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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hardware Store Bracelet

 I was shopping at Home Depot for some paint and saw this refrigeration tubing. 10 feet for $8 It is pure copper with a diameter inside of 1/4 inch. Using a tubing cutter I cut a 7 inch length.
 The cutter uses a wheel to compress and cut through the tubing as you rotate the cutter around the tubing and tighten the knob.
 This tool leaves a smooth end that has a bevel.
 I used a texture hammer to flatten and texture the tubing.
 After annealing the tube with a torch I formed it to the oval mandrel.
 Further hammer work to flatten the ends and sanding the ends smooth finishes the cuff. You could stop there or add any embellishment, color, polish or texture to complete your design.
 I had this Stamping from www.bsueboutiques.com so I decided to rivet this to the bracelet. Using the Beadsmith EZ-rivet tool to punch the holes.
 I finished off the rivets with a nail set and a hammer on my dapping block.
With the stamping mounted this project is done. I will revisit this tubing in future blog posts. It is a good cheap copper resource.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Joined ring and bracelet tutorial

 To begin this project I chose a double snake stamping and using a rawhide mallet formed the brass to the bracelet mandrel.
 Next I used this new tool from http://www.bsueboutiques.com/ to punch holes and then to set rivets.
 I removed two links from the book chain http://www.bsueboutiques.com/item/Fancy-Book-Chain-Antique-Brass-5-x-7mm-11218
and pierced the opened flat links.
 These were riveted to the snakes tail using semi tube rivets. The chain was slipped over the flat link and the link was bent with chain nose pliers to secure the link.
I added a large jump ring with two small ones around both the snakes necks and the big ring.

 Two more large rings were added with small patterned rings to complete the link to the ring.
 The shank http://www.bsueboutiques.com/item/Pierced-Floral-Vintage-Style-Ring-Base-Shank-5213 was pierced with the Beadsmith tool as was the rabbit. I riveted a bead cap onto the back of the rabbit and folded the leaves up around the rabbits body . The rabbit was then riveted to the ring shank.
 Using the last of the bead caps arms I trapped the large ring.
This the completes the snakes and rabbit ring and bracelet set. It is offered for sale at my ETSY shop. https://www.etsy.com/listing/150170512/slave-bracelet-in-brass-two-snakes-chase

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Making Beads in Clay

 I love to make beads in raku. This technique will work as well for polymer and other clay as well. To make beads all the same size, I start with two square sticks to use as thickness guides. I place the clay between and roll it out to an even thickness.
 This thickness and the diameter of the cut out tool will determine the finished size of the bead.
 I like to use metal tubes from Hobby Lobby. I get a package of them and the square sticks there as well. My roller is a large diameter dowel. This tube is about 3/4 inch in diameter and with the 1/2 inch square sticks gives me a 1/2 inch bead. Just by changing the tube or thickness sticks you can change the finished size.
 After stamping I use the stick to push out the clay.
 If you wanted to you could make cylinder beads just by smoothing the edges...
 I hand roll the beads in my palms.
Next I pierce with a wire a little larger than the wire I will fire them on. After drying the beads for an hour on the mat, I trim the holes and burnish the surface for a gloss or add textures. They are then fired to 1900 degrees and after cooling they get glazed and re-fired and finally put into a reduction container. I use a pressure cooker and place some flammable material into the bottom. When the tray with the fired clay is placed inside the paper or sawdust bursts into flame and then the cover is put on. The fire burns the oxygen and creates a vacuum . This oxygen free low pressure is called reduction. If it were left open it would be oxidation.
The final results speak for themselves. Hand rolled raku beads. Ready for use in jewelry. These have a nice mottled finish with green and bronze highlights. With the same glaze and different firing sequences I can send the color into many different directions from pure copper to deep blue and beyond.  Try making your own beads, its simple and fun.