Behind the scenes – Amber cuff…

Here is another series of videos showing how I made this silver cuff with Amber.

They come in bursts so that no one is ever that long, except for one I think, but maybe you’ll forgive me for that one.

Sometimes the rambling gets away with me…

They’re just work in progress videos and not really intended as tutorials, but if you glean any snippets, even if they’re what not to do, I think my work here is done 😉

Disclaimer

I am just a somebody muddling through. This is the way I do things. I am a wing it, try it, do it wrong, try again, sort of person. I do not maintain that I know what I am doing, only that I am trying to do it. Please feel free to enjoy my discoveries but follow your own research for professional advice and to perfect your skills. Above all, enjoy. Life is short.

Also.

The links to the tools and materials used are only examples of the ones I use. There are many different types available of the same tools, some better than others and some less expensive. If you are beginning your jewelry adventure, please don’t just buy the ones in the links here. Research until you feel comfortable that you are purchasing the right tool for you.

Notes:

In this first video I call the necklace a bracelet so you can see that we’re off to a good start…

And please excuse my clothes! I don’t know about you, but I just use my old tee shirts and jeans, etc. to work in the grime of the studio and apparently this morning I was also playing with the cat…

Cabochon from New Stone Age Cabochons on Instagram – HERE

Note: I use fine silver bezel wire so this is not for you if you need sterling.

Narrow bezel wire – Rio Grande #101003

Medium bezel wire – Rio Grande #101051

Wide bezel wire – Rio Grande #101076

Notes:

I didn’t show making the components in this video as you can find out how I do this in the Cheetah Jasper Necklace show and tell – HERE

I typically use a #0 head on my acetylene/air torch. I change up to a #1 head when I want a little more overall heat and to not concentrate on smaller areas.

Wire doesn’t crack or snap! It seems that sometimes I get a little bored with using the correct terms. It can however break off when you push on it if the heat from the flame has weakened it.

I mostly pick solder when I’m soldering small pieces. When I solder balls onto a piece, however, I use the ball as my ‘pick’. At the end of this video you can see that I take the balls to the pieces of solder and heat a small blob onto its bottom. I then take that back to the piece I’m working on.

Contenti soldering chips – HERE

Note:

A phone call interrupts this video and cuts it short.

Notes:

This is the long one…

I find lifting the piece up off the soldering block allows the heat to flow more evenly around and under the piece. These titanium strips do the job nicely as I read once that they are not a heat sink. You can find them – HERE

I heat around the piece until the flux turns a sort of powdery white. This is the point where the water has mostly evaporated from the flux and you can then move your flame closer to the piece as the pallions of solder won’t bounce around. You can see that the flux then starts to get a little gunky and then glosses over slightly. This stage happens just before the solder will flow and is where I lift the piece up with my pick. I do this because it just seems to give the solder that little extra nudge that it needs to get going.

I use Wolverine flux. You can google it as the price seems to change from site to site. I take a small amount of it out of the main jar and mix it with distilled water in a smaller jar. I’ve used a few different fluxes, but for some reason I really like this flux. The solder stays in place and doesn’t bubble around even though I dilute it more with water. I also spread it over all of the silver, even those places I’m not directly soldering on. I think this is mainly a superstitious act as a prayer to the solder gods. Don’t judge me…!

I bend the tips of my tweezers so that they pick up the small pieces more easily. It appears that haven’t done this yet with my new pair.

I concentrate on soldering, or tacking, one piece at a time. Because they’re not fully soldered I can move the pieces around more easily if I want to at this point. Once I get them all into place I change up the torch head for a larger flame as now I want to make sure the solder flows. I hold down each piece with my tweezers, or pick, and you can feel it ‘relax’ into place as the solder flows then I take the heat off it and after a fraction of a second I tap it to make sure it’s secured. You have to wait just that tiny bit as if the solder is still hot the piece will move even though the join is good. I’ve been tricked into thinking I haven’t soldered something more than once because I’ve nudged the piece before the solder has hardened. Once I think that everything is fixed in place I move the heat around the whole area this time to make doubly sure that everything is evenly soldered. You have to keep a good eye on it at this point as the larger flame will bring everything up to the same temperature more easily and this is when the silver can melt and give the pieces more opportunity to move out of place. Note: I only solder this way if I’m soldering a lot of tiny pieces at one time. If you’re just doing a simple solder you don’t have to go around tapping the piece as you can see it flow 🙂

Usually the solder from the bezel join takes care of attaching the ends of the stems. If not I will at some point come back in and place just a tiny dot of solder to secure them.

