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The jewelry making thread

ksinger

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OK...there has been talk in the past of starting at thread for those of us who make jewelry. So here goes.

Disclaimer: This piece is still not quite done. There is still some filing and polishing to be done, and the clasp will need to be closed and soldered, but the piece is essentially finished. There is probably over 40 hours of work in this. This chain is made starting from a spool of wire - of individually hand-made, torch-fused links of fine silver, that are then shaped and linked through the ones before, and reshaped. There is no solder in this piece except for the endcaps.

The next one is slated to be in 22K gold, which I already have on hand. (Let me clue ya, 2.89 oz of 22K wire will lighten your wallet!) I'm pretty pumped.....

necklace1.jpg

necklace2.jpg

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yennyfire

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That's incredible ksinger! I can't believe that you MADE that! Wow! It's gorgeous! How long is it?
 

ksinger

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Thanks! I'm right taken with the end result myself. Who'da thunk I had so much patience? Not me, certainly.

Lessee...the chain itself, once I pulled it (you take the finished chain and pull it through successively smaller holes in a drawplate - it evens and compresses it, and increases the length some) was 17.5 inches. So with the endcaps and the hook I'm going to guess about 19 inches.
 

ksinger

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Oh, and for the jewelry geeks, the chain is made of 22 gauge fine silver wire, the endcaps are made of 12 and 14 gauge sterling and the hook is 12 gauge sterling....

ETA - and the chain came out to about 1.5 troy oz of silver, not including the endcap weight...
 

tyty333

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That necklace is amazing! How did you learn how to do it? Got any good books or websites you can share?
I would love to learn!
 

VapidLapid

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I got the book and the website. ksinger is way more meticulous than me. I have yet to make one by the book but I made this one before the book came. Also 999 fine silver, torch fused no solder.

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VapidLapid

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Playing with fire

loadedcoilhot.jpg

muchocaliente.jpg
 

VapidLapid

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The book:
Classical loop in loop chains and their derivatives, by stark and smith. I got it on ebay. there were a few different editions. I got one from UK and it was cheeper WITH the shipping than some of the US sellers.

This website is a feast for the eyes

http://www.thegoldweaver.com/

ksinger turned me on to them both
 

Upgradable

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Amazing!!! Ksinger, I saw this "in process." But seeing the finished piece is so impressive! Are you planning on creating any type of pendant for it?
 

Amys Bling

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Wow, that is impressive!!!
 

ksinger

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Thanks all! As soon as I get it all cleaned up and the hook soldered closed I'll post the final pics. It may be a bit though, as I'm going on vacation.

And VL, you're going to have to give many more explantions of what/how you were doing...

wire gauge of your chain...? It looks like several rings are gouged out in the center...are you forging them some? What is that long black slab, wood? charcoal? What are you soldering in those pics? What kind of torch are you using? (Oh, I did the links with a microtorch, which I have pretty much worn out. I just ordered a Blazer to replace it. I also have a Meco Midget that runs on propane/oxy fuel, but I'm thinking I may need to get a bigger one too.)

I'm loving seeing your tools and stuff. I just got the book Jeweler's Benchbook by Charles Lewton-Brain and am trying to think through a real bench setup and how I will eventually do it, so I'm interested in yours.

More info!!

I hope this thread becomes a place we can swap info and show our stuff. My love of jewelry, I've found, could not be contained by simply buying it, although that is plenty fun. But I'm a person who must MAKE things, so...
 

jewelerman

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Stunning!This is my favorite chain pattern and cant wait to see it in 22karat!post more soon!
 

ksinger

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jewelerman|1308251317|2947664 said:
Stunning!This is my favorite chain pattern and cant wait to see it in 22karat!post more soon!
Thank you Jewelerman! This chain is truly magic in my eyes. Such a satisfying end result for all the work. :bigsmile:

