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TurtleBay Jewelry
03-15-2004, 01:35 PM
This was discussed back in the glass art forum for a bit, but I think my question was overlooked, and I'd love some input from ppl already creating their own.

Currently, when I make headpins, they're either eyepins or headpins with designs on the bottom...i.e.: (pics below) However, sometimes, I just like a normal heapin. I understand that I can make my own with sterling wire in the flame, but I'm unsure what kind of torch I need to buy to do this. Also, can I use regular sterling wire?

Thanks in advance!

~Danielle

ValorieCox
03-15-2004, 02:43 PM
Kate Drew-Wilkenson shows how to make headpins (out of heavy gauge sterling silver wire) using your lampworking torch.

She cuts the wires to length, graps a single wire and holds it straight up and down through the top of the flame (perfectly plumb so the ball is even), and heats the end of the silver. A small ball forms. she takes it out of the heat, holds it a secord or two until the skin forms, then dunks the headpin wire in a bowl of water. Picks up another wire...over and over. Once she has the 200 or so she wants she temper hardens them in a tumbler.

I'll look up the name of the video if you like.

Val

TurtleBay Jewelry
03-15-2004, 02:58 PM
Thanks Val...

I think I'll be able to manage it, I just don't have a torch of any kind, so I was curious what I needed...Hmmm...guess I'll have to poke around and see what I can get away with using that's not too expensive.

I have a recipie for the pickling and what not and how to rid them of the firescale, so I just need to find some FIRE!

Hehehe...

~D.

TheBlueBetween
03-15-2004, 04:40 PM
Have you tried a candle? I'm sure just any old small torch will work if that is all you want it for. You can get those little butane torches for firing PMC even. Or check out the hardware store even.

Beadazoid
03-15-2004, 05:19 PM
This was discussed back in the glass art forum for a bit, but I think my question was overlooked, and I'd love some input from ppl already creating their own.

Currently, when I make headpins, they're either eyepins or headpins with designs on the bottom...i.e.: (pics below) However, sometimes, I just like a normal heapin. I understand that I can make my own with sterling wire in the flame, but I'm unsure what kind of torch I need to buy to do this. Also, can I use regular sterling wire?

Thanks in advance!

~Danielle

Danielle,

I answered you then. :) I use my minor torch, but I also think you can use a small butane torch such as the kind I use for quick setting my PMC. I think they are also used as cigar lighters, but it seems like overkill to me!

I'd be happy to send you a pic of mine!

Barrie
03-16-2004, 09:34 AM
I'd suggest getting a small butane torch - it's inexpensive, safe, and easily stored - and when you feel the urge for creme brulee, go for it!! Here's a link to the kind that Lee Valley Tools carries, works like a charm!
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?SID=&ccurrency=2&page=32148&category=1,43456,43469

I've been working on a tutorial for these for my website, but haven't gotten that far yet! I would hold the wire, the same way Val suggests, using a pair of tweezers of course. Remember that the hottest part of the flame is at the tip of the bright blue cone, this is where you would hold your wire. Run the bottom 1/2 inch of the wire up and down in the flame, that's the only part of the wire you want to heat. As the wire starts to glow red hot, focus more on the end and watch the ball roll up. It can only go so far before the ball gets too heavy and falls off (practice makes perfect!). When you pull it out of the flame, I tend to back it out slowly, so that the skin Val mentions forms slowly, and the interior of the ball and exterior of the ball cool at equal rates, otherwise you end up with seriously wrinkly balls (a condition that is not always desirable! ;) ). Make sure you have a flame proof surface on the table you're working above, have a dish of water handy for emergencies, and having a pickling solution (available at all jewelry supply stores) to soak your wires in after heating will remove the black carbon from the wire before you tumble them. Any other questions, please feel free to fire my way!!

ringslingin
03-16-2004, 01:46 PM
This was discussed back in the glass art forum for a bit, but I think my question was overlooked....
~Danielle

Sorry I didnt' get back to you straight away, Danielle. I wanted to 'perfect' the technique before I told you how I was doing it. Looks like you got some pretty good answers! I started mine with my gas stove before I got my hands on a torch. Not sure how good of an idea that is, but it worked ok.

GOOD LUCK!!!

