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1st Boxes: proper sizing of hinge components & spring materials for catches


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#1 robert oram

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 12:52 PM

Making my first posting on this great forum today! I'm setting out to make my first boxes and need some help. Are there any rough guides to selecting the appropriate sizes for carrier bearings, tubing & pins. I know that the weight of the box and lid relate to the lid's likelihood of tipping the box backwards, but have no idea of how the gauges of the hinge parts relate to each other or the box itself.

Secondly, I've seen pictures of spring components using copper, brass & silver, but I don't understand the considerations & processes that go into their fabrication.

I've worked almost entirely with steel over the years making cutlery, hand tools & ironwork. I'm relatively new to jewelry and have really enjoyed exploring this new world and its smaller scale-I find it very exciting (and am happy to see that many ferrous metalsmithing techniques transfer over to jewelry!). Thanks.

#2 PTsideshow

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 01:28 PM

[Welcome] to the forum, to answer part of your question The art of making hinges and clasps for items is an art. and a number of books have been written about them.
You want them to be sized, to support the weight and usage of the lid. and also that they are large enough so the can be solder properly in place and still look in keeping with the piece. You also want there to be enough material so you can Broach the holes to line up the hinge pin if it is slightly out of adjustment.

Then depending on your design the hing pin is made and installed the one end is rivet headed in place.
Each style and type are different.
As to springs music wire is preferred but hard drawn brass and nickle silver can be used. The other material has little spring and goes away fairly quickly (copper) in my experience.
Here is the best book for general information in the art metal area

I can't say enough about this book other then to say get the pro edition rite off the bat as most soon end up buying each edition as they have more info in them. He also has a book on boxes, hinges and lockets among others.

This book along with Oppi's second book are must haves
Here is my review of it

[Welcome] to the forum.
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#3 robert oram

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 03:01 PM

Thanks for the quick & informed response, yes I can see how fabricating these components while taking into account the types, techniques & artistic stylistic concerns becomes an art form unto itself. I've had Oppi Untracht's book since the late 90's and was fascinated with the range it covered, James Meek on engraving, Moving Metal for repousse, so it's all been slow cooking for a long time. I picked up McCreight's older Complete Metalsmith during my 1st jewelry class, and will check out your review of the new. Funny how some things can sit on the back burner for so long! I'm looking forward to my first steps. Thanks for the help!

#4 ShawnM

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:41 PM

Hi Robert and [Welcome]

I will elaborate on Glen's comments about Tim McCreight's book called "The Metalsmith's Book of Boxes & Lockets". Although it does not give hard and fast rules on specific gauges etc. it does have a lot of good stuff on reinforcing the hinge area, how to construct a hinge, what's important, etc. Plus it's chockful of eye candy.
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#5 ShawnM

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:43 PM

Also take a look in our Metalwork Demonstrations forum for a demo on small boxes with lids.
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