Tuesday, August 09, 2011

My pieces are getting done

I finally finished my wax ring and submitted it for casting. It's very delicate with only a 3mm wide band that gently curves into the stone setting. I hope it looks good and that I don't have too much finishing left to do.

At metalsmithing open house tonight I also managed to finish constructing my tube-set ring and I drilled through my gypsy-set earrings. The ring is a simple 3mm square wire ring and it'll have a 3.5mm peridot stone and the earrings are little 3/8"x3/8" pillows that will have a 2mm amethyst set off-center, flush with the silver. At the top is three-quarters of a ring from which the squares will dangle, making them look a little bit like tiny padlocks.

Everyone asked whether I'd cast these earring pieces and no, I didn't: I cut, filed, sanded, and soldered each one myself. My instructor thinks that if I take the class where we do casting that I should make a mold for them, cast a whole bunch, and use them on a necklace and bracelet. That would look interesting, especially if I used different stones on these little pieces.

One of these earrings was a little messy where I was drilling because I actually had two holes side by side and so I ended up filling in a bit with solder. It's not really an accepted technique but there was no way I was going to re-make that piece. Once it's all sanded and polished, no one will know that solder fills up a bit.

At one point, while I was drilling my earring pieces, one went flying. I looked and looked and looked and wasn't seeing it although I did find a bunch of other things. Eventually everyone there stopped and helped me look for my missing piece and one person finally found it. Thank goodness!

To make the actual  tube- and gypsy-settings we drill a hole through where the setting will be so that we can get the stone out during the preparation phase and then we drill out the shape of the round stone using a special bur. I tried to bur out the gypsy settings but I think the bur was dull because all that was happening was that the piece was getting hot and my fingers were getting singed. Silver conducts heat very well. Tomorrow night I'll bur out the settings and work on finishing the pieces. Next week I think (hope) that I'll be able to set all three of my stones.

I finally feel like I'm catching up in the class. I may be doing things over and over and over again, but I'm finishing then.

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