Upon the making of Roman Chain Part 5

My old bench pin which now is the drawplate for chain.
A closeup image of the chain hole used most often, showing the grooving caused by the links.
A closeup of a finished Roman Chain.
A closeup of a finished Roman Chain now mounted on a custom clasp and set with a fine Sapphire.

When the last golden ring has found a home with the rest of his brothers and a deep sigh of relief is heard from the goldsmith's bench, there remains one last hurdle. This will only take a moment but it will be a make or break moment. That is the pulling of the finished piece. Pulling a chain smoothes and evens the links which right now are slightly askew. I use an old maple bench pin which I have drilled out to make it a drawplate for chains. Never use a steel drawplate for this. Steel is far more rigid than the gold and will misshape the links in a horrible way. Maple or any of the finer grain hardwoods are great for pulling chain because the links are coerced not forced into a slightly new arrangement. The image #20 shows how the wood has been grooved by the passage of many chains. These grooves help guide unruly links to more easily find an orderly arrangement. No lubricant is needed. Just insert the still attached foundation rod into the business end of the desired draw hole and gripping the silver rod with a pair of vise grips or draw tongs, slowly pull the chain through. Keep an ear bent for the telltale snapping of bad links. A truly horrible sound. I usually rotate the foundation rod 90 degrees and pull the chain a second time to keep everything even.

Given that everything is copasetic at this point a simple rub down with a polishing cloth is all that's needed to finish this bad boy off. I pull the chain at increasing angles through a handheld polishing cloth. Immediately suppleness appears in the chain which quite recently was rather rigid. It's this tactile sensuality which is the calling card of a well made Roman Chain. Cut the end away from the foundation rod being careful not to mar the first two links so that they can be reused on the next chain.

I hope this article has been sufficiently descriptive for the average civilian and hopefully helpful to someone just learning the craft. If I can answer any questions please ask them and thank you all for reading.

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