Denise

lissadivamama
03-17-2004, 02:07 PM
Danielle - I read on another wire forum of someone actually using her gas stove top flame. She took the grates off, lined the area with foil to catch drips and went to work. She soaked them in vinegar for the firescale then tumbled them and the pictures looked great! I haven't tried it yet, because I don't own a tumbler, but as soon as I do, I won't be buying headpins again! :)

ringslingin
03-17-2004, 04:49 PM
Any other questions, please feel free to fire my way!!

Barrie dahling, you sure did ask for it! hehe

May I ask what the importance of tumbling is? I've made lots of my head pins in 22g, and they are getting almost no firescale. After I do the vinegar soak, all of it comes off. I haven't noticed any weakening of the wire when I try to use them, either. So is tumbling a *must*?

Next question...

When I try to make them with 16 or 18g, I'm getting a lot of craters/mottling in the ball area, but the 22g come out perfect. Help!!!

pixieled
03-20-2004, 07:19 AM
I'm one who uses my gas stovetop. Quick and easy. Getting perfect balls every time. I don't have a tumbler, but I do soak them in warm vinegar with some table salt for up to 15 minutes then clean them with a soft cloth and polish. They come out beautiful.

Another idea is for headpin ends is after making the balls, you can hammer them and make paddle ends. They've been excellent for some of my work.

Trace

TurtleBay Jewelry
03-20-2004, 05:40 PM
Ok, I did it too! I made Headpins finally. That was fun. They aren't askew, which I'm pleased about, since my first patch look like mini p's, but they are a little mottled, which I've read is caused by heating too quickly and cooling too quickly...So I'll slow myself down some. However, I can add that I'd be fine making these into profitable earring pins and how often do you inspect something that closely?!?

Of course, I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I'll be back at that flame working to get it down to a science for the retreat!

Here's a pic of the finished product. I don't have a tumbler, so I just dipped them in silver polish and used a Sunshine cloth on them. :)

~Danielle

Moth
03-20-2004, 05:48 PM
Ok, I did it too! I made Headpins finally. That was fun. They aren't askew, which I'm pleased about, since my first patch look like mini p's, but they are a little mottled, which I've read is caused by heating too quickly and cooling too quickly...So I'll slow myself down some. However, I can add that I'd be fine making these into profitable earring pins and how often do you inspect something that closely?!?

Of course, I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I'll be back at that flame working to get it down to a science for the retreat!

Here's a pic of the finished product. I don't have a tumbler, so I just dipped them in silver polish and used a Sunshine cloth on them. :)

~Danielle

Those are VERY nice! I have been doing my own as well because when I sell a focal bead on ebay or something like that, I always put it on a headpin with two matching swarovski crystals. It is just something extra that people are happy to get when they open their bead. I had a whole bag of scrap sterling that was just sitting there, so I dug through the bag and picked out any pieces I could use and made them all into headpins.

I got over 50 headpins out of that bag of scrap! I was thrilled.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say that mine are even more dimply than yours, but I am making them on my glass torch. I thought it was from the force of the flame puckering the silver in, but it makes sense that it is from too rapid heat change. I actually like how dimply they are, (gives a nice hand-wrought feel to the piece) but even if I didn't, they are good for my use because they are just going to be cut apart anyway for the buyer to use the beads on it.

I did tumble mine, and it made a nice difference in their shine, and it did harden them up considerably. I tumbled them for almost 3 hours. Could have gone longer and it would have been better I think, but I couldn't stand it and had to peek, and once I peeked I had to take them out and look at them. :evil:

~~Mary

Nolly
03-20-2004, 08:32 PM
I'm so happy to know about the vinegar and salt bath; I've been meaning to try to make head pins, but I never remember to buy the pickle.

I ended up with some steel shot before I actually had a tumbler and I've used it with soapy water in a tupperware container to clean and shine ear wires and clasps--works real well, but the short time that I'm willing to devote to hand-swishing doesn't harden the wire.

Nolly

ringslingin
03-20-2004, 09:23 PM
I can't wait till I can get a tumbler!!!

DonnaBee
03-20-2004, 09:36 PM
I am so impressed Danielle! I haven't tried making my own yet.

Starrr
03-20-2004, 11:29 PM
Making headpins on a gas stove is pretty simple. I've done all sizes and the ball ends always come out smooth. The key is to use pure silver wire. Just hold the wire with a pair of pliers in the top part of the flame until the silver starts to glow and ball up. It will start to climb up the wire. When you get the size you want, slowly, pull the wire out of the flame for 3 seconds or so, then toss them in a bowl of cold water with some lemon juice. I don't bother to tumble them at this point as I throw all my finished jewelry in the tumbler when it's finished to polish the silver and harden it then. You can easily make hundreds of these an hour!
Good Luck! Edie

snootyvixen
03-22-2004, 04:11 PM
Now I wanna try too! LOL!

