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!

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