Steel Chains

Course Description

About this course

In this live, virtual workshop, students will explore the use of steel as an affordable, lightweight alternative material that can be used for a variety of chain styles. Learn how to manipulate, experiment with, and apply different soldering methods to steel using a multitude of wire thicknesses ranging from 20 to 10 gauge. The instructor will cover how to personalize your jewelry with handy, non-toxic finishing techniques and how to add accents that highlight each piece. A torch setup will be needed for this course. 

For more information about virtual courses, visit our Virtual Course FAQ page. 

Please read the Materials & Tools tab! 

Meet the Instructor

Maia Leppo

Maia graduated from Tufts University in 2008 with a degree in Biology and Community Health. She received training in jewelry and metals from various craft schools, including Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Pocosin Arts, Penland School of Crafts and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and her Masters of Fine Art from SUNY New Paltz.  She has participated in artist residencies at Arrowmont and Fallingwater and has taught around the country including Penland, Arrowmont, Pocosin, and Touchstone.  She currently works out of her studio in the Brewhouse Association on the south side of Pittsburgh.

Maia's work is drawn from the need to create volume out of flatness.  By using almost exclusively steel sheet, she aims to manipulate the material to have a dimension it did not previously have.  Her forms are inspired by botanical elements, abstracted and simplified to their most basic shape.

Materials & Tools 

$50 supply kit will be shipped out to the shipping address listed on your Metalwerx account on December 21st. If you register on or after this date, a kit can still be mailed to you, but may not arrive by the workshop start date. Please call us if you reside outside of the US, as your shipping cost may differ and may need to be expedited.

Unless you already own most of the items on the list, the kit is highly recommended, as you cannot order the prepped items reflected below through other vendors. Kit includes the following items:

  • steel wire .035in diameter - 10ft coil
  • steel wire .041in diameter - 10ft coil
  • steel wire .048in diameter - 10ft coil
  • steel wire .063in diameter - 10ft coil
  • steel wire .080in diameter - 3ft of rods
  • steel wire .106in diameter - 3ft of rods
  • sterling 3/8" ear posts
  • sterling 7mm ear nuts
  • sanding discs 320 grit
  • grinding wheel
  • star wheel
  • separating disc
  • screw mandrel
  • snap mandrel
  • cup bur 1.4mm
  • cup bur 3.5mm
  • cup bur 1.7mm

The following supplies will be used for course demonstrations and objectives. A suggested item and/or vendor has been provided below for reference. Click the vendor name (in red) to be redirected to a page where you can find the item. The quantities needed for each item are listed first. If ordering, please be aware that some items may come in larger quantities than needed for this class. We recommend not opening an item's packaging until the day of the workshop. Student participation during or in-between class sessions is strongly encouraged but not required - observers are welcome.

Torch setup: 

  • 1 x fireproof area - steel sheet, tiles, etc. (Amazon or Home Depot)
  • 1 x Solderite™ pad or fire brick(s) (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x compressed charcoal block (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x torch system (such as Rio Grande or Rio Grande)
  • 1 x #0 or #1 torch tip - if getting Silversmith (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x soldering tweezers (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x soldering pick (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x paste flux (Rio Grande)
  • hard solder
  • fan and open window - for ventilation
  • cross lock tweezers
  • glass jar
  • olive oil
  • rags
  • copper tongs - for pickle (Rio Grande)
  • pickle (Rio Grande)
  • crock pot or tempered glass container with lid - for pickle (Amazon)
  • tempered glass container or sink - for quenching and rinsing
  • small brush - for flux
  • safety glasses

Hand tools:

  • hammers - to texture steel
  • pliers - bent chain nose, needle nose, and flat nose (plus any other)
  • hand drill - extremely helpful but optional (Rio Grande)
  • rotary hand piece - flex shaft, micro motor, dremel, etc.
  • 2/0 saw blades
  • sharpie markers
  • 6in steel ruler
  • dividers 
  • calipers
  • 8in mill bastard file (Home Depot)
  • scribe
  • center punch
  • heavy duty wire cutters (Home Depot)
  • transfer punch set (Harbor Freight
  • #67, #60, #55 drill bits (Rio Grande)
  • saw frame
  • bench pin (Rio Grande)
  • vise - a bigger and bolted down one works best



Materials Cost



Maia Leppo


January 5 -12, 2022

Weekly on Wednesday


6:00 PM -8:00 PM


2 weeks

Basic and above
Virtual - Eastern Time Zone
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