If you’ve been following along with this series of posts, you’ll remember that I made some 4mm links last week that I haven’t used yet. They were the wrong size for the Foxtail chain, but they are the right size for a Byzantine chain.
So that’s what I’m making now. This is a lovely chain that makes beautiful jewelry.
Byzantine Chain in Progress
Today I finished the Foxtail chain bracelet. Did the last part of the chain, soldered on the clasp, soaked it in hot vinegar to remove all the black from the annealing, & put it in the tumbler for a couple of hours to make it all shiny.
Sterling Silver Foxtail Chain Bracelet
Today most of my “metal” time today was spent on my new toy, a rolling mill. This model is made by Celtic Dreams, and is affordable for someone like me.
It arrived covered in protective grease, which needed to be removed. About an hour with a can of mineral spirits and a bunch of paper towels got that done.
Now I just have to bolt it to my workbench, and it will be ready to use. What’s it for? It can be used to roll out sheet metal & wire to a finer gauge, but my favorite use is to add texture & patterns to metal. For example, rolling etched brass with silver to transfer the pattern. Then that can be used to make other things like these earrings.
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.