I am sorry that it has been a while since my last blog post. I have been very busy making jewelry and filling orders, which for me is a good thing since this is my job. Not to long ago a lovely customer of mine asked if I could add a clasp to a bracelet she purchased from me. On occasion the bracelet would open and she was afraid of loosing it. I think I would be more upset than her if she lost the bracelet. I strive very hard in my work to make my jewelry beautiful but also functional. I want my creations to last a life time. I was worried that one of my designs was simply not functional to wear.
This is the bracelet that needed the clasp. I have made and sold other bracelets similar to this design and there were never any problems. So, why was this one opening?? I take pride in my work and customer service, therefore I was more than happy to add a clasp for the customer. Mostly, I wanted to take on this challenge to see if I could solve the problem. Maybe I needed to add the clasp to this design on future pieces? Also, this was a big learning experience for me so I thought I would share some pointers I picked up along the way.
My first concern was removing the turquoise stone without damaging it. I recently purchased a GRS ball vice and decided to put it to work. Using Jet Set to protect and hold the bracelet in the vice I slowly opened up the bezel with a pointed burnisher. Having both hands free makes things a lot easier. Also, in case you are not familiar with Jet Set, it comes in granular form, you heat it up with warm water to make a mold that holds your jewelry piece in the vice. It will harden after you mold it around your jewelry, therefore also protecting it. You heat the Jet Set up again in warm water to remove your jewelry piece from the mold. Another tip is you can put some masking tape over the stone to protect it while pushing open the bezel.
Once the stone was out I sanded down the bezel. I initially wanted to save the bezel, however in order to remove the stone I had to make two notches in the bezel on each pointy end of the setting. The customer wanted the bezel exactly how it was originally, so it had to go.
I absolutely love using the stainless steel sewing pins to help hold things in place while soldering. You can find them at any well supplied craft or sewing store. I used them to hold the new bezel in place while soldering. You can push them into to your soldering block so they can really hold your piece so it wont move.
They are quite handy. I also use them to solder on ring shanks. I bend the pin at a 90 degree angle and stick the pointy end into the soldering block to hold the ring band steady while I solder.
Another handy way to use the pin is for holding the little catch in place as I solder it on to the end of the wire. It also serves as a heat sink so the little catch does not melt. I use these catches when I make sterling silver hoops
Now back to the bracelet. I decided to go with a figure eight clasp. After I soldered on the bezel, I also soldered on a small tube to the underside of the stone setting. Then I threaded some silver wire through the tube and soldered a small silver granule to both ends of the wire.
I also soldered a small granule to the inside of the bracelet and pinched the wire around the granule. This way it snaps over the granule and holds the bracelet closed. I thought, a clasp on the outside of the bracelet would ruin the design therefore I put the clasp on the inside of the bracelet. The bracelet is worn a little loose so it is easy to slip a finger inside the bracelet to push the clasp over the granule or pop it open.
Once the clasp was finished, and the bracelet was polished it was time to set the stone again. I used my GRS vise and Jet Set again to set the stone. It helps give support under the stone setting while I push the bezel over the stone.
I was quite please how this came out in the end, and very happy that I was able to over come another metalsmith challenge. I hope this tutorial and tips described here can help you in your metalsmith journey.
Until next time………..
Happy New Year
Have fun shopping!!
It is that time again for the Etsy Metal Blog Carnival, this months topic is “A tour of our studios”.
I wish I could say I have a studio filled with every dreamy metalsmith tool that exists, but I don’t, hopefully someday.
I actually work out of three studios. I am a renter, therefore I cannot do any real fabrication at my apartment. When I am at home I take care of the photography, photo editing, book keeping, packaging, etc. Basically any office work pertaining to my business is done in my little blue office.
My queen kiki usually keeps me company when I am in my office. She has over taken my “to file” basket as her own bed so I added a pillow for her.
If she is not in the basket she also likes the deep drawers of my desk.
When I need to fabricate my jewelry, I normally work in the garage at my sisters house. She also uses the garage to create her folk art. You can check out her work on her website
TB FOLKART On the weekends, we work together creating a lot of fun things and the laughter is endless!!!! I think my favorite tool is my GRS benchmate, just love setting stones!
In the center of the garage there is another bench where we keep our disc cutters, punches, a soldering station and other fun stuff. Needless to say the car is never parked inside the garage. The garage is completely dedicated to creating.
My sister’s cat, Lucky, keeps me company when I am working at her house. He is always very curious about the pedal of my flex shaft.
