Intro: Captive Chain Weave Brass and Copper Heart Bracelet
To make this cool bracelet you will need:
A power or battery drill
6' of 16ga brass wire
6' of 16ga copper wire
Fine electrical silver solder
Soldering gun or micro-torch
Needle nose pliers
Step 1: Captive Chain Weave Brass and Copper Heart Bracelet
To make the rings, insert your mandrel into your drill.
I have drilled a small hole in my mandrel to catch the wire and start the turn.
Working carefully using the drill at a slow setting, wind the wire around the mandrel, holding both of them tight and getting a tight wind around the mandrel.
When you are done, run the drill in reverse and pull the spring off of the mandrel.
Pull lightly on the spring and stretch it out far enough that you can get the jaws of the wire cutters in between the rings.
Start even with one end of the wire and begin carefully cutting the rings apart from the spring, ensuring you are cutting free a complete circle of wire.
Do this with both lengths of wire, both the copper wire and the brass.
Hopefully, you will end up with a few spare rings in case you make a mistake.
Take 46 copper rings and make a "double chain", two rings per link.
This will leave you with a chain comprised of 23 double links of copper.
Now take 35 brass rings and make a "single-double" chain; two rings connected by a single ring.
Step 2: Captive Chain Weave Brass and Copper Heart Bracelet
At this point you will want to stop and solder your links closed, being very careful not to use too much solder.
I cut my solder into little tiny bits and use the flux on a fine point awl to hold them to the opening in the ring.
Make sure you use just a dab of flux on each join so as not to make too much of a mess.
As you can see, I prefer to use a "helping hand" type soldering station with a magnifying glass and alligator clips to hold my work steady. This is some fine work and the magnifier helps.
Also be very careful not to solder your rings to one another.
I've done this and it will make your piece of jewelry very stiff.
I prefer a micro-torch myself, but you might be handier with a soldering iron.
Make sure everything is cooled off before going on to the next step.
Burning your fingers can cool your ardor. Trust me.
Step 3: Captive Chain Weave Brass and Copper Heart Bracelet
Now this is where it starts getting tricky....
If you have thick stubby fingers like mine, this is a lot like wrestling an octopus.
Spread out the double rings of your brass chain and lay the copper chain down the center.
You will want your copper rings to go horizontal and vertical inside the brass rings as they are surrounded.
Pinch the first two brass rings around the first set of copper rings, ensuring that the copper rings are horizontal.
Slip an open brass ring through the top of the first two brass rings above the copper.
Slide it around the second set of copper rings (the vertical ones) and slip it through the second set of brass rings.
Make sure that the brass ring goes around and not through the copper rings.
When you have captured all four brass rings, pinch the open ring carefully shut with your needle nosed pliers.
Do this again, linking the second and third pairs of brass rings together.
Continue this all the way down until you have completed the chain.
At the end of each chain, close the brass rings with two more brass rings running horizontally, one above and one below the copper rings. This will make the rings that you will attach the padlock to close the bracelet.
When you have finished this step, go back and carefully solder closed all of your un-soldered brass rings.
Once again, be careful not to solder your rings to one another.
Step 4: Captive Chain Weave Brass and Copper Heart Bracelet
When everything is cooled off, drop the necklace in a small plastic tub with a couple drops of mild dish washing soap and warm water and agitate it gently to wash off the soldering flux. Do this for a couple of minutes to make sure all of the flux is washed away. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and lay it on a towel overnight to let it dry.
Once the chain is dry, suspend it from a wire outside and spray the bracelet with a couple of light coats of a clear lacquer. I use Valspar clear lacquer for wood and metal. In between coats, shake the chain and ensure that the lacquer isn't sticking the rings together.
Once again, let it dry at least overnight.
When the bracelet is dry, present it to your lady love and wrap it around her wrist, closing it with the brass heart padlock.
In a purely romantic and symbolic gesture, give her one key and keep one for yourself.
That will score you some extra points.