zondag 11 januari 2015

Pumping up the heat.

Meanwhile, the amount of Goldsmithing 'stuff' in our house is growing steadily. Having learned the basics on how to solder, we acquired the tools to practice soldering at home. 'We' meaning my wife and me, not the royal we ;-)

Some items come from DeZilverWinkel, others (mainly the burner) from AliExpress. The lot is shown here on my workbench - AKA the ceramic kitchen stove. I Must have the most understanding wife in the whole wide world. I Love her!

These are the copper rings I soldered at GoldenArtDesign. I Showed them before in the topic One ring leads to another.

Eventually, I found this inspiration for my solderingproject. Or rather, my lovely wife did. She is very good at finding things, and I shamelessly stole this idea.

First step is to find out the wire size and ring diameter. After some experimenting, I decided to use 2mm Alpaca wire, wound around a 6mm dowel.

Last week, I continued the project by making 36 rings from 1 meter of wire, that should give me 100mm of finished chain.

So today was the day to practice soldering at home. A Quick refresh on how to solder... and on we go! (Book: Vakgeheimen van het sieraden maken, Stephen o'Keeffe.)

Here is the first ring soldered at home:

After a while, I end up with an assortment of soldered rings.

After a soak in Vitrex (Alkaline solution), the rings look like this:

A Grand assortment of rings that have either:

- Too much solder or too little solder.
- Too much flux or too little flux.
- Too much heat, or not enough heat applied.

So, I decide that I need to work on my skills some more :-)

That, and replace the Borax flux with the "flux h" paste.

Finally, after some more practice and using the new flux, I ended up with a leather-and-alpaca bracelet that doesn't look too shabby.

I Even may consider wearing it from time to time!

zaterdag 3 januari 2015

One ring leads to another.

This winter it is time to learn something new, so my wife and I enlisted with the GoldenArtDesign studio of Yolanda Nieuwboer for a course in the fine art of Goldsmithing.

And although we have not had our hands on significant amounts of precious metal, we are learning the basic skills on Copper, Brass en Alpaca Silver. 

One of the newly acquired skills is silver soldering on - in this case - handmade copper rings.

I wind copper wire on a drill bit to form a long coil. This task reminds me of making coils for a radio transmitter :-) But in this case, the coil is cut into individual rings using a jigsaw.

I use silver, flux and a blow torch to close the rings.

Not a very demanding task, but a nice exercise for the next assignment, a bracelet or necklace of your own design! My own design... well, that's a problem! I am not very good at designing, so it is Google (and the lovely wife!!) to the rescue to find soldered ring designs. This design quickly stands out:

It is a Silver Celtic Star in Chainmaille made (in this case) by Janabolic Jewelry

Of course, I have to try and copy this and after some experimenting with the size of the individual rings I come up with this:

I am pretty happy the way it turned out, especially taking into account I used only one wire thickness for all (2.5mm^2 electrical wire). 

But soldering these rings is not required and would be difficult to accomplish. So this is not usable as my project for the course. A new search on the term Chainmaille leads to literally thousands of designs including this comprehensive list of Chainmaille weaves and patterns. I Choose the Celtic Vision weave and experiment some with the ring size, as it turns out that the ring size is very important to the final result..

Encouraged, I decide to turn it into a bracelet with a simple hook.

Unfortunately, this design also does not lend itself to soldering much, so I am still in need of a design for my project. I do however end up with a bracelet that looks 'Ultragay' in the words of my dear wife. So I will probably not wear it much, although I did enjoy making it :-)