Now that I know 4.5mm is the perfect size for my chain, I made several more feet of wire into links today.
I was also able to spend some time weaving more of the chain itself. This one goes pretty quickly. I’ve decided it will be a bracelet – I might even get it done tomorrow.
Foxtail bracelet in progress
As I continued with the Foxtail chain I’ve been working on, I wasn’t very happy with it. The links were just tight enough in the pattern that there was very little flexibility in the resulting chain.
So today I took more 18 gauge sterling wire and made one coil of links that were half a millimeter larger just to see the difference. It’s perfect. I really like the way this is coming out, so I’ll make more tomorrow.
Foxtail chain in progress
Today went pretty much sideways from what I expected, including my “official” planned jewelry project.
I’ll probably work on my chain some more here in a little while, but I decided to go ahead and finish the pendant I started the other day.
Steps for that included making some larger jump rings to connect it together, soldering those closed (soldering chain links is a whole skill on its own), setting the opal, polishing it a little, and tumbling it.
I wasn’t entirely sure all of that was going to come out ok, but there were no major disasters. I’m reasonably happy with it.
My new saw blade for my Jump Ringer came yesterday afternoon, so today’s project was to cut the coils of wire I made the other day.
It took about 2 minutes. I love that tool. The links look dark in the picture because sterling turns that color when you anneal it. It will get shiny again when I tumble it at the end.
I decided I am going to make a foxtail chain, also known as a square chain. I got it started, but I’ll do more tomorrow & post a picture of it then.
Jump Ringer & cut sterling links
As it turns out, I was able to crimp these beads in place with a tool I have here in our new house, so I have finished the earrings I started yesterday.
I didn’t want to tumble them to strengthen the wire, because I’m not sure those ceramic beds would stand up to that. So I planished the top of the curve a little just to work-harden them.
I like the way they came out.
After just a week of getting back into working at my bench, it already feels like cheating to make something that doesn’t directly require a torch or a power tool.
But my commitment is to do SOMETHING at my bench every day, and today was just a really full day. So I needed a quick little project that would still engage my creative spirit.
I decided to make another pair of earrings in the same style as the Mother-of-Pearl ones I made the other day, only using little silver beads sandwiched with these cool little square ceramic beads. I’m really happy with the way they came out, but I can’t finish them yet because I have to play around with a way to add some sort of crimp bead to keep the beads in place. And the tool I need to do that is at the other house.
But here’s how far I got today.
Today was better. I was able to fix the one bezel from yesterday even though it has a slight curve where I filed the seam smooth, and I set that stone. That’s today’s picture.
I started completely over with the oval bezel for the opal. Cut a new strip of silver, got it to the right size, soldered it closed, sanded down the edges, refitted it to the stone for the correct shape, & soldered it successfully – no gaps!! – to the back. Which was also newly created.
Practice and commitment. Tomorrow I might even get the whole thing put together.
Practice makes better. This is why commitment is important.
Today I attempted to solder the bezels for my stones to the backs that form the piece. I knew this could be a challenge, because there are a lot of things that can go wrong when soldering bezels. It’s been a long time since I set a stone. How many mistakes did I make?
1) I started with too big of a flame and actually melted one corner of the back of one of the pieces – that was a new one.
2) On the other one, the solder didn’t flow all the way around, so there was a tiny gap. I managed to fix that one without undoing the rest of the solder, yay!
3) But I also managed to make a tiny gap in the solder of the bezel seam, which can’t be fixed. IF I don’t just start over, I’ll have to file it down a little.
4) I did this on my honeycomb soldering board, which is wonderful EXCEPT for work like this because it makes a pattern of little dots on the back that I will have to polish away. I had forgotten about that.
So. This will definitely be one of MY pieces, not for sale. Unless I decide to redo more of it than I think I’m going to.
But it was a good (re)learning experience, and I have been reminded of a number of things I had forgotten. Tomorrow I’ll decide how much I want to redo and go on from there.
Moving has certainly put a big dent in my spinning practice. It’s only the last couple of weeks that I’m anything like “normal” in that regard.
At any rate, I’ve finally finished the first half of the Apples fractal
spinning project that I’ve been working on, oh, forever. This was the part where I spun one half the braid, split longwise, in one go. That is how you get the longer color changes that create half of the fractal effect.
The other half has been split (also longwise) into 4 pieces, so the colors will change 4 times quicker. When you ply them together it’s beautiful!
Today’s project is more ambitious. I decided to set a stone, most likely for a pendant. When I looked at my stones, I really liked the way two of them look together, so I am going to make a piece that uses both.
One is a rectangle of chrysocolla, beautiful teal green/blue. The other is an oval opal – Mexican, maybe? It’s a lovely clear fiery orange.
The main exercise for today was making the bezels. You can buy bezel wire, but I like to cut my own out of sheet metal (26g fine silver) that’s a little heavier than the bezel wire you can buy. It took some practice and “oh, yeah, that’s how that works” to get the first one right, then the second one was easy.
Now I just have to think about how I want the actual piece to be arranged. I have some ideas, but I’m going to let it percolate overnight.
The stones aren’t actually set yet, that’s the very last thing that happens. In this picture they are just resting in their bezels.