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Easy fold-forming: 1 fold, 3 cuffs

Simple design becomes more complex in metal and leather project
Easy fold forming  1 fold 3 cuffs

For this bracelet design, you first learn the basics of a simple design, and then the more skilled you become, the more complex the design becomes. After foldforming the cuff, add cold connections and a leather lining and then hot connections and a clasp to finish the piece.

Below are instructions on how to complete cuff 1. To move on to cuffs 2 and 3, click here to download the free project PDF

Materials

Cuff 1

  • Copper sheet: 20-gauge (0.8 mm), 2 1⁄2 x 5 3⁄4 in. (64 x 146 mm)
  • Flatnose pliers
  • Bracelet mandrel

Toolboxes:

Instructions

Easy fold forming 1
Picture 1

Cut the copper. Use a ruler and a fine-tip permanent marker to lay out a 2 1⁄2 x 5 3⁄4-in. (64 x 146 mm) rectangle on a sheet of 20-gauge (0.8 mm) copper. Use a jeweler’s saw with a 3/0 blade [Picture 1] or handheld shears to cut out the rectangle. 

 

File the corners and edges until they are smooth, then use 300-grit sandpaper to refine the edges. Use a fine-grit fiber brush in a flex shaft to finish the edges of the sheet, and then use a silicone wheel to refine them.

 

Anneal the copper. Place the metal on a soldering surface, and use a torch with a large, bushy flame to anneal the copper. (A butane torch may work, but I recommend an oxygen/propane mini torch with a rosebud tip.) Quench, pickle, rinse, and dry the copper.

Easy fold forming 2
Picture 2
Easy fold forming 3
Picture 3

Foldform the copper. Find and mark the center of the rectangle, and fold the sheet in half. Place the folded metal on a steel bench block, and use a rawhide mallet to flatten the metal at the fold [Picture 2].

 

Use the cross-peen face of a riveting hammer (or other small, cross-peen hammer) to hammer along the folded edge, perpendicular to the edge [Picture 3].

Tip!

Try to keep your hammer strikes just inside the folded edge, not directly on it. This will prevent the edge from being thinned too much, and will make the metal less likely to crack.

Start hammering in the center of the fold, and work your way toward each end. Flip the metal over, and repeat. Anneal, pickle, rinse, and dry the sheet thoroughly.

Easy fold forming 4
Picture 4
Easy fold forming 5
Picture 5

Repeat to hammer along the fold about two more times, or until a fin shape forms along the folded edge of the metal [Picture 4]. Don’t overwork the metal, or it may split.

After you’ve finished your last pass, anneal, pickle, rinse, and dry the copper.

 

Unfold the copper. Use your fingers [Picture 5] or flatnose pliers to unfold the metal. If necessary, place the fold over the edge of the bench block, and use the rawhide hammer to gently open the fold. You’ve just created this crazy ridge that sticks out of the sheet metal.

 

Anneal the unfolded metal, and pickle, rinse, and dry the copper.

 
Easy fold forming 6
Picture 6

Form the cuff. Use the rawhide mallet to form the copper around a bracelet mandrel [Picture 6]. Don’t flatten the ridge. 

 

Finish the cuff. Use a brass brush with soapy water to clean the cuff.

Patinate the cuff with liver of sulfur, and then scrub it with steel wool to give the copper a nice, worn look.

 

You’ve just created a simple cuff using just one piece of metal. Nicely done. Really. Now, wanna see what happens when you add some leather and rivets? Click here to download the project PDF. 

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