guitar bypass ring

made this today – gold bypass ring in shape of a guitar

made this today - gold bypass ring in shape of a guitar

I started with a mock up in bronze ( much cheaper )

I started with a mock up in bronze ( much cheaper )
20 gauge ( 0.8mm thick ) is what I use i bronze or gold as I have a hard time bending things by hand with those 2 metals 18 gauge ( 1mm thick ) I use for copper and sterling silver as both metals are softer and not as springy

I drew the shape out on a piece of label paper

I drew the shape out on a piece of label paper
make it 3 inches long as you have to “bypass ” the ends and anything shorter will look odd label paper is sticky on one side so its perfect to transfer shapes to metal for the cut outs

my trusted jewelers saw

my trusted jewelers saw
I like to use a 6 inch saw frame ( distance from blade to the back of the frame) and 1/0 saw blades – they are very fine and will move well around the corners

cut out shape

cut out shape
I have several hole punch pliers with different punch out sizes – this one is a 3mm – you need a bit of strength to punch so I tend to sit on the end to make it punch though

added some texture

added some texture
hardened steel punches and chasing tools will last you forever

number 2 file

number 2 file
I filed all edges to make the ring nice and smooth for comfort

foming the ring

foming the ring
I start out with bending the ring around the mandrel with my fingers and then pound it in shape with a non-marring nylon hammer , the head of the hammer has sand in it which gives you a bit more umpf you will work harden the metal when you hammer so it will hold its shape nicely

formed ring

formed ring

cleaning up the inside with a flex shaft

cleaning up the inside with a flex shaft
its basically a dremel with a flexible hose the outside I polished with sandpaper first , starting with a 400 grit and then going finer and finer all the way to a 2000 grit and then ultrafine

finished

finished

rocking ๐Ÿ™‚

rocking :)

Silver cross and blue Topaz necklace

Just playing around with metal

Just playing around with metal

I started out with some sketches

I started out with some sketches

I always use scratch paper for the initial sketches and when i like the design I will trace the design onto a piece of label paper . label paper has already ” glue ” added to one side soI do not need to glue my design to sheet metal ( rubber cement works the best if you do not have label paper ) I always end up with a sticky mess if I use the glue

I cut out my design and stick it to the sheet metal

I cut out my design and stick it to the sheet metal

in this case the base cross ( or bottom cross ) which is larger was stuck to 18 gauge sterling silver sheet metal ( 1mm hick ) and the smaller ( top cross ) was transfered to a 20 gauge sterling silver sheet ( 0.8mm) Rember in terms of metal the higher the number of the gauge the thinner he metal is

I cut out the crosses wih my hand saw

I cut out the crosses wih my hand saw

Its a jewelers saw with very very thin blades , the blades I use are he 1/0 When you saw out a piece you need to remember to never ” push ” the saw into he metal . let the saw do the work….Luke….be the saw….. Lock your wrist and move your saw up and down from the elbow ,never from he wrist and keep your saw in place – move the metal you are sawing instead ( maybe I should do an instrucional video on that one )

After sawing out my crosses I put them together to see if I like it

After sawing out my crosses I put them together to see if I like it

I did like it soI went to solder

This is after soldering everything together

This is after soldering everything together

If you want insrucions on how to solder you can take a look a my blog www.themetalchallenge365.wordpress.com . I have many tutorials on easy to make things and on more complicated stuff . All tutorials of course are free

After soldering you need to clean your metal in a Pickle solution

After soldering you need to clean your metal in a Pickle solution

When you solder you have oxidation , turning your pieces black . In order to ge rid of that you can either polish for hours or clean it in a Pickle solution ( you can get he salt/grain to make the solution at any jewelers supply store ) please NEVER take your pieces out with the naked hand ( its an acid and will burn your skin ,its also toxic ) and NEVER take them out wih any other metal then copper tongues

This is after he Pickle bath

This is after he Pickle bath

Add some texture if you like

Add some texture if you like

A normal screw driver will do if you don’t have anything else handy ( I have chasing tools but I also use nails , screw drivers and other things i find )

clean and polish your cross

clean and polish your cross

I have a larger polishing machine where I have the same buffing wheel as on my small flex shaft ( the machine in the picture ) but If you have a setting for he stone its better to use the smaller wheel A Flex shaft is esentially a dremel with a long flexible tube ( yes I am aware hat he name is funny )

