Ok…Here Are My Tips And Tricks Regarding How To Make Heat Rivets, Or Pins For Showcasing Hard-To-Work With Gemstone Daggers…
It is all about the torch set up! I personally use a Gentec mixed gas torch with propane and oxygen. This is really about the only task I use this torch for, but I make a lot of jewelry using these pins, so it was worth having this torch for that reason alone!
The oxygen acts as a booster for the heat. The trick is to go in very hot and very fast.
I use 20 gauge sterling silver wire for pins, not fine silver. Fine silver is too soft and the pins will bend on you and distort the original design idea if anyone wears them regularly.
I ball up one end of the wire pin FIRST, then insert it through the holes of the stirrup frame and stone.
I use a third hand to hold the frame with the pin end to be balled up hanging down towards my heat surface. Use gravity to help the balling up process! You want the ball to be straight on the pin like a lollipop, not sideways or asymmetrical.
The size of your torch tip is important. I use my smallest tip which is a size 4. This comes with any Gentec torch set-up you purchase. The flame is hissing hot…not bushy!
As soon as the pin balls up next to the frame, immediately quench in a bowl of water. The stones will be a bit warm. With practice, you will be able to ball up the pin very fast and your eyes will adjust to pulling away the flame and getting perfect little pins.
If your pin balls up too close to the frame, it may make the stone portion too stiff to move in the frame. Cut the pin and start over if this happens, as this will weaken the pin over time, make it too brittle and it will break anyway.
I DON’T BELIEVE YOU CAN DO THIS PROCEDURE WITH A BUTANE TORCH! The flame is simply too big, not hot enough and you will fry your bead.
I use this procedure for pearls and haven’t had any problems with practice. (Burnt pearls really stink!!)
I have this procedure photographed in the Autumn 2012 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine with my article Stirrup Connectors for more information! The back issue is still available!