Notes:

Yes. Sometimes it still amazes me that I’ve managed to do it!

To make sure all the pieces are absolutely secure I scrub them with a toothbrush and take the opportunity as I do so to clean it up more with Penny Brite – HERE

Notes:

I have a few of those stainless steel condiment cups that I like to use for holding small items and it was handy for mixing the No-Flo.

Rio No- Flo –  Rio Grande #: 504080

Notes:

I get a little sidetracked here with the whole plaster mixing thing. These are just the sort of questions that take up room in my brain and distract me from the real issues at hand… sorry.

I placed the top piece on the back plate a little too soon. The top half had melted, but I should have given the bottom half a little longer this is why it took longer for the solder to flow on one half. I also use too much in the center. Usually I would have soldered both sides and then turned the torch off to place the pallions in the center, but was trying to do it all at once for the video. Well that’s my excuse anyway 😉

Now, don’t hold your breath on these next videos making any sense whatsoever. I’ve only made maybe four or five cuffs before and it’s like reinventing the wheel each time. Maybe I should start taking notes…

I also tend to jump right in when perhaps I should pay more attention to what I want the end result to be before I actually begin cutting up stuff.

Where you can literally hear the painful process of my brain whirling. It’s really not that hard Deborah…

Contact paper – HERE – this stuff will last you for five hundred years or more.

Notes:

They’re not pieces of wire. They are silver sheet.

You have to experiment with which torch head works best. The key is to heat it to the point of melting and not leaving the flame in one spot. It doesn’t really look as though I’m doing anything to it here, but it improved on the first effort.

Notes:

Warning. Skip this one if you get annoyed easily. It’s short, but painful.

This is where I had actually figured out how I was going to make the cuff, but then completely forgot when I came to videoing it.

There’s a hole in the end of the strips as I’m going to rivet the two pieces together.

Contenti abrasive discs – HERE

Notes:

Thankfully the torture is nearly over.

In case I’m not clear (hard to believe I know) the sterling silver may over time tarnish and so the nail polish is a barrier to that.

It is Lexi Erickson’s tip. I watched a couple of her videos years ago which were really helpful when I first started and I always remember the nail polish over everything 🙂 I worry a little bit about the polish discolouring and always mean to research it. Perhaps it’s high time I do that now.

Check out her videos. I can assure you they are a lot more comprehensible than mine 😉

If I find that a sanding disc won’t fit I use a flat bur to clean out the bottom of the bezel.

And so that’s it.

Again it’s not really a tutorial, but more of a show and tell because you can’t really teach if you’ re making it up half the time.

If you got anything useful out of it, great.

If not, well… sorry.

😉

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Behind the scenes – Cheetah Jasper Necklace…

As you probably know by now my video skills leave a lot to be desired. I had wanted to make a, ‘why don’t you make one along with me’, video of the Cheetah Jasper necklace, but what with the glare and the constant fumbling around for my grown up words and then forgetting to explain what I’m doing I have decided that really this is just a show and tell.

If you are able to make anything of it that helps with your own jewelry making I congratulate you 🙂

 

NOTES AND LINKS:

Indian Jewelry Supply not Art Supply, but I’m not sure if they’re around anymore.

Short-Handle 1lb Brass Head Hammer – Rio 112061

Lindstrom HS6001 Cutter Shears

Buffalo Rutland Stamps

Chasing tool from 2moontools on Etsy.

Turned out to be no dilemma at all as I only had 23 gauge anyway 🙂

I use an acetylene/air torch and mostly pick solder.

Here I’m using the little silver balls to pick the solder up instead of my pick. I pick the ball up in my tweezers and take it to a pile of solder chips I have laying on my brick. I heat a little piece of the solder which then attaches itself to the bottom of the ball. I keep it heated as I move it back toward the leaf.

I mainly put the little hammered balls under the pieces that make up the bottom layer. I do this to bring the pattern up off the back plate to give it some dimension. As I build the picture up I don’t use as many balls but instead lay pieces where I think they will best suit the design.

I generally have all of the solder ready to go on the bottom of each piece.

As I said, I’ll try to figure out a good way to video the process without the glare and try to show you how it all comes together on another piece.

