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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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…
The two types of shears I use are both from Rio Grande – #111244 – #111289
CLICK for part two HERE