Day 7 – metal


This is my sink. You can see all of it. This was not the case earlier today and has not been for some days. If I accomplished nothing else today, this would be enough. However, I did do other things. In keeping with the metal theme I will tell you that I spent a couple of hours researching what jewelers inexplicably call “findings”, the clasps and other do-dads that one uses to complete a piece of jewelry, like my wrapped clothesline necklace.

I’ve fallen in love with Argentium Silver, which is sterling silver with a tad of Argentium in it to drastically retard tarnishing. Since I’m only doing a few necklaces I wanted to use something that most people can use and I’ve learned that not very many people are sensitive to sterling silver. And I needed it to be silver colored which is otherwise very often nickel which a fair few people can’t wear. I’ve found a few clasps that I like (NOT those lobster claw ones or little round things you have to use your finger nail to prise open. I struggled with those as a girl.) but the trouble is how to attach the cord to the clasp.

I thought I had a solution, wrapping some Argentium Silver wire tightly around the cord, attaching a ring to that and also to the clasp.  I called up the place that had the clasps I liked to ask how thick a wire I should use and could I please just have a foot of it instead of the required 5 or 10 feet mentioned on the website. A very helpful woman (really, she couldn’t have been more helpful, do check out Chain Weavers for all of your chain maille making needs. Amazingly, they are not the only chain maille makers’ supply store in the United States. Who knew?) Anyway, the v.h.w. told me that whereas I should be able to bend 18 gauge wire around the rope without trouble, I would have to harden the metal so that when pressure was put on it (you know, like when it’s worn) it wouldn’t bend out of shape. To harden the metal I needed a special machine or a glass jar with liquid and metal beads… but then, of course, I’d have to take it off the cord to harden it which sort of defeats the purpose ’cause how do I get it back tight enough on the cord to hold it in place. Well, that just about tore it I can tell you.

Back to the drawing board and after half an hour of looking at the same websites I had already looked at but trying to find something else, I found the most perfect thing. It was the shiniest, most beautifully shaped end cap with, not a pedestrian round ring at the front to attach to the clasp but a sort of flying buttress that arced from the opening at the back of the cap to the front, coming to an elegant point. But that’s not all, I wouldn’t have to glue my necklace to the inside of this cap, no, there was a removable spring that I could sew my rope securely onto, squash it into the cap and let the spring open up to rest securely on a special lip on the inside of the opening. And, get this, there was only one size and it was precisely the right size for the cord! It couldn’t have been more perfect. It was $17. For one. I would need two. Plus clasp, plus little rings, that’s $50 of “findings” for a, admittedly very nice, necklace I had never tried to sell before.*

Yeah, back to the drawing board. I got a little obsessive about it. I learned that you can harden your Argentium Silver in a standard or even toaster oven. It does take up to three hours depending on how hot you can make your oven but it’s doable. So yes, obviously after that I researched the burn temperature of cotton and silk to see if I could harden the metal while it was on my necklace. Wouldn’t you have? While I don’t know that I have an answer to my original question, I did read an interesting article on whether 451 degrees was the temperature books would burn and another one on how hot an e-book would have to be (don’t try this at home, lithium batteries explode).

I have concluded for the evening that I will try to find a short amount of the wire somewhere and experiment with wrapping it, hardening it and putting it back on the rope. Perhaps I can squeeze the rope together temporarily somehow so I can slip the coil back on. Perhaps I will put a couple of stitches through the cord and around the wrapped wire for security. I’m still not sure of the solution but at least now I have a plan and can go to bed.

Thanks for reading. I hope it was amusing, albeit, long. Here’s a picture of a sleeping Charlie for your trouble (why isn’t he sleeping on the cushion?).

*In case my description wasn’t adequate, I am getting a little hysterical, here is a link to the wonderful end cap. Seventeen dollars. I mean, really.



About Susan Brandt

I am an artist concentrating on hand-painting silk. I sell online (, at craft shows and in shops. I don't have a plan for Thing-A-Day 2014, though, as always, it will most likely involve new hand-painted silk stuff.

One comment

  1. It is good to be inspired by the clean sink. Contemplating the next idea is better. Which you are running to. Silver hmmm.

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