Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail, Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin. Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. These easy to make bails can be soldered in place but could just as easily used as glue on bails on the backs of cabochons because the tails are flat.
Cotter Pin Style Bail
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Findings
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Beginner
These easy to make bails can be soldered in place but could just as easily used as glue on bails on the backs of cabochons because the tails are flat. Since only 2" to 2½" of wire is used to make them, they are also very inexpensive. Compared to the price of purchased bails, they are a no-brainer. The ones shown here are short, medium, and long versions and are all made the same way.

Materials

18 Gauge Round Half Hard Argentium .940 Silver Wire
H19-18H
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $5.26
  • Gold Club Price: $3.95
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16 Gauge Round Half Hard Argentium .940 Silver Wire
H19-16H
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $8.88
  • Gold Club Price: $6.66
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Tools

6 Step Barrel Plier - Pack of 1
G2-503
  • G2-503
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.21
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C.H.P Milano Italian Flush Cutter, 5 1/2 Inches
PLR-487.00
  • PLR-487.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.97
  • Gold Club Price: $12.73
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5 1/2 Inch Nylon Flat Jaw Pliers with Replacement Jaws
G2-1
  • G2-1
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
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Blazer Big Buddy Turbo Torch, Black
TRCH-8010
  • TRCH-8010
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $40.00
  • Gold Club Price: $30.00
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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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Chasing Hammer - Flat Faced with Polished Wooden Handle - Pack of 1
G3-13
  • G3-13
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $11.97
  • Gold Club Price: $8.98
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Steel and Wood Bench Block 3x3 Inch
G17-25
  • G17-25
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
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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.

In the first photo, the Long Bail in front is made with 18 gauge wire while the Long Bail in the back of the photo is made using 16 gauge round wire. In the second photo the same bails are shown from a different angle. For size reference finished bails are set inside a 1" square in the third photo. Hint: Use square wire or two wires twisted together for a different look. Cut 16 or 18 gauge round wire 2" long for a Short Bail, 2¼" long for a Medium Bail, and 2½" long for a Long Bail.
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Step 2
Center the wire between Step 1 and 2 on the 6-step barrel pliers. Bend the wire ends around step 2 on the pliers until the ends evenly meet: second photo. Use soft jaw pliers to squish the wires together close to the step 2 barrel of the pliers jaw: third photo. Make sure the wire ends are flat, parallel to each other, and touch: fourth photo. Use a flush cutter to trim the wire ends even.
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Step 3
Ball the following length of wire for each bail: 16 gauge bail-5/16" of 16 gauge wire; 18 gauge bail-1/4" 18 gauge wire.
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Step 4
Place a small bit of medium paste solder or the cut end of the shaped wire. Push the ball into the solder and firmly against the cut wire ends. Heat until the solder flows up between the wires toward the loop. Keep heating a bit more until the ball and the wire ends are shiny. They will be soldered as well as slightly fused together at that point.
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Step 5
Place the bail on a bench block. Hammer the ball and the lower wires until both are flat and even with each other.
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Step 6
Roll the loop end of the bail around Step 3 of the 6 step barrel pliers until the loop touches the wire tails. Pickle, rinse, and tumble the bails. They are then ready to use.
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Step 7
The shortest cotter pin bail is shown in use on the same assembled water cast pendant from different angles on the same pendant. Note: The pendant was to be a gift, so the back of the bail was stamped .925 to denote metal content.

Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail
Judy Larson's Cotter Pin Style Bail - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cotter pin style bail