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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Wire wrapped flower

Wire wrapping is a fun and easy way to create your own focal. In this case I am starting with some acrylic drops and a decorative brass ring. For wrapping I chose 22 gauge round dead soft silver filled wire. You of course can do this with any wire and even make your own ring from heavy wire. Depending on the size of the components you may need up to 3 feet of wire. This 15 mm ring required about 2 feet.

The first step is to wrap the wire through and around the ring tightly 3 times. Next string on a bead and place it in the correct orientation with the tip on the edge of the ring. If you are using a round or faceted bead it can be on top of the ring or at the edge. Its up to you..after all you are the designer.

Continue wrapping and adding beads.

When you have loaded all the beads you can fit its time to stabilize the form. I chose to alternate wrapping around the base of each bead..over one wrap around and behind the next giving an alternating weave of one-two-one

When you have finished this step you may need to tighten the final wraps by pushing down toward the ring and finish off the ends by tucking in the ends around the ring.

This is almost ready to add to whatever project you have in mind. I have yet to go around and push in the last wraps..it could be added to a pin or backed with a filigree...the possibilities are endless. Give wire wrapping a try, its easy and uses very little material. I spent about 20 minutes doing this...it was my first time working with long drops..doing this with round beads goes much faster. Finer wrapping wire will work as well and colored craft wire that matches or contrasts with the other elements can give a great look.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Simple ring in silver filled bronze

Rings are fun to create. Flat sheet metal is a great material to begin with. I also work in PMC and have this marking tool or template. Place it on the metal and using a sharp pointed tool like a carbide scribe, mark the metal by following the cutout.

With the metal marked its time to select the correct blade for cutting the metal. Fine blades with 3 teeth per thickness of metal will cut quickly and not catch. Using a magnifier hold the blade to the edge of the metal and if you have 3 or more teeth on the edge use that blade. I also use cutting lube to make it cut faster. Remember to hold the metal flat on the bench pin or table edge and keep the saw frame and blade vertical.

Here is the cut out piece with all my flaws..I didn't follow the line perfectly . Too much enthusiasm...take your time so you have less fixing to do.

A medium cut file will straighten the edges. I also used a rotary sander...anything to get the shape close to the marked line.

Here you can see both sides of the metal..this is duplex metal, silver filled jewelers bronze or Nugold. A thin layer is bonded to the thicker bronze. I like the design possibilities of two colors and the savings over sterling. I chose to put the sterling on the inside of the ring.

Using a cuff bender pliers I put a smooth curve into the piece.

Depending on the radius of the jaw you may get this shape or tighter.

With ring benders I fully curved the shank until it touched.

After some contemplation and a cup of coffee I decided to make an overlapping ring like a bow. Yes I plan as I go..I am so used to having only a general direction at first and go with the flow in design..I draw a lot in the middle stages or in the case of this just fiddling with the metal this idea popped into my head.

I used a fiber cutting wheel to cut into both sides less than half way. Grasping the ends of the blank with parallel jaw pliers I manipulated the form into overlapping.

At this point I realised I should have finished the metal before finally connecting the ends...hindsight is clear..I would recommend you
 finish the metal while flat and clean up any flaws after. Personally I am bored with mirror smooth glossy metal finishes. I like a smooth hand finished look and to achieve this used a pumice/rubber wheel on a flex shaft to smooth and texture the metal. Next a brass brush was applied and then a small buff with bobbing compound. Finally using 1200 grit wet or dry sanding pads I smoothed and refined the surface to look like something weathered but loved.
With the silver inside..no green fingers

And finally the finished piece. This is size 7. You can customize the size before making by using a piece of paper the exact shape of the shank. Wrap it around the mandrel and mark it where the desired size is and after cutting center the paper on the blank and mark the location of the slots

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Studio Space

This is the assembly side of my jewelry workshop. The room is my old darkroom in the basement. It is about 6x8 feet and is wall to wall storage with two benches. This is where the parts are stored and the finished pieces for my Etsy shop. Around to the right is another bench where I solder and cut.

Simple ring construction you can do.

These simple components and a drop or two of E-6000 glue can make a nice ring. The shank is from B'sue boutiques the prong mount from another vendor and this eye is from Van Dyke Taxidermy.

The first step is ti mark and pierce the rivet hole in both pieces. Next I add a little E-6000 glue to both parts and allow it to set for a minute. This will help the assembly hold together during riveting. Next place the rivet or eyelet up through the shank and put the crown mount on.

You can see the drop of glue has come through the hole. Set the rivet after letting the glue set for a couple minutes. Then place more glue around the edge of the mount and press in the focal. In this case I chose a yellow bobcat eye from a taxidermy supplier. Obviously any thing that will fit the mount with room to push the prongs over will work.

You can see I missed a bit on alignment of the pupil. A slight twist of the mount will correct this.

I chose to leave it as it gives a little character like a tilt to the head. And this is ready to list at Oscarcrow on Etsy. Simple quality components and just one rivet make a strong ring with minimal effort and labor cost..10 minutes or less.

Here is another possibility. A cigar band and a treasure box with an owl charm on top. I used 2 rivets on this. The box opens and closes with a magnetic catch

This one is in silver plate and pewter with a spike in place of the owl. It also is mounted crosswise for an unconventional look.

