Oscarcrow's Page on FaceBook

Friday, December 30, 2011

New books to read, new metal to work

My daughter gave me this book for a present. It is one of the most complete overviews of historical jewelry I have ever seen. It has become my leisure time reading lately. Filled with great illustrations of jewelry from all eras and locales it is a valuable design source. I have already made 2 rings from illustrations in the book, duplicating hand forged rings from 2000 BC in Europe. Its worth a look. And since my daughter is a savvy shopper this is probably available at Half-price or similar stores.

This book I purchased for my self. It is like an encyclopedia of technique for silver...and what works for silver works for copper,brass,bronze and other metals. Soldering,shaping,etching,cold connections its all in there with clear photos and concise instructions to get you over the little hurdles in metal working. It is available through Interweave.

Since silver is expensive these days I have been trying alternatives in both wire and sheet. Silver filled is a good alternative especially in wire work. Here are a few sheets of silver filled bronze. The sheet with 380 on it is the back..jewelers bronze or NuGold the others show the front which is clad in sterling silver. The piece on the left is heavily forged..fold formed,hammered for texture and heated repeatedly to anneal. Then pickled. Even before polishing the fine silver color is apparent.I plan to make a ring shank from the top piece with sterling on the inside and the bronze out side. Imagine etching through this sheet with ferric nitrate and revealing the gold layer through the silver...Just as a design element the two color metal has many possibilities. I purchased my single clad 1/10 silver filled sheet from RioGrande.
New inspirations for a New Year...be creative and grow your mind and your art.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Doll Restoration 101 Making new from old broken parts.

When a treasure like this box shows up in the mail I spend a lot of time sorting and looking for similar or hopefully matching heads and bodies. This time I hit pay dirt.

Among the 350 pieces in that box was this pair of matching doll parts..a head and shoulders and a body. To recreate the original doll form that is over 100 years old is the goal. I start with a mold box and place a layer of non- hardening clay in the bottom. Next I place the doll part into the clay and embed it halfway paying attention to undercuts. In order to remove the doll part later we have to fill any undercuts with clay and fill voids in and around the doll as well.

After pouring a layer of plaster, curing it and spraying mold release and pouring again we get a 3-d mold. Fill it with liquid clay and allow it to dry over night. This is what we have. Complete with air bubbles, pour lines and flash around the seams.

The next step is to remove the fettle(seam lines) and flaws by carving , filling, and smoothing. The pieces then are cut to match. In this case I used the v-neck of the shirt as my cut line and cut off the body from the head, and cut away the upper chest from the body. A small amount of slip is place in the matching cuts and it is pressed together to bond the clay.

This is the result ready for more trimming and drying in a dehydrator for 3 hours. Then the clay is hard enough to sand , file and burnish further refining the surfaces. Mold marks and trade marks are removed.

The tools I used to begin finishing are a folder 120 grit sanding disk and a triangle file. After the piece is completely dry fine sanding with 1000 grit sanding pads will leave a smooth finish. Next the piece will get fired to bisque which will allow me to further refine the details using diamond tools. Next time I will show her with glaze and a few of the pieces I have recently made like the duck girl and dino man. I am working on another doll this afternoon...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Beaten copper bracelet

The raw materials for this project are a sheet of copper,some square wire and for tools we will use planishing and texturing hammers,plus a torch and vises. The wire is used to make a shape in the metal. It is placed under the sheet and struck with the hammer repeatedly. Then we bend the first fold.

The bends will be raised with a hammer after flattening along the seam.

The edge of the fold is clamped in the vise and the pieces separated and hammered flat.

Then another fold is added.

Again the seam is pounded flat and placed in the vise.

I continue until the folds cover 3/4 of the length. Alternating direction each time.

A planishing hammer is used to flatten the metal and the ribs.

I chose to flatten the ribs in a twist..each end goes a different direction .

After flattening the ribs the metal is heated to anneal and quenched in cold water. The heat has begun the decoration of the metal.

Next the whole is folds down the length. It is flattened again placed in the vise and opened leaving a central ridge.

The ridge is then hammered flat locking in the center of the folds and creating a wonderful texture.

Next the edge is textured with the linear pattern hammer which gives a ruffled look. To me it seems like the edge of an orchid or iris petal.

Pounding continues on the round mandrel and the final shape emerges. To smooth the edges of the metal it is first sanded then buffed on a 6 inch wheel with Tripoli. It is then cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner and wiped dry.

It looks ancient and a bit abused.

I think the texture makes it look like a medieval armor cuff. Total time was about 1/2 hour. It could be further polished or textured or colored...from here its all good.