August 26th, 2006

anvil, ring

(no subject)

Sometimes insomnia is my friend! When I couldn't get to sleep last night I was mulling over the bail options for my plique smiley. Yet again. And lo! this time it was productive! I'm going to do a version of #2 in the previous post, but with forged loops and probably 2 decorative balls resting at the upper join of the loops and the setting.

So I made 2 loops today, but I think they might be a bit large. I'm using 16 ga. round wire to give them some presence and to allow more flow in the forging. I made the blanks 23mm long, for a nominal 6mm inner dimension; from looking at 18ga. 5mm jump rings and 14ga. 7mm jump rings, this seemed reasonable. And maybe it is; right now, after soldering (with eutectic), they're looking a bit too big, though. I may shape and forge them and then decide.

My plan is to make the rings, forge them and shape them, add the setting tube and the decorative balls, then coat the whole thing with white-out (a good solder resist, and in my experience it comes off better than yellow ochre, though you need better ventilation with it even when it's the water-based kind), thread the loop that will be soldered onto the filigree through it, then solder the loop onto the filigree. I may solder one end of the loop, add the bail, then do the other. Because the whole thing is going to go through the entire firing process in the kiln as I add the glass, I'm going to try to use eutectic for the assembly. This isn't ideal in some ways, since eutectic is very brittle (in my experience) and also entirely unforgiving of gaps, but it will hold up better to the repeated firings that way. However, if I need to use hard, it ought to work OK.

I also fired on the smile on the cloisonne, added the eyes, and fired them on. (This is the outlining wire that will control what's black and what's yellow.) I am a bit concerned that even though I depletion gilded, quite thoroughly, any place the eutectic solder flowed over the surface it's a bit yellow under the flux! Usually, enamels yellow if they hit silver, not copper! and this is flux for silver, so it's completely clear on silver, but on the solder... Sigh. Perhaps I need to revisit the use of IT solder, at least to see if it does the same thing with this flux. And/or try other fluxes for silver. Fortunately, since the smiley is going to be yellow anyway, it's not a huge deal.

While some things were pickling and others were cooling, I waxed the layers of my to-be-sold trillium pin- which will keep them from discoloring- so that's progressing.

I also carved out the hole for the setting for another tapered-bezel ring. I made a bunch of them about a year ago, to consolidate my skills after taking Doug Zaruba's setting class. I finished most of them, but left 2 to do after a gap, to reinforce the skills. I was pleased to find that despite not having worked on them for 8 mots at least, I could step in right where I'd left off, and in fact this one went much more smoothly that any in the earlier set- so far, anyway! This one is a setting for a lovely bright and richly green natural tourmaline- one of the ones I bought in a mixed parcel for setting practice, as it's eccentrically cut but a thing of beauty. I am currently horribly tempted to add a couple of small tube settings on either side of the large one, and set garnets in them for an Xmas-themed ring... but I think that would be a cruel thing to do to a really lovely stone, so I probably will not. Probably.
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