Crimping, Part 3: Soldering Crimps on Sheet Metal Clasps

If you can solder a sterling silver crimp onto a piece of wire, you can solder it onto sheet metal for a simple, attractive clasp. It just takes a light touch with a torch; you will want to practice until you know exactly how much flame you need. Adding crimping tubes to your clasps can help create secure, well-finished stringing designs with no visible crimps. Here’s how.

How to Make the Clasp

For texture, I stamped my hallmarks and logos all over a small piece of 18-gauge sterling silver sheet. Then I used a template and fine-point Sharpie to draw two ovals on the surface. After I cut them out with a jeweler’s saw, I filed and sanded the edges. Then I domed them slightly with a pair of Miland synclastic pliers.

Next, I fluxed and soldered a piece of half-round 16 gauge sterling silver wire onto one oval for the hook and a jump ring on to the other for the eye, using hard solder.

After pickle and rinse, I fluxed the ovals and four 2×2 mm crimp tubes on my soldering board. I lined up two crimp tubes on the other ends of each oval and soldered them in place with easy solder, using a low flame and #0 Smith torch tip. This is where you should practice on scrap first, because sterling crimp tubes melt easily. I just brushed a little heat over the metal to make the solder flow.

TIP! I use Prip’s Flux in a spray bottle, spraying and heating until I’ve built up a nice, snowy coat. This way, crimps and solder chips don’t dance around during soldering.

After another pickle and rinse, I used rosary pliers to bend the half-round wire into a hook and tossed everything in a shot-filled tumbler for about an hour.

My final step was polishing with Fabuluster and a cotton buff on a bench polisher.

crimping stringing clasps

Now the Stringing

For a better hold, I doubled medium beading cable through the two crimps.

I covered one side of my Beadalon Magical Crimping pliers with a couple layers of blue painter’s tape and squeezed down on the tiny silver tubes to tighten. For a little extra protection, I then placed the clasp on a bench block and hit each crimp once with a flat punch and chasing hammer.

After stringing on the beads, I ran the cable through the crimps I had soldered onto the eye catch, checked to make sure the strand draped nicely around the neck, and closed them.

The result?  A cohesive, professional crimping look, plus your own custom clasp.

Get the whole story with crimping part one and crimping part two.

 


Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. You can reach her at betsylehndorff@gmail.com.


Learn more about stringing perfect strands to wear alone or to show off your pendants!

 

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