If you’ve yet to build your own bracelet hinge, or are just looking to try a different method, this step-by-step guide is sure to produce a hinge you can hang your reputation on.
Step 1: Mark the location for your hinge on the stock and provide a seat for the hinge by pre-drilling a hole through the stock. Note: Be sure your drill hole is straight and at a right angle to allow the hinge to articulate properly.
Step 2: Use a square to layout a cut line, and then carefully saw straight along the line through one side of the stock and along the center of the drill hole location. Fine-toothed saw blades such as a 6/0 or 8/0 are preferred.
Step 3: Bend the stock to open the saw cut and alternatively provide access to the drilled seat. Carefully shape the hinge seat with a cylinder bur that’s of the same diameter as the hinge tubing.
Step 4: Put the tubing in the seat and check the fit. Note: Use a round needle file to make minor adjustments in the final fitting.
Step 5: Layout the locations for the hinge on the stock. In the example shown the center section represents 50% of the length and each end is 25% of the length.
Step 6: Cut the tubing to length with the jeweler’s saw. Note: One good technique for cutting the lengths that produce a square end is to chuck the tubing in a flex shaft and spin it against the saw blade. Move down the length of the blade as the cutting takes place to keep from clogging the teeth.
Step 7: Use a stop-off pen to keep from soldering both sides of the stock to the same tube.
Step 8: Solder the outer hinge sections into place first.
Step 9: A small wheel bur can be used to clean out the excess solder between the hinge sections and to produce a square corner where they meet.
Step 10: Solder the center section in place, which connects it to the opposite section of stock. Carefully separate both sides of the stock where they are still joined along the backside of the hinge.
Step 11: Check the fit of the hinge for alignment and gaps between the sections.
Step 12: If the fit is correct, the hinge pin can be installed. It can either be riveted or soldered. At Stuller, we prefer to rivet the hinge pin making it easier to remove if necessary. Note: Balling one end of the wire with a torch can quickly form one end of the rivet. Pass the wire through a draw plate from the front side and hit the balled end with a steel hammer. This will produce a flat square fit between the balled end and the hinge tube.
Step 13: Use a rivet hammer to rivet the opposite end of the hinge pin and secure it in place.
Step 14: Shape the rivets to match and clean up any tool marks made while riveting. The hinge is now fully assembled and you are ready to move on to the next section and begin the process again.