I know you can hardly wait…

BeadSmith 1-Step Big Looper Plier

Abrasive wheels.

 

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Happy New Year!

I was going to write about my New Year’s Intention to work on protecting my boundaries without feeling guilty and how Joe from Little Women is my new, just be yourself, hero.

I was also going to tell you about the face rash I developed the week before I was due to fly to England for Christmas which I thought was shingles and which I just knew would prevent me from getting onto the airplane due to being infectious to pregnant women and children and how I would have to stay home alone to suffer my own sad and lonely holiday, but which simply turned out to be an allergic reaction to hugging a friend.

I was also going to tell you about how I’ve fallen three times since August due to not paying enough attention to where I’m placing my feet and how the third time I fell, on Boxing Day, although it seemed that I barely touched the floor with my knee, it resulted in a bruise to end all bruises which has systematically migrated from the tip of my left kneecap down to cover the whole of the front of my shin and which is, even now, moving around to the side of my leg and down to my ankle.

I was also going to tell you that Christmas was good albeit especially cold on the one day we chose to spend in London drinking cocktails in the Ice Bar (because why not spend 45 minutes in a room even colder than the already bitter outside) and taking the Jack the Ripper tour well into the dark, bitter evening. And how I was disappointed with the tour because I, and I think most everybody alive today, already knows the ins and outs and the hows, whos and whys of this particular serial killer and as most of the sites the guide took us to are now either modern office buildings or parts of London which did nothing to call up the horrors of the day we could have happily sat with the guide in a warm pub drinking beer as he pointed to the pertinent locations on a map. All I could think about the day after were the poor half frozen to death prostitutes waiting for tricks on dark miserable corners with nothing but the prospect of getting drunk silly on gin and orange to keep them warm. Which reminds me to look up the months that the murders took place as the idea of a knife piercing already bone-chillingly numb skin seems somehow worse than if the murders took place in the summer months.

Just me?

I could also tell you how my daughters boyfriend approached me ONE week before we all left for London and asked me to help him make her an engagement ring. Of course he had zero experience and had never made a piece of jewelry before and I had never made a prong setting, but we did it in spite of, or maybe because of, the fact that I told him every inch of the way that he wouldn’t be able to do it. A somewhat new approach for me from the encouragement I normally give my kids.

He did good

🙂

 

But then I decided to not tell you about any of this, but instead just wish you all a Happy New Year

🙂

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Chrysoprase Necklace

This past week I gave myself a Pulling Teeth Challenge because that’s just what making jewelry, or anything else really, felt like.

I think I’ve been a bit down for a good while just recently and then, all of a sudden, the sister of one of my good friends died. Just like that. She was one year older than me. I thought I was o.k., but going to the funeral did me in completely, you know the whole death and family stuff, and I still can’t comprehend how my friend or her family feels especially losing someone so young.

I mean they’re just there, and then they’re not.

It was a bit touch and go for a while there and, let me tell you, I was almost on the brink, but you’ll be pleased to know that I think I’ve finally pulled myself out of it.

Hearing about everyone else’s ‘dry’ spells on fb and Instagram, due to depression or anything else really, helped out a lot also.

Put things into perspective.

I knew I was in trouble when I was sitting at my bench and it was all I could do not to just lay my head down on my steel block. Giving myself the challenge of going into the studio every day and making myself start and finish something and then post it on Instagram even though I didn’t feel that I even had the energy to close a jump ring together let alone solder it, started to bring me out of it and on the day after Thanksgiving I thought I’d have another go at making a video.

Just for jollies.

Well for jollies and for the fact that the act of committing to something seems to have been the key to snapping myself out of it. Although it must seem as though I’m always vague and slightly confused I was definitely dragging at the beginning, but by the end I simply couldn’t take myself that seriously especially when I listened back to how awkward I am.

And my god the words! Why can’t I remember the words.

I think when my brain is on the go the words just aren’t always that relevant.

Sorry words. And sorry to those of you watching that might have liked some words that could have actually shed light on what I was trying to explain.

So that said, this new ‘How To’ video series is a bit rough and ready although you can thank your lucky stars there aren’t near as many to get through.

See. Bonus right there.

I do want to say that I will be the first to agree with any jewelry maker who’s been properly trained and who gets upset with someone, like me, who tries to ‘teach’ other people how to make jewelry.

I haven’t been trained. I just get through.

