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It was not a great day in the AFMetalsmith studio today. 1. As I… - Metals Geekery

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My artisan metalsmithing site
My original Celtic designs in various media, including jewelry
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September 23rd, 2006


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05:39 pm
It was not a great day in the AFMetalsmith studio today.

1. As I started to cut the seat in the black diamond setting on the plique smiley, the setting popped right off. Grr. So since I now had a crisis of confidence in the sturdiness of the (eutectic) solder joins, I tried to pop off the loop that holds the bail, and lo! it popped right off, too. So I had to redesign how to add the black diamond and the bail with sapphire to the piece, and am very, very glad I did not fill up the outer filigree cells with yellow enamel, because now I can run jump rings through them and look like I Meant To Do That. Therefore, I also had to pop off the balls that had formerly held the diamond setting, and they came off easily too, with the application of pliers and a bit of force.

The new plan for incorporating the settings has been started and ought to work.

I am definitely concerned that the joins I make using the eutectic are not resilient, though. It's fine for the plique filigree; they don't get any strain to speak of, and the glass tends to even out stresses. But I do want to add attachment points, findings, etc. to the pieces, and the eutectic just is not doing the job reliably. I am not sure whether it's a quality of the solder itself, or whether there are ways to work with it that make it more reliable. I do note that even when the solder has visibly flowed nicely, once the join fails the space is very porous. I'm not sure if the repeated firings during the enameling are causing a deterioration, or whether it was like that all along, either.

2. The plique itself looked great... except for a tiny hole that hadn't filled. So I filled it again, and refired again, and cooled it in the kiln with the door ajar again, and at the moment it's looking fine. Knock on wood.

3. I had mixed results with using fusing for argentium sterling construction, instead of soldering. In general, though, it seems to work quite nicely.

4. I am adding the "ribbons" to the cloisonne smiley setting. I did anneal them after forging them, but ended up needing to tweak them a bit more before soldering, so the first time I tried soldering the first onto the setting the metal warped and no longer fit as it got hot. Grrr. So I stopped, pickled, and tried again. This time I got 2 of the 3 joins soldered, and can tweak the fit for the third and do it tomorrow.

And then, of course, I get to try to fit the second "ribbon," as well as the 2 sapphire settings, onto the thing. :P

So that was my day. Frustrating! But still, progress was made.

J got a pretty nice mask cut for a commission that requires etching. I need to clean off some remaining grunge- hopefully without losing any detail- and then we can etch it.

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