I'll warn you though, I won't be making THAT chain in the gold, I will be making one like THIS one - a foxtail. The two-way double would be just too cost prohibitive, so I'll be making a single-direction double. However, the silver one you see here is in 22 gauge and the gold one will be in 20 gauge, so while it will be less complex and square rather than round, it will be a heftier chain at least.

http://www.denisebetesh.com/item.php?category=HANDMADE CHAINS&item=4100&offset=0

What I need to do now, before I start with the gold is do a short test run of the proper link size for the 20 gauge.
I originally made a 7 inch length like the necklace, and it is even better looking and more even, but lord was it hard to work. So for the necklace I took one of my husband's zillion layout punches (in crazy sizes) and upped the link size by 1/64th of an inch. I was staggered by what that small fraction of an inch did to the ease of working this chain. So I want to be sure before I hit the gold, that I'm working with the correct link size, and I'll do that in silver first.
 

VapidLapid

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ksinger, I will try to explain more about what Im working on and how I did/do them, but a little later since its near dinner time. Meanwhile I got a few pics of the finished chain on her neck. After fusing each link was forged to give it that rough hammered texture.

The blocks aren't wood, they're graphite I bought on ebay. I have a lot of it and it is great for a torching platform or little stages. I use it like blocks to set the piece for annealing or fusing. Also being graphite it is easily carved if I need a special shape to hold something or want to make a fast rough mold. I carved a crucible from some graphite for making alloys in.

I have a blazer and I hate it. and it leaks. I use a smith little torch with propane and oxygen. The disposable tanks, I get them at home depot. I love it. I can use a big tip to make a flame for melting quantity or alloying and a small tip for a needle point of a fusing flame.
http://store.cyberweld.com/smlitoou23.html

chainsue.jpg

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kenny

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Awesome!!!

I'm so impressed with and jealous of y'all.
 

ksinger

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VapidLapid|1308262505|2947770 said:
ksinger, I will try to explain more about what Im working on and how I did/do them, but a little later since its near dinner time. Meanwhile I got a few pics of the finished chain on her neck. After fusing each link was forged to give it that rough hammered texture.

The blocks aren't wood, they're graphite I bought on ebay. I have a lot of it and it is great for a torching platform or little stages. I use it like blocks to set the piece for annealing or fusing. Also being graphite it is easily carved if I need a special shape to hold something or want to make a fast rough mold. I carved a crucible from some graphite for making alloys in.

I have a blazer and I hate it. and it leaks. I use a smith little torch with propane and oxygen. The disposable tanks, I get them at home depot. I love it. I can use a big tip to make a flame for melting quantity or alloying and a small tip for a needle point of a fusing flame.
http://store.cyberweld.com/smlitoou23.html

Well, I'm not married to microtorches, but I had one and learned to do links with it, so that's what I'm used to, and a microtorch is good in a pinch or when I can get away without dragging out the whole rig thing, since I still don't have a dedicated space to do all this. I makes getting stuff done rather a thrash at times. The Meco is better for other stuff certainly and you're right - the microtorches are kind of a pain: much too pressured and oxidizing, it seems to me.

I've only been doing fabrication for about a year now. Oklahoma is hardly a hotbed of jewelry schools but I've found a good place where they do occasionally get people like Charles Lewton-Brain, John Cogswell, Tim McCreight, and Alan Revere to come in and give workshops, so it's not a total wasteland.

That chain of yours is lovely BTW. I am getting ready to branch out a bit and have an idea for ...circles... within circles....within circles. ;-)

My last instructor has a gallery that I visited not too long ago. She carries the work of a jeweler who makes handmade chains that are simply astonishing He showed me this tiny, delicate wheat chain - made, he said, from working a cable chain INTO a curb chain. :-o It was the most gorgeous thing, and I was glazing over trying to understand his explanations. He loved my chain, and we talked shop for quite a bit. He also did some exquisite filigree work.