Think of this blog as just a thinking out loud platform for me to share with you how I do things. Not for me to tell you how you should do things. Some things I do quite well, some things not so well, but all of it is meant well and in good faith and for you just to have a go yourselves.

That said here’s my disclaimer.

Please remember that I am just a somebody muddling through. This is the way I do things. I am a wing it, try it, do it wrong, try again, sort of person. I do not maintain that I know what I am doing, only that I am trying to do it. Please feel free to enjoy my discoveries but follow your own research for professional advice and to perfect your skills. Above all, enjoy. Life is short.

Also.

The links to the tools used are only examples of the ones I use. There are many different types available of the same tools, some better than others. If you are beginning your jewelry adventure, please don’t just buy the ones in the links here. Research until you feel comfortable that you are purchasing the right tool for you.

-.

And so without further ado…

For the Chrysoprase Necklace you will need.

Materials:

A stone

🙂

(I used a 23 mm x 16 mm chrysoprase)

Silver sheet.

(I used 23 gauge fine silver)

A 3 to 4 “ piece of silver wire.

(I used 18 gauge fine silver wire)

black max or liver of sulfur etc.

Tools:

pliers

saw

torch and solder

contact paper or rubber cement etc.

buffing tools

straight line chasing or stamping tool to make the leaves.

sanding tools or file

Video 1

Where I think I’m just going to show you the necklace I’m going to make, but then decide to explain how I’m going to make it differently than I normally do even though that’s not what I intended to do in the first place and so it’s not really very clear what’s going on until you get further into the videos.

And even then it’s touch and go…

 

SPECIAL NOTE: It’s ChrysoPRase, not ChrysoPHRase as I’ve pronounced it here. The word was very long. Forgive me.

Video 2

A quick recap on how I make my bezel collars.

Narrow bezel wire – Rio Grande #101003

Medium bezel wire – Rio Grande #101051

Wide bezel wire – Rio Grande #101076

Video 3

How I cut my leaves to give them a more 3 dimensional look.

I haven’t shown how I make the basic leaves because I covered that – HERE – and thought it best not to keep going over things you’d already seen.

NOTE: Seriously, I did not lie to the nice snipper guy. I do not use my good snippers to cut off the ends of leaves I use them just for wire. I couldn’t find my old ones. Promise.

Video 4

A quickie on making silver balls. Skip if you already make them.

Video 5

In this one I’m figuring out the best way to make the necklace the new way and also deciding if I want to make it into a bracelet/cuff instead.

Video 6

The contact paper bit.

NOTE: For sawing out fine detail on a piece of silver sticking an image onto it using rubber cement is probably a better choice. I’m not sure if you can print a design directly onto the contact paper because I haven’t tried. I know some people use sticky back labels to get the same effect.

Contact Paper – HERE

Video 7

More babbling as I figure out the design.

NOTE: As each piece is individual and so not exactly the same shape as each other remember to keep the pieces in their specific order as you go along. I kept forgetting to do this.

Video 8

Continued belabouring of the design

NOTE: When I make pieces that have a few different layers I pay attention to what I imagine the end weight will be. Sometimes the stone is heavy also. Had I used a slightly heavier stone here and just one layer of silver work I would perhaps have used the 20 gauge sheet, but because there were essentially three layers (including the leaves) and then the stone I used 23 gauge as it all adds up.

Video 9

Soldering the first two pieces together.

Contenti soldering chips – HERE

Video 10

Finding my grown up words and moving on to the next stage.

NOTE: I usually run a Sharpie around the edge of the top layer of silver if I want to contour it. This gives me a good guide line for sawing. Pencil rubs off too easily and the thicker Sharpie has a good width for a starting point and I can sand more away later if I want it to be narrower.

Video 11

Soldering all the little pieces on.

At the beginning of this video you will hear what it sounds like when someone tries to get more than one word to come out of their mouth at the same time.

Doesn’t really work…

NOTE: When I’m attaching smaller pieces to the base I hold the attachments, leaves, balls, etc., close to the flame as I’m heating the base. This means that they’re not coming to the piece cold. Typically they don’t need as much heating as the base so you can control their temperature more by easing them in this way otherwise they may overheat and melt more easily.

MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT BREATH FLUX IN. Quench your piece first before putting more flux on it. The heat from the silver sends flux fumes into the air. Heating the flux with your torch also sends fumes into the air, it’s just not as obvious as it looks here. Use an extractor fan if you have one or at least solder in an open, well ventilated area. I have a fume extractor which I didn’t put on here as it would have been too noisy, but even so putting flux on a hot surface as I did in this video is not a good thing.