Sometimes I also need to work at my mother’s studio, Jane Cather She is also a metalsmith artist and is very generous to let me use the tools in her studio for my work. I mostly use the sheer cutters or the rolling mill because I do not have these at the other studio. She also has a kiln, sooner or later I will give that a try too. Luckily we all live close by each other.
There are animal distractions at my mother’s studio also. The dogs are not allowed in the studio but I always sneak away from my work to play with them. Pixie, the border collie who is always ready to play in the yard and then there is the good old couch potato Brooke.
Feel free to check out the studios of other EtsyMetal team members.
To celebrate the 9th year anniversary of the EtsyMetal Team I am having a sale in my etsy shop
With a minimum purchase of $50.00 you may receive a 20% discount at checkout. Use coupon code ETSYMETAL9. The sale runs from Oct. 19-25, 2015
Many other team members are also participating in this week sale and you can find out which shop and what discounts they are offering on the Etsy Metal Blog
Have fun shopping!!!!
It is time for the Etsy Metal blog carnival. This months topic is “Back to School” What are some of the new things or techniques you have added to your work.
I never knew how to adjust a ring size. If it was a simple silver ring band, that was easy but most of my rings have stones and the idea of sizing up or down the ring made me nervous. A lovely lady purchased a ring at an art show, however she wanted the ring sized up so she could wear it on her middle finger. I thought it is now or never so I offered to adjust the ring for her.
Of course I asked my great etsy metal team members for some pointers and just my luck there is a tutorial on the EtsyMetal blog about sizing up a ring. I followed most of the pointers from the tutorial but I also did a few things differently. Remember nothing is written in stone, you should always find the way that works best for you, and don’t forget all safety measures.
First I removed the citrine cabochon. There are liquids and gels that you can use to protect the stone from heat but I did not have any at the time. I also read a tutorial that you can use a potato as a heat sink to protect the stone. You can carve out part of the potato so the stone part is in the potato and then solder the ring band. I did not try that either, too chicken. I patiently removed the stone while the ring was held in my GRS tool
I then cut out a section.
I put the ring on the mandrel a little short of the desired ring size so I could measure how much extra wire I needed to add. I knew after I soldered on the new piece of wire I would have to shape the ring band on the mandrel a little with my rawhide hammer. This would make the ring band a little larger, so that is why I measured at 7.5. The customer requested size 7.75.
I then measured with my calipers to see how much wire I needed.
With my ring bender I curved the wire and then cut the appropriate size I needed for the ring.
I filed the ends of the wire flat so they matched perfectly and made soldering easy. On the Etsymetal Blog tutorial they filed out a notch on each end of the wire they added to the ring band. This way it matched the opposite ends of the ring shank. You will see this is the photos of the tutorial. For me it was easier just to file flat, maybe because the wire I was using was thick, 10 gauge. I also applied whiteout liquid inside the bezel cup which protects the other solder joints from flowing while soldering. With this ring the original solder joint of the ring band was located below the stone setting so the tweezers also acted as a heat sink to protect the solder joint from flowing.
A nice little clean up after and the ring was like new.
I set the stone again after polishing the ring. The ring was a 6.5 and now it is a 7.75. Not to shabby for my first try. Feel free to check out what other etsymetal team members have learned new this year.
Here we are again for the Etsy Metal Blog Carnival, this month’s topic is, How has your work evolved? Have your goals changed? are you moving in a direction you didn’t see coming? Or are things going just liked you planned?
When I started making jewelry in 2010 it was just a hobby and I never thought I could turn it into my job. This was a dream that I thought would never come true. Now today I am making jewelry and I am proud to say this is my job and I love it!!!!
I believe my style has grown and matured over the past years. I believe this came with learning more skills and different techniques. Obviously your style will change and grow as you improve your skills.
This is an old pair of earrings made of copper and sterling silver. I used a fold forming technique and pierced holes with the drill.
Here are my hollow form earrings which I made not to long ago, I still like piercing but I like giving each jewelry piece a little more dimension. I think my photos have improved too:-))
I still love this design, it was simple, fun and easy to make. Now I like to challenge myself when I start a new piece.
This necklace was a challenge for me, getting the hollow form toggle to nestle above the stone setting was difficult.
Here is one of my earlier rings,
Now I love giving my rings some wonderful color with amazing cabochons. My new obsession!!!
This is also one of my earlier cuff bracelets. I still love it, a nice lady in the UK bought this one so I had to say good bye.
Here is one of my more recent bracelets. Another obsession of mine is making hollow forms and incorporating them in my creations.
I never thought I would come this far with selling my creations online and at art shows, but I am very happy things are moving along. I know I have so much more to learn and accomplish but I am enjoying the adventure!!!
Feel free to check out the other etsy metal team members blogs to see how they have come along.
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