After you have done your first polishing add patina

After you have done your first polishing add patina

I used a liquid that I can brush on .usually I use Liver of sulfur but I am still nauseated due to the car accident we had on Saturday and Liver of sulfur makes me gag at the moment ( stinks like rotten eggs – and no mom i am not pregnant !! )

polish again

polish again

add your stone

add your stone

the little cup were the stone sits in is called a bezel cup , you can either make your own or buy them , I will make my own if I have irregular shaped stones or If I feel like making one . Most of the time i am lazy though and just use the bought ones next to he cross you see my stone setting tool , the cup has little teeth that get pushed CAREFULLY over the stone to hold he cabochon in place , start a 12 o’clock and push once , go to 6 o’clock and push some teeth over the stone at that position , then goto 3 o’clock then to 9 o’clock , the reason for doing that is so that tthe stone ges set even in right smack in the middle of the cup , take your finger and try to move the stone when you have pushed all the teeth over it . If i does not move you are done

close up of he little teeth of the bezel cup

close up of he little teeth of the bezel cup

Now you can hand polish with a cloth to ge rid of your finger prints , add a jump ring and a chain and ….tata…….. done ๐Ÿ™‚ hope as always you enjoyed it nici

Sterling Silver Flower Pendant with Black Onyx

This sterling silver flower necklace was sawed and constructed entirely by hand from 18 gauge sterling silver and features a genuine black onyx stone in the center to complete the botanical statement.

Embodying the organic flow and rhythm of a flower shape, the outer pedals were sawed as one continuous shape from the flat sheet of sterling silver and dapped and domed on a shaping block to capture a realistic three dimensional form. The inner whorls or pedal structure was also sawed by hand, domed, and then soldered to the outer pedals using a hydroflux welder before setting the onyx cup. Adding intrigue, a subtle patina was brushed onto the flower to produce highlights with natural iridescence that brings out shades of grey blue, grey black, and dark silver depending on the viewing angle. The last step is setting the 8 mm genuine black onyx stone in the cup and hanging the flower pendant onto a genuine black greek leather cord to complete this necklace.

[shopify product=http://metalopiajewelry.com/products/sterling-silver-flower-pendant-with-black-onyx]

short and sweets today – bear pendant with peridot – fresh from the bench

fresh from the bench

fresh from the bench

spirit bear and garnet

I made my own die for pressing out the bears

I made my own die for pressing out the bears

soldered on a bezel cup and added some stars

soldered on a bezel cup and added some stars

also punched a hole

patina to darken the stars

patina to darken the stars

polished the bear

polished the bear

added jump ring and chain

added jump ring and chain

heart bracelet

anticlastic bronze cuff with copper hearts

anticlastic bronze cuff with copper hearts

cut a 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch wide strip from 20 gauge bronze

cut a 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch wide strip from 20 gauge bronze

cut lots and lots of hearts from copper

cut lots and lots of hearts from copper
I have a heart cutter from swanstrom ,

flux the back of your hearts and add solder

flux the back of your hearts and add solder
I use hard wire solder for that

heat the hearts until the solder melts

heat the hearts until the solder melts
and then flux the bronze strip and solder the hearts to it

quench in water

quench in water

form your bracelet

form your bracelet
Now I realize that not everybody has a metal press with the anticlastic / synclastic former ,so you can make the bracelet normal on a wooden bracelet mandrel and a raw hide or nylon hammer. I happen to have a full metal shop and have 2 hand cranked metal presses ( the hydraulic ones scare me and I do it rather by hand soI have more control )

thats my metal press

thats my metal press
yay for awesome tools !!

you feed the bracelet through the former 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch untilyou have the bracelet form

you feed the bracelet through the former 1/4  inch by 1/4 inch untilyou have the bracelet form

you can see how the bracelet forms

you can see how the bracelet forms
hand cranking is a lot of work

almost finished forming

almost finished forming

I put the bracelet into the pickle solution after I formed it

I put the bracelet into the pickle solution after I formed it
Pickle solution will clean your oxidation from metal

hearts , hearts , hearts and more hearts

hearts , hearts , hearts and more hearts

what do you think ?