Penny Brite – HERE

Long tweezers – Rio Grande #115222

Video 12

Muddling through the next soldering part as I demonstrate to you why your piece of silver should be clean.

Video 13

Fitting the stone in the bezel.

NOTE: Another reason why something doesn’t solder easily could be because your flux isn’t clean also. Just clean everything. Teeth, hair, clothes, etc.. then you should be covered.

Links – cut off wheel – Rio Grande #346085

Video 14

Using the Black Max and the first buffing.

NOTE: Really you should wear gloves when you’re using the Black Max or any other chemicals. I have those latex free ones. I would take them off, however, when using the buffing wheel. It probably wouldn’t happen, but I just have visions of a piece of loose glove getting caught up in that wheel and taking your hand off. This is probably my tendency toward dramatic thinking here, but you never know.

You don’t need a buffing wheel, or whatever that machine is called, for finishing your piece. You can get smaller wheels for your hand piece which will do the job. Just maybe not as fast. Links below.

Small hand piece buffing wheel – Rio Grande #338130

Machine buffing wheel – Rio Grande #330541

Small yellow wheel – Rio Grande #332581

Machine 3″ yellow wheel – Rio Grande #332076

3m elongated face masks –  HERE

Video 15

Extra notes on setting the stone.

I was trying to explain here that although the bezel wire fits to the bottom circumference of the stone, because the stone I’m using has a very shallow dome there is a lot more wire to push over to hold it in place. In this instance if you push too much of the wire over the sides of the stone too quickly the silver will likely stretch unevenly thereby distorting the fit. The stone I used in the bracelet video had straight sides and so this wasn’t as critical, but you should always rotate the piece as you push the wire over the stone so that you’re not concentrating on one part for too long..

Also I don’t know if I explained it clearly, but by pushing the stone toward the bezel pusher as you push the wire over, you are always pushing the stone away from its opposite side. You will never get a good tight fit if you do it this way. You don’t have to actually pull the stone away from the bezel pusher very much, just make sure you’re not pushing it toward the pusher. See, not confusing at all…

In case you missed it, or need to go through the torture again, here’s the link showing how I set the stone in the previous bracelet video – HERE

Video 16

Ceaning up and final buff.

I know it didn’t look as though I was sanding the sides of the bezel gently, but I was 😉

And so that’s another one done.

🙂

I went ahead and made the bracelet using the method I said I would at the end of the last video and I think it’s definitely quicker and more precise than the way I demonstrated for the necklace. Next time I make something similar I’ll experiment some more and report back, but I think you get the drift.

And here is…

Day 1 of the Pulling Teeth Challenge

Day 2

And day 3

Thank you for letting me waffle my way out of my funk.

🙂

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Notes on watching the videos of my bracelet tutorial

This is my first video series and it’s been a bit of a learning curve to understand YouTube and what I wanted from it when I uploaded my videos on there so I thought I’d just give a quick explanation of my thinking here.

When I made the videos I knew there’d be some extra notes that I’d want to include as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to talk and make the piece at the same time. I think I did pretty well with most of them, but there are one or two which I felt needed a little further explanation.

Also I’ve included a lot of links to the materials I’ve used etc. for those who would like to know and there are no notes for any of this on YouTube.

To be honest, the idea of anyone being able to watch this on YouTube worried me a little bit also. You guys may know how I muddle through and perhaps forgive me for it, but there’s a lot of stranger danger out there in the grown up world.

I’m hoping this will work out, but just let me know if you have any trouble.

The first part of the tutorial is HERE

 

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Bracelet tutorial continued.

NOTE: If you’re here and you haven’t seen my previous post which shows how I make the first part of the bracelet from hell you might want to take a look at that one first.

Otherwise here are the second batch of videos which show how I made the sides of the bracelet.

 

NOTE: That this is NOT stainless steel. It’s sterling silver.

This obvious lack of brain function marks where the bracelet starts to go off the rails. Had I remembered what material I was using perhaps I would also have remembered how to use the darn saw. If I had taken the silver to my bench pin in the first place things may well have been different.

But I didn’t and it wasn’t.

