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Apr 11

Mountmaking Forum ›A Perfect Circle?


Brooks Ward 8/29/18

Looking for suggestions on forming perfect(ish) circles from brass rod.  We have a bender that can get close, but need some kind of mandrel to even out the rough spots. Jewelry Supply stores have bracelet mandrels, but they only seem to run to 3" (makes sense).  At my old job, we had a huge wooden cone I would use to even out curves, but I can't seem to find anything like that for sale, and I really don't want to go through making one from scratch. Any suggestions? -bw



david 8/29/18

Sounds like you're looking for a blacksmith's cone mandrel.  Usually goes from 10" diameter to around 2" diameter, and three to four feet tall.  They all seem to go for a bit over a thousand dollars on ebay. Or perhaps find a turner and have a nice wooden mandrel made, probably for less than a thousand. David



Jamie Hascall 8/29/18

A three wheel ring roller is the easiest way I know to make consistent rings and they are adjustable to do almost any size. Harbor Freight has one for about $80 and they go up in price and quality from there. There’s usually a flat spot at the beginning and then the roll is consistent. Do a search on Ring Roller and you’ll find a variety available. Good luck, Jamie



jpressler 8/29/18

Here’s one for $200.00 plus shipping http://www.saltforkcraftsmen.org/cone.shtml Jon Jonathan Pressler ON THE VERGE DESIGN 703.371.9841



amesgielow 8/29/18

I second the ring roller recommend. Especially for the price. I used something similar in sculpture classes in college but they had longer rollers. You can really dial those in for consistent circles.  How thick is the stock you're using?  Yours,  James  Spark and Anvil

New Posts
  • I need to make custom mounts for rocks, #10/5kg and bigger, fast. What I need is a way to make a quick 'prototype' shape, that will mimic the rock, and that I can use to bend the steel to. The present rock is kinda diamond shape, 12”x 9” x 2” / 30x22x3cm thick, and of course need to balance on a corner, so the big flat face fronts. I am making a mount for it, but want to be able to do them ‘mass production style ‘ for lots of rocks, all different, sizes and balance points. I need to be at able to make custom yet fast  This is a commercial rock shop. No time to make ‘duplicate rocks’ They want steel mounts, it’s their preference. Any and all ideas will be appreciated!
  • Hello all. Over the years I've had occasional mounts that required steel over brass. Because I don't have any welding rigs and am only using acetylene for brazing, I've always just brazed the steel. I've noticed that it takes a lot more time for the joint to flow properly with steel. My question is, what's the limitations when brazing is no longer enough? Can stainless be brazed? I'm wondering if it's time to expand and get a welding set up. Any recommendations on welding equipment would be welcome as well! Yours, James
  • For those of us that have been working with institutions their whole careers but have always wanted to break out on their own to avoid...certain politics shall we say, or certain salary limitations. Do the mountmakers here that are independent have any sage advice to offer such a person? Like me for example? I've been doing the side gig thing for 13 some-odd years now so I already have a good reputation and client base but I know there will be surprises and challenges coming up really soon. My last day at the museum is September 6th, so it's time for action man to take action. I'd love to open up some dialog on these ventures as well as the current state of institutions (i.e. protests and unionizing at major institutions lately). Love to hear from you all. yours, James Spark and Anvil