Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant, Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin. Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. I was asked to make several coins from Jamaica into mementos from a destination wedding.
Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Findings
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Beginner
I was asked to make several coins from Jamaica into mementos from a destination wedding. The client wanted a VERY simple design, and nothing could be more simple than adding a bail made from a jump ring. The other request was that they be the same, but one had to be a pendant and one had to slip on a key ring.

CAUTION: Since most coins used as currency are not made of precious metal, it is very important to check the metal content of any coin you will be soldering on. Zinc can be found in some solders as well as alloys of brass, bronze and nickel (German) silver. Inhaling zinc fumes from can cause flu-like symptoms of fever, chills, head and muscle aches and nausea. The takeaway: WORK IN A WELL VENTILATED SPACE and USE A VENTILATOR.

United States Coins:

Penny- pre 1982: 95% copper and 5% zinc; post 1982: 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper

Nickel-75% copper and 25% nickel

Dime-pre 1965: 90% silver and 10% copper; post 1965: 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel

Quarter-pre 1965: 90% silver and 10% copper; post 1965: 91.67% copper and 8.33% nickel

Dollar-Sacagawea: 77% copper, 12% zinc, 7% manganese, and 4% nickel; Susan B. Anthony: 75% copper and .25% nickel clad to pure copper core; Liberty: 88.5% copper, 6% zinc, 3.5% manganese, and 2% nickel

Materials

16 Gauge Half Round Dead Soft .925 Sterling Silver Wire
H8-16HRD
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $3.31
  • Gold Club Price: $2.48
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18 Gauge Round Dead Soft .925 Sterling Silver Wire
H8-18D
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $3.36
  • Gold Club Price: $2.52
Add to Bag
Add All Items to Cart

