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I am very, very stuck on the bail design for my plique smiley. And… - Metals Geekery

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August 25th, 2006


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05:10 pm
I am very, very stuck on the bail design for my plique smiley. And this is a very current problem, because if I am going to add the bail before the enamel, I need to make it- oh, right about NOW. And while I could punt it and say, OK, I'll add it later, I suspect that this would not be chosen for the purest of motives- meaning, because it was the logical thing to do- but instead because I am stuck coming up with a design that's cool and will add to the overall look of the piece. Which is true.

So: stuck.

Option 1: cut a piece of tubing. Squish it into an oval cross-section. Taper the ends so it's V-shaped from the front (standard bail look). Solder tubing for sapphire setting and 3 round balls onto front. Slide onto loop and solder loop to filigree. (This ordering is logical, but probably not practical seeing as how I'll be using hard solder for the bail stuff and eutectic for the loop, and eutectic flows hotter. This is, of course, part of the issue with this sequencing, especially since the melting- though not the flowing-point of the hard is lower than my enameling temp...)

Option 2: leave it for later, because the stuff that needs soldering can then be made of argentium, which does not conduct heat and so is likely going to work OK with being soldered after the glass is added. In this case i would hold the tube for the sapphire between 2 loops of 16-ga. round argentium wire, with the joins on the back; add the loop to the filigree with eutectic; do the enameling et al.; then solder the bail loops closed after threading them through the loop on the filigree. I'm not utterly thrilled by this look, either, but it does have some practical considerations going for it...

There are obviously variations of both approaches that could work. The thing is, I'm not thrilled with the look of either one... and yet, I am utterly without ideas for something cooler, and have been thus for about a month now.

Blech. At least either one would work, technically. And if that's what I'm going for, I'll probably choose #2: it's not as bland, and can be done later. :)

Other stuff: I have ordered some argentium sheet for a commission (most of it- there will be a bit left over), and some argentium half-round wire in a pretty heavy size (5mm x 2.5mm). I want to try doing Confetti Rings with the latter, since it's harder and can hold up better to ring-type wear- at least, if it's hardened properly! The problem is that I only wanted 12 inches to try, which will be about 4 rings. And since it's not a common stock item, there's a milling fee that pretty much exactly doubled the cost! I went for it anyway; I do want to play with both that alloy and that size for the rings, since i think with a somewhat slimmer metal I can do them in somewhat smaller sizes. And it's the labor that's most of the cost of those rings, not the materials, since there's a LOT of work to setting 17+ stones! Still, ouch!

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