I’ve been making my own clasps lately and I really like the look they give to otherwise generic-looking chain.  The process of fabricating one is extremely simple, so I thought I’d post a little tutorial on it.

Tools & Materials:
18g sterling silver round wire
Metal shears
Soldering torch
Solder
Soldering block
Flux
Pickle
Cross lock tweezers
Tweezers
Round nose pliers
Rolling mill or hammer & metal block
File
Emery paper
Method of polishing

Making the clasp

1)  Snip about 2 inches of wire using your metal shears.

snip
2)  Holding the wire with your cross lock tweezers, dip one end of the wire in flux.

3)  Use your torch to melt a small ball on the end of the wire with the flux.
ball
4)  Hold the wire with your round nose pliers (close to the narrowest part of the pliers) right above the ball you’ve made.  Curve the end of the wire so that the ball rests against the wire.

circle
5)  Holding the wire at the top of the small curve you’ve just made, curve the wire around the widest part of your pliers.

curve
6)  Use the rolling mill to flatten the largest curve of your clasp.  This will add strength to your clasp, as well as being a nice design element.

rolling
It will look like this:
tail2
Note:  If you don’t have access to a rolling mill, you can complete this step by hammering the curve on a metal block.  Marks left by the hammer can be smoothed with emery paper.

7)  Trim the tail of the wire to your desired length.  Using the narrowest part of the round nose pliers, curve a small bit of the tail outward and file it flat.

tail

8)  Lay a small bit of solder between your ball and the clasp and brush with flux.

solder1
9)  Solder these ends together and put the clasp in pickle.

solder2
10)  Smooth all rough edges with emery paper or an emery stick.
emery
11)  Polish your clasp using your method of choice.
polish
You now have a pretty little clasp!  Add one jump ring to the looped end and attach it to your chain.  Add a second jump ring to the other end of your chain and you’ll have your “eye” for the hook to go through.

finished

5 Replies to “Metalsmithing 101 – How to Make a Simple Hook Clasp”

  1. Antoinette says: August 23, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Hmmm, my comment from yesteday never posted! I said that looks REALLY HARD! I love your Alasken bowl that you’ve been using in pictures. LOVE. It reminds me of seaweed.
    I still want to take a PMC class. AND learn to use a torch. Looks useful.

  2. Holly says: August 23, 2007 at 11:27 am

    It’s seriously not hard at all! All you’d need is a butane torch and the basic tools like pliers you’ve probably already got.

  3. Christine says: December 12, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    Nice tutorial! Thanks for posting it. I covet your rolling mill by the way. Definitely on my wish list 🙂

  4. Christine says: December 12, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Oops! forgot to ask – would you be interested in writing a tutorial for my website? I can’t offer much, except a permanent link to your blog and/or website, and my undying gratitude of course 🙂
    here’s the site: http://www.how-to-make-jewelry.com
    Cheers

  5. Karen says: September 27, 2009 at 8:00 am

    This is an beautiful clasp. It really has a lot of style. Great idea to use the rolling mill to flatten the curve!

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