Calm down, I’m not gunna teach you how to do jelly moulds of your private parts, that’s not what I mean by arts and crafts for adults. Mind you that would be fun. It’s more in reference to the fact that the last arts and crafts post I did was in relation to keeping a whining toddler entertained on a shitty shitty Tasmanian summer day.
You know, sideways rain and frostbite lows followed by a brief solar flare that makes your house instantly too uncomfortable to sleep in and gives you sunburn through brick walls.
See that bad boy up there? That Steampunk looking wrist-cuff-thing?
Yeah, I made that. Go me. Self high fives and butt pats all round.
I actually do this kinda shit pretty often I just never make mention of it here because this is supposed to be a testing ground for my writing but I thought I’d show you all something from my ADD creativity clusterfuck.
Also I thought I’d write a small step by…leap? guide of how I made it just in case your partner ever walks into the chemist (which is selling homewares and accessories now for some reason), picks up some shitty excuse for a bracelet that costs $15 (half the price of a less than horrible bottle of vodka) and says ‘I really like that. That’s almost worth it.’
Man, I slapped that thing out of her hand so hard while shouting ‘PUT IT BACK I’LL MAKE YOU ONE’. That I think I saw the cashier reach for the emergency robbery button under the desk. Or a shotgun. Either or.
Two quick things which will help this make sense before I start.
One, did you know you can sand brass? It’s that soft of a metal. I figured this out by following a quite prolific maker on Instagram who is known as a ‘Brass wizard’ and goes by the name of ‘Hellgnome’.
I’m almost certain a friend of mine had a warlock gnome in Neverwinter nights of the same moniker.
Hellgnome makes shit that fucking rocks. To the point that his website is not a .com but a .rocks.
No shit, I didn’t even think it was a thing. Hellgnome.rocks
But you’ll more of his work by following his Instagram account.
Two, I had to cut some pipe off of our shower when fitting a new head the other day and the guy at the hardware store gave me some screw thing with a flange on it to stop the thread from getting stripped and told me to bring it back once I was done to get a refund because he didn’t give a fuck.
Well surprise bitch! I turned that fucker into a bracelet!
Let’s get to it.
What you’ll need.
• A brass screw…thing. (Honestly I have no idea what this fucker is called. Show the picture of it to the dude at the plumbing store.
• A pack of brass nuts and bolts at least 25mm long. Thin as possible.
• Some leather. I found mine in the racks of the warehouse I work in disguised as some fabric samples for couches. I find these to be the best type of leather because it’s free, it comes in tons of colours and nobody seems to give a fuck if you nick it.
• High viscosity super glue.
• Regular boring super glue.
• A bentwood ring blank (optional)
• A Dremel. Or Dremel equivalent. Or the ability to spin a pin vice so fast that watching your hands at work makes women weak at the knees.
• A pin vice. (optional)
• A Stanley knife. Or a Geoffrey knife. Maybe even a Claire knife, I don’t discriminate.
• 60/80 grit sanding drum head for a Dremel.
• Polishing heads/compound to suit Dremel.
• 80/320/600 grit sandpaper and some 0000 steel wool. (800-1200-2000 grit if you do the bentwood insert)
• A drill bit (common sense sized based on the pics you can see)
• A steel ruler/straight edge.
• A pen, probably. At some point I’m certain it was handy.
• Some masking tape. (optional)
• A decent set of safety gloves.
• A decent set of safety goggles.
• A decent respirator mask or just something to stop you inhaling brass shards.
Got it all? Good.
Now, before I continue let me say that I have NO idea what I’m doing. This is likely not safe, I may have exposed myself to some dangerous shit and doing this may do the same for you. Know this going in and we’ll all get along. Also by reading further you waive your right to sue me in case bad shit happens to you while making this thing.
My lawyer* says this is legal.
First step is a no brainer, put on all your safety equipment.
Next, using the sanding drum on the Dremel, get to work removing the thread inside the nut-flange thing. Keep in mind that the nut will heat up doing this so make sure you either put it down to cool between big sweeps or dunk it in some water routinely as you feel it getting too hot.
Probably not necessary, just keeps your hands from getting burned through gloves.
Which isn’t fun.
These things are too tall for my liking, seems like it’d result in a wrist piece so high one of those rap chaps would be all like ‘DAAAAAMN’ because they like their jewellery being really inconvenient and in the way. You can just straight sand it with a block and some 80 grit, but I took the short cut of hitting it with the drum on the Dremel again a few times to rough it out then smoothed it with paper and a block.
The paper and block at the end guarantees an even height, plus you can re-apply the bevel to the edges all while marvelling at the wonder of your own strength as you shave off metal dust with your bare hands and a bit of rough paper.
