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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Primitive style ring construction.

I had created this ring a while back and a customer wanted it in a different size. With a primitive style ring with the horseshoe shank you may not just size it. You must recreate the whole ring. This design can be found in several old books on jewelry and archeology. One of my favorites is 7000 Years of Jewelry.

We begin with a 6 gauge piece of round copper wire from the hardware store. In this form the pure copper is hard as nails and needs to be annealed.

Annealing is heating the metal to a glowing red passing the torch up and down as in this picture. When the whole wire is glowing , allow it to go black then quench in cold water. This will soften the metal.

This is the starting shape.

And this is the form after much beating with a large hammer on an anvil.

Next it was annealed and then formed to about the preferred size around a steel mandrel. To finish the sizing process place the bead or stone on top of the desired size marking and mark the center hole in the shank on both sides.

The holes are then drilled after once again annealing the metal. Then finishing begins. First sand the interior with a coarse grit wheel or drum on a flex shaft. Then using finer files and sand papers smooth the metal before any polishing. I polish the whole piece then scratch finish with 1500 grit sandpaper for a rustic look.

Continue finishing and cleaning until you achieve the desired surface. In primitive pieces like this I strive for a smooth gloss interior and a slight matte on the out side. This shows an intermediate step.

To hold the ceramic raku bead in place I choose wire. A square 18 gauge silver wire was first twisted with a hand vise and a pair of parallel pliers.

A few turns both decorates and work hardens the soft silver.

The wire is then fitted through the ring and bead.

The ends are bent down at right angles and clipped.

A second wire 28 gauge gold filled half round is added and over wrapped to hold the twisted wire in place.

The ends are tucked in and all edges crimped with pliers to work harden and toughen the wire. Any ends should be filed with a cup bur or a file so they become smooth.

Here is the new ring . You can save a lot of time if you have a set of metal rolls or buy flat stock.. I don't have the rolls and already had the round so it was back to the ancient way to complete the process.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A simple tool for setting stones.

One of my favorite techniques for handling small stones or parts is the wax stick. The form I prefer is beeswax. It is inexpensive and available from tool suppliers. in small tubes. I pull out a small inch long piece and form a cone on one end. The tip is slightly sticky and will hold well to glass, stone or diamond as well as most metals.

In this closeup you can see the slick cabochon of green glass stuck to the wax.

Presenting the mounting surface to a dribble of E-6000 glue is easy.

Sticking the glass cab to its new home is drama free with a wax stick. Once in place give it a few seconds to allow the glue to grab. Then twist the wax to break its hold on the cab.

Here is a closeup with a smear of glue on the foil back of a larger cab.

The piece requires a little cleanup after the stones are allowed to set..I wait for the next day with E-6000. Then polish off any leftover wax which will leave a nice sheen on most surfaces.

Here is the finished pendant.  It is made from components available through B'sue Boutiques or other suppliers. The wing is a floral ring shank and the bug is a cicada. The top set of legs from the bug are bent over the top of the wing and glued down. The Egyptian piece is glued to the bug.   I hope you enjoy this wax stick technique.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Backgrounds for closeup photography

I like to change the background on my Etsy offerings frequently. I don't like a plain white or black background. At a craft store I found a 12x12 pad of papers for scrap booking. Many attractive color and patterns to use.  I have been listing a lot of earrings with french hooks. I wanted to make an easy but practical background. This is what I came up with.

Fold the background paper in half then make a Z fold .  This will be taped together and form a small pocket to hang the hooks on.

After rotating the fold to horizontal its simple to slip the hooks in and make the picture. I make up several of these in different color patterns and change them  to best display my work. The neatly folded papers go in a large envelop for storage. I use a simple wooden wedge to hold the paper for shooting.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Production Tip For Post Earring Assembly

When making multiples of an item I find it useful to have something like this jig to hold the parts while I glue the stones on. It is simply a block of wood with holes drilled that can hold the earring post. I can add glue to the stone and set the whole piece aside to dry. Keeps me from fumbling and dropping the posts. Styrofoam or clay would work as well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Making an apothecary or prayer ring

Starting with a prayer box and a cigar band ring shank we will create a simple art ring. The first step is to create a hole with punch or drill in the shank and to bottom of the box.

You can see the centered hole.

Next we have to remove the ring on top of the box. This box is pewter and soft so the side cutters remove it easily.

Next clip off the bail ring

Now it ready for the next step which is E-6000 glue. That's correct..we glue the hole in the shank and the bottom of the box as well as the flat center of the ring. Wait about 30 seconds then insert the rivet up through the ring and then position the shank an a ring mandrel to hold the rivet in place. Next position the box over the rivet and select the final position for the box. Let the glue set up. Then set the rivet.

Here you can see the rivet is flattened and with the glue it is going to hold the parts together very well.

And here is the final result ready for wear...total time was about 10 minutes and the cost under $8