Just playing around with metal
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
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
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
I did like it soI went to solder
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
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
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
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
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 !! )
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
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 🙂 hope as always you enjoyed it nici
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.
I was procrastinating today a bit and those 2 rings are the results
I am actually supposed to work on fathers day orders but for some reason I got side tracked
i used galery wire for the so called bezel setting
wrapped once around the stone tightly to make the setting
soldered the ends together so they form a ring
place the stone inside
there is a lot of forming going on with you fingers so that the stone sits tight but can be taken out without loosing the shape of the bezel
I traced around the bezel to make my inner ring
punched a hole in the middle
I used a jewelers saw to cut out the middle part – that is where the bezel will sit inside
cut out part
looked again to see if everything fits
traced the lager oval to make the base
cut out again and stack
now cmes the fun part
soldering everything together we moved recently and I lost my tripod somehow – its easier to sweat solder from the backside if you have a tripod and a screen so I had to use a charcoal block – its trickier as you have to heat everything from the top and the bezel wire is thin and will melt the fastest
this is the ring top all soldered together cleaned and textured
made 2 different ones just to see which will fit better
the wire gets bend until the ends meet to solder them together to form the ring shank
this is after the last soldering step – joining ring shank with the ring top
now I just had to clean it , darken the metal and set the stone
I had so much fun with the first one that I made a second one
The stone is a Turquoise from Bisbee Arizona from a mine that has been closed since almost 30 years – I got some really cool cabochons from a friend of mine – He cannot make jewelry anymore because his eyes and hands are too kaputt
Sterling silver ” Rock and Roll ” cuff bracelet
I used a 20 gauge 6 inch by 1 1/4 inch strip of sterling silver for the base and 18 gauge sterling silver for the guitars and the star. The shapes were cut out with a 6 inch jewelry saw and 1/0 saw blades. Personally I prefer the german saws and saw blades as I found the quality to be outstanding , but I might be biased because I am german.
I used a template to draw the guitars right on the metal and then sawed them out .
After sawing out the shapes they were soldered via sweat soldering onto the base strip then quenched in water and after that put in the Pickle pot to clean the metal from the black oxidation.
I used an abrasive wheel to quickly file and round the edges – Cratex Medium wheels work very well for that . I like to use my polisher with the wheels because its fast and if you run a business you need to be fast but also have a high quality . I cut down my filing time from about 20 minutes to about 30 seconds .
When you are finished with filing you edges you can add texture . I have several chasing tools made from hardened steel but I also use screw drivers and other things.
Now comes the bending part . I am not very strong with my hands and that is the reason why I am using 20 gauge for my base plate, if I use anything thicker than that I would not be able to bend it anymore and would have to use the metal press.
For shaping my bracelets I prefer to use a wooden mandrel and a nylon hammer they are soft and will not leave any marks in your metal
as you can see after pounding and bending you get a nice oval shape . There are also round mandrels if you prefer a round look . I run the bracelet through my polisher one time to clean the metal and prepare for the liver of sulfur patina . The cleaner the metal the nicer and more consistent your patina gets.
Liver of sulfur gives you a nice dark gray patina. A word of caution , liver of sulfur stinks like rotten eggs so try to do it in a well ventilated area or your hair and clothing will smell too. Even though my husband always knows when I play around with it 😉
After the patina I polished the bracelet again an only left the darkness in the pattern and texture
If you liked the post , maybe leave a comment and let me know 😉
wedding bands i made
stamped the infinity symbol
filed the ends flat and formed them so the ends meet flush
start heating with a torch
quench in water and then clean in pickle solution
the black is oxidation that happens during torching
after the pickle bath
now start forming
use a ring mandrel and a nylon hammer first
after forming the ring you can use a ball peen hammer to make the dimpled texture , polish the inside I polish my rings by hand using different grit sand paper and polishing clohs