It was hinges. Hinges are hard. Basically, you have 6 pieces of metal (the 2 halves of the locket, in this case, the 3 knuckles of the hinge, and the pin that keeps the knuckles aligned). The ideal is to tack-solder 2 knuckles to one half, and the third to the other half, while NOT soldering the knuckles to each other, or to the pin, or to the wrong half, or the halves to each other, meanwhile keeping everything perfectly and ideally aligned.
I've done a number of hinges, with mixed results (though I've always been able to make them work), but not for quite a while... and never on a locket before. The locket is round, so lining up the halves, inside-down, and doing it that way didn't work- although after today I'm going to revisit this approach. So I glued and then bound the halves together with binding wire, put them in a third hand with the bed for the tubing uppermost, then laid the knuckles on their pin in it and heated. I used medium solder, because hard would have been Asking For Trouble with the filigree front, and I've usually had good luck tack-soldering with medium.
It LOOKED like it had worked OK... but even after picking the thing wouldn't open. I managed to start it, and it began to bend. It appears 2 of the knuckles got soldered to the pin somehow- since the solder went nowhere near the seams I have no idea how, but the results were clear.
So I pulled it apart and am now rethinking.
I think for the locket and my stage of experience3 with locket hinges, the filigree is a Bad Idea. I will fill in the bed for the tubing with wire, and make it a pendant. I will also pierce a design in some sheet, and use that for the front of this locket; it'll be more forgiving of heating that way. And then I'll get it to work.
This is especially frustrating because my Thursday student is making a locket- despite all my warnings of the horrors of hinges!- and I am not feeling confident about helping her through it while I'm having such a struggle.
That thrice-damned hinge was pretty much all I did today, too, since I wanted to be ready for tomorrow. I heroically resisted the temptation to work on the various projects that are going well.