Introduction: Tension Set Pearl Pendant
Finalist in the
Valentine's Day Challenge
Step 1: Initial Polish
To start I cut a section of ½” pipe. This pipe is in the electrical section at the hardware store. Five feet cost me $2.00. I chucked it in my lathe and used 400 grit sand paper followed by 800, and 2000 to polish it.
Doing this will make it eaisier to polish towards the end.
Step 2: Cut the Groove
The pearl is held within a groove by the tension of the metal. I based my measurements off the pearl which is about 6.5mm wide.
First I marked the pipe with marker. I followed that mark by scoring a line with a pipe cutter. Next I used a carbide bit to cut the initial groove. I expanded the groove with a round hobby file.
Step 3: Refine the Ring
After cutting the ring free at the score line I filed off any rough edges left behind from the pipe cutter.
Safety First: Use extreme caution if you use a lathe like I do. You have to understand what angles are the safest when using a file on a piece that’s spinning at 2500 RPM. Just incase you hit the chuck you want it to deflect not get bound up. Always work within your experience.
Step 4: Open the Ring
I located the seam on the inside of the ring and used wire snips to cut it open. Next I flattened it it out with a hammer on a hard surface. Make sure you don’t hit it too hard. You don’t want to mar it up.
Step 5: Set the Tension
To get the right tension on the pearl I started by forming the metal strip into a letter “U”. This was done with a pair of vise grips and the ¼” metal dowel of a grinding bit. From there I pinched the “U” shut over the dowel. See the pictures.
When I’d let go of the setting it would spring open just a little. To remedy this I held the setting closed and heated it until it was red hot. Next I quenched it in water. Now when I let go of the setting it stayed closed. This means the setting will want to spring closed instead of wanting to spring open.
The last two pictures are before and after heating.
Step 6: Clean It Up
I trimmed the setting down and drilled a hole for the chain. I also used a diamond wheel to help shape it.
Step 7: Polish and Fit
To quickly polish the setting I made an improvised sander. This was really a sand paper covered drill bit chucked into my drill press. I taped the sand paper on to the bit and just wrapped it around from there. I used the same grits from step one.
For the inside loop I used the same technique just with a smaller drill bit.
As for fitting the pearl, I used a small flat head screwdriver to pry the setting open; just enough. I slipped the pearl in the groove and removed the screwdriver.
Finally, I put it on a silver chain and placed it in the jewelry box I made. Thanks for reading.
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