Go you, you strong fucker.
What you need now is a location for a pin to connect the wrist strap to. Depending on your desired orientation you can just drill through the flat sides one at a time (don’t go all the way through you idiot that’s how you break drill bits. Just measure and be steady) or if you’re a lunatic that likes a challenge, you can try and get a straight hole that lines up on the rounded edges of the Hex. If you chose to go that way, good luck and you should probably brush up on how to buff drill bit scratches off brass.
Now you need a pin.
If you’re fancy, you probably know where to find a brass rod. You’re probably also into cucumber mini sandwiches and champagne at brunch if you’re fancy. Me, I’m as fancy as taking a hipflask to the movies (also I don’t know where to buy brass rod) so I set about turning a screw into a pin by grinding it down using the sanding drum and a hand clamp to hold it. I tried twice and got some ugly ass brass splinter looking things.
The third time around I used my fucking head, slotted the screw into the chuck on the Dremel and pressed that bitch against sandpaper while it spun like I was a Russian mobster trying to get the location of my stolen cabbage and the screw was a snitch. The sandpaper represents a belt sander in this visual.
It worked a treat.
Ok, time for the optional stuff.
This is a bentwood ring. I’ve been experimenting with them for a while and now have a dedicated isnta page for this kind of shit @Paf_creations.
It’s not a shameless plug if it’s your own site.
I won’t get into how to make them now because it’s a lesson in itself but if you want to do this step you can find tutorials on bentwood rings all over instructables.
This is Tasmanian Blackwood. Personally, I make my bentwood rings out of wood curls I make rather than buying veneers but that’s because there’s a LOT of quality wood species in Tas.
Sand the insert down to fit snugly into the nut. Once it’s sized, use some of your amazing dexterity and finesse to coat the outside of the ring with high viscosity super glue and shove it into the inside of the nut before it sets on you.
Trim and sand excess.
If you’ve taken the above step, now you need to drill through the wood. Make sure you cover the exit point with masking tape to prevent the wood from splintering. Drill using the pin vice and go SLOW.
Time to cut some leather to size. Make it just thick enough at the beginning to wrap around the pin without the edged touching the inside of the nut, but flare it out to make the end thicker than the beginning. This will make sure the strap holds tightly when lopped through. (This pictre doesn’t show the flared strap because I was too stupid to get it right the first time.
Ok, here’s where I tried to get fancy.
I thought it would add to the cool Steampunk look of the whole fucking thing if I added some hex press stud looking guys to hold the strap on. Even though the whole thing is held together with fucking glue.
Also, while I was being fancy and making my own brass rods and shit, I thought I’d make my own Hex studs instead of buying them.
Remember how I said to keep some water on hand when grinding the brass to keep it cool?
Know what hot brass does to leather, other than make it smoke so bad you can smell it through your respirator that’s designed to protect people with emphysema from inhaling wood dust?
It fucking shrinks it.
Making the whole thing look as impressive as my junk after an ice cold swim.
Give it a try, but I just ended up having a nana, using regular super glue and clamping it tight to make sure it set hard, then got on with my fucking day.
So if you went with the wood insert, you’ve done your reading or know already how to finish it off in regards to sealing/sanding so well done. Now is the time to give the whole thing a good sand with high grit paper and/or 0000 steel wool. After that, give everything a good once over with a good polishing compound using the polishing heads on the Dremel. Hint, start on the wood first, the brass leaves the polishing head nice and black by the end.
I was too excited at this point to get any meaningful pics so I’ve attached a pic of a screaming koala for this step. I feel it represents my excitement and rage at the time.
Now you need that fancy ass dexterity and finesse again.
Line up the pin through the strap and pop some high viscosity super glue into the bottom hole and a little on the exposed part of the rod above the top hole.
When you press it down into place, hold it as still as possible for a minute or two. Pack the holes with a little extra glue if need be and give the ends a wipe down with a cloth or a hit with the 0000 wool and another quick polish.
There you have it. All done.
Fancy looking jewellery that’s fun to make and you’re grinding metal to make it plus it’s got a Steampunk look so you don’t feel all girly about doing it.
If you’re a guy.
If you’re a girl this probably made you feel pretty manly too.
Now present it to your Wif and watch as she forgets all about that shitty chemist wrist band that cost about five times as much as some brass nut and some stolen leather samples.
Or wear it yourself when she’s not home. You already wear other things of hers when she’s not there anyway.
…Ignore the last bit.
Drink the whiskey and coffee at any time you feel it necessary throughout the process.
I prefer beforehand for the whiskey.
And again during.
Coffee the next day to help me get over all the whiskey.
Didn’t cut myself though! So that’s a win.
*My lawyer is a sock puppet call Maurey.