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Not a long day in the studio today, what with other stuff coming up… - Metals Geekery

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My artisan metalsmithing site
My original Celtic designs in various media, including jewelry
My Etsy store- Affordable individually-made items.

August 28th, 2006

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07:09 pm
Not a long day in the studio today, what with other stuff coming up (like having a Guest Dog visit for a week starting tomorrow and all that entails that needs to be addressed before Guest Dog shows up), but a somewhat productive one.

While I'd hoped to get the bail for the plique smiley done, I didn't; I did get it started, though. I am currently unsure about the wisdom of trying to add tiny balls to it, but I'll wait until the other loop is on and decide then. It's tough to get things both carefully positioned AND stable when the pieces are so small! If I were using argentium I could tack-weld them... but then they'd melt in the firing for the enamels, and so it's not a great idea! (Now, if I cold weld the jump rings closed... but that would mean a much more expensive welder that I cannot now either justify or afford.) So anyway, one of the loops is on, and tomorrow I'll do the second and decide about the decorative balls.

I soldered the tapered bezel into the ring. Twice, since the first time I used light-gauge binding wire, and it burned through during the soldering and the bezel fell off. Sigh. So time #2 I used heavier wire, and that worked. And since it's stainless steel binding wire, and so purportedly pickle-safe, I didn't remove it before pickling... and now have a pink film of copper on the ring. Sigh, again. I will have to mark that spool of wire as NOT pickle-safe. I can either heat up the ring to oxidize the copper the next time the kiln's on, then pickle it away, or mix up a bit of hydroxide pickle and use that.

And it's not the pickle that caused it! I use a VERY dilute pickle compared to most people: a common recipe I've seen is 3-4 tablespoons (of Sparex or swimming pool acidifier) per quart of water, and I used 2-3 tablespoons in a half-gallon or more. I prefer a dilute pickle. It works pretty fast when it's warm- though it's fairly useless cold- and it's SO much easier to neutralize when one needs to discard it! Also, if one forgets a piece in the pickle, it is not as fast to attack the joins. I do like margins for error. :)

I didn't get any enameling done. My washed enamels are still damp, and so cannot be sifted. I want to sift on a layer of clean light amber, then a layer of a clean lemony yellow, and I'll probably wet-pack from there... but I think sifting the 2 colors on is the best way of laying a nice yellow base, and then being able to correct any color shifts in the wet-packing. I got all 3 colors (one an orangey-yellow, the other 2 lemony) washed well yesterday, but they seem to need more drying time. Maybe tomorrow.

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