Salamander Pendant





Introduction: Salamander Pendant

About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

I made this pendant using the "Dusky Salamander" as a model. It's made from a section of 3/16" steel dowel rod and a paper clip. I had a good time making it. The rod is available at any home improvement store.

Step 1: Turn the Dowel

Chuck the section of dowel into a drill press. The one I’m using is an 8” press laid on it’s side.

Spin the dowel and shave down the desired profile with a file.

Make sure it cools off before you touch it.

Step 2: Hammer Out the Body

Use a torch to heat up the body. Hammer the head side flat. Since a salamander has a tail made for swimming turn the body 90 degrees before you hammer the tail section. See the pictures.

During this step use pliers to bend the body the way you want it, but first use a sanding attachement to rough out the shape.

Make sure not to touch hot metal until it cools down.

Step 3: Refine the Shape

Use rotary tools to shape the body.

To further refine it use a set of hobby files.

Step 4: Make the Arms and Legs

Cut two sections of paper clip. Bend them into the desired shape for arms and legs. Use vise grips to flatten out the feet.

Step 5: Solder and Polish

Cut two grooves on the belly side of the body. Make sure they fit the paper clip limbs. Apply soldering flux to the grooves and limbs. Solder the limbs in place.

Use progressively finer sand paper to polish the salamander. I start with 400 grit, then move on to 1000, 2000, and finally polishing compound on a polishing wheel. The jump ring is also made from a paper clip.
Thanks for viewing.



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Say, how do you keep your pieces from rusting? it seems like, with such a high polish, that the wearer might have to oil it or such to keep it from growing a dusky red skin. am I missing something obvious?

3 replies

Dip in a mixture of wax and linseed oil while hot. It will turn the iron black and prevent rust.

I've noticed that the more a steel surface is polished the less likely it is to rust. Rust is not a problem though unless the piece is in constant contact with moisture. My sister has a few of my pieces and uses clear nail polish with sucess. I've heard there's a liquid called "cold blue" used for gun metal. I'll try it if I ever come across it.

check the gun section of a sporting goods store

Hi! I've been following your instructibles for months now, and they got me dreaming about metal work, etc.-- I now have a dremel and access to my brothers' tools, plus a torch. And I made the salamander for a birthday gift! :) It didn't turn out quite like I wanted and I had to improvise some--I used a common nail and turned it down in a drill (nearly perished in the attempt) and bent the body--that was hardest, with a combination of tools, bench vice etc. I was about sick of it till I was done but my brother loved it so it was all worth it! And I just had to show you my dragonfly because I did the body like the salamander--never would have thought it up. I'm thinking brass monkey and spider sometime down the road! And if I ever get my hands on bullet casings, survival whistle, here I come! Thanks for being such a resource and source of inspiration.

1 reply

Man!!! Those look great. You've got to share the steps on your dragonfly. I know what you mean about getting burnt out. Figuring out how to work metal took me hours on end. Now I can make something in an afternoon from thought to finished piece. But I sure didn't start like that. Hopefully these instructables take out some of the guess work. Thanks for posting the pictures.

Here's my first attempt. I am happy with the shape, but need to watch the tool marks a bit. I don't have a drill press but put a hand drill in a vise and used a C-clamp to gently pull the trigger.

I might re-sand this one to fix a couple spots and then re-polish it.

1 reply

Good work! Thanks for posting pictures.

Made this as a Christmas gift for the wife and she loved it. Thanks for the Instructable!

Salamander Pendant.JPG
1 reply

I was looking back at this instructable and cannot believe I did not reply to your awesome work. You did a great job! Seeing posts like yours keep me going. Thanks!

I made a Negishi Ryu shuriken using this method. I never would have tried if it weren't for this 'ible.

2 replies

Whoa! That turned out great. Good work!

hello, nice work! what kind steel is that, it's really difficult to shave it ... the press should be very strong?

5 replies

There is nothing special about this steel. It's just a plain metal rod from the hardware store. I think I paid about $2 for it. It was very easy to shave down. It took me about 5 minutes. The press is just a normal drill press laid on it's side.

Excellent 'ible, Im finishing up one now as a gift for a caving friend of mine. I ended up using 3 nails, one large one for the body and two small ones for the legs. I turned it on a hand held power drill using a bastard file and used a cheapo propane plumbing torch to heat it for bending. Looks good so far, thanks for the idea and guide (will add a pic when Im finished)!

as promised, my version made from nails
thanks again for the instructable!


You really did a great job! My hat off to you. I know your friend will love it. Thanks for posting a photo.

I had a drill press, the speed of motor is 1420 RPM, but I can switch the belt on the gears, so the speed can go to 3100, and the power of it is 250W (the motor is 1/3HP), does it good to do this? I bought a stainless steel rod type 303, is it a good one? Thanks again!

I took a look of all your work, nice! impressive!