Jewellery

Vikings for all occasions, no craft too crafty!

Manaraefan Herred

Another trade opportunity for the village.

One of the popular trades for the public with in the village is that of jewellery making although for health and safety reasons, as well as convenience this this does not involve the 'hot' work.

I have found that the public are interested in cold metal working, and with some simple rules are able to get involved too in the making of some items.

So what can we make that requires few tools, interests the public, and is safe? Well there are a couple of easy ones that the public never seem to loose interest in, and you can vary with experience.

Penanular

This is probably one of the easiest to explain to the public and has the advantage that you can use a hammer and anvil to attract the public over.

Tools, you will need the following as a minimum:

Hammer, relatively light weight, no more than 4oz as over this size it is too bulky to use.

Pair of pliers, ideally with smooth narrow jaws so as not to mark the metal, and allow detail work. The ideal are jewellers pliers but you will need to remove the plastic etc.

A flat file, at least one side should be flat,

An anvil, these can be quite large and bulky, so a useful alternative is the head from a lump hammer to use a striking surface.

Some lengths of metal wire, I use brass from the local model shop of about 1mm diameter which comes in 30cm lengths (enough for 3 or 4 pieces.

Optionally a second pair of pliers, or if you are feeling really clever a vice, but these are only used for fancy versions.

Method

Take your length of metal, and cut about 10cm, this is all the metal we need for one piece about 1.5 - 2cm in diameter

Take the metal and cut it again so that you have two pieces of 3/5 and 2/5 (6cm and 4cm). The long one is the ring and the short one the tang (needle)

The Ring

Using the longer piece, hammer the ends flat, you only need to flatten about 5-7mm, but be careful not to over do it, we are looking to get the metal to spread to about 1.5x to 2x its original thickness, any thinner and it gets to brittle to work

Using the thin nose pliers take the very end of the hammered bits and roll them back to form a ring at the ends. Optionally, you may want to take a nail and punch decorate the flats before rolling but be warned this will make them more fragile so practice will be required for this. Incidentally if you have over flatted the metal do not roll it at all it will work fine as it is. The purpose of this piece of work is to create an end stop fro the tang to stop it falling of the ring, so large flats can work as well as rings.

Now (gently) bend the metal into a ring, this is easiest a little at a time which avoids any sharp kinks forming, if it looks wrong ease it out and start again.

The Tang

Take the short piece of metal and file one end to a point, this is achieved by filing at an angle of about 15 degrees to the metal, any greater an angle and the point is not sharp enough, any less and it is too thin.

Turning to the other end of the shorter piece, hammer the end flat, you only need to flatten about 5-7mm, but be careful not to over do it, we are looking to get the metal to spread to about 1.5x to 2x its original thickness

Using the thin nose pliers take the very end of the hammered bit and roll it almost closed, but not completely as this needs to go over the ring.

Finishing

Now take the ring and the tang and slip the ring in to the roll at the end of the tang and using the pliers close the roll over the tang.

There is a variation to this using square section metal which creates a really interesting penanular. To create this use the square section metal for the ring (not the tang) but before hammering the ends take two pliers (or pliers and vice) and twist the brass, this will create a spiral down its length. With some square section you may need to soften the metal first (see notes), after this follow the process for a regular penanular.

As you can see the public can get involved in all of this with perhaps the exception of the hammering. This creates a really interactive experience for them, and prompts a good dialogue about all things Viking, not only how are they used for cloaks and the Kings banquet.

Notes

When you are working the metal you may find it becomes brittle if it is over worked (I've rarely had this happen when making these items) but to combat this put it in a hot cooking fire, or on a griddle pan and heat it, then let it cool naturally, this will make it flexible again. If on the other hand you want the metal to become rigid /stiff then heat it as before and then plunge it directly in to cold water, this will not cool it completely so be careful when removing it from the water. In either situation the colour of the metal is not a real indication of how hot it is!

Method

Take your length of metal, and cut about 10cm

Take the bead and thread it on to the wire so that it is in the middle of the length.

Magic Bead Mount

There are many different ways of mounting beads but for this exercise we will stick with what I refer to as the magic bead mount

Tools, you will need the following as a minimum:

Pair of pliers, ideally with smooth narrow jaws so as not to mark the metal, and allow detail work. The ideal are jewellers pliers but you will need to remove the plastic etc.

A round bar circa 3mm in diameter, easy to obtain from model shops selling brass wire.

Some lengths of metal wire, I use brass from the local model shop of about 1mm diameter which comes in 30cm lengths (enough for 3 or 4 pieces

A glass bead with hole suitable for the diameter of the wire.

Now take each end of the wire and bend them so that they are at right angle to their original position, the bead should now be trapped between to parallel lengths.

Now bend the wires again so that they point towards each other effectively forming a box around the bead.

At the point the two ends pass each other create a 2-3 twists in the wire, it is often helpful to hold the wire with the pliers to do this as it stops the 'box' from twisting too.

Taking the bar twist each end separately (one to the left one to the right) around the bar leaving 0.5mm between twist effectively creating a spring type ends to the wire.

In order to fit these on to a necklace thread or chain, just twist the thread over the springs and then as if buy magic with out opening the thread the bead is attached.

Comments on this site should be sent to Roger Barry