Sunday, August 30, 2009

Learning to Silver Core Beads


For the past several weeks I've been holed up in my studio, often till the wee hours of the morning, researching everything I might possibly need to know about putting silver cores in my beads and making silver bead caps. I have tables piled with gigantic Rio Grande catalogs and boxes of rusting yet resurrect-able silversmithing tools from bygone days.

Finally, last week, research done and hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds) of dollars saved for this very moment, I placed my orders and waited anxiously each day for the UPS lady to arrive.

Now my studio is happily scattered with styrofoam peanuts and shipping boxes, out of which has come polishing bits and compounds, silver tubing, silver sheet, hammers, mallets, mandrels and one very heavy and gorgeous Jim Moore bead press!

The photo at the top of this post shows the one success out of my first six attempts at silver coring a bead. Here is what remains of the other five attempts:Silver Cored bead disasterThere is definitely a learning curve to this process! And I'm not even finished learning how to make the bead caps, which is another ongoing studio adventure at the moment.

Today marked Day 4 of working with the tubing and bead press, and I finally have 5 successfully lined and polished beads which I will photograph and post here soon.

Stay tuned for my next post featuring sources and resources for everything you need to silver core and cap your beads!

11 comments:

Lynne Glazzard said...

I have wanted to do this for ages and wondered about the bead press as I am not very good at rivets and my only attempts so far have broken the beads. Thanks for posting this

Sue Doran said...

I'm in England and have had a Jim Moore bead press for some time (it cost a fortune to ship over at a time when the exchange range was not in my favour!) I'm very pleased with it, though I still get the odd broken bead from time to time! LOL. Recently, I have found that the size of tubing I was using didn't fit some of the bracelet systems and after building up a stock of 50 odd beads, they would only fit the troll system. So in the last couple of weeks, I had to start again. I now double dip my 5mm mandrels and the beads are then fitted with sterling silver tubing with 6.00mm outer dimension and 4.6mm inner. The resulting beads then fit Pandora, Biagi, Chamilia and Troll. Even now, my new size beads won't quite fit Lovelinks bracelets as I understand they need 4.82mm inner dimension tubing to fit so I'm just telling people with that system not to buy my beads. What size tubing are you using?

Stephanie Bonniwell said...

I have to smile, Karolen! Congrats on your successfully cored beadies and thank you for sharing! I am wanting to learn coring and capping as well but haven't even starting making my lists yet. :)

SueBeads said...

The one you showed that worked is beautiful! I would love to do this someday as well, but I know what you mean about hundreds and hundreds - just can't do it right now!!!!

kelleysbeads said...

I'm thinking you may have a different coring machine than Dwyn at DragonJools, but she made a little video on using hers to do this that you may be interested in watching. Perhaps the technique is similar?

http://dragonjools.blogspot.com/2009/08/nortel-bead-core-liner.html

rosebud101 said...

Wow! I've not tried coring beads at all! I can hardly wait to see the new beads.

Karolen said...

Thanks for your comments everyone!

Sue Doran - the inside diameter of the tubing I'm using is 4.3 mm. It fits the Pandora, and Biagi and Troll as far as I know, but it does not sound like my tubing will fit the Lovelinks.

kellysbeads - thanks for linking to the video about the Nortel bead press on DragonJool's blog. The Nortel is almost identical to the Jim Moore press that I'm using.

I'm still breaking a bunch of beads, but getting better. When they say you can core a bead in "seconds," well that might be true if you get lucky or are satisfied with slightly loose tubing. I'm not... I don't want the tubing to spin around inside the hole at all. Most of the time I sit there for a few minutes per bead, working that very fine line between a tight fit and breaking the bead. Go slow and carefully is my advice!

Paul said...

Very interesting to see how beads are actually silvered.

Karolen said...

Thanks Paul :)

irslan2u said...

Thank You gives me the knowledge about beads. I will take some more pictures soon ....But my son has to help me make a little video when I make a bracelet. I promise...... soon
troll bead

lanza130 said...

thank you for this helpful blog!!! When I went out to purchase beads and saw how expensive they are, I thought...time to break out my old glass bead making kit!