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Foxtail-chain necklace

Perfect your fusing technique with one classic, basic chain

Fusing is a straightforward technique that you can use to join metals without solder. To fuse, you use a torch to melt the metal on both sides of a join, and the surface tension causes the molten metal to flow together. To fuse well, you need a delicate touch and fine timing, and what better way to practice both than by fusing the jump rings you’ll need for making a chain?

If you follow the measurements for the materials called for in this project, you’ll make a 20-in. (50.8 cm) chain; to make a longer or shorter chain, add or remove links as desired. If you prefer, you can draw the chain through a drawplate to reduce the chain’s diameter; this will make the chain longer and give it a more delicate appearance. 

See project instructions in the gallery below, or click here for the free project PDF.

Materials

  • Fine-silver wire: 22-gauge (0.6 mm), round, 10 ft. (3.05 m)
  • Sterling silver jump rings: 18-gauge (1.0 mm), 5 mm inside diameter, 2
  • Lobster claw clasp: 10 x 5 mm

Tools & supplies

  • Clothespin
  • Flex shaft, drill bits
  • Wire cutters: flush
  • Mandrel: 5⁄16-in. (8 mm) diameter
  • Coil winder
  • Shears
  • Firebrick
  • Solderite pad
  • Torch: propane pencil torch, Blazer-type butane torch, or conventional acetylene/air torch with a very small tip
  • Pliers: chainnose (two pairs), roundnose, bow-opening
  • Optivisor or other optical magnifier
  • Twist tie
  • Awl
  • Drawplate (optional)
  • Beeswax (optional)
  • Tumbler, steel shot, burnishing compound

Suppliers

Before you begin: Make a clothespin tool. This is a handy tool for controlling the tension of your wire as you coil it around your mandrel. Use a drill bit in a flex shaft to drill a hole through one leg of a wooden clothespin below the rope recess. The hole should be slightly larger than the gauge of wire you’ll be using and drilled at roughly a 45° angle to the rope recess; this will allow the wire to pass smoothly through the tool without kinking.

Instructions
FIND MORE: wirework , soldering , wire , chain , necklaces

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