How to create a pinned style heat riveted bail:
You will need a few things to get started
- The number one most important item for this technique is a torch with a super hot tiny flame. A butane or large flamed torch won't work for this. The flame needs to be hissing hot (no bushy flames for this technique). I like to use my Smiths Little Torch with disposable oxygen and propane tanks. I got mine from cyber weld for half the price! Smiths little torch from HERE
The set of tips and magnetic torch stand HERE.
It does not come with the tanks, but you can pick up disposable oxygen/propane tanks at Home Depot. I recommend picking up a couple extra oxygen tanks. I go through around 4-5 oxygen tanks before I even run out of propane.
- I usually use the #4 or #5 tip. The smaller the tip the least likely you will overheat and shatter/damage your stone.
- The item you would like to pin (I used an amethyst point but you can pin anything with a hole drilled),
- A bail that you want to use to pin your stone between ( I soldered jump rings to the end of a cast silver twig for my piece)
- Some sterling silver round wire (I used 20 gauge sterling silver but you can use whatever gauge that will fit nicely through your item. Keep in mind that the thicker the wire the longer it will need to be heated to ball up)
- A sharpie pen
- Cross locking tweezers on a third hand preferably
- A cup of cold water
First I put the crystal between the middle of the bail and stick the silver wire through so the wire sticks out evenly on both sides (I do this to avoid one balled side looking larger than the other). The longer the wire sticking out the bigger the ball. I personally like 10-15mm of wire sticking out each side.
I mark one side with a sharpie and ball up the marked side first. When balling wire always makes sure that the wire is facing straight down towards your heat surface. As the wire is balling up it will move up the wire until you remove the flame. Gravity does the work for you ;).
Once one side is balled up, I stick it back through the holes and place on my third hand. The end to be balled up should be facing down. I place my cup of water underneath (see photos above) so I can quench as soon as the second side is pinned.
With a super hot tiny flame ball up the second side while avoiding the stone with your flame. You want to work super fast and don't leave the flame sitting still at one spot for too long. Immediately drop the piece in your cup of water as soon as the second side balls up to the bail.
*Some people like to let it air cool after pinning the second side. I haven't had my stones get hot enough to cause damage when quenching. I've always quenched immediately so the stones don't have a chance to get hot. Try either method and do what works for you. :)
Polish it up and its ready to wear. It takes a bit of practice to get the hang of it but once you get the hang of it you will become a pro and want to use it in all of your work. It's a little addicting ;).
- If you want some extra added protection for your stone, I occasionally use heat shield from riogrande.com (https://www.riogrande.com/product/heat-shield-with-syringe-applicator/503039110). You cover the stone in the putty leaving the wire and the metal slightly sticking out.
- You want to move quickly when pinning the stone in place. The wire gets hot and can crack/damage your stone if you let it stay hot for too long.
- Make sure you aren't pinning too tightly. You want the stone to be able to swing back and forth but not too loose as this can distort the wire and break over time.
- I only do my pinning once the piece is completely polished and ready to go. It's hard to clean/polish the inside of the bail after pinning the stone in place so having it already polished saves you a lot of time. Pinning should only oxidize the wire being balled so the only thing that will need cleaning is the balled up wire.
I recommend practicing pinned bails with silver tubing like this piece above first. It will give you a feel for it before moving onto expensive stones. I remember destroying quite a few stones before mastering this technique so don't get discouraged if it takes a few tries to figure it out. Keep practicing and you will get it. :D
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and you are now able to create heat rivets. Please email me at Arrowsandstone@yahoo.com with any questions you may have. If you learned from my tutorial and would like to credit me please tag me @arrowsandstone on instagram or share the link on facebook on a photo of your piece. A little credit goes a long way and I would really appreciate it. Tutorials take a lot of work :D.