Heavy Curb Chain Fabrication Steps

I threw some things in my tumbler last night and wanted to keep my hands busy while I waited for them to tumble, so I whipped up some curb chain and documented the steps along the way.

1 ) I started with 12g sterling round wire, and because I want to eventually make these in gold, I made sure to measure how much length of wire I was utilizing. For this short chain, I used 3.5 feet of 12g wire. It made about 36 full links, so about 1” per link is used.

2) To make links, I wrap my sterling wire around a rod that is the same diameter I want the inside of my links to be. For curb chain, you want a tighter opening, the most attractive curb chains have just enough room inside the link to fit two other links, in other words, you don’t want a huge gap of open space, unless you plan to hang charms from the chain. I do intend to add charms, so I’m leaving room for three links to fit inside each link.

3) After they are formed I cut the links off individually with a hand saw. I put half the links aside, and I close 18 of them and solder those closed.

4) It’s an important step not to clean or pickle my metal when I’m soldering the links. Keeping them dirty and oxidized will protect solder from flowing from one link to the next - which would ruin my chain.

5) Next step is to join two soldered links with an open link to make these little triplet pieces. Then I join those.

From start to finish, I think this was about 2 hours. To sand, polish, and finish it, and make a clasp would be several more. I want this to be a necklace eventually, so I’ll be making 9-10 more inches of chain to add to it before it’s complete.

Find pictures of each of the fabrication steps below.

Twist and Shout

Once it’s all together I have 8 inches of heavy cable chain. Yay! But it’s not over yet, because I still have to twist it into curb chain.

I do that by clamping one end of the chain into a vice, and the other into locking jaw pliers. Then I take each end and twist it clockwise until the links begin to line up.

I keep twisting, which starts to bend each link around each other, creating the curved shape. If I soldered all my links correctly, none of them should break during this crucial step. See this process below.