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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

Monday, November 12, 2012

Big Jump Rings And A Button Become A Bracelet

This little pile of things caught my eye this afternoon.  A Czech glass button some glass donuts and big jump rings.

The first step is to create units like this..simple and straight forward.

Keep adding elements until you have about 4 inches worth.

Do it again and then on the end large ring add a piece of wire thin enough to fit through the button back. In this case I used my Wubbers looping pliers and rolled a double ring on the end of the half hard gold filled wire.

As you finish with that slide the wire through the back of the button.

 I left enough room for the button to slide a little.
Then with the pliers again roll up a double ring.

Clip off the extra wire and be sure to roll the end to the center so it wont poke the wearer.

All that's left is to add the other side and attach a clasp. This fits a large wrist but by removing a ring or two it can be custom fit any wrist.

The materials used are 8 18mm heavy jump rings,12 10mm medium rings, and 6 glass rings plus the clasp and the button. A Quick and easy bracelet with a lot of color from the vintage glass.