Tools

EUROnomic 2K Pliers, Round Nose, 4-3/4 Inches
PLR-380.10
  • PLR-380.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $24.40
  • Gold Club Price: $18.30
Add to Bag
Flat Nose Wire Plier
G2-506
  • G2-506
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
Add to Bag
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
Add to Bag
Flat Nose Nylon Flat Jaw With Spring
PLR-831.00
  • PLR-831.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $13.80
  • Gold Club Price: $10.35
Add to Bag
Xuron Flush Cutter - Pack of 1
G2-504
  • G2-504
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $19.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.96
Add to Bag
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
Add to Bag
Blazer MT 3000 Hot Shot Butane Torch, Red
TRCH-3004
  • TRCH-3004
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $34.95
  • Gold Club Price: $26.21
Add to Bag
Deluxe Titanium Soldering Pick, Blue Handled, 6-1/2 Inches
SPK-930.00
  • SPK-930.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $5.97
  • Gold Club Price: $4.48
Add to Bag
Sparex Number 2 Pickling Compound
SOL-802.10
  • SOL-802.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $5.95
  • Gold Club Price: $4.46
Add to Bag
Pickle Pot, 16 Ounces
CLN-584.00
  • CLN-584.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.95
  • Gold Club Price: $22.46
Add to Bag
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Instructions
Step 1:
Clean the Coin
Read through the directions before starting the project.
To make sure there will be a good solder join when attaching the bail, the coin MUST be cleaned thoroughly. First wash the coin with dish soap and water. Make a paste with water and a gritty powdered sink cleaner (a paste cleaner for ceramic cook tops will also work). Dip a toothbrush in the paste and scrub both sides and the rim of the coin. This should clean off all the remaining dirt and grime. Rinse well and dry.
Step 2:
Make the Bail
Make an 18 gauge (for smaller coins) or 16 gauge (for larger coins) 9.5mm interior diameter (ID) jump ring for very fine chains with a small end or if using a thin chain where you will attach findings to the ends. If using a removable or thicker chain with a larger end, make an 11mm ID jump ring. Use medium paste solder to close the ring. Hint: Just because the bail made here worked for this coin, it may not work for a different coin or project. Make a few jump ring bails in copper to pull out and use as size guides on future projects. Note: Brass was used for the jump ring for this coin and silver paste solder was used for soldering the jump ring closed as well as for attaching the jump ring to the coin.
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - Make the Bail, Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - Make the Bail, Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, Simple bail on a coin pendant
Step 3
Pickle the jump ring. If necessary, smooth the seam with files or sanding pads.
Step 4
Place the ring on the tips of a pair of round nose pliers with the join just a bit off center on one of the jaws. Pull the handles apart, making the ring oval. Hint: The shinier the metal is on the plier jaws, the less "grip" there will be on the ring, so it can slip and pop off, going who knows where-kind of like a dryer eats socks-you won't find it until later when you no longer need it. So, use a pair of cheaper pliers that have a black finish as they are less smooth.
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, Simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, Simple bail on a coin pendant
Step 5
Make the jump ring into a flat oval by gently squeezing both ends with flat nose pliers.
Pro Tip: The ring may slip out of soft jaw pliers, and the better pliers are pretty smooth, so here again, use the cheaper ones with the less smooth jaws (peach handles in the first photo). Finish pressing the ring into a skinny oval.
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, Simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, Simple bail on a coin pendant
Step 6
Bend the oval jump ring around the smallest jaw of the 6-step barrel pliers (second smallest for larger jump rings). Pressing against a soft surface can help with the bend. Be careful to not dent the metal by squeezing too hard. Hint: It is preferable to not use round nose pliers for this step. Because of the conical shape of their jaws, as shown in the last photo note how one side of the bail will be very narrow and the other side much wider.
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Step 7
Bend the closed ends together. As in Steps 4 and 5, the cheaper pliers with less smooth jaws will hold these little pieces better. The ends need to be close enough together to slip over the top end of the pendant tightly. Larger rings can be left on the 6-step barrel pliers. The ends of the wire oval can be pinched together with soft jaw pliers. Adjust the finished pieces as needed.
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Step 8
Slide the bail over the end of the coin, keeping it close to the top edge of the pendant. Generally, there will be enough contact between the bail and the coin for a good solder join. If there is a concern, file the inner edge of the bail tip to make more contact with the coin surface.
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Step 9
Place a small amount of easy paste solder where the ring meets the coin on the front and back of the pendant. Place the assembly on a solder block with the bail in a divot that will accommodate the depth of the bail. Use a butane torch to heat the piece until the solder flows. Immediately remove the heat. Wait a few seconds. Turn the piece over. The solder probably did not flow on this side, so heat the piece again until the solder flows. Do not quench the piece. Note: Some coins from other countries are plated. Some coins have two different metals joined together. Since the speed of metal contraction and expansion is not the same for all metals when exposed to heat and cold, to avoid problems it is best to not quench the coins but to wait for them to cool on the soldering block before going on to the next step.
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Step 10
Pickle the coin pendant in super pickle, a mixture of half regular pickle and half hydrogen peroxide.
Step 11
The metal of the coin will probably be very discolored and even super pickle may not remove all the fire scale and discoloration. A lot of polishing will be needed. Rotary tools are GREAT for this but use whatever is available to you to clean and polish the coin. Safety is of utmost importance. At a minimum, wear safety glasses and a dust mask if using a rotary tool to clean the coin. What was used to clean the coin in this tutorial is listed in order of use:

Radial Discs, Yellow, 80grit

Radial Discs, Red, 220grit

Radial Discs, Blue, 400grit

Silicone Polisher, Square Edge, Pink, Extra Fine Grit (used the most)

Silicone Polishing Pin, Extra Fine Grit, Green (used inside the bail)
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, simple bail on a coin pendant
Step 12
In her mid-80's, my husband's Aunt Katie realized a dream when she wrote, illustrated and published a children's book, The Mickel Nickel. These Buffalo/Indian Head nickel pendants/keychain dangles were made in her memory and to remind us that we are never too old and it is never too late to follow our dreams. Note: My husband collected coins as a child and especially loved nickels. These are from his "reject" jar and only have a value of about 10 cents each. However, the sentimental value to family is priceless.
Judy Larson's Simple Bail on a Coin Pendant - , Findings & Components, Toggles & Clasps, Earwire & Headpin, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, Simple bail on a coin pendant