Jewelry Tools: Put a Spin On It with Jeff Fulkerson’s New Spinner Bangle Tool
Use new jewelry tools developed to make arm jewelry for the fidgety–spinner bangles!
By Jeff Fulkerson
Thinking is a dangerous pastime for me, but a while back there I was, thinking about spinner rings, and then wondering why there was no easy way to make spinner bangles. The conventional way to make an anticlastic bangle doesn’t allow for the spinner. If you try to raise the bangle using stakes, you’ll hammer on your spinner. If you use forming pliers, you’ll squish the spinner along with the bangle.
I kept on thinking, and after much trial and error, I created the Fast Flare forming disks. They allow you to form the bangle into the anticlastic shape without touching the spinners. This bracelet has two parts: the bangle, the part to be formed with the disks, and the pair of spinners, which will rest side by side in the crook of the bangle but can spin freely around it. Each part has its own idiosyncrasies.
Bangle: I’ve found that 24 gauge works well for the bangle, whether you’re using silver or copper. You may think that’s too thin and won’t be strong enough, but when you put a compound curve into the metal, it becomes incredibly strong. We’re going to make our bangle ⅝” wide. You can go narrower, but then you don’t have much room for two spinners. You can also go wider, but you really are only going to flare the sides, so it won’t look as concave. Play around and see what you like.
Spinners: These need to be longer (larger in diameter) than the bangle so they will spin around your bangle, but you run into the same problem with metal thicknesses as when making a ring shank. You have to allow for the thickness of the spinner, so each spinner will be unique. That said, I’ve found that a good rule of thumb is to make the spinners ½” longer than the bangle and they will spin easily. If your spinner is very thin, you might want to go a little shorter, and if it’s very thick, a little longer. Once again, you’ll have to play around and discover what works for you.
Basic metalsmithing, including: filing and silver soldering
5/8″ x 9″ 24-gauge copper sheet
10″ 12-gauge square copper wire
10″ sterling silver patterned wire
Fast Flare forming disks, bench vise, rawhide mallet, files, texturing tools (stamps, hammers, rolling mill, etc.), jewelers saw with #2/0 blades, diagonal flush-cut pliers, scribe (awl), tapered bracelet mandrel, solder setup, bench pin, ruler, 320 or 400 grit sandpaper, metal shears
Author Bio: JEFF FULKERSON has been creating imaginative jewelry for 30+ years and has taught at museums, schools, and events. The award-winning silversmith has studied such Native American greats as Richard Tsosie, Jesse Monongye, and Michael Cheatham. Noted for his meticulous execution and attention to detail, Jeff loves the creative process of seeing his ideas take shape and come to life. See more of his work at www.aldenjeffriesdesign.com.
See this project and more in the July/August issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist!