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Book Review: Making Silver Chains, Simple Techniques, Beautiful Designs by Glen F. Waszek

By Sandy Amazeen Jul 30, 2006, 2:41 GMT

Book Review: Making Silver Chains, Simple Techniques, Beautiful Designs by Glen F. Waszek

Showpieces like these silver chains could never be fashioned by machine--and most take less than a weekend to craft. Beginners can start with a simple trace design, ideal for familiarizing yourself with the fundamentals. Switch from round to square wire, adapt the chain to a pendant, or use small oval links for a sophisticated look. Transform trace chains into flat-lying curb chains by twisting each link. Or, try distinctively round ...more

Chain making is steadily gaining in popularity and this book is an excellent place for the beginner to start. Opening with the necessary tools, materials and wire gauges, Waszek moves on to explain the annealing process, pickling, soldering, polishing, link and jump ring making before getting into chain construction. The first and easiest projects are the cable chains, which introduce the new silver worker to the basics with step-by-step written instructions clarified with line drawings to show precise alignment and soldering angles making the learning process virtually painless. The chapter finishes with plenty of helpful information to assist with designing your own cable chain variations.

Curb chains introduces filing techniques and the use of square wire along with heavier gauges. Especially nice is the inside, length to width ratio that allows the cable chain automatically align itself properly. Chain maille artists will recognize the offerings in the circular link section although box chain is called Idiot’s Delight and the Byzantine is considered one of its variations. Soldered jump rings set these apart, a time consuming but strength-enhancing step. Fancy link chains make ample use of twists and wire worked elements familiar to Wig-Jig users. The short chapter on closures outlines the construction of hook and eye, toggle, “S” hooks and end caps thus assuring your chain is finished off properly. Instructions become less detailed as one works through the first chains and becomes familiar with steps that should be more or less automatic to the experienced chain maker cutting down on redundancy.

If you are new to chain making or simply want to brush up on your skills, this is a valuable resource to have on your shelf. The chapter on fancy links will prove especially inspiring to the more experienced as it challenges the chain maker to look at old elements in new ways.



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