Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
A quick post this morning as I get ready for the day with out of town guests. I set this blue impression jasper stone into a pendant yesterday. I started it in my soldering class and finished it at 3:00am today! It's going to be a tough day for me today as I face it on 3 hours of sleep. I'm getting just a little obsessed here. I need some balance.
While setting this stone, I put a number of surface scratches in it. I tried polishing it with some of my metal polishes and added a bit of wax. That hides the scratches pretty well, but I'm wondering if anyone has some advice for me about how to polish out the fine scratches that I see when looking from the side. I'll try tumbling it later on, but I really have no experience with this sort of thing yet. I know it was foolish of me to not cover the stone while setting it, but... I guess I was just too lazy...which is a shame.
I think I'll be keeping this one for my own wear, as it has a sloppy solder on the bezel wire. It looks like I almost fried the metal. I may dip the whole thing in liver of sulfur; that might hide the mark. This was an experiment and my first time soldering at home. For now I'm using a propane torch and the heat is a little different than the acetylene ones we use in class. It will take some getting used to. But overall, my soldering skills are improving nicely. I'm loving working with fire.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Before today's class, I made the components (links and spirals) for the pictured bracelet. Today, I soldered the sterling wire spirals to the sterling links during class. The bracelet has 8 links and 5 of 8 solders worked on my first try. The remaining 3 had to be soldered twice, but all worked fine on the second go round, so I feel really good about them. I also soldered spiral links shut for a necklace similar to one I've posted in the past, but now there will be no chance of the links sliding off their connecting rings.
As I expected, soldering will add another level of professionalism to my jewelry. Rivets, which I have done a lot of in the past, are nice for items that have an industrial quality to them, but soldering will allow me to add more delicate things and better finishing touches to my work.
I've spent the past week shopping for/hunting down items to prepare a soldering station at home. Boric acid, borax, TSP, Sparex, flux, various types of solder, torch tips, titanium picks... the list goes on... I'm almost ready! I'll be moving my workspace from the office to a spare bedroom (which will no longer be a bedroom) later next month. I need the room prior to that for visiting guests, but after that time, we will have 'only' one guest bedroom and a fold out couch in the bonus room when we have company. I'm getting so eager to move in! Right now I have my flex shaft set up in the garage and I'm planning a temporary soldering set up there as well. Oh, how I miss our MN basement and the wonderful workshop Rich had built (for himself) there. I could really use it now. Our WA home doesn't have a basement :( Who knew I would ever need or want a workshop of my own?