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More good studio time today- made progress on some commission work… - Metals Geekery

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My artisan metalsmithing site
My original Celtic designs in various media, including jewelry
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March 9th, 2008


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04:52 pm
More good studio time today- made progress on some commission work and some of the mobius rings.

...Which leads me to my update on the sterling/platinum blend. I am not at all sure it's ready for prime time. See, as I was starting the pre-polishing on my ring, I was doing some sculpting to refine the shape... and I encountered porosity. Porosity that was nowhere near the seam. Porosity that had clearly been IN the mill product and was revealed when I filed and abraded some of it away. For the record, there was none in the areas I'd milled myself to get the profile I want (I start with heavy round wire and forge it out to get an oblong shape); the holes appeared in the edges, where they are awkward to get past but which metal had not been squished hard by me in the forming process.

So. I have honestly never encountered porosity in a mill product before! I'm assuming that rather than rolling/drawing it down to get the heavy gauge I needed, they didn't do much more than lightly draw an ingot; any more reduction would have squished the pores, at least (though they would still be there and be weakening the metal).

I'm going to follow through with making the ring, of course; it's getting so close to done anyway. And based on the color I'm seeing while pre-polishing, I'm not sure what I'm going to think of it; it looks a little bluer and more "chrome-y" than other silvers I'm familiar with, which for me is not a good thing. We'll see what it's like once it's polished up to a nice high shine.

And I have to decide what color diamond I'm going to set in it. I've settled on a roughly 1.5mm size, and I have a mixed-color parcel that has a couple of very deep garnet-reds, a lot of light blues to aquas, and some yellows. Since I'm not a yellow fan I'm ruling those out, but am undecided on the red vs. the blue. I adore sky blue, but the red makes a great contrast with the metal...

I decided to make it "finger-shaped" (which is sort of a round-cornered trapezoid) rather than round. I did that on one of the other ones I'm working on, and I really like the way the twist flows with that shape- it's a lovely, sculptural effect.

However, pretty though the ring will be, I'm thinking I can't really do much more with this alloy. I can't afford to get the bulk of the work done on a piece, only to encounter porosity as i start to finish it. This is a shame, since J tells me that silver is making a comeback because of the cost of gold, and if this had lived up to the enthusiasm I've seen about it, it would have made an excellent material to create in and to offer to commissioners. As it is, though, I'd be very concerned about using it. I'll use up what I have- might as well!- but, I think, only in stuff I do for myself, for gifts, or on spec; that way, if I run into a problem even at the end, it won't mess up a commission piece.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

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