As for the vise holding thing. I’ve written before about my cack-handed relationship with it. I would like to say that it’s a love hate relationship, but I’d be lying. It’s a hate relationship. I know it can do wonderful things, but I seem to have an aversion to it and so only use it rarely. Consequently, when I do use it, I find I have completely forgotten how I managed to work with it the first time and so it’s a learning curve all over again.

You may find this curve painful. I certainly did when I played the video back.

2 X 2″ lengths of sterling silver 5mm x 2mm rectangular wire – Rio Grande #100552

Miter-Cutting Vise and Jig – Rio Grande #112700

Sticky back measuring tape – HERE

Sorry that you can’t actually see the tape in this video. You might catch it in the others, but I have about a two foot length of it stuck on the edge of my table. I like it because it doesn’t get in the way and I don’t have to keep looking around for a ruler. It does wear out on my working table more than on the other tables I have because I’m scraping silver bits around and over it, etc., but it comes in a large roll and is easy to replace. There’s lots of different makes of this tape and some may be cheaper than the one I’ve linked. I like the one with both inches and centimeters on it.

Making and soldering the bars.

Wolverine ultra flux – If you google it you can find a couple of places that sell it. I haven’t linked to any because it seems too expensive on amazon and I haven’t checked out the other places yet for a good price. I think mine is a 7oz jar.

Finishing the caps on the bars.

1.5″ piece of sterling silver extension chain –  Rio Grande #632812B

Infinity Stamps sterling silver tags – HERE – I use H

Infinity Stamp custom stamp with tag mate – HERE

As I mention in the video the tag mate system with a custom stamp is quite expensive and actually the tags are also I think, but if you make a lot of jewelry and you’re interested in buying one with your own makers mark on it you’ll have to draw up your art work first. The way I did it was to draw my initials (which is all I wanted on my stamp) over and over again on a piece of paper until I came up with something I liked. Keep the paper white and the writing sharp. I think I used a thin sharpie.

 

 

 

 

 

I then scanned it to my computer and sent it to Infinity Stamps. (It was a lot sharper than the image here on my screen).

They charge you extra if you want them to do the art work, and they tried to charge me for alterations on another stamp I’d designed when I felt they hadn’t actually changed anything on it. This was probably an oversight on their part, but you have to be careful as it can add up. If you get the artwork right the first time and feel it’s nice and sharp etc. you should be o.k. Infinity stamps will reduce the image to fit the tag.

Taking one of the end caps off.

Not the most flattering working position, but I think I work it well…

Apologies as I tend to wear my old, worn out clothes in the studio. I’m not that good at keeping myself clean while I’m working. Perhaps black isn’t the best colour for buffing dust and cat cuddles 🙂

Selection of Mandrel pliers – HERE

This is the video where I go on, again, about the solder going up and over. I tell you every time that happens to me I kick myself. I think I’m more reminding myself here than anyone else. I also didn’t realize how many times a person could say, there you go, in one sitting.

NOTE: In this next video when I say the ‘thin’ one, I mean the smaller torch head. I typically use a #0 torch head. The ‘thin’ one is a #00 and I sometimes use it for delicate chains. I mean really delicate, like under 20 gauge wire or if the chain has like micro links that you don’t stand a chance soldering anyway. Always up for a challenge. The larger torch head I use is a #1. I like the #1 because you can feather the flame around the piece and it heats everything up evenly all at once. This is good for a final once over if you want to make absolutely sure that all the pieces are solidly soldered or if you’re soldering pieces over a larger surface area. You have to be more careful with the #1 if you’ve got more delicate pieces that you want to attach as it can be a little fierce. However, you can adjust it to get a softer flame which is nice.

I use a #2 torch head to heat down my scrap pieces into maybe 1″ ish blobs which I can then take to my rolling mill to make small sheets. More silver than that is too much of a work out for me. I bought a #4 head to begin with thinking that it was a good one for the job, but it scared the bejesus out of me as it lit with a small explosion like sound and was like the flame thrower Signorey Weaver torches the eggs with on Aliens. That one’s on the top shelf now, out of harms way. For heating the balls at the end of the day, I turn off the tank and use my #0 torch head to use up the acetylene left in the hose. When the flame turns white I turn it off at the torch handle and then I turn down the pressure on the regulator.

I use an Smith acetylene/air torch, so I can’t recommend which tips you use with the other systems. I only used gas and oxygen once when I took some lessons at the community college. It always freaked me out as I could never remember which valve I had to open first. Just knew I was going to blow the school up. Too much anxiety right there.

