1. Roller printed or hammer textured "insert" piece
2. Framing material - I used flat rectangular sterling silver wire (2 mm x 6 mm)
3. Bail material - I used 2 mm round, sterling silver wire
1. Jewellers Handsaw
2. # 3/0 saw blades
3. hand File #2
4. Square Needle File #2
5. "C" Clamp
6. flexible shaft (rotary tool)
7. Emery paper (220, 400, 600, 1000, 1200 & 1500)
Step 1: The Insert
To learn more about:
- Roller Printing turn to page 50 in the July, 2012 issue of Creating Linus Jewellery.
- Hammer Textures turn to page 84 in the September, 2012 issue of Creating Linus Jewellery.
- Jewellers Handsaw turn to page 62 in the September, 2012 issue of Creating Linus Jewellery.
Creating Linus Jewellery is a free online magazine packed full of jewellery tutorials, interviews with jewellery artists and articles.
Step 2: A Little Refining of the Shape
Step 3: Cutting the Framing Material
Step 4: Ruff Out the Score
When using rotary tools always tie back long hair and wear safety glasses. Be especially careful when using a separating disk as it is a cutting tool which can do you serious harm. Do not go too fast as it is easy to loose control of a separating disk, always pull the disk towards you and do not let it travel away from you. If a separating disk is allowed to travel in the direction in which it spins (away from you), towards an edge, it could grab the metal and run under the metal spinning out of control.
Step 5: Refine the Score
To learn more about Files and Filing turn to page 66 in the September, 2012 issue of Creating Linus Jewellery. Creating Linus Jewellery is a free online magazine packed full of jewellery tutorials, interviews with jewellery artists and articles.
Step 6: Bend the Score
TIP----- If you find that it will not bend enough; the angle in the score may not be deep or wide enough. This can be fixed by annealing the metal again (or it will break) and slowly opening up the score in-order to continue filing. Then Repeat step 5 (yes you will need to anneal again before re-bending or it will break)
To Learn more about Annealing turn to page 46 in the July, 2012 issue of Creating Linus Jewellery.
Step 7: Soldering the Brackets
Flux the inside corner of each bracket. Position the first bracket so the inside is away from you and the corner is towards you. Heat the bracket evenly until the silver is a dull red colour then place a piece of Hard solder on top of the seam. Direct the torch on the lower outside of the corner until the solder flows through the seam (image 11).
Allow the Silver to cool till it is no longer glowing and carefully place in pickle.
Repeat steps with second bracket.
To learn more about soldering, flux and the different types of Solder (Hard, Medium, Easy and Extra Easy), read my tutorial "sterling silver band ring" on page 48 of the September, 2012 issue of Creating Linus Jewellery.
Step 8: Forming the Frame
A word of encouragement
It is likely that you will end up shortening the length of the brackets while trying to fit the seam - this is ok - keep in mind that the Insert is a bit larger than what the final size will be. It is easier to file the insert to match the Frame once the frame is soldered together.
Go slow and check the fit often. This is a difficult seam to match - look at it from many angles. if you get frustrated it is a good time to stop and have a nice cup of tea. Fresh and calm always beats irritated and tired.
Step 9: Setting Up the Frame
Solder the brackets together using hard solder. This step is very similar to step 7. This time since there is more than one joint, Flux both joints - solder the first joint then rotate the firebrick so that the second joint is in position and solder it (image 16).
Yellow ochre can be painted on to the original two solder joints to discourage the solder from flowing. Yellow ochre is a natural paint pigment; it is sometimes referred to as ani-flux as it does the opposite of Flux. Flux keeps the surface clean where Yellow ochre dirties the surface - Solder does not like to go where it is dirty and dirtying up the surface of the solder will often (though not always) prevent it from flowing.
Yellow ochre all of the original joints. You will have to use discretion here - you can not allow the Yellow Ochre and Flux to mingle. Remember the joints that you want to solder must stay clean. So, only put Yellow Ochre where you can, without risking contamination of the flux.
Step 10: Emery the Inside Frame
Tip ---- Clean as you go? When working on a complex solder constructed piece with many joints it is hard to know when to clean (emery) solder joints. My rule of thumb is to ask myself this question: Can I get to it once the next joint is soldered in place? If the answer is no - then clean it now. Leaving extra solder in a joint until all of the soldering is completed is a "trick" that can save you a lot of problems later. Every time you solder one joint you risk opening up all of your previous ones. By leaving the extra solder, there is a good chance that the solder will not flow out completely should the joint open up. if you clean all of the extra solder away leaving only the solder in the joint and it opens up there is nothing there to flow in behind it.
Step 11: Tip: Emery Tools
Using 1/8 MDF board cut strips - For this project I made mine 6 inches long and the same width as my double sided tape. I prefer MDF board as it is very flat (giving you good contact to the metal) yet flexible. Simply adhere the emery paper with the double sided tape. This is an example of a basic emerying tool. I have many specific and more complex emerying tools in my kit that I make as I need them.
How much emerying is needed? Well the harder the spot to get into the more emerying I do. My minimum is 220 and 400 grit (from here I can get a good finish with polishing tools). But with hard to reach spots I will go all the way down to 1500 grit - I find that I do not need to polish the silver at this point, saving me from trying to find a polishing tool that will fit. I always prefer an even fine emery to an uneven polish.
Later in this project a more complex emerying tool will be needed. I made this one with 1/8 MDF board (cut to the same width as double sided tape and 3/4 inch long). Using fast setting glue (krazy glue) attach a handle made out of doweling.
