Friday, October 28, 2011

Week Six/Seven - Metalsmithing

I lost a week of class due to illness, but was back yesterday to continue working on my layered copper and silver ring.  I was able to make up some of the lost time yesterday and got quite a bit accomplished.  Previously, I had cut out the design in the copper layer of my band ring and had done some of the filing and smoothing at home.  Yesterday I continued that process.   The ring was wider than I wanted, so I sawed both pieces to the desired width and continued filing and sanding the edges.  The pieces were placed in the pickle and scrubbed with soap and water with a brush.  After a coating of flux, the solder was placed on the back of the copper  piece and the first step of the sweat soldering was completed.  Back to the pickle and cleaning.  The pieces were fluxed and fit together on the fire brick.  We put some antiflux on the T-pins so the piece could be pinned/secured to the firebrick.  The antiflux was to prevent the pins from being soldered to the ring during the firing  process.  The solder flowed and the piece was quenched in water and put  back into the pickle for cleaning.  After cleaning, we were back to the filing and sanding process.  Each end of the ring needed to be filed straight for a flush fit in the next step.  I sanded the piece with various grits to clean off the scratches and excess solder.  Flux was added to the piece and it was fired to anneal the band for the next step!  Week seven will hopefully complete the ring!  I can't wait.  Hope it fits!  Our last project will be a bezel set ring!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hammering and Forming Instructional Videos

I recently got a notification in my mailbox regarding two new metalsmithing videos. Since I am taking a metalsmithing class, it peaked my interest and I indulged myself and purchased Metalsmith Essentials: Basic Jewelry Hammering and Forming with Bill Fretz. Bill Fretz is well known for his complete lines of jewelers stakes and hammers. I also purchased Metalsmith Essentials: Hammering and Forming Jewelry, Vol. 2 with Bill Fretz. Since I am new to this area of jewelry design, I can only offer my best opinion of these videos without something to compare them to. I thought the videos were well coordinated, starting with the simplest of designs and working up to four or five others, all cuff bracelets, but each a little different. Of course, it showed the uses of all of the Fretz tools, but he took his time and went through all the relevant information required to complete one of his projects. He showed his use of filing and soldering techniques. I found both videos very interesting and a valuable resource for future reference. I highly recommend them! He's a great teacher and shows you up close what each tool is capable of helping you create. I will add a link where you can purchase them!

Week Five - Metal/Silver Smithing Classes

Following one week off from classes, the group met for Week Five!  I can't believe we are half way through already!  It was a morning split between our first project, the layered pendant, and project two, a layered ring.  Having already done most of the sanding, we went on to adding some patina to highlight the dents and lines.  I did not want a mirror finish on either side, so that eliminated having to take the pendant to the polisher.  I personally prefer a more satiny finish, especially on this yin and yang pendant.  Our instructor, Jo, gave me a  bottle of brown/black blackening agent and a paint brush and told me to paint it where I wanted it to darken the pendant.  Having only used liver of sulfur, this patina was a new experience....and I probably add "just a little" too much  But never fear, we were able to clean it up with a brass type Brillo pad...excuse my lack of proper terminology!  But this is the final result.  I plan to add a double leather cord to it and wear it to my next class. 

On to the next project -  a layered ring with design and metals of choice.  I decided to go with the same metal contrasts I used in the pendant - copper and silver.  Having traced out my  design, I set about preparing my piece for sawing.  Now, sawing is still not my strong suit, but I am less intimidated by it and overall, I don't think I did too badly.  I  will let you be the judge.  I completed the sawing and did a little clean up.  This is the result.  I will probably have to do some more filing and will probably lessen the width of the bands.  That's it till Thursday (this week).  I lost a week due to illness, but I am hopefully on the road to recovery.  Questions and/or comments are welcome!  Thanks for stopping by.  Blessings.  Anita