September 4th, 2006

anvil, ring

(no subject)

Ah. Finally a good day in the studio! I did all sorts of things.

1. I finished (I think) cutting the seat for the tourmaline in the tapered bezel ring. It's a very thick bezel, so next I need to chamfer the upper edge a bit to make it easier to move down the metal when I set it. This is definitely a setting job for my hammer handpiece!

I'd gotten some of the Allset flex add-ons that are supposed to help with cutting seats a few years ago, so I got those out and gave them a try. I'm not sure they're all that helpful for things like bezel settings, but then they're not really designed for those, either. They do have gizmos that are supposed to help with other types, like prong, channel, and pave, and I do want to try that. It would also be far more useful if one had a lot of stones exactly the same size to set, so one could work out the adjustments once and then do multiples. I'm not convinced it's spectacularly useful for one-offs of weirdly cut stones!

2. I added another coat of a greenish yellow to the center of my cloisonne smiley, and also put the black in the eyes and mouth. It does look cute! I am not best pleased with that pesky cloudiness, though. It is far less noticeable with the black in, but I still don't like it. So I am going to proceed with this one, but I have also started to make up another sheet-with-edging in the same size for a second try, if that seems like the way to go. (If not- well, a round piece of fine silver sheet with a 0.8mm square wire edge at about 1.125" (28.5mm) diameter is hardly a bad thing to have around! All sorts of stuff can be cloisonneed in such a thing!) This time I am using IT solder, to see if that behaves better either in the soldering- meaning, doesn't run all over the sheet- or in the enameling.

3. I got the bail for the plique smiley soldered. I ended up going very minimal with the jigging: I put the setting-and-loop on a kinda beat up charcoal block where a bit had chipped out and left a nice edge to support the setting while the loop was resting a bit lower- this was so the first joint didn't go wonky when I soldered the second. I held it in place with pins. Then I used a third hand to hold the second loop in place. The positioning was tricky, but I think it took less time than trying to wire it, and it worked fine. Whew! So now I can see if I need to make a new loop for the filigree- I suspect I will- and then solder the loop onto the filigree with the bail- covered with solder-block- in place within it.

I believe after that I will wire the bail together with binding wire. I used hard solder for the assembly, and it's melting- though not its flowing- point is higher than the piece is likely to get when I enamel it.

4. I spread one end of the wee tube that will rivet the trillium pin together, to help in the riveting process.

5. I soldered the blank for a Confetti Ring made of the argentium sterling alloy. I had not used argentium solder before, and it occurred to me as I was plying the torch on the piece that starting the experiment with roughly $10 of silver was perhaps not the smartest way to begin experimenting. :P Nonetheless, it turned out OK, so no harm done.

Soldering argentium is more similar to soldering gold than the usual silver alloys, since it's not particularly heat-conductive. It will be interesting to see the differences with in using my tack welder. It is also potentially very interesting as a teaching aid, since it's a lot cheaper than gold but reacts similarly in some ways- a good way of giving people experience with a gold-like material without it being as expensive!