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  #1  
Old 2012-11-05, 9:05pm
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Default Skeleton Key Mandrel

Here's a quick tutorial on how to make a mandrel for your skeleton key beads. The photos were taken with my iPad so my apologies for the shadows. My friend, Cheryl Matson, showed me how to make these a couple of years ago.

PART 1:

What you'll need:

Needle nose pliers
Old mandrel (anything in the 9 -12" range, 3/32") - the ones that are getting too soft are perfect for this, because they'll bend easily. You can even use your bent mandrels.

Your torch
1 stainless steel screw
2 stainless steel bolts
2 stainless steel washers
Skeleton key

I suggest making sets with screws, bolts and washers in a few different sizes, because some skeleton keys have bigger holes than others.

I find the easiest way to bend the end of the mandrel is to heat the spot you want to bend in the flame. Aim your flame at the point you want to bend and then use your needle nose pliers (similar to making that first 90 degree bend to wire wrap). The bends won't come out as sharp-cornered as the ones in my drawing, but I think the drawing makes it easy to visualize what you're going for. Make the first bend maybe 1 1/2" from the end. If you have a crummy old pair of pliers you don't mind putting in or very near the flame, you can make it super easy by making the bends with the mandrel in the flame.




These 3 mandrels all work. You don't need to be exact.





The parts are laid out in the order you'll put them together:


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Last edited by artsyuno; 2012-11-11 at 5:50pm.
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  #2  
Old 2012-11-05, 9:10pm
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PART 2:

Connect everything.

Screw the bolt onto the screw, far enough to fit everything on. You can screw it all the way down, but I prefer to leave just a tiny bit of the screw end hanging out once everything's attaches so that I can remove the outer nut and bolt with and key with my needle nose pliers and put the key/bead in the kiln without the mandrel if I want to reuse the mandrel right away.





Add the washer.





Then add the mandrel.





Now the key:





Then add the second washer and the second bolt.




If your key is attached at an angle, give the mandrel a little bend just a bit below the key so that the key sits straight. It'll make it easier to spin. even though the mandrel itself will have a little bend in it, it'll feel straight.


Ta da! You're ready to roll.


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Last edited by artsyuno; 2012-11-05 at 10:39pm.
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  #3  
Old 2012-11-05, 9:26pm
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Thanks!
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  #4  
Old 2012-11-05, 9:31pm
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You're welcome! I hope it makes sense.
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  #5  
Old 2012-11-05, 10:14pm
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Wow, looks spiffy! Thank you! And it makes PERFECT sense!
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  #6  
Old 2012-11-05, 10:30pm
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Thank you Felicia!
Now I have to go find that box of old keys I've been saving
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  #7  
Old 2012-11-05, 10:37pm
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Wow, you're quick! Thank you so much for posting this, I'm going to make a few tomorrow.
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  #8  
Old 2012-11-05, 10:38pm
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I had one sitting on my kitchen counter, so I took it apart and put it back together. Have fun, you guys.
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  #9  
Old 2012-11-06, 2:38pm
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So cool! I have a ton of keys that I can use this with. Thanks!!
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  #10  
Old 2012-11-06, 2:45pm
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Thanks so much!
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  #11  
Old 2012-11-06, 4:09pm
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Thank you!

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  #12  
Old 2012-11-06, 4:54pm
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No prob.
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  #13  
Old 2012-11-07, 6:39pm
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Thank you for sharing this. Very excited to try my hand at it!
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  #14  
Old 2012-11-07, 7:54pm
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Well, aren't you the smart one. Thanks for sharing.
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  #15  
Old 2012-11-07, 9:05pm
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Thanks for sharing this! I have a custom order for 10 keys...this will make it sooo much quicker.
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  #16  
Old 2012-11-07, 10:02pm
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Thank you!!!
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  #17  
Old 2012-11-07, 10:41pm
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Great idea! Thank you!
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  #18  
Old 2012-11-07, 10:55pm
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Woot, this has to be better than using an "iffy" punty. Yay!
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  #19  
Old 2012-11-08, 5:14am
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Thank for sharing!!!!
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  #20  
Old 2012-11-09, 7:43am
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Well, look at you go! How cool is that! Thank you so much for sharing.
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  #21  
Old 2012-11-09, 4:50pm
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Yay Felicia!
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  #22  
Old 2012-11-10, 10:44am
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You're welcome, all. Now I'm curious what about what peeps have been using to make their skeleton key beads.
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  #23  
Old 2012-11-10, 1:58pm
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I was using a boro punty or a hemostat
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  #24  
Old 2012-11-10, 6:27pm
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I was using hemos too. These are much nicer
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Old 2012-11-10, 7:16pm
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Thank You for sharing!!! Awesome tut. This will be soooo much easier!
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  #26  
Old 2012-11-10, 7:19pm
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thanks...no more wire wrapped for me!!
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Old 2012-11-10, 9:22pm
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Hemostats make sense, but they're not the easiest to spin. Did the keys stay attached to the punties?
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  #28  
Old 2012-11-10, 9:23pm
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Yeah, but I didn't trust it very much.
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Old 2012-11-11, 10:47am
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2012-11-11, 11:50am
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I just bought 33 skeleton keys at a flee market in Ontario when I was visiting my sister. I have been using locking forceps all along to hold the keys while adding glass, but I like this idea way better as it will spin better when adding glass. Great idea! Thanks for sharing! - Di
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