Jun 28 2009

Tales from the Bench

Published by under amy's head

Last night after we got home from a lovely birthday BBQ at our friend Liz’ house, which is always so fun, I decided to finally make another square linked bracelet, like the one I’d made in my soldering class. Here it is:

I’d been watching out for anything long and square that I could use as a mandrel (mandrel = something on which to shape / wrap wire or sheet metal) and finally decided to just wing it with my pliers.

I also realized I still had some links from my class that I hadn’t used, and a ton of already soldered jump rings, so the whole thing came together really fast.

Here is the new bracelet next to the old one (sans chainmaille).

After I snapped this, I put it in the pickle pot. The “pickle” is a highly acidic solution that removes oxidation (coloration) from precious metal. It’s usually heated to work faster My pickle pot is a little 1.5 qt crockpot.

Here it is after it came out of the pickle. It’s funny how it comes out completely white and matte, very unlike how you think of silver.

Then it was way way past bedtime. Next I need to finish it, which means sanding it down with finer & finer grit sand paper, a little polishing, and finally, a tumble with some stainless steel shot in my tumbler.

After that, I am not sure whether or not to put the same bits of chainmaille links in each square as the original, or some other element. We’ll see.


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Jun 19 2009

(belated) report from my silver soldering class

Published by under amy's head,crafty,daily,jewelry,photos

I never did follow up and post how my soldering class went. It went awesome!

Here is a photo I took with my phone halfway through the class. The bracelet is only half done, I just draped it over my wrist.

halfway soldered square link bracelet

Here are is a picture I took after I got home. I plopped everything I came home with (finished and unfinished alike) into my light box and took some shots with the Canon 30D.

products from soldering class

You can see 2 square links that have not been soldered, one that was soldered, but I didn’t need, a few little bitty clasps I made, and some balled headpins — which I strung a pretty lucite bead on to show how I plan on using them. And then of course, the bracelet I finished in class.

As you can see, when you put the torch to silver, it oxidizes the metal. The oxidation is the black and goldish colors you see in the torched pieces. In order to remove the oxidation, when you’re finished, you place it in the “pickle” a solution that removes a very fine layer of metal, including the oxidation. The finished bracelet went into the pickle at the end of class, thus it’s nice and shiny. It had not yet been tumbled, so the silver is still a kind of matte finish rather than a shiny finish. I have a tumbler at home, so I didn’t worry about tumbling it in class.

And here is my finished bracelet.

MOD sterling silver bracelet. soldered square links with chainmaille inserts

When I got home, I added (unsoldered) chainmaille pieces inside each of the square (soldered) links. I absolutely adore it – The organic asymmetrical-ness of the squares makes it looks kind of retro to me. Very mod. I am going to make another one with a little less hammering of the squares…. once I can find a square mandrel to use!! I’ve just been keeping my eyes peeled for anything but I may have to ramp up efforts, head to a hardware store and actually actively look for something.

My pyromaniac sale is over, and I sold 2 items, which in my book, is a SUCCESS! I received my torch and soldering supplies, and let me tell you – it is FUN! I’m hoping to finish some earrings this weekend to list.

Also, I may be teaching a chainmaille class August 1st! I am kind of excited! If you are in the northern VA area and are interested, let me know and I’ll keep you up to date! It will be a byzantine class, and participants will be able to finish this bracelet in class:

sterling silver byzantine chain maille bracelet


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Jun 08 2009

new on etsy & a SALE!

Published by under amy's head,crafty

My silversmithing class was awesome. I loved it. I instantly came home and ordered a torch and all the supplies I needed to do my own soldering at home. Stuff called pickle and flux and also? Charcoal. Cool huh!

It’d be nice though if I had some SALES from my ETSY shop to offset my latest order… so….

Enter “PYROMANIAC” in the comments when you buy something from my shop, and I’ll refund you 20%! that’s right, a bonefied SALE! I haven’t decided how long I’ll run the sale, but probably until the weekend if not through the weekend.

Here are 2 new items I just listed. The bracelet is relisted from when it sold last month (finally made another one) and the earrings are my new absolute favorite pair ever. Hard to imagine that anything would bump the Posies from that slot, but these have done it!

new on etsy

Next up, I’ll give a little more detail on my soldering class, and show some pictures.

-amy loves to play with FIRE!!

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