silver tie bar with brass arrow

Metalwork
draw your arrow on the metal sheet
draw your arrow on the metal sheet
or draw it on a piece of paper and stick the paper to the metal sheet . I just like to draw the easy shapes on to my metal directly
cut out with your jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades
cut out with your jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades
clean the arrow with steel wool for easier soldering
cut a 4 inch long piece from sterling silver
cut a 4 inch long piece from sterling silver
I used 18 gauge ( thicker then that and it gets hard to bend into shape )
flux your arrow and add your solder
flux your arrow and add your solder
I use extra easy wire solder ( silver )
fire up your torch
fire up your torch
Did I mention I love fire ๐Ÿ™‚
heat until your solder “flows” ( melts)
heat until your solder "flows" ( melts)
flux your sterling silver strip and put the arrow onto it solder site down
flux your sterling silver strip and put the arrow onto it solder site down
heat again until solder flows ( I took a pic of the red hot metal -its so hot that it is red in color ,much more heating and it would start melting )
clean your strip and start texturing
clean your strip and start texturing
use a dremel with a buffing wheel ,or a polisher or a flex shaft for cleaning , add texture with a screw driver
flip the strip over and start bending
flip the strip over  and start bending
use a pen or something similar to bend the tie bar around it
bend so that the arrow is a bit longer then the lower part
bend so that the arrow is a bit longer then the lower part
flip down and put your pen on the edge and press with your finger at the middle
flip down and put your pen on the edge and press with your finger at the middle
you can bend it a bit more with your fingers
you can bend it a bit more with your fingers
pound with a raw hide or nylon hammer on the right hand ( the bend end )
enjoy your tie bar
enjoy your tie bar

easy teaxture if you do not have a rolling mill

fun with metal

easy texture for metal

this is basic metal smithing 101

take a patterned steel sheet

tape a strip of metal that is softer then the steel to the plate

use clear tape so you can see the back . Start hammering with a ball peen hammer on the whole back ,basically covering the back with dimples .You will need some elbow grease with this as this takes some serious hammer time WATCH YOUR FINGERS !!! while you hammer the back the metal expands and gets pushed into the pattern in the steel plate thus creating a negative the plates are meant for a rolling mill or a metal press .If you do not have those tools ,the hammer is a cheap way to get the texture on the metal

here you can see the dimples on the back which look pretty neat too

flipped over you now have a nice texture

my arm is a bit sore now ,but its worth it this took about 20 minutes of non stop hammering

file your edges and form your bracelet on a mandrel

I have a synclastic form for my small metal press to give the bracelet that nice shape , but you can do an ordinary bracelet too ๐Ÿ™‚

I made a copper synclastic bracelet today with some snow flakes

copper disc pendant

And because I needed to work out some frustration I made some earrings and a pendant too

winged ring- brass wings on sterling silver

wings on sterling

draw some narrow wings on a piece of paper

stick/glue the wings to your metal sheet

I am using 20 gauge brass ( 0.8mm thick ) I usually do a mock up in metal that is cheaper before doing a sterling/gold version

draw your ring shank onto sterling silver

this is 18 gauge ( 1 mm thick )

cut out your wings and your ringshank via jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades

make sure the ring shank and the wings fit ( I am good with eyeballing things – I tend not to measure )

solder your wings onto the ring shank

I use extra easy silver solder , after soldering quench in water and clean in Pickel solution

add your texture for the wings

cut the ring shank to length

bend until the ends meet flush and solder again

clean in the Pickel solution until the sterling turns from black to white

form the ring on a ring mandrel with a nylon hammer

polish inside

polish outside

add patina to bring out the texture

polish again

leave a bit of patina around the edges of the wings to bring out the design

I think this is more suitable for a male

what do you think ?

finally got to make another tutorial – it has been a while

fun with metal – how to make a flower ring

You can always look into your community college ( USA) and most of them have beginners and medium metal/silversmithing courses that are not too expensive