What gauge wire are we all using for these?

Vikki

TurtleBay Jewelry
03-22-2004, 04:15 PM
I found that using 20 gauge was better than the 22 gauge, but even 18 is fine for larger bead holes.

~D.

snootyvixen
03-22-2004, 07:21 PM
I found that using 20 gauge was better than the 22 gauge, but even 18 is fine for larger bead holes.

~D.

Ahh - OK - was thinking of trying some 16ga, maybe too thick!

Vikki

TurtleBay Jewelry
03-22-2004, 08:09 PM
Hey Vikki, you never know...I mean, I use 16 gauge for some of my dangles at times, and a headpin would be fine, so I don't think it would be a problem.

The only thing is you'd have to be careful how fast you heat up and cool down the end once it balls up...a little wrinkling of the skin that forms isn't a big deal when they're little, but if they're all caved in when they're big, you'd notice. Hehehe...

Then again, someone else mentioned at one point that they like the handcrafted feel it gives them, and if you antique things like I do on occasion, I would totally agree with her.

Imperfection is a quality I desire in some of my jewelry and beads. :)

Have fun!

~Danielle

jennakate
03-24-2004, 11:15 AM
excuse the brain lapse... by "tumbler", do you mean the same sort of thing they use to polish rocks?

TurtleBay Jewelry
03-24-2004, 12:05 PM
That would be an affirmative!

~D.

Noah
03-24-2004, 10:29 PM
Oh dear, I must have been living under a rock all this time -- it's never even occurred to me to try to make my own headpins! (And to think all that money I spent buying someone else's :eek: ) I can't wait to dig out all those ends of wire I couldn't bear to throw away and try this :clap:

Kim

beclectic
02-26-2005, 06:27 PM
OK, I tried to find my silversmith class notes and couldn't. This is driving me crazy as I am trying to make head pins and it looked so easy when Barrie did it in class. :crying: The balls on the ends of my wire are wrinkled, crooked and/or pitted. I remember her saying how to avoid this but I don't remember what she said.

If anyone has any ideas please let me know. I want to make some head pins tonight so I can tumble them and use them tomorrow.

HELP!

debkauz
02-26-2005, 06:33 PM
OK, I tried to find my silversmith class notes and couldn't. This is driving me crazy as I am trying to make head pins and it looked so easy when Barrie did it in class. :crying: The balls on the ends of my wire are wrinkled, crooked and/or pitted. I remember her saying how to avoid this but I don't remember what she said.

If anyone has any ideas please let me know. I want to make some head pins tonight so I can tumble them and use them tomorrow.

HELP!


Wrinkled ba...ummm never mind... :evil: :D
Don;t know how to make 'em but you did give me a giggle! I needed it after spending much of the last 2 days trying to get Cubs tickets and still being empty handed.

Deb

beclectic
02-26-2005, 06:43 PM
Deb, bummer about the tickets. I hadn't thought of it that way but if I had I don't know how else I could ask the question. It is funny though. The other day I had a friend say to me "I'll be there with bells on." but I thought he said "I'll be there with balls on." and I thought "Of course you will, you can't go leaving them somewhere for later...." :D :p :D

I'm glad you had a chuckle but now I guess I better put a heiney icon on this. Wouldn't want to accidently offend someone.

The icon is probably a good thing. It absolutly guarantees that this thread will get a lot of traffic.

TheBlueBetween
02-26-2005, 07:43 PM
I thought why on earth is there a heinycon on a head pins question and had to look of course! LOL :)

I was recently searching for headpin threads here and Danielle had posted one about her balls being pitted too... she suspected it was too much heat or leaving them in too long?

I just made mine with fine silver and not pitting or wrinkles at all.... wonder if it's the alloys in the metal burning out. Can you work further out in the flame perhaps? I did mine right in the point of the flame. If that helps.

beclectic
02-26-2005, 08:20 PM
<snip>I was recently searching for headpin threads here and Danielle had posted one about her balls being pitted too... she suspected it was too much heat or leaving them in too long?

