Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail, Metalwork. Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. A hidden bail works well when a visible attached bail will detract from the design of a pendant, or when you just can't decide how to put a bail on.
Make a Hidden Bail
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
A hidden bail works well when a visible attached bail will detract from the design of a pendant, or when you just can't decide how to put a bail on. They are very easy to make and attach on a flat backed pendant. Just make sure that easy solder is not used on any part of the piece before attaching the bail.

Materials

22 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-22SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $32.91
  • Gold Club Price: $24.68
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24 Gauge Dead Soft Fine Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H9-24SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $26.30
  • Gold Club Price: $19.73
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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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adjustable scribe
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
Metal Cutting Shears
SHR-536.00
  • SHR-536.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
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Miniature Digital Caliper
GAU-178.00
  • GAU-178.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $39.95
  • Gold Club Price: $29.96
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Xuron Flush Cutter - Pack of 1
G2-504
  • G2-504
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.95
  • Gold Club Price: $22.46
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Premium Steel Bench Block 2 1/2 X 2 1/2
G17-9
  • G17-9
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $15.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.98
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Blazer Big Buddy Turbo Torch, White
TRCH-8012
  • TRCH-8012
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $40.00
  • Gold Club Price: $30.00
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Medium Rawhide Hammer 1 1/4 inch - Pack of 1
G3-7
  • G3-7
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $24.95
  • Gold Club Price: $18.71
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7 Annealing Pan with Pumice
SOL-520.00
  • SOL-520.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $36.97
  • Gold Club Price: $27.73
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Instructions
Step 1
Read through the tutorial before starting the project. Follow all safety precautions pertaining to the tools and supplies being used and the area you are working in.
This stone from Indonesia with what looked like blue flames rising out of the top of a mountain on a dark night was chosen for a pendant by my daughter-in-law. I would have liked to make a larger flame at the top of the stone and use a larger blue cab, but was limited by the size and gauge of silver sheet I had on hand as well as the color of all my blue cabochons-none matched. In the end, a smaller flame was used as well as a dyed agate bead in a hand-made tube. As always, use what you have.
After finishing the pendant except for securing the stones in place, choose the chain that will be used with the pendant. Since both these chains worked well, the wider of the two was chosen to use for measurements in Step 4.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 2
Adjust a scribe to the desired width of the bail in the area the bail will be placed. Use the scribe to scratch a line along a straight edge of a piece of metal. I had a small piece of 24 gauge sheet, which will work, but do not use anything thinner.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 3
Use metal shears or a saw to cut the metal strip on the scribed line. Flatten the strip on a bench block and straighten it if needed. Use an ultra fine point retractable Sharpie to mark the strip with the metal gauge and the word "BAIL" so it can be used again on a later project.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 4
Using a caliper, measure the width of the widest/thickest chain that the pendant will be worn on. Using that measurement, check to see which barrel will be the best, tightest fit, knowing that the metal strip will not form tightly around the barrels of either the small Wrap-N-Tap or 6 step barrel pliers. Parallel jaw pliers would be the best to use to make the bail, but use what you have.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 5
The pendant on the left will only be worn on an omega which is a flat chain, while the one on the right can be worn on a thicker, more round chain as well as the thinner omega. Form the wire strip around the plier barrel chosen in Step 4. Wrap only half way around if a less deep bail is needed such as the left pendant in the photo, and more than half way around if a deeper bail is desired, as on the right pendant in the photo.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 6
Remove the shaped strip from the pliers. Use an ultra fine point retractable Sharpie to mark a general area of where to cut the curved portion from the strip. Use heavy duty flush cutters to cut on or as close to the line as possible. If excess metal needs to be cut away, trim again with the flush cutters.
Pro Tip: Try not to use metal shears in this step. The cut edge will likely curve and it will be difficult to make it flat again without marring it.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 7
Place sandpaper on a bench block or other completely flat surface. Sand the cut edges of the bail completely flat, checking the fit over the desired chain periodically. Sand the sides of the bail flat as well. Check the fit of the bail on the pendant. If needed, sand again to adjust the fit.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 8
Place small dots of easy paste solder inside the bottom edges of the bail.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 9
Press the pendant front side down into pumice in a rotating pan. The pumice will help protect thinner metal, such as the flame bezel wire on this pendant, as well as any fine embellishments that may have been attached. Heat until the solder flows. Hint: For easier cleanup, the rotating pan is placed on a very inexpensive aluminum bar pan that will catch errant pumice pieces when I move things around.
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Step 10
Continue as you normally would. Pickle, rinse, and dry the piece. Patina if desired. Set the stones in place
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail
Judy Larson's Make a Hidden Bail - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, hidden bail