I start out with 18 gauge sterling silver

18 gauge is 1 mm thick . I prefer that thickness as the flowers do not bend but are not too heavy either draw a circle ( use a template – its easier )

inside the circle I drew a flower

using a jewelers saw and 1/0 blades for cutting out the flower

cut out flower

cut out flower

I want to dome mine so I am using a dabbing block

mine is a square block with 30 domed indentations and corresponding hammers – put your flower in a ” bowl ” and take the “hammer with the ball that fits ” using a nylon hammer to pound on the end of that hammer if you do not have a dabbing block you can go with 20 gauge sterling which is thinner and bend your pedals with a pliers

file your edges smooth

take any wire you have

take any wire you have
I used twisted wire for the ring shank – twisted wire is easy to do or you can also buy it at riogrande or thunderirdsupply.com

cut the wire to length – file edges flat

cut the wire to length - file edges flat

take a needle nose pliers

bend your ring shank until edges meet

bend your ring shank until edges meet
try to get the ends as close as you can together

domed flower

domed flower

flux your ring

I prefer paste flux add some solder and…

….start heating with a torch

....start heating with a torch
heat until the solder flows , quench in water and clean in pickle solution

soldered ring shank

now comes the forming

using a ring mandrel and a nylon hammer , shape you ring shank until its round

I prefer my rings to be flat and not round

so I used a planishing hammer for flatten the ring

rounded ring shank

rounded ring shank

take some metal scrap – flux and then heat with torch

take some metal scrap - flux and then heat with torch
this is to make the little ball in the middle

heat the sterling until it forms a ball

heat the sterling until it forms a ball
here its red hot metal

turn your flower upsdide down and flux both ring shank and flower

turn your flower upsdide down and flux both ring shank and flower
heat with torch and solder together

flip again

flip again

flux the inside of your flower and add a small piece of solder

flux the inside of your flower and add a small piece of solder
heat again until solder flows – add your ball of molten sterling and again flux and heat

this is after everything is soldered together

clean in pickle solution to get rid of oxidation ( blackness )

after the pickle bath

after the pickle bath
start polishing ( sand paper , steel wool )

finished

finished

I added the smaller ring to the slightly larger one I already had

hope you liked it

www.niciart.comย ย  in case you want to see more of what I make

lentil bead pendant – medium difficulty

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Today I made something that i never did before . I made a so called Focal Bead . A Focal bead is a bead that is either worn alone or in the middle of a necklace to draw the attention or focus of the one viewing .

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Take 2 circles of equal size ( I use 18 gauge sterling silver ) . You can either buy the circles or you can cut them from your sheet metal by hand or use a disc cutter ( which I have and it is one of my regularly used tools ) . Both circles here are 1 inch in diameter but size is totally up to you . Make sure your metal is very clean. I use a textured steel sheet that is meant for a rolling mill to imprint the texture onto your metal โ€“ well I am not rich and i do not have a rolling mill so there is another way to get the texture onto your metal . Tape both circles face down with packing tape onto the steel sheet . Take your ball peen hammer and hammer the back sides of said circles . The tape is used to keep the circles from moving while you hammer . Make sure you hammer the whole surface . After your done remove tape and circles from your metal sheet ( http://www.riogrande.com has a whole armada of cool textured metal sheets )

 

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Draw to half circles onto the back of one of the circles right on the edge โ€“ those will be your feeding holes for the string or cord . Cut out with your jewelry saw using 1/0 blades . Then take your circles and dome them in a dapping block. Put the circles with the texture down so that the texture is on the OUTSIDE of your domes ( yes I have done it the wrong way ) make sure you use the same indentation and ball on both of your circles . Put the half domes together and look that there are no huge gaps , you might need to use the dapping block a bit more to do that.

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Now comes the fun part . Soldering . Put both halfs together again and clamp them in between a third hand ( easiest way to do a thing like that ) Apply flux and your solder โ€“ I use stick or wire solder but I think paste solder might have been easier for something like that . Heat with your torch until the solder flows , flip your third hand without removing the bead ( careful its hot ) and do the other side . Quench in water . Again you see on the third photo how dark the silver gets due to oxidation during heating . To clean that up use your โ€ Pickle โ€ solution

When the Silver turns white you can take it out of the Pickle using your COPPER tongues . You can read in my other tutorials why to not use anything else besides the copper tongues. Rinse in water and dry . Use a number 4 , 3 or 2 file to clean the edges so that they are smooth . Run through a polisher or use yourย  flex shaft , both will work

 

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Add patina so that your texture can pop . Polish the high points with some polishing cloths ( donโ€™t use your flex shaft it tends to take more patina off then you want ) Feed your cord through the holes an enjoy.

 

Again , if you want to buy any of my designs you can contact me through my shop at www.nicilaskin.etsy.com