Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sawing practice

I'm trying to get better at sawing in general.  It's almost meditative once I get started and it can really add some flair to metal work - I've seen some amazing, intricate saw work added to jewelry but my focus at this point is just to be able to saw out simple silhouettes with some accuracy.


Over the past couple of weeks I've been using this Jayhawk shape for my practice; it's got plenty of little ins and outs to provide a little bit of difficulty and I just happen to have a roll of duct tape with an endless supply of the image to use.


I kept thinking that if the silhouette was decent I could use it for a keychain. The base was a heavy gauge copper and silver would provide a good contrast but I didn't want to start out with sterling...too expensive for mistakes.  I ended up with several Jayhawks - some better than others - in aluminum and stainless steel.  Not perfect, but definitely good enough for me to use for my office keys.


When it was time to add the shape to the copper base, I grabbed one of the birds thinking it was stainless steel but apparently it was aluminum, because I fried that little thing in no time at all. The melting point for stainless is 2500 degrees but aluminum is more like 1200.  I still kind of like how it looks, but I couldn't add it to that copper backplate because it's so heavy it needs a lot of heat to warm up for soldering. The aluminum would've melted into a puddle before I could get it attached. 

After the meltdown, I tried again with some scrap sterling (when I say scrap, it's not an understatement - it was pretty beat up). 

I left a very rustic finish on the whole piece to match the scrap sterling.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Druzy quartz and tiger eye rings

I'm trying to pace myself, making jewelry fairly consistently throughout the year so that I have a decent stock to bring to the holiday show that I participate in.  I was on sabbatical last year because I just wasn't feeling like making much of anything and I didn't want to push it.  It seemed to do the trick because I've started to want to make things again.


In the last couple of weeks, I've made a bunch of rings and earrings with druzy quartz and tiger eye. The druzy quartz have fine sugar-like crystals on the top of them formed when dissolved silica carried by ground water is deposited in porous areas on the stones.  The quartz I got has been treated with an iridescent coating that really makes them sparkle.  


I made a few tiger eye rings - two were gifts and one will go up for sale - with some simple stamping around the bezel.

Hopefully I can keep this up...it feels good!