Monday, August 10, 2009

"Cold Connections"

Last Wednesday, 5 of my fellow South Shore Beaders and I went to the Fuller Craft Museum for a class on "Cold Connections" I wasn't really sure what to expect other than it would not involve a (hot) torch.

The process of attaching metal to metal usually involves heat thus this class in "Cold Connections" would be different. We found that there are many different ways and depending on our previous experience our teacher would instruct us in something new. She was well prepared for most anything. What we did learn was how to use rivets to connect two pieces of metal.

For the first piece, we chose a flat piece of shaped copper and a decorative piece to attach. I chose a funny shaped piece of copper and a flower.

Our first thing was to drill a hole in the copper piece where the center of the flower was to be placed. That meant using a drill press. Something new to me. Our instructor explained other ways to drill a hole since most of us do not own a drill press. We all took turns using the drill press under the helpful aid and watchful eyes of our instructor.

Then, since the hole was not big enough (better than being too big) we had to use a round file to make the rivet fit. That seemed to take a long time as we were really learning the technique of how to file. I soon discovered that my weaker hand held me back a bit but that it indeed was good physical therapy for strengthening my wrist. At least I had something to show for the exercise - more than squeezing a ball!

Next we inserted the rivet and the flower - with much joy as the hole was finally big enough (fortunately the flower already had a hole in the center). Using an awl we "flared" out the rivet and then one hit with a hammer, done!

I asked if I could add another hole (using the drill press as other methods sounded harder) so that I might be able to use the piece in a new necklace with a hole already there. I haven't decided what to do next yet.

Then we made a bail to attach to a green circle. That involved pounding the piece of copper round/flat wire so that both ends had totally flat, paddle shaped ends. Paddle shaped ends eluded me a bit as you can see in the picture. We now had three holes to drill and (most important) make bigger with our files. I rather pooped out as my physical therapy was getting old. So, with help from our instructor, I was able to finish and line up the three holes and make a pendant with a large bail.

We repeated the process of flaring and pounding the rivet to finish attaching the bail. Not sure what I might do with this piece but it is all a learning process.

So this summer has been a learning time and I'm progressing with new techniques. Now, to put them together and produce some amazing pieces!

B and


  1. What fun! I love the little copper piece with the flower. Would make a great earring!

  2. Thanks, I learned something!