Introduction: Make Your Own Jewelry
I have made a few pieces of jewelry for friends and my daughter and thought it would be nice to share one of the many ways there are to create beautiful items to wear.
For this project I use a material called Velstone which is similar to Corian. Both are generally used for kitchen work tops and are resin compounds. You can get hold of this stuff from a number of places- I got mine from reps who a had dealings with at work, but you can also get it be searching on ebay.
Other materials needed include (scrap wood for disposable chucking plate, a hot glue gun, friction polish) as well as some string or cord and a small piece of silver wire
Step 1: Velstone
To start with I wanted to make a large pendant, but not a thick one, and the bit of Velstone I had was way too thick. I could have just turned it as is, but the would have meant a lot of waste, and why make one pendant, when, with a bit of patience I could have the materials for two. So I started by using a bandsaw to rough cur a piece to a size large enough to turn a pendant which would later be attached to the lathe using hot glue.
Step 2: Mount It on the Lathe
Before putting the Velstone on the lathe a bit of prep work was required. I turned two bits of scrap wood into round with a diameter less than the piece of Velstone. I also added a tennon with a slight tapper on to each bit. The size of the tennon matched that of the jaws to my lathe chuck - this is how it would later be held on the lathe.
With one of the blocks in the lathe jaws, I used hot glue to attach the Velstone to the wood. Then I also applied the glue to the other side of the Velstone and quickly attached the remaining block making sure to have the tennon side away from the pendant material. I also quickly brought up the tail stock and held the block in place with a little pressure.
Step 3: Turning and Splitting the Material
With it all on the lathe I turned it on and started to turn the Velstone into a round disk, I then used a Parting tool to cut a slot almost in the middle of the new disk.
Importantly I did not go all the way through, doing so would have risked a collision between the two new disks and potentially breaking the glue holding it to its wood block.
To finally separate the two halves I simply removed the work from the lathe and cut through the center on the band saw.
Step 4: Starting the Pendant
I remounted one of he halves of Velstone bringing in the tailstock to ensure that the material could not fly off when spinning, I then tuned and sanded it into a disk with a rounded over edge. I also polished it to a reasonable shine with some micro sand/polishing pads.
Step 5: The Block Have Way
OOps.... the glue holding teh material to the wood block have way. No big problem I simply turned another block and reattached it the same way as before and trued it up, I also added a groove around the edge to form a small sort of picture framing bead.
Step 6: A Bit of Off Center Work
With the disk all cleaned up and polished, I removed it from the block of wood and re attached it with hot glue.
BUT instead of trying to get it centered I deliberately moved it downwards relative to its previous position. This has the effect of moving the center of the work when its rotating and so the term off centered turning. Greater care is needed at this point as it is not balanced when turning and if too much pressure is applied when making a cut it could could off. Best case if this happens is - its all fine and you reattach and carry on, Medium case you smash the material and start over and Worse case it fly's off and hits you. I have never (so far) experienced the last option luckily.
With the lathe On I now used a spindle gouge to make a hole all the way through to the wood, working with a lathe speed that I felt comfortable with. When you start to break through take extra care as it would be easy to catch the edge and have one of the previously mentioned outcomes.
Step 7: Adding Some Decoration
Once the hole was cleaned up (sanded and polished) I added a could of grooves around the hole taking care not to break through the outer picture frame groove. I then used a mini spiraling tool to cut a decoration into the inside curve of the hole. The whole piece with then polished using the micro polishing pads.
Step 8: The Back Side
To do the revers side can be a little tricky, By now you should be OK with removing and reattaching the work, and this is what happened. I had to get it as centered as possible - hard to do as there are now no marks on the piece to use as a guide. Once attached its probably best to work at lower speeds to sand and polish the Pendant to get as high a shine as possible.
Step 9: Final Polish
To finish off the polishing process I turned to a buffing mandrel - This just fits on the lathe and has two different grades of buffing disk, When polishing ensure to hold the item with the dish spinning towards you and the piece on the lower quarter of the disk. Anywhere else and you risk the pendant being pulled from you hands and bouncing off around your workshop.
Step 10: Attaching the Pendant
You will need a few hand tools for this bit.
- Wire Cutters
- Needle nose pliers
- Pin Pliers
- Bull Nosed pliers (optional)
- 1mm or 2mm drill bit
Start by taking a piece of silver wire and, using the pin pliers form a loop at one end, Then use the drill bit as a former and twist the wire around it when you have about 5/6 turns use the pliers to squeeze the turns together forming a tight coil then cut the remaining wire off. You should have something that looks like a spring with a loop at one end. You will need two of these. The attach to the string/cord you use for the pendant by simply twisting the cord into the spring. Make sure you have the right length of cord for the wearers neck before you cut it and attach the second fitting.
To the end of one of the fittings attach a small chain and spring clip - I tend to salvage these from rescued jewelry from carboot sales, charity shops etc.
Attach the pendant to the cord, by passing a lop through the hole in the middle and then over the ends of the cord. And there you have it a pendant that anyone would love to have.
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