Introduction: Gear Necklace

About: I own a custom furniture shop doing touch up, repairs and refinishing. As a hobby i make stuff, restoring a couple of vintage campers right now, jewelry, marquetry, welding, metalwork, and some minor electro…
I had a pair of broken equalizer table slides hanging around for a little while and just before they were about to go in the trash can i decided that i could come up with something to do with them...

This necklace was the result, little  bit of rusty metal kinda steampunk inspired definitely one of a kind...

Step 1: Tools and Materials

In terms of tools and materials, you need a little bit on this one...

  • Gear Mechanism-  for this i used the mechanism from some dining room table slides.  I have a furniture repair, refinishing and restoration business, so this is the kind of thing i tend to have floating around... You may too, who uses their dining room anyways?  No one will even notice until Thanksgiving anyways...
  • Salt- to give the metal a little more patina at the end there
  • Windex-  I use this instead of water.  I find the ammonia and such helps speed up the patina

  • Drill-  for unscrewing and screwing things
  • File- for smoothing out the edges and knocking down burrs
  • Welder of some sort-  I used my mig for this, but tig, stick or oxy acetylene would all work
  • Bench Grinder- makes quick work of giving finished edges to the piece, but a file would work if you got the time
  • Dremel and cut off wheels- to cut the piece to final size, angle grinder or a hacksaw would work just as well

Step 2: Getting Started

To get this thing kicked off you first need to remove the mechanism (for me it was 3 screws, so piece of cake)  and then start making the bending Jig.

The bending jig pretty much consists of 2 screws stuck in a piece of wood, plywood or a benchtop.

put the first one in just by the edge of the board and lay the track piece up against it.

From there put the second screw in on the backside of the track, just in between a pair of teeth, about 2"away from the first screw.

Step 3: Starting to Bend the Piece

Now comes the fun stuff, starting to bend and layout the necklace...

Now stick the track in the jig, with the first screw nestled between 2 teeth and the flat side of the track against the second screw.

Gently pull back on the track and watch the piece bend slightly.  Get a little bit of deflection and then step to the next set of teeth and repeat the process.

Start gently at first working one side of the necklace to the center point and then flip it and repeat on the otherside.  It is best to do this gradually a few times rather than trying to get it to bend all at once.  Taking your time gives you a better more even curve

once you get things to a point where you like the shape its time to move along...

Step 4: Little Bit of Welding

This is the fun part i enjoy welding and being a woodworker, I don't get to play around with it all that much anymore.  So i am sure there were other ways to fasten this, using some cord to hang it off the track or something fun like that, but I was looking for an excuse to break out the MIG...

I really just wanted to center the gear on the piece and weld from the back, so the attachment was more or less invisible.

Step 5: Cutting Things Down to Size

The newly welded piece at this point is way too big for the necklace I was planning, so now that everything is in place its time to size it.

At this point  measured left and right an appropriate amount, laid out the cuts and cut it down with the dremel and cut off wheel.  

the edges are a little ragged and sharp once you cut it, if you have a bench grinder, you can have everything ground back in a minute or two and have a nice little finished edge, and while your at it, clean up any of the welds from attaching the gear... 

Step 6: Making Things Look a Little Crunchy...

If you like the clean shiny metal look then consider yourself done and feel free to skip ahead to the next step.  If you want things to go a little bit more rusty, worn and old looking this is how i usually take care of it...

If you used steel-
  • either wire brush it or sand it to break up any finish or sealer that may have been put on it. 
  • next scrub things down with a coarse salt and water or windex mix.  I usually use windex or something along that line of things as i find it makes the rusting move along a little faster
If you used brass or copper-
  • Salt wont do too much of anything to it, stick it in a tupperware type container with a little bit of ammonia in it, and keep an eye on it for a couple of hours, that thing will be looking funky in no time...

once things have reached the appropriate level of patina, seal the piece with an aerosol sealer, I usually use either a Pre-Catalyzed laquer or Lacquer sanding sealer (Sanding sealer from lowes or Home Depot, order the pre-cat online)


Step 7:

Now that you have the pendant done, its time to figure out how you want to hang it .  I went and lashed a couple of pieces of waxed thread to the piece and put a couple of steel washers on the cord and called it a day!

I know the parts and pieces here a bit specific, but hopefully you can take some inspiration and come up with something fun!
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