Flower Ring with Amber

the prongs get pushed with a bezel pusher over the stone

the prongs get pushed with a bezel pusher over the stone

finished ring with the bangle I made too

finished ring with the bangle I made too
well actually I made the bangle first a couple of days ago , but I wanted a ring too hope you like it

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 πŸ™‚ hope as always you enjoyed it nici

seagull tiebar – fresh from the bench

Today I made a seagull tie bar out of sterling silver and added some stones to it . I used 18 gauge sterling silver, 2 x 3mm serrated bezel cups and 2 x 3mm black Onyx cabochons.

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what else you need

jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades

chasing tools or screw drivers, a hammer , a nylon hammer or rawhide hammer

steel wool or sandpaper if you do not have a flex shaft or dremel for polishing

a torch , flux, solder , pickle solution

patina ( liver of sulfur or black max )

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draw your bird on the sheet – you can use a template or freehand designs , add a bar to make the overall length 4 inches ( this tie bar is going to be for a normal sized tie ) scale down if you want to make one for a skinny tie. Start sawing your tie bar out , when you are done sawing add some texture with the chasing tools

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file all edges nice and round

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Now you can start shaping your tiebar and create the “spring ” to hold it in place. Take a pen or a steel rod and bend the bird part over the bar part – the bird part being slightly longer than the backside. Turn over and bend the bar upwards with your fingers . Take the nylon hammer and hammer directly on the bend thus closing the tie bar – this way you work harden the spring and make it tight so that it will not slide of the tie.

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If you want to you can now stop and finish your tie bar with the patina and polish or you can add your stones

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Flux the back of your bezel cups and add a small amount of wire solder ( or sheet solder or paste solder )

Heat carefully with the torch until the solder flows . Quench in water. Flux the whole of your tie bar to avoid too much oxidation and fire scale ( I use paste solder ) put the bezel cups on the wing and start heating again very carefully by drawing circles around the wing – never stay to long in one place with the torch – the piece is small and delicate and you might end up melting either the wing or the bezel cups . Heat until the solder flows again then quench in water and throw in the Pickle solution ( never quench in the Pickle solution itself – its dangerous and stupid)

wile you wait for the pickle to do its work – eat

seagull12

yummy πŸ˜‰

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Take your piece out of the Pickle bath using copper tongues . Polish either with your flexshaft , dremel or sandpaper. Add Patina and polish again . The very last step is always to set the stones . Do some slight polishing with a soft cloth to get rid of any finger prints and enjoy your piece . Hope you liked it .

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fresh from the bench

gold gold1 gold2Β  gold4

So today I decided to work with some gold filled material . Gold filled metal is a much cheaper alternative than gold but of much higher quality than gold plated . The one I used is 14/20 meaning 5% off the metal is 14karat gold . The core is made of brass. The difference between gold plated and gold filled is the quality and the thickness of the layer while with gold plated you only get a microscopic film of 14k gold the gold filled layer is much thicker and bonded to the core via heat and pressure making it tarnish resistant.

I took a 6 gauge half round 14/20 gold filled wire and cut it to a 6 inch length then took a planishing hammer and hammered with the round ( ball ) side of the hammer until you get the nice honeycomb texture. Both ends were filed by hand being careful not to damage the gold layer and then formed on a wooden ring mandrel. Then I just took a small sunshine polishing cloth to take care of any smudges.

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 πŸ™‚
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 πŸ™‚

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.comΒ Β  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 – 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 – 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 – 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 ” Pickle ” 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 yourΒ  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 ( don’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

three hearts

three hearts

3 metal hearts πŸ™‚

I used copper ,brass , sterling silver

cut 3 hearts in different sizes from different metals mine are copper, brass , sterling silver

cut sterling silver wire to make your ring shank

silver wire ,or metal wire is the best you can use for ring shanks , the width is always consistent and its a lot less work

mark with your makers stamp and 925 for the sterling

bend your ring shank until the ends meet

flux and add solder – heat with a torch until the solder flows

The solder will flow when the metal gets red hot

be careful – any hotter then that and your sterling will melt

after soldering and quenching in water ,clean in the pickle solution

I also soldered all 3 hearts together

the solution is almost spend ( you can see it on the blue color ) if it gets to be really blue you will need to make a new batch

after the pickle bath form your ring on the ring mandrel

and a nylon hammer

now you need to solder the ring shank to the hearts

add flux again , use a third hand to hold the ring shank in place , add solder and torch again

quench in water – throw in your pickle solution

polish

thanks for reading