If I dont' get back to this thread for a bit, it's not because I'm avoiding it. I will be out of pocket and a bit sporadic for the next week as I'm going on a badly needed vacation. :appl:
 

Lady_Disdain

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Lovely chains! Loop in loop and variants look so nice and I love how they drape. I am always in awe of people with the patience to make all those jump rings, close all those jump rings, solder all those jump rings... which is why I only do woven chains.

Ksinger - you absolutely must take a class with Charles Lewton-Brain. He is one of the best teachers I have ever had: he is interesting, his explanations and demos are clear, he encourages you to experiment and he is amazingly generous with his knowledge (if you do, tell him I said hi!). John Cogswell is also a fantastic guy and I really want to take his silverware class.
 

ksinger

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Lady_Disdain|1308280782|2948068 said:
Lovely chains! Loop in loop and variants look so nice and I love how they drape. I am always in awe of people with the patience to make all those jump rings, close all those jump rings, solder all those jump rings... which is why I only do woven chains.

Ksinger - you absolutely must take a class with Charles Lewton-Brain. He is one of the best teachers I have ever had: he is interesting, his explanations and demos are clear, he encourages you to experiment and he is amazingly generous with his knowledge (if you do, tell him I said hi!). John Cogswell is also a fantastic guy and I really want to take his silverware class.

Thank you for the kind words. ;-) It's either amazement I get, or incredulous looks of the variety that lead one to believe that the other party thinks I need a rubber room. ;)) I admit to wondering at times myself.

Yes, there are samples and photos all over the studio of the last time Lewton-Brain was there - he did a fold-forming class. Cogswell is scheduled to come in Sept of 2012, so a bit in the future, but I'm going to try very hard to snag a position in his class. The studio where I take is VERY small and cramped, sadly, so you have to be quick and hungry. ;))
 

ksinger

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Well, I got the necklace finished finally. Will post pics soon. But in the meantime, after such an effort, I wanted something mind-numbingly easy, so I made this little bracelet this weekend. It's no massive creative tour de force, but it was fun, and EASY. (Emphasis on the EASY!) ;))

Come on folks, I know there have got to be more of us amateur/not so amateur metal smiths out there. Show us some goods!

Small Link Bracelet1.jpg

Small Link Bracelet4.jpg

Small Link Bracelet6.jpg
 

aviastar

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Hi, a little late to the thread, but can I play, too?

I finished my first silver piece, lost wax casting, for my best friend as a wedding present. It's about 1.5 inches long and has a simple loop on the back for the chain. It was intended to be worn on a longer chain, hence the size, and also I am new to carving and smaller is harder!

I really enjoyed the process and can't wait to start another project!
editedheart.jpg
 

JewelFreak

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All of your work is so gorgeous! I'm impressed & envious of your skill & perseverence. SO pretty! I've been wanting a necklace, not chain but flat, maybe 4 mm wide, yg, that could be closed at about 15 inches & at about 17, onto which I could put pendants. If I had half a brain, might be able to make it myself, but doubt it would be a major success. You folks rock!

--- Laurie
 

ksinger

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aviastar|1318108491|3036146 said:
Hi, a little late to the thread, but can I play, too?

I finished my first silver piece, lost wax casting, for my best friend as a wedding present. It's about 1.5 inches long and has a simple loop on the back for the chain. It was intended to be worn on a longer chain, hence the size, and also I am new to carving and smaller is harder!

I really enjoyed the process and can't wait to start another project!
editedheart.jpg

Neat looking piece! :)

It's funny you make a post about casting. I'm taking casting right now. The class just got through last week, investing our pieces. The teacher is going to do the burnout for us (impractical for US to do, since it is an evening class and we drive in from all over) and we'll do the actual casting this week. That centrifugal caster is just wild. ;-) Wish me luck!

I don't see me doing casting much going forward though. Too many places where it could go horribly wrong, and I'm about through investing in equipment for the moment. But I could see me doing cuttlebone casting. Minimal investment, easy, and you get some terribly interesting patterns.

