Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Magnetic Clasp (a slight variation)

A previous post mentioned re-making the silver "Tech" bead bracelet that I made for my son Micah, who is a big Red Raider fan. I finished the improved version today and mailed it off to him for his birthday upcoming April 6. A couple of snaps show how the clasp works, and by the way, these photos came out pretty well in light of my usual complaints!

It is made with 2 sterling end tubes constructed by moi, each that measure about a half-inch and are loaded with a few magnets and epoxied to the round leather cord. I discovered that sliding the sterling ends inside the bead allowed for proper alignment of the magnetized tubes so that full contact was made and they stuck together. Outside of the tube, the stress of the leather pulling into a circle doesn't allow the ends to meet flat on each other, and they fall apart (shown in the photo above). Fully assembled the result is a cool way to clasp because you don't feel the metal on the inside of your wrist. Micah will test it out and see if the strength of the magnets is enough to hold everything together for daily wear.

The texture on the bead was made by use of a polymer plate textured with a piece of window screen: I pressed it in a couple of directions to make a more complex pattern that was also small enough to contrast against the letters, which needed emphasis. I capped the ends of the bead after applying the letters for a nice finish before firing. I am going to explore photopolymer plates soon to see if that process will be more fun than my current method of applying raised text. I am getting faster at it, but it's more tedious than anything else since I cut them out after pressing into a mold. Four letters isn't too bad, (!) but I like to have fun when I am making jewelry, so if the PPP process can reduce the tedium, then hey baby hey baby hey!

This bead is such an improvement over my last one and I know Micah is going to like this good-looking piece of jewelry... I am going to make more of these kinds of bead bracelets with hidden clasps, and I think one that says "Texas" would be entirely appropriate in more ways than one! Ciao for niao!