AND finally, they are cross locking tweezers! Man! Almost drove me nuts trying to figure out what they were called.

This video stops abruptly because I’m recording it on my phone and the phone’s alarm went off. You’ll probably need a break anyway 😉

Joining the bracelet ends to the setting.

There are lots of ways you can hold two pieces together for soldering. I have a lot of success this way, but sometimes you just have to move it around to see which way is going to be best. My third hand tweezers need to have their ends snipped and leveled which would have probably helped make this set up easier this time.

This is also the video with the shaky hand. I think the inside of my arm was leaning against the side of the table in a funny way and it was resting on a nerve. This may have been because I was holding my arms awkwardly as I tried to solder in view of the camera. Either that or I’m going to have to stop the afternoon drinking…

The alarm went off again in this video because I had it on snooze. Sorry.

Second attempt…

Cleaning it up.

Black Max – Rio Grande #331053

This is the bench lathe that I use – Rio Grande # 334016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these are the buffing wheels that I use to get the result I’m looking for – Rio Grande #330541

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also use these – Rio Grande #332581 – to get into tight places before I give it a final buff with the wheel above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the stone.

I think I called the gravers engravers. They’re not engravers. They’re gravers. I would be the engraver, if I were engraving, which I wasn’t, not really, and the graver is the tool, not the person. Just to clear that up. And yes, those things that you can buy at the supermarket that help you see better. Those are glasses.

 

This is the bit that I like to use (this one or one like it) to clean out the insides of my pieces – Rio Grande #343124

This is the nail bezel pusher – HERE

Foredom H-15 Hammer Hand piece – HERE

Foredom Hammer accessories – HERE

Foredom  H.20 Quick release hand piece – HERE

Foredom H.18 Quick release hand piece – HERE

Optivisor – Rio Grande #113201 but you can pick whichever strength you prefer in the drop down box.

Burnishers – HERE

Gravers – HERE

The end.

And if you made it through all of that you’re a real soldier 🙂

So there it is.

The bracelet from hell is finished.

No laughing allowed as it was my first ever talking picture show.

If you have any questions just ask and if I can answer I will, and if I can’t I’ll make it up 😉

I’d love to see a photo if you make one.

Au revoir.

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I thought I’d try something a little different this time.

Someone asked if I would write a tutorial on one of my latest bracelets, which I’m happy to do, but just for jollies I thought that this time I’d try to video my process.

I’ve never made a video of myself before and so I’ve never really heard my own voice other than on one or two voice mails so it was quite a shock really. I could definitely hear some american in my accent and it kind of surprised me. Perhaps not a lot of american, and some of you might not even notice it, but it was something I wasn’t expecting and it took a little while for me to realize that this is my voice now. Some of you may know that I come from England, but as I’ve been here for 28 years now I suppose it’s not surprising that the native tongue has mingled with my own. At times I think the cross contamination makes me sound a little Australian perhaps, but god knows I don’t want to offend any Australians out there. It’s bad enough to think I’ve messed up the whole American thing, let alone good old England’s thing.

Will they ever let me back…

Another thing I noticed and which I will warn you about now, is that I ramble. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone who’s ever read one of my blog posts, but it kind of surprised me listening back to it although I do seem to remember now that Peter and the kids have made it a long-suffering point to complete my thoughts.

And there I was just thinking they’d been brought up wrong.

I’m not proud of it. I tried several times whilst making this to get my head into straightforward explanation mode, but until I have some kind of remedial, how to talk in complete sentences, lessons I think I’m stuck with it for now.

Sorry.

It’s like I’m living in a dream land all on my own. All the possible words I could use and calls to action are just up there in my head bumping into each other. It’s like the sentences are completely unsure of whether they should even make the effort to get out of my mouth.

“Shall I go now? No, wait for it, wait for it… Now!

Nope too soon. Call it off. Abort. Abort…”

Really it’s not cool and so unless you think it’s not going to bother you, just save yourself now.

And lastly. What a nightmare!

Making this bracelet took me three times as long as it normally would, which I think is obviously because I was trying to explain my process along the way. (I use the term explain loosely). Also, and this is a huge, good grief!, moment, How clumsy can I possibly be? I think I dropped everything all of the time and the whole sawing using the vise fiasco really should have been my, walk away and do something completely different now! For heavens sake leave it!, clue.

