Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gratifying Results (the Obstacles Are the Path).

That post I wrote last week on pushing myself and learning new tricks? I didn't have the pieces I made quite finished when I wrote it. But they are I'd like to show them to you.   :)

The first piece, that gave me SO much grief, is this one:

It's wide, nearly an inch wide, and thick gauge sterling. And I shaped and soldered those swirls...or THOUGHT I'd soldered them...but they kept. falling. off.

Now, I have struggled with soldering "not taking" before...primarily with joining two items side by side, which is why I made quite a few of these designs:

because all the pieces on the top get soldered side to side. So now I'm fairly proficient at that.  :)  Struggling with something? Try making fifty pieces that use the technique you're struggling with. That'll make you improve.  :) 

So. Usually soldering something on top of something else is not a problem. But...joining on a curved surface is *so* not the same as joining on a flat surface...I forgot one of the Basic Rules of Fabrication:

You Need A Good Join. Solder Will Not Flow to Fill A Gap.

(Actually, solder *will* flow to fill a gap...but a very small gap). In the case of this ring, I wasn't getting very good joins. Chalk it up to impatience, inexperience, just generally being clueless that day, but for some reason I thought that if I just had *part* of the swirls touching the ring base, the solder would take care of the rest. I'd sort of "tack" down the swirls and then go back and hit the parts that hadn't soldered.


What ultimately had to happen was that I went back and re-shaped the swirls (which took more time, but it would have been less time overall if I hadn't done it wrong to begin with) so that all parts of them laid flat on the curved surface. It wasn't easy. And now I can see why some handmade rings are made...well, let's say differently.  :)

The other piece I made, which also presented a challenge, was this ring:

I've been wanting to make rings with the mosaic designs for a while, but soldering all those pieces onto a curved surface isn't easy either! But it's not all about easy in the studio; otherwise everyone would be doing it.  :)   I helped myself a little by Euro-square-ing the ring base before starting to solder the embellishments on top of it:

This ring mandrel is squared, as the photo shows. Most ring mandrels are round, but sometimes, especially with a wider band, a squared ring shape will be more comfortable on the finger. Also, if you're making a ring with a heavy top or a big stone set on top, a square shape will help keep the top of the ring upright, rather than the shank sliding around the finger. 

So I squared the mosaic ring. Which at least gave me a partially flat surface to solder the silver pieces on to. Though they're not quite ALL on the square part...since I did three "stations" of mosaics, each station drifts off to the side a bit. But the overall ring is balanced.  :)

AND comfortable. Always important in jewelry design.   :)

No comments:

Post a Comment