Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Shorten a Kilt Pin

In my last post, I shared a project using an unbent kilt pin. These are sometimes called hat pins or safety pins. With an unbent pin, you're able to string beads directly onto the shaft where they will be secured by turning a safety pin loop. The hard part is judging how many beads to string before creating the double loop. Sometimes, you don't get it quite right, like the pin below. After turning the loop, the pin was way too long to slide under the clasp.

But no need to despair..... it's fixable!

Read on to see how I do it.

You'll need a couple of tools to rectify the problem: memory wire shears and a drill with grinding bits. I like Her Embosser battery-operated drill because it's so portable and lightweight but a Dremel is good too.

Begin by trimming away the excess pin. It needs to be long enough to catch under the clasp.

I've trimmed this one just shorter than the beginning of the curve of the clasp. This is a steel pin so it's essential you don't use your wire cutting pliers or you'll damage the blades irreparably. Memory wire shears are designed to cut through steel, so use those instead.

Now that it's the right length, it just needs reshaping using the drill. I've selected the barrel-shaped grinding bit for this job. The idea is to remove the bluntness from the cut end of the pin.

Keep grinding it away on all sides until you create a point again.

Now it's just a matter of grinding the shaft below the tip until it comes to a gradual point.

Compare the piece that I trimmed off from the pin with the newly ground point. You can see how similar they are.

Now the pin is sharp enough (and smooth enough) to pass through fabric again.

There are many little jobs I use Her Embosser for when I'm making jewellery. Look out for a future post on all the different ways I use this marvellous tool.

'Til next time.......

Want to learn how to make jewellery? Click here to find my books and printable pdfs

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