I just made mine with fine silver and not pitting or wrinkles at all.... wonder if it's the alloys in the metal burning out. Can you work further out in the flame perhaps? I did mine right in the point of the flame. If that helps.

I was searching for that post by Danielle too but couldn't find it.

I'll go try further out in the flame and see how it goes. Thanks for thinking about this for me. I'll report my findings.

Prudence
02-26-2005, 08:33 PM
There is a thread on this Forum but I can't find it. Barrie was explaining how to make the pins. Someone in that thread was using their range top. Pru

TheBlueBetween
02-26-2005, 08:42 PM
here you are: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174622&highlight=head+pins

Barrie
02-26-2005, 08:46 PM
You would not believe how many giggles I've had toedure over the years over the phrase wrinkly balls! ROFL! Great way to break the ice in a class, that's for sure!

Okay, to solve the wrinkle problem, pull the torch away from the headpin slowly, otherwise, the outer skin of the metal cols too fast and the inside is still molten and causes the wrinkles. Also if you're ball is not centered, make sure you're holding the wire perpendicularly to the firebrick. If you hold it more to one side or the other, it will be off center.

Hope this helps!!

TheBlueBetween
02-26-2005, 08:47 PM
oh, about the balls being crooked - I could have answered that and didn't:

You hold the wire straight up in the flame and let gravity make a nice round even centered ball. If you hold it crooked, the ball will be crooked. And also, make sure before you take it out that it's not pointy. Another second of heat will make a difference in the final shape I found.

beclectic
02-26-2005, 09:16 PM
Thanks for all the good information and Pam, thanks for finding that thread. I looked and looked but just couldn't find it.

I tried taking the pin further out in the flame and it worked. I also tried cooling the pin down in the flame like Barrie suggested and that works well too. I'm still occasionally getting pits but I probably just need more practice.

Here is a funny story that sort of applies. I took my first and only lampworking class from Bonnie Blinco here in Louisville. To gradually cool the bead down before you take it out of the flame and put it in the blanket or the kiln she called it "Taking it to Tahiti." She said a vacation in Tahiti would help anything get rid of stress. So we need to take the pins on a vacation in Tahiti, the coolest part of the flame. Because while Tahiti isn't a cool place temprature wise it is a really cool place to chill. :D

Prudence
02-27-2005, 07:48 AM
Still not sure how everything works on this Forum but is that thread about making head pins something that should be made a sticky or rated. I was looking for that thread also. Pru

beclectic
02-27-2005, 08:40 AM
Still not sure how everything works on this Forum but is that thread about making head pins something that should be made a sticky or rated. I was looking for that thread also. Pru

Here's what I'll do to make finding this thread and the other head pin thread easier. I'll put links to them in the jewelry links thread.

I'm developing that as an index to external and internal information.

You should always rate a thread you think is worth looking at again. If everyone does that then it is like a vote for that thread to get stars and the rating stars make good/helpful threads easier to find.

beclectic
02-27-2005, 08:49 AM
Just an FYI, I've heard that 16g is too thick to form a ball properly. I've tried it and couldn't get it to work. If anyone else has succedded in making 16g ball end head pins please post your procedure. Otherwise, for 16g headpins you'd have to solder the ball onto the wire.

I mearged the 2 head pin threads so all the information would be in one place.

ringslingin
02-28-2005, 06:19 AM
Just an FYI, I've heard that 16g is too thick to form a ball properly. I've tried it and couldn't get it to work. If anyone else has succedded in making 16g ball end head pins please post your procedure. Otherwise, for 16g headpins you'd have to solder the ball onto the wire.

I mearged the 2 head pin threads so all the information would be in one place.

16 gauge isn't too thick to form a ball...not sure where you heard that, but it's not true. If it were, there wouldn't be any 16 gauge headpins. If you're using a small butane torch, that may be your culprit. The smaller, handheld varieties crafters use just don't get hot enough.

Barrie might have some more information on this...

Denise

Alibe
09-17-2005, 01:46 AM
Another link how to make headpins with photos:

http://www.stepbystepbeads.com/stepbystep/headpins.cfm

Cheerio,
Alibe

claire.c
09-17-2005, 05:22 AM
Just a few things I'd like to add here

Heating the wire anneals it (softens it). So if you want hard pins you must temper them afterwards, either by tumbling or any other method you prefer, if you need soft pins then don't bother with tempering.