One last piece for today. In my last post you saw the copper form used here in a polished state. I looked at it the next morning and knew it could be better. I opened the curve and added the handmade raku beads after torching the form from the inside to bring up the color. These are raku pieces from a friend on Etsy  Wondrousstrange   she taught me how to make my own after I had bought some from her. I reserve hers for special pieces . http://www.etsy.com/shop/WondrousStrange?ref=top_trail  Check out her shop for wonderful items in raku. And of course Oscarcrow where I have about 250 raku beads and pendants http://www.etsy.com/shop/oscarcrow?section_id=11218924

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fold forming copper flat to 3d

The scraps that are lying around my shop are all subject to use. The first picture shows a 1x2 inch scrap cut from a roll of copper flashing. The first thing to do is a straight fold. This is done in the center of the long side by clamping the metal in a vise and beating the edge over  to a 90 degree angle. It is then removed from the vise and hammered flat. The third section shows the open edge cut to a gentle curve.

The first real work involves hammering along the folded edge with a cross peen hammer. This will stretch the metal making the ends begin to curve. After a pass along each side the metal is annealed or heated to red hot and quenched in water.

Next is another round of pounding on the edge of the fold with the blows coming at right angles to the edge. Both of these are done on a flat surface and after both sides are hammered once again anneal and dry the metal.

The final pass is done with a smaller face hammer over a curved surface to minimize contact and further stretch the edge.

Next the metal is annealed for the last time and then the attention turns to the open edge on the inside of the curve. Use a butter knife or screwdriver or a bench knife to open the folded metal. Once the opening is started you can force it open with your fingers.

As the edges are pulled out from the center, the ends will curve toward each other.

As the edges come out into a shell or pod shape you can begin to decide how far you want to go. At this point it looks like a pea pod and you could stop here and fill it with beads or other items.

Opening further along the pod shape will close the ends more.

I opened it fully to achieve a full circle and then decided to use a rotary brush with brass bristles to polish the out side.

This is the result. I made it into a pendant by fitting a bronze band over the ends and closed the tips together.

A simple beaded chain finishes the pendant. This is one of many possible treatments.. Give it a try, fold forming in copper is easy and fun.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Doll Restoration The little cook

These parts were in a box of dolls I got from Germany. While the head is not from this body it seemed a possible fit. The first thing to do was to make a mold of the head and the body separately. . I use a wooden form with oil clay in the bottom. Putting the parts into the clay and spraying it with Pam as a mold separator is the first step. Then mix and pour pottery plaster over to form half a mold. After that is set the mold is turned over the clay removed and plaster poured again. Then clay in a liquid form is poured into the dried mold. The plaster pulls the water from the slip leaving a thin layer of clay in the form of the doll part. The parts are removed from the molds and trimmed,and joined with more slip. The result is then dried and fired and glaze applied.

This is the result after painting the glaze over the bisque fired clay figure. The other pieces are ready for the final firing. What happens in the kiln and reduction chamber are really random. The kiln firing is controlled by a computer and when the piece reaches 1750 degrees the kiln is opened and the pieces transferred to a pressure cooker with flammable paper and wood shavings or leaves in the bottom. The paper will burst into flame and when the lid is placed on the fire burns up the oxygen resulting in a reduction. After 12 minutes in the vacuum chamber pressure is released and the lid removed... the smoke and fire have changed the colors into what will be the final product. It isn't always what we expect.

My little cook is looking like he was in the fire and that is within my shabby/folk art style. Future ones will have different colors but this little fellow in blue jeans and cooks clothes is done. Restored from fragments and ready for someone to collect. He and other figures are available at www.etsy.com/shop/oscarcrow.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hand hammered copper bracelet

A simple rustic wire bracelet can be made with just 10 inches of 10 gauge square copper wire, 3 inches of 22 gauge round wire and a glass bead. Tools include Hammers and block, bracelet mandrel ,torch, and a drill or punch.

First step is to anneal the wire and texture the full length. Flatten the end about 1-2 inches from each end, making sure you stay in the same plane.

Anneal with the torch and cool the form the wire around a mandrel. Of course you can use alternative  forms like a wooden dowel or rolling pin.

I placed the bracelet back on the mandrel and using a grooved face texture hammer worked all around the piece . Anneal again and quench in water  and again form the bracelet to the mandrel., aligning the ends .

Next I used a punch pliers to mark the drill locations. I find that is the easiest tool to use. You could use a punch and hammer or even a nail.

After drilling the holes I used a gray cratex rubber wheel to clean and polish the holes and to smooth the entire bracelet on the inside. I also ran the wheel over the tops of the texture to smooth and brighten some areas to give a little sparkle.

Using fine round 22 gauge gold filled 14k wire to lace up the top will give a little contrast as the copper changes to its natural deep orange/brown. I started with about an inch of wire underneath and between the copper and threaded up through in a wrapping lace. This traps the end and when reaching the middle I noticed a red glass bead on my bench top and put it on the wire. Finish the lacing by tucking the end under the bottom laces and pull tight. The end was wrapped over between the copper sides and again tuck in out of sight. Using a small buffing wheel on a flex shaft I polished the inside of the bracelet and then smoothed all corners for a nice feel. 

All that is left to do is to place the bracelet back on your mandrel and with a rawhide hammer or other plastic face hammer work harden and straighten the wire.

Slight curves can be straightened or accented by hand.

And there is the finished piece. Ready to go to my Etsy shop   https://www.etsy.com/listing/115419546/hand-formed-copper-and-glass-bracelet