Introduction: Handmade Blank/Bezel
I wanted to share how I make my pendant blanks that I then use for cameos and setting stones. I hope you guys can use this guide to make your own and if you have any tips or suggestions please leave a comment.
Step 1: Getting Started
For this piece I'll be using 4mm bronze rod and a sheet of 1mm bronze plate.
You will also need a butane or propane torch, some silver solder, sanding paper, a hammer and an "anvil" to forge your bronze rod (at the moment i'm using an old hammer head mounted in a tabletop vice).
You should also have the item that you want to mount inside the blank nearby.
Step 2: Turn Up the Heat
Once you have all of your materials ready you can start forging the bronze rod...
Start by measuring the circumference of your item this is the length of rod you will need, always add a few centimetres extra.
WARNING! - BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING WITH HOT METAL!
Now that you have the required length of rod cut you can grab the rod with some tongs and start heating up the rod to a dull red with the butane torch (ALWAYS TREAT THE ENTIRE PIECE AS IF IT IS HOT TO PREVENT BURNS).
Place the rod on your "anvil" and start hammering it out, I like to heat and forge about 5cm of the rod at a time.
Only forge the rod until you start to feel the metal hardening again otherwise you risk cracking it.
Heat and repeat, the aim here is to get from a round rod to a rectangular rod that's about 1mm thick.
Rotate the rod as you go to keep as straight as possible.
Step 3: Let's Get Bending
After you've forged your round rod into a rectangular rod you can move onto shaping it to fit around the piece that you want to mount.
To do this I take the bronze plate that will become the back, place the item on it and mark the outline with a sharpie.
Heat up the entire rod to a dull red this time and quench it in water to make it easier to bend and to avoid cracks.
Now bend it to match the shape that you marked on the plate and cut of the excess.
Try to make the seam where you cut it as flush as possible as this will improve the appearance of your final product.
When you are happy with the result you can test fit the piece to make sure it fits and then we move on to soldering it.
Step 4: Almost There....
Now things are starting to take shape...place the shaped rod on the bronze plate add flux and silver solder along the seam, grab the torch and start to heat up the piece evenly until your silver solder flows into the seam.
Make sure the solder solder has flowed into all the seams otherwise add more and reflow.
When you are done let the piece cool down and cut away the excess bronze plate.
I use a dremel with a sanding drum to get it to a rough finish.
Step 5: Loop-the-loop
Now we have to add a loop to the blank.
For this I use the excess that came from the rod. Heat it up to a dull red as before, bend it to the shape you would like and trim the excess.
You need to solder it on the same as how you soldered the bezel.
Now we can finish it off!...
Step 6: Finish Line!
You can now sand the entire piece with sanding paper (I go from 400 to 2000 grit).
When you've sanded away all the imperfections you can start polishing it, I use a dremel with a felt pad and finish it off by hand with a soft cloth to get it nice and shiny!
Were all done...phew
You can now customise it to your hearts desire, please feel free to share your designs in the comments!
Runner Up in the