Surface firescale is easily removed by pickling, although a lot will fall off when you quench the work. The deeper firestain is unlikely to be an issue here so protection from that isn't necessary.

If you're happy with balled ends that's great, but you can also shape them because they are soft from the annealing. I make rivets in a similar way and then put the wire vertically in a vice or drawplate and hammer the ball flat (or use a nail punch to give it a slight dome) to give a pinhead effect. Afterwards if the pinhead edges are slightly uneven they can be filed rounder.

Claire

Peg
09-17-2005, 02:23 PM
Did I miss it? I use fine silver and do not have to clean my head pins in pickle. It does not discolor and so far I do not have wrinkles on my head pin ends.

When I don't want to light my Smith silver torch I use my butane torch you get at Home Depot, Lowe's etc. Cannister comes like the mapp gas you use for your Hothead torches but is propane.You know the guy torch. I also use it to light my wood stove instead of matches. Peg M

claire.c
09-17-2005, 02:44 PM
Sterling silver is more prone to firescale than fine silver due to its higher alloy content, so if you use a purer grade of silver it will not have the same discolouration problems. On the other hand the purer metal is softer, though this is a plus if you're wrapping or otherwise working the wire.

Claire

MtnLaurelStudios
12-26-2005, 08:28 AM
You can also use a pickling compound that silversmiths use. It will shine them up pretty good and take the blackish look away unless you have really firescaled them. After pickling, just rinse in water.

Shadesongs
12-26-2005, 12:06 PM
Has anyone figured the cost versue buying them? Adding in time also?
Just curious, I never thought to make my own till I seen this thread, started way back!
This is going to sound stupid but if you tumble the headpins in shot, don't they come out all bent up?
What else can you tumble? I have two rock tumblers that I have never used.....hum, might have to snich one from the kids.....
Thank you!
Jerry

Tropikatz
12-29-2005, 05:07 PM
Would someone be so kind as to give me suggestions for the tumbler set up. I think the Lortone is the one but what shot and liquids do I need for cleaning up silver? Where is the best place to get the setup; Rio Grande, Thunderbird?
Thankyou.
Karen S.

Starrr
12-29-2005, 07:48 PM
Would someone be so kind as to give me suggestions for the tumbler set up. I think the Lortone is the one but what shot and liquids do I need for cleaning up silver? Where is the best place to get the setup; Rio Grande, Thunderbird?
Thankyou.
Karen S.

The best price would be Kingsley North for the tumbler. They should have everything you need, plastic pellets and mixed stainless shot, for the liquid, just a drop of dish detergent will do the job.
Edie

tamzin1022
12-30-2005, 09:57 AM
Hi Karen,
I just placed an order with Santa Fe Jewelers Supply for some stainless steel shot http://www.sfjssantafe.com/ Their prices were a bit cheaper than Rio and Thunderbird. I'm not certain if the shipping to Canada would still make it cost effective. Good luck and be sure to show us your creations!
Tam L.

Shadesongs
12-30-2005, 10:36 AM
I went to that web site, and was poking around. What are the yellow brass pattern sheets for? Like embossing sheets of metal? Do you hammer it?
Sorry if it sounds dumb, I am on cold medicine hoping to feel better before work tonight!!
jerry

Tropikatz
12-30-2005, 05:05 PM
Thank you, Tam. I am Canadian but live most of the year in the Bahamas. Summers are in Victoria, BC. I have a package address in Florida. I will check out Santa Fe.

Karen S.

Nole Girl
01-26-2006, 01:39 AM
[COLOR="Navy"]

I read somewhere a few years ago that Native American artisans deliberately have an imperfection in each piece they create to allow the bad spirits to escape. I'm a perfectionist but, when I read that, it made sense and made me smile. Sooo...when I use the wonderful techniques I learned in this thread, I won't have a fit if my headpins have a few dimples.

kjscrim
01-26-2006, 10:49 AM
What about hammering the tip? It saves the expense of a torch. Just take a hammer and tap the tip until it flattens out. I file off any sharp edges too.
Kathie

Cluny
01-27-2006, 12:07 AM
Someone brought up that they used a torch for pmc. I'm assuming that that is precious metal clay. I've been wondering if I can get a torch and use it with pmc without owning a kiln. Is this difficult to do? I've read that people do it, but I just wondered if it was just a case of making life difficult and I should spring for a kiln to begin with?
Thank you,
Cluny