But no. I slogged on and not only did I slog on, I decided to keep it all here, for you, so that those of you just beginning to make jewelry can see just how frustrating it can be even when you’ve been doing it for ages. Today I could probably make the same bracelet again and everything would go smoothly.

But yesterday was another story.

I don’t want to make excuses, but I do think I’ll have to practice if I ever decide to make another video because there has to be a way you can make and talk at the same time, and not only make and talk, but make sure that everything you do is actually in the line of the camera. Yes, I fell foul of that once or twice also.  And why not? Everything else was hit and miss…

I also decided to leave everything in, minute by painful minute, because some of you might like to watch it that way. It’s broken up into snippets so that if, after reading this, you have decided to take your chances you can take frequent breaks.

…from which you may decide never to return.

You have been warned…

And so, without further ado, this is the piece I’m going to be working on.

It is also the piece which, from now on, shall be referred to as

The bracelet from hell.

Disclaimer.

Please remember that I am just a somebody muddling through. This is the way I do things. I am a wing it, try it, do it wrong, try again, sort of person. I do not maintain that I know what I am doing, only that I am trying to do it. Please feel free to enjoy my discoveries but follow your own research for professional advice and to perfect your skills. Above all, enjoy. Life is short.

Also.

The links to the tools used are only examples of the ones I use. There are many different types available of the same tools, some better than others. If you are beginning your jewelry adventure, please don’t just buy the ones in the links here. Research until you feel comfortable that you are purchasing the right tool for you.

You will need:

Medium sized cabochon. I got mine from HELGASHOP on Etsy – HERE

2 X 2″ lengths of sterling silver 5mm x 2mm rectangular wire – Rio Grande #100552

1.5″ piece of sterling silver extension chain – Rio Grande #632812B

Lobster claw –  Rio Grande #613042

Bezel wire

Fine silver sheet

Small length of 16 gauge sterling silver round wire

Small length of 18 gauge sterling silver round wire.

NOTE: If you watch the videos here and not click over to youtube you will be able to see all of my notes and links. I don’t have any descriptions etc., on youtube.

Making the bezel collar.

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Narrow bezel wire – Rio Grande #101003

Medium bezel wire – Rio Grande #101051

Wide bezel wire – Rio Grande #101076

Working out the design.

Straight lining tool from 2moontools – HERE

Coming together for soldering.

Initial soldering.

Contenti soldering chips – HERE

Contenti siver solder wire – HERE

Continuing working out the design.

This is a very short one because Peter phoned me half way through. That man. I tell you.

Taking it back to solder.

This is the one where I like to use the word burn instead of melt. It’s just a thing I do…

Note: When I’m soldering the first leaf onto the stem I mention that the key to soldering is that all of the pieces of silver need to be at the same temperature for it to work. In this case I meant only the stem and the leaf because those were the only two pieces to be soldered together at that time. Had I wanted to solder down the tip of the leaf to the back plate, I would have made sure that the tip was in place and touching the back plate and I would have brought the back plate up to the same temperature also. This would have probably involved concentrating my flame more on the back plate in the beginning as that would have taken longer to reach the soldering temperature than the leaf and stem would. In this way, by paying attention to the temperature of all the pieces around the area you’re working on, you can also avoid undoing previously soldered pieces. If you keep an eye on it you can tell when a piece of solder is about to flow or when a piece of silver is about to melt. There are products that you can buy to coat previously soldered areas that can help prevent solder from reflowing, but it’s not needed in this piece if you’re careful.

Cutting out the back plate.

Cleaning up.

Contenti snap on sanding discs and mandrel – HERE – I tend to only use the coarse discs because I’m really impatient. Not necessarily a good thing.

Contenti abrasive discs – HERE

Finishing up the setting.

Sticky wax – Rio Grande #700187 – Warning. This is a lot of sticky wax. You won’t need to buy any ever again.

Finishing up the setting – continued.

Cutting down the bezel collar.

NOTE: It’s not a dapping punch thing it’s from my hole punch making Pepe thing. Also it’s not a ball bur, it’s a cup bur.

As this part of the bracelet is complete I’m going to stop here. I don’t want to push my luck as there are loads of videos in this post and I don’t know if WordPress has a limit. I’ll show you the next part of the bracelet in the next post.

I hope it hasn’t been too boring. I can assure you that it gets a lot more painful…

MORE NOTES:

The two types of shears I use are both from Rio Grande – #111244 – #111289

CLICK for part two HERE

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