Inspired by Pamela
***Please see my companion page: Ring, Bracelet and Bezel Mandrels for a lot (Wow, am I obsessive!) of information on what its title implies.
So, my favorite mandrel holder ever is this plumbing vise: the Bench Yoke Vise aka a Pipe Vise. It holds bezel mandrels, ring mandrels, and bracelet mandrels. The only thing wrong with it is that you have to loosen it up to spin it. But, it’s also just as easy to spin the piece. I have tried 5 different types of holders and this is, by far, the best at holding the mandrel steady and true. I guess you could say that I love it. Odd, but true. One drawback: when using the thinner bezel mandrels, there’s a bit of a bend as the metal isn’t that thick and the far end is unsupported. What I do is push the mandrel farther back in the jaws, surrounded with a piece of leather (to protect it from the jaws of the clamp). That way, not too much of the mandrel is hanging out (kind of like the picture of the pipe, above).
At about $150.00 US (8/2014) it ain’t cheap BUT, there are less expensive ones available AND more expensive vises. So, it’s up to you. I only have experience with the Rigid 40080.
The Woodstock D4095 2 inch Pipe Vise at Amazon
- The Woodstock D4095 2″ is only about $36.00 US (8/2014).
- The Shop-Tek Pipe Vice, #2 comes in around $40.00 US
Check the capacity numbers. You want it to be small enough to hold bezel mandrels and open wide enough to hold bracelet mandrels.
You can bolt it to your desk or do what I do and bolt it to a piece of wood and then C-Clamp the wood to my desk. That way, it’s not permanently fixed and I can move it anywhere in the studio.
The Bonny Doon Vertical Vise: This is the vise that started me thinking about different ways to hold my mandrels. After seeing this I started searching Amazon for anything titled vise or clamp and found the Pipe Vise. So, thanks Bonny Doon for the idea. The only reason that I didn’t buy this vise was its $250.00 US (8/2014) price tag.
Bonny Doon makes excellent tools and I own one of their hydraulic presses and a ton of accessories. This looks like a beautifully designed vise. It is designed specifically for their beautifully designed, mandrels and forming stakes. Pretty tools.
***Bonny Doon also makes heavy duty steel pattern plates for the rolling mill or hydraulic press. I also love their non-conforming dies for the hydraulic press. What you can’t see in the image is how beautifully machined they are and how thick the brass is. Beautiful!
The rests hold the mandrels well enough. But, what I don’t like about them is that the act of hammering smashes the end of the mandrel into the holder – marring the mandrel. Also, when really pounding away on a mandrel – which I often do – the mandrel bounces around. Also, if you have an oddly shaped end (the part that would fit into the “steps”) it doesn’t always fit. On the plus side, these rests are inexpensive: $24.00 US at Rio Grande, 8/2014.
Turret or Universal Mandrel Holder
But, found this good idea:
It’s helpful to have the Benchmate to hold this mandrel. But, you can drill a hole in your desk or a piece of steel and attach the steel to the desk.
Mandrels and Holders for Wax Carving, Metal Clay or Other Uses
The MultiMandrel for PMC/Metal Clay Use and wax work at Metal Clay Supply
Wooden Ring Mandrel at Amazon I use the wooden mandrels to drill through already rounded rings. Use the wooden mandrel with wax, metal clay and for drilling.
Ring Mandrel Holder at AGF – Air Gas Flame (scroll down the page). Used for holding mandrel for glass ring making. Not for hammering metal with – it would collapse from the stress. Wax carving, metal clay. When using any mandrels with metal clays always cover with parchment paper, waxed paper or other product. If the mandrel is steel, it will rust. If the mandrel is aluminum, the aluminum and metal clay will have an unhappy chemical reaction.
That’s all for now folks!