A passion for silversmithing

STERLING SILVER : Noun, meaning silver of 92 and a quarter percent purity.....

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Jimbos bracelet

A friend commissioned a bracelet for her husband Jim. She left it completely up to me - bit scary that - what if I can't think of a design - or even worse what if I do and he/she doesn't like it!

I decide on a simple hammered, not too shiny bangle with wire decoration. For the bangle I buy 6mm x 1.2mm rectangle wire. It is the first time I have soldered silver this thick and its a nightmare!. With my solder torch I cannot get the silver hot enough to melt the solder before it oxidises. Once it is oxidised, no way will it solder. I reckon it took me 5 attempts, and each time I had to pickle it and then flux and try again. I tried first with easy strip solder, then extra easy, eventually I used easy solder paste and finally it went. Not that it went well....the solder didn't flash, just sort of ran, but it seems solid enough - phew!

Next I softened the sharp edges with sandpaper, then hammered it using my disc cutter to lay it round.
 So far so good. I don't have a bangle mandrel so hunted round for something the right diameter to shape it. I ended up using a tin of baked beans - perfect size, and I used my rawhide mallet to knock it round.

I didn't want to leave it just plain, so I wire wrapped it three places, flattening the ends and tucking them under the wire at the back.

Next I polish it with tripoli only as don't want it too shiny.

 Finally I oxidise it and then polish it again. I love it, it's really rustic and heavy and the oxidisation shows up the hammered surface beautifully.

 Hope he likes it!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Silver Workshop tips

Some ideas for the workshop...

A cheap plate rack from The Range, holds all my pliers and hammers and saw.
 My solder torch hangs from a curtain tie back hook on the side of my bench...
 I hang my silver wire with paper clips from the metal sheet I have behind my solder area. I have written the sizes on the sheet so I can easily grab the right one.
 My daughter bought me the mini filing cabinet and I keep my punches, liver of sulpher, saw blades, solder paste and loads of other things in here. I have had to label the drawers though.....couldn't ever remember what was in where!
I have my old ipod in a docking station, photos of my lovely Nana, and other keepsake trinkets around me while I work. Its only a small room but it does just fine.

Monday, 7 November 2011

The cigarette case earrings

I have finished the earrings for my sisters, made from my Grandads silver cigarette case. I have kept the fine pattern from the silver on the beads, and I love they way they look old, just like the original item.

and a simple pendant to match.

I'm almost glad to see Autumn. When the sun is shining I need to be outside, but the colder weather and grey days means I can spend more time in my workshop. Mind you the leaves still need to be 'hoovered'....