A passion for silversmithing

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

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A square challenge!

 I ran a successful stall last week at a charity event at work. Every item that I make for my shop Tripoli and Rouge on Etsy and Folksy becomes part of my stock but once it is photographed and listed for sale, its good if I can sell the original to cover the costs, and I did manage to sell quite a few stock items that day. Very pleased about that.

A colleague showed me a pair of square chunky solid silver rings (one shown here).

Originally there were 3, but she had lost one so I offered to try to make a replacement. Going by the measurements, I bought 4mm x 4mm square silver wire which I haven't used before.

It was very tough trying to bend it round, and I had to frequently anneal it.

Eventually it was round enough and overlapping and the right diameter. I sawed through both end together then had to use a clamp to align the two ends.

Much sanding and filing to get the edges flush and closed for soldering.

I couldn't close the joint tight enough to solder so clamped it closed and tried to solder it in the clamp. Tried for ages but the solder would not run. Am guessing this is because the clamp drew the heat away from the silver (the clamp stayed incredibly hot for a long time after).

However having heated it in the clamp the joint was now tight so was able to solder it normally now on the my solder pad with solder strip underneath the joint. Had to make sure the solder drew right up to the top of the seam. 

Next step was to mark the edges with my sharpie so I would know where to cut away. Naively thought I would be able to simply saw chunks off and sand the rest. Broke 4 saw blades in as many minutes and even the thicker blades (size 4) were really really hard work.

Two of the sides I ended up sanding by hand (blisters) and the other two I used my hand tool with sanding mop (another first) to take off some, then hand sanded the rest. I love sanding, but this was slow going because of the thickness of the silver. 

The final sanding was very satisfying, taking away the rawness, rounding the edges, and it suddenly becomes a thing of beauty, soft and smooth and tactile. So here are the pair - the new one is on the left.

The only thing left to do is polish all three together to get the same finish. Very very pleased with the ring. 

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