Step 12: Fitting the Insert
Step 13: Positioning the Insert
Step 14: Setting Up for Soldering
Yellow ochre can be painted onto the Roller Printed side to act as a barrier against solder spillage (image 21). Just be sure not to allow the Yellow ochre to mix into the flux; if it does wash with soap and water, and reapply.
Step 15: Soldering the Insert Into the Frame
Once the Metal turns a dull read move the flame so it is pointing low on one of the outside frame walls and draw the solder towards the wall - once this happens on one side - keep moving the torch until the solder on all four sides has pulled through the seams. (image 22)
Allow the Silver to cool till it is no longer glowing and carefully place in pickle.
Step 16: Making the Bail
Lets Talk Design:
When Designing Jewellery there are some practicalities you should not ignore. Pendants Hang. So The Design should take this into consideration. I do not like to just "stick" a Bail onto my Pendants. Every part of the Design should be considered and incorporated. Using a theme or Motif can help. Not only did I use a Stem as my Bail inspiration, I also cut a "tare" into the upper left hand corner of my roller print insert- reflecting yet again a natural Leaf.
You might have chosen a different image or even a texture for your Insert. What ever your Insert might be, take some time to consider the design of your Bail - it is an opportunity to add further interest to your piece.
The other thing to consider about a Bail is that it is a "ware" point. The chain will rub up against the Bail, causing it to thin. Starting with an already thin Bail will result in breakage. The Bail on a Pendant is usually the first thing that needs repair.
Step 17: Fitting the Bail
Before Soldering the Bail to the Frame emery the Back edge of the Frame flush and smooth, starting with 220 emery through 400, 600, 100, 1200, 1500 grits. It is much easier to get at the back edge of the Frame before the Bail is soldered on (image 28). I like to use a steel block with self adhering emery papers but a bit of spray glue works nice, just be sure the steel block is very smooth; the block can be sanded smooth with a palm sander starting with course emeries and working down to smooth, 220 grit is smooth enough.
Step 18: Soldering the Bail
TIP Heat Sinks:
When Soldering two pieces together where one is significantly larger than the other; the two pieces will heat up at different rates. Part of the reason is that they are of different masses, but also the larger mass will "suck" heat away from the Smaller. Always keep in mind that Solder is attracted to the hottest point. By heating the larger mass first allowing the heat to move from it to the smaller mass you are controlling the flow of heat. Paste Flux is a good indicator of heat temperatures; once enough heat has moved from the larger mass to cause the flux to go clear on the joint the metal is hot enough to place the solder. Give the larger mass just a bit more heat (until it turns dull red - not bright red) - then go in for the "kill". Direct your heat on the opposite side of the Solder - to "draw it through the Joint towards the flame.
Step 19: Finishing
Emerying the back and front of the Insert will be more tricky - here is where emery tools come in. For the front of the Insert the finish will depend on what your image or texture is; because of the imprint I could not do to much emerying or risk losing the image - I decided on a light emery only 1500 grit using my emery tool.
For the back of the Insert I gave it a good emery - 220, 400, 600, 1000, 1200 and 1500 emery - no polishing, since I could not get into the corners evenly with a polishing tool (image 30). While the Bail is a straight piece; emery and polish. Carefully curl the Bail using fingers or Pliers.
To learn more about polishing turn to page 76 in the September, 2012 issue of Creating Linus Jewellery.
Lets talk about the Finish.
The finish is the part I like the least! I am all about the action: soldering, hammering, fitting things together - the fun bits. But the finish - well - is probably the most important part. No mater how well you do the action bit - carefully fitting that perfect joint - getting a beautiful clean solder joint - a poor finish makes it all look bad.
Heating sterling silver has one particular side affect: firescale. Heres the science: firescale is a red or grayish purple stain that appears on mixtures of silver and copper, such as sterling silver. At high temperatures, oxygen mixes with the copper to form cuprous oxide and then cupric oxide.
Once you are done all of your soldering firescale is not "noticeable" because it is covering the entire surface of the piece. Emerying or filing will start to remove the firescale making it noticeable because now there is a contrast of where it is and where it is not. You will never get a nice bright even finish without removing all of the firescale. Attempts to "cover" firescale with a texture will only result with a texture overtop of the firescale - since you can not hide a colour by putting a texture overtop of it!
What ever finish I choose to end my piece with I always bring it first to a high polish by emerying all of the firescale away and polishing. I might not leave it at a high polish but I always start there - a high polish will always make a texture look better.
When you can and when you can't remove firescale.
It is not always possible to emery away firescale. If a texture or imprint must be done before soldering it into place (as in the case of my roller printed Insert), emerying the firescale away after all of the soldering is completed, will result in the loss of my image. Instead I "live with it". One trick that can be used in this case is "raising the fine silver" or "depletion gilding". By heating and pickling the sterling silver several times (until you achieve a uniform white colour), you are creating a thin layer of pure silver at the surface - sterling silver is made of pure silver and copper. Once this pure silver surface is achieved a tumbler or brass brush can be used to polish it. Do not use emeries or polishing techniques that removes metal - as this will remove the very thin layer of pure silver. I only do this in areas that are recessed or textured; if used on outer surfaces repeated rubbing will remove the pure silver - the piece will look fabulous when you sell it, but will not take long before the firescale is noticeable - this is a dirty trick! Always remove firescale where you can.
Some artists choose to leave the firescale on a piece because they like the look of it - this is an honest design choice. In the end what is important is that you - the Artist - is happy with the work. It is important to make conscious design decisions - mush like good abstract art - your finish should be a result of choice not a lack of knowledge, skill or craftsmanship.