The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Book Review: Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections by Scott David Plumlee

Aug 29, 2011
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Cathy Contreras
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As a follow-up to our recent book excerpts of Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections by Scott David Plumlee, Rio's very own Cathy Contrares takes a closer look at the book's projects and gives us the perspective of an experienced chain maille artist.

Chain and Bead Jewelry Soldering Connections is the fourth book in Scott David Plumlee’s series on chain making. If you love making chain, but have been avoiding projects that involve soldering, this is the book for you!

As in the first three books, Plumlee begins by breaking down the basics: Hand tools, soldering supplies/torches, and finishing. All techniques for completing the projects in the book are illustrated and explained very well. The author explains soldering methods, and gives tips on how to avoid common soldering mishaps. The differences in the properties of silver wires (Argentium 930 Sterling, 925 sterling, and 999 fine) are clearly defined, and this is very helpful!

The best thing about Plumlee's Mobius Bracelet project is that it can be interpreted in a million different ways. My version features square sterling wire.

The book's “Spiral” chapter highlights the mobius ball and demonstrates the versatility of this design. It can be used as a link/connector, focal point, or accent. I was so inspired by the beauty of the tri-colored Mobius Bracelet, that I used the book's instructions as a jumping off point for a sterling version of my own.

I wound and cut rings out of 20-gauge sterling square wire, and made a few extra larger rings to solder together for the clasp ring. I used a piece of 16 gauge square wire for the toggle.

The “Tear Loop” chapter makes use of the head pins and ear wires Plumlee demonstrates at the beginning of the book. He teaches you to connect the wires (head pins) and loop them to form your projects, as well as how to incorporate beads. The Forged Arch bracelet and earrings project is lovely and will really develop your skills in basic forming.

This book is filled with inspiration. Using it as your guide, you'll gain confidence and skill in chain making while learning to love (instead of fear) your torch!

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