Blue Ice Stone pieces, meant the size and gauge of the jump rings changed. The simplicity of the round and oval shapes meant that more and different sizes of balls could be used. They were flattened and used as "cobblestone" discs on either end of the Blue Ice and sodalite bracelet cabochons, as well as around the sodalite cabochon on the pendant.
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets
Judy Larson's After the Rain Bracelets - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Filing, Finishing, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, After the rain pebble bracelets