Jointed Mild-steel Necklace




Introduction: Jointed Mild-steel Necklace

This is a piece I made last spring at the Crucible's forge space in Oakland. It's a three- or four-piece jointed necklace, made from 3/8" round stock from the scrap bucket. Right now, I use steel jump-rings to connect the C-scroll back piece to each of the front S-scroll pieces, and the folded C-scroll clip holds the front two together. For a simpler look, I can just put a jump-ring or bit of wire to hold the front pieces together where their curves meet.

Process: As usual, I just rough-sketched the design and then started playing around with the pieces. If I make another, I'd start with smaller stock (since these were drawn down to less than 1/4" at their widest), do a more thorough design first, and mock up the 3D curves with wire. Also, it's a pretty impressive amount of trouble to shape very hot iron in complex curves that match one's own neck in a room with no mirror. I had to go through a lot of heat-and-quench cycles for this piece. With that and all the drawing and tapering, I broke one piece, and the clip has some serious cracks in it. A better model would help, as would time to properly anneal the pieces.

Finish: I cleaned off the scale and smoothed it with a grinding bit on a rotary tool. (Dremel + Flexshaft = awesome.) Since the piece is designed to be worn on the skin, I need to keep it from rusting. For the moment, it's been oiled & heated, and that seems to work well enough.



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22 Discussions

awesome!!! I just got into metal-smithing and I wish I had the tools to make this! 

you mentioned the cracks and how it'd be weaker but since it really only has to hold itself up you probly don't need to worry no? either way, I love the harsh and yet somehow still delicate beauty of it - very elegant!

Beautiful necklace... one made of brass or brass/steel combo would be pretty neat.

Yeah, scrolling tongs would be handy for this kind of thing. If I do much more fiddly delicate ironwork, I'm gonna need to make myself a set of <1/4" tongs, at least. ...So, hey, when're you going to post that iron-rose instructable? :) I played around a bit trying to make one, but it didn't come out so well.

oh right. Iron rose. I have to get an acceptable outcome first but that will come, definately. Best way to do it i think is to cut the pieces out of sheet stock and tack to a bar instead of scrolling the leaves and pounding them all out of a single bar. I'll do some more experimenting and see what i get.

Aww, but cutting pieces out of sheet stock I could do pretty easily...tacking them down might be more of a challenge. I managed to scroll up something that looked approximately like a rosebud, but in doing so twisted it right off of it's "stem." I'm not sure how to get around that; I'd love whatever tips you can throw my way. (And, sadly, my time at the forge has run out, so I won't be doing much/any hotwork until late May. I should console myself by playing with the waterjet machine instead.)

Thanks! Unfortunately, I don't have enough photos to make a full Instructable on it. Taking pictures when I've got tongs in one hand, a hammer in the other, and am handling hot iron is...a bit tricky. :) I'm trying to get enough photos for an Instructable on my current forge project (a blacksmith's rose).

Recently a friend and I visited a craft shop for the disabled and realized how neat it would be if we could take the pictures and notes on their crafts for them... Maybe you could come to a similar arrangement with someone at your studio and alternately do the notes and picture taking. These guys now plan to make the Instructables a resource.

That's fantastic, glad to hear it! Usually other folks at the studio are busy working on their own projects, and time in the forge is limited. I might try to sit in on a class sometime soon and take photos of process then. I also managed to get a friend to come in to the studio with me this afternoon to take photos/video, so if those turned out allright I'll have a full instructable up soon.

Very Nice! A great flowing and organic-looking piece, for something made out of cold, hard metal. Was this a project for one of the Crucible's courses, or something you did all on your own? I've been tempting to take one their blacksmithing courses - it looks like they have a great forge space their. Instead, I'll be doing their woodturning intensive next month. I suspect I'll have similar difficulties trying to take pictures while I'm working... :-D

1 reply

Thank you! And yeah, I love the juxtaposition in making organic/delicate pieces out of iron. (And the challenge of making them with a much-larger-than-jeweler's-size hammer and anvil and forge...) This wasn't for a class, just me playing around in the studio. The forge shop they've got is fantastic -- I'm finally getting back in there again for a few weeks this spring for a studio access lab. Have fun with the woodturning, and I hope you're able to post at least some of your projects. I always poke my head in the door on my way to the forge, just to see what people are working on.