Last night I just made some earring discs - about 3/4" - in fine silver. Then I took a short length of 22K gold wire, ran it through my rolling mill until it was really thin (I really need to learn Keum-boo), cut it up in random confetti-like pieces, and soldered them to the silver (about 12 pieces each). Then I put them in liver of sulfer. They look pretty neat - the gold against the black. Now I just need to figure out if I want to pair them with gold earwires or silver.
 

smitcompton

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Hi,

Ksinger, I am impressed!

Annette
 

kcoursolle

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Ksinger, this thread is a delight! I'm very impressed with your weaving skills. I'd love to learn how to do this someday. I make jewelry too. I wire wrap briolettes and have so much fun picking out colorful gems.

Here is an example of a somewhat more complex pair of earrings I made. They have a tourmalated quartz, a labradorite, and an aqua chalcedony briolette. I also oxidized them to give them a black appearance.

couture.JPG
 

kcoursolle

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Here's a pair of earrings I made with chrysoprase and prasiolite (green amethyst). I love making earrings with small briolettes, but it gets a bit trickier to work with when they are this tiny.

chryosophrase.JPG
 

kcoursolle

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One last picture of a pair of earrings I made with carnelian stones.

carnelian.JPG
 

aviastar

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ksinger|1318161145|3036398 said:
aviastar|1318108491|3036146 said:
Hi, a little late to the thread, but can I play, too?

I finished my first silver piece, lost wax casting, for my best friend as a wedding present. It's about 1.5 inches long and has a simple loop on the back for the chain. It was intended to be worn on a longer chain, hence the size, and also I am new to carving and smaller is harder!

I really enjoyed the process and can't wait to start another project!
editedheart.jpg

Neat looking piece! :)

It's funny you make a post about casting. I'm taking casting right now. The class just got through last week, investing our pieces. The teacher is going to do the burnout for us (impractical for US to do, since it is an evening class and we drive in from all over) and we'll do the actual casting this week. That centrifugal caster is just wild. ;-) Wish me luck!

I don't see me doing casting much going forward though. Too many places where it could go horribly wrong, and I'm about through investing in equipment for the moment. But I could see me doing cuttlebone casting. Minimal investment, easy, and you get some terribly interesting patterns.

Last night I just made some earring discs - about 3/4" - in fine silver. Then I took a short length of 22K gold wire, ran it through my rolling mill until it was really thin (I really need to learn Keum-boo), cut it up in random confetti-like pieces, and soldered them to the silver (about 12 pieces each). Then I put them in liver of sulfer. They look pretty neat - the gold against the black. Now I just need to figure out if I want to pair them with gold earwires or silver.

Thanks! I actually took a wax carving class, the instructor cast our pieces, and then I got to finish it when it came out. So no direct casting for me, although eventually I'd like to become at least familiar with all the steps. Will you post your finished cast piece; we'd love to see it!
 

HollyS

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I'm impressed with our resident artists!

Karen, your pieces look professionally made. I'm in awe of your talent and patience.
 

ksinger

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Thanks Holly. Making things keeps me sane...or at least as sane as I'm likely to ever be. ;-)

The teacher did our burnout tonight, so some of us did actual casting. I did, and I can tell you, I don't see too much casting in my future. A bit more stressful than I thought it would be. I put in too much flux at first AND let the weights go too early (I still had casting grain that was unmelted at the back of the crucible. Even so, it came out OK, but it is one big, dirty torch, the caster is scary, and the class told me I looked like a minion from "Despicable Me" in my goggles. :wacko:


I will post the ring when it's done, but here it is right out of the investment. No, really...(cough cough)...it's SUPPOSED to look like that.

Also posted is a simple little pair of dapped fine silver earrings (about 1 3/4" long, just to get an idea of size) with white topaz briolette dangles, and a weird pair of bezeled fossilized coral pieces.

just_cast_ring.jpg

simple_silver.jpg

blurry_earring.jpg
 
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