Jewelry chain is one of our best-selling categories and options are available in a huge variety of styles. Here are some tips on how to finish the ends of footage chain. This article outlines attaching a jump ring to finished chain, how to use a heat sink for soldering delicate chain, attaching a tab end to footage chain, how to solder the attachment loop on a clasp and how to attach a tube end to chain. The images of the chain in this blog have either been factory finished or finished in our in-house studio.
Soldering a jump ring to a tiny chain
Small linked chain, such as the .7mm box chain (1) and the 1.2mm cable chain (2) shown above, are too small to allow a jump ring to thread through the links. Don't be discouraged though, adding a jump ring is very easy.
If you're comfortable with this technique, solder a jump ring onto each end at the same time. It will save you a lot of time!
Using a heat sink
Chain that's made of larger links will allow a jump ring to thread through, but delicate chain requires protection from the torch flame.
|Instructions: To solder a jump ring closed and protect your links from melting, place the chain in a third hand. When you heat a piece, no matter where you aim the flame, the entire piece will become hot in a matter of seconds. When you add a third hand to the mix, the steel will actually draw the majority of the heat away and protect the pieces that are not hit with the flame. For instance, in the image on the left, I have placed the jump ring above the third hand and the chain below it. Since the flame will be focused on the jump ring to melt the solder, I have left enough of the jump ring exposed so it will maintain a high temperature, but the steel on the third hand will protect the chain in its grip and the chain below as well. Take advantage of a third hand whenever possible, it makes a lot of soldering techniques possible.|
Be sure to solder all of your jump rings closed when creating necklaces. Your work will look more finished and will be so much more durable!
Chain Solder End Tabs
You've seen the two ways to attach jump rings to chain ends, but what can you do about those fancy chain links where a jump ring just can't work? Use a chain solder end tab!
|Instructions: A chain solder end tab will work great with different styles of chain. For instance, these end tabs were used to finish the sequin (3) and Figaro (5) necklaces in the main image at the top of the blog.
To start, clean the end tab and chain link with 400 grit sandpaper. Situate the chain link on the end tab so it lies half on/half off the tab as seen in the image on the right. Flux and place a piece of medium solder on the link. Heat the chain and the end tab using several passes with the torch, then focus on the end tab and the link. Once the solder flows, you can pickle, quench and dry it.
You can flow solder up to three times before it is unusable so there's no need to add more.
To keep the bend in a round shape as seen in the image to the left, place a mandrel inside the fold such as cylindrical jaw pliers, the handle on a small punch (or something similar) when you fold the tab.
Closing a clasp
So, you've attached a jump ring or fold over end tab to your chain end, but how do you get that small spring ring soldered closed? Use a third hand to protect it, too!
|Instructions: Many clasps have an attachment loop that will need to be soldered to securely attach it to the chain.
Thread the clasp's attachment loop through the jump ring that's attached to your chain. Then, place the jump ring in a third hand and expose the clasp above its grip. Keep the area you are soldering as far away from the jump ring and third hand as possible. Flux, then place a tiny piece of soft solder across the ring's seam. Heat the clasp, then focus just on the attachment loop. Since solder flows toward the heat source, aim the flame upward from the bottom so the solder flows downward through the seam.
Use less solder! The more you use, the more clean-up you have.
An alternative way to end footage chain
With round links or smooth chain like Rollo and snake chain (5), you have an option of using an end cap.
Some end caps come with lobster claws or spring rings already attached, but you can always add one if they don't.
Find everything you need to finish necklace and bracelet chains at HalsteadBead.com.
Got questions? Email our studio coordinator Erica Stice at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you. Sorry, studio support is not available by phone. Emails only please