Exploring Metalsmithing A Bit Further

Saturday nite, 2 weeks ago.
I can’t sleep even though it’s already 2 AM.
Something was bothering me so much. So, I have a design for one of three (yes, now I have three lol) opals.
I’ve sketched the design, ordered the materials, and wait for them anxiously just to find out that…….
My opal was TOO SMALL for my design *sigh*
Okay, blame me for this but my spatial ability was a bit low lol..

So, what should I do? I really couldn’t stand the ‘leave the design and move on’ thoughts.
I can’t afford to buy a bigger opal with such a beautiful color play.
I don’t wanna change the gems into let’s say a druzy..

I was thinking of labradorite or rainbow moonstone, but I don’t have any of them. That means another tiring hunt for materials.. And I really have to finish this piece before the end of March.
So that’s not a good solution.

I drove my friend, Renata, mad with this matter by asking her to find in her gorgeous collections of gems a perfect one for me lol
(I owe you much hehe)

Then I remembered a small fine silver sheet I ordered few months ago.. It’s just 4″ x 4″ of 0.3 mm fine silver sheet, but I thought it could work.

My plan was to cut the fine silver sheet into a leaf shape, then drill some tiny holes onto it, and net-bezel my tiny opal onto it.
Pretty simple, right?

So I did it. At about 2 AM in the morning.
I cut the metal sheet using small scissors (okay, I used Claire’s manicure scissors because I can’t find my scissors hehe)
After heating it with my torch I formed wavy edges using my pliers.
I set up my flexshaft, and drilled some holes onto it. I even managed to sand and file the sharp edges!!
Finally, I used very fine sterling silver wire (I guess it was 30 or 32 gauge) to net bezel the opal onto it.
I tied it to the base wire using excess wire from the net bezel.

Here it is 🙂

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Well, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. And pretty proud of myself *insert BIG GRIN here*

It was about 3.30 AM when I finished the process. And I could sleep peacefully..

xoxo,

ien

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Thursday Technique: Making Balled End Wire

I’ve been exploring further in my jewelry making journey: using torch to make balled end wire. It’s one of those materials shared in Perhiasan Kawat group on FB.

Several friends who could use torch kindheartedly shared their knowledge and experiences publicly and for free to other members in the group.

Actually I wasn’t too interested to try this, because I thought it will be too risky -using fiery equipment while I still have a toddler. I changed my mind later because my personal project design need balled end wire! I told my husband and he convinced me to invest my money in a micro torch.

So, I started my experiments with my new torches. Torches? Yes!!! You’re right. I have TWO torches at this moment 🙂
I wrote about them on last Tuesday Tools post.

Wire Materials, and so on 🙂
My first attempt making balled end wire was using fine silver wire. And I’m really glad I used it.
Fine silver melts quickly and the result is perfect. The ‘ball’ formed has smooth surface and bright silver colors.
I could say that it almost have no flux from firing process.

I tried sterling silver, but the ball wasn’t as good as fine silver wire did. You can see fire scale spreading from the ‘neck’ part (the wire part just right before the ball) to other part of wire which was heated during the torching process.
Other difference is the ball formed wasn’t as smooth as ball formed from fine silver. Somehow the ball surface have ‘wrinkles’ on it. But you could always remove the wrinkles by filling it.

Permanently colored copper wire, or enameled copper wire has similar result with sterling silver. I tried using Gold plated Artistic Wire without removing the enamel first. My fault, I know. The enamel produce smokes during torching process *sigh*
Oh, before I forget to mention this: they lost the colors during torching, so the ball color is copper (after you file the fire scale)

Here’s the picture:

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I found some non-enameled copper wire, and tried to make balled end with them too 🙂
*I know, I know, now it seems I can’t stop torching lol*
The result made me happier than enameled copper: it has fire scale of course, but the balled end has pretty smooth surface (insert my happy dance here)

The time needed for making balled end depends on the wire size: thicker wire take more time, thinner wire need less time.
Wire materials also have impact to the time needed: fine silver is the quickest one, sterling and copper (both enameled and non-enameled) take more time.
I also found that my two torches have their own advantages and setbacks, please read my previous Tuesday Tools post 🙂

For detailed pictures of my experiments please visit my FB page under the Exploriment album 🙂

See you on my next posts!!

xoxo,

ien

My first chainmaille: Full Persian Cross

Hi there 🙂

I can’t wait till next Friday to show you this: my first chainmaille piece!!! 

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Yeay!!! 
A friend of mine asked me to make a cross pendant.
He wanted it to be simple, and not too big.

This is my first masculine jewelry order.
I tried to sketch down some designs but none of them seemed masculine enough 
Then I did some research about chainmaille cross.

I thought chainmaille piece will be masculine -or androgene- enough.
It is simple, and looks sturdy.

So I found the pattern of chainmaille here and tried to make this pendant.
I also found this link and it has clear step by step instructions of chainmaille cross.

I tried my hand on the pattern, and here’s the result 

I used to think that chainmaille is beyond my ability, but now I KNOW I CAN DO IT

I still have to oxidize the cross then I can send it to its new home 

Anyone interested?
I have stainless steel rings too, if you don’t want the sterling silver ones.

Just contact me
Or visit my FB page to see my collections 

See you!!


ien