Make a simple ring mandrel holder

Quickly and cheaply make a holder for your ring mandrel.

A ring mandrel is an essential piece of kit for a jeweller.

You obviously need one if you're going to be making rings, but they are also great for shaping chain links, hammering hoop earrings and much more.

However, the heavy lengths of hardened steel can be rather tricky to hold steady - sometimes you can feel as though you need a third hand!

In this tutorial I'll show you how to quickly and cheaply make one.

Some of the more expensive jeweller's benches come with holes drilled into the front edge of the bench, perfect for supporting the end of a ring mandrel (or triblet, depending on which name you prefer!). I made my own bench though, and although the top is nice and thick and sturdy it's not thick enough to bore a big hole like that into. When I was putting my bench together I did like the idea of something tucked under the bench top though. I kept my eyes open on trips round DIY stores - and this is what I found!

how to make a simple ring mandrel holder

This is a pipe strap clamp or mount, and as you've probably guessed from the name it's supposed to be used for securely fixing pipes up against walls. It's steel so it's nice and strong , but this one is rubber lined to protect more delicate pipes or tubes - and that makes it perfect for protecting your ring mandrel too! They come in different sizes, and I opted for 18mm diameter clamps as I didn't want the fit to be too tight.

I bought two packs of 5, enough for my own bench and my 8 student benches, costing me just over £15 at my local DIY store. Bargain!

(You can also buy the clamps from a certain big website here!)

To securely fix the clamp you will need:

make a simple ring mandrel holder

• suitable screws for your bench. The heads of the screws need to be big enough so that they don't slip through the holes in the clamp, and the screws should be as long as possible so that they go deep into your bench and can withstand the hammering you're going to be doing on the ring mandrel!

• a drill (not shown) and suitable drill bit to drill two holes into the underneath of your bench.

• pencil to mark where you want to drill

• tape to mark your drill bit to show how far to drill

• a screw driver or attachment for your drill

Choose where to put your clamp

I wanted my clamp to be underneath the cut out in my bench, on the left of my benchpeg as I'm right-handed. It just felt more comfortable to me!

If I'm using my ring mandrel in the clamp for more than a couple of minutes I undo my benchpeg and move it further out of the way. If your benchpeg isn't on a clamp and can't be moved then you will want to make sure that your clamp isn't too close - you don't want to have your hammering restricted by the benchpeg! An alternative position is along the front edge of your bench.

Once you're happy with the position use the pencil to mark where the holes need to be drilled.

make a simple ring mandrel holder

Get drilling...

To make sure that you drill the holes to the right depth - but not so far that you drill through the top! - wrap a small piece of masking tape around the drill bit to show how far you need to go into the underneath of your bench.

make a simple ring mandrel

Once you've drilled the holes all that's left to do is screw the clamp into place, and clean up the saw dust of course. And then you can use the clamp to help you hold your ring mandrel while you get on and make beautiful rings!

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Categories: : jewellery making tips, jewellery tutorial, studio organisation

Joanne Tinley

Tutor and Founder of The Jeweller's Bench

The Jeweller's Bench is run by Joanne Tinley. She has been making her own jewellery for as long as she can remember and left her first career as a school teacher to set up business as a  jewellery designer and tutor nearly 20 years ago. She is
self-taught and like many people started with wire and beads. Learning how to solder, however, opened up a whole new world of jewellery making,  one that she is keen to share!