Sterling silver moon ring how to with home made tools. Part 2

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This is the nylon hammer I used. Wood or leather would have worked. 15mm doming punch used to refine after the doming block stage.

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Bolts used for forming, I used all three. Study the photographs, you can see the increased angles; the middle one first, the one in the foreground second, lastly the one on the right that I made in the metal lathe.

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Test fitting with line drawn in the middle as a guide for forming with the nylon hammer and the modified bolt stakes. I refined the design as I went along. The final version was more rounded, I also cut away the bulky shank. Compare this to the completed ring.

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Final rounding of the shank.

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I made this asymmetrical to give me a choice of profiles.

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Small hole drilled in shank to let gasses escape when soldering. I have never used easy solder before, I will in future. Use plenty of it.

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I’m not sure I fully recommend it; look at the top of the picture. The marks are left by the placing of the pallions of solder. I would normally turn the ring over and re apply solder to the other side. In this instance the solder ran clean to the other side, fully sealing the piece without additional soldering.

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Sawing off the unwanted parts of the shank.

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Savage beasty this, be careful, really fast though, saves lots of time roughing out. Notice I stopped just shy of being flush to the surrounding silver.

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Large half round file, almost but not quite nearly šŸ˜‰

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Last of the files, small half round needle file, now nicely blended, ready for final polishing.

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Close fitting solder joint as I cut through both sided at the same time, making sure they would fit the shank.

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Photographed outside.

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Wato wato the end of the ring project.

This is a great example of wanting to make something but not having to hand the tools to realise it. As time goes by, I understand more and more why I’m not currently able to sustain myself in this craft. I spend far too long procrastinating on designs, making tools to realise far too many failed copper models before coming up with something I think will appeal. Only to discover I’ve barked up the wrong tree. At best a niche item, nowhere near commercially viable.

I now, with huge regret and not a little embarrassment, view my metalwork/silversmithingĀ as a hobby only now. All ambitions of being able to support myself financially through my chosen craft showing as unrealistic at this time. I feel the clue here is in the realisation that I associate myself with the term craft, rather than designer or artist. As I become ever more bewildered as to what is marketed, I come to realise my place as fairly and squarely a maker in a world than no longer needs makers. Concept appears to be king. I feel its akin to being a computer, fantastic at maths; however it takes the genius of a mathematician to make beautiful equations. I aspire to be more conceptual in my approach to the craft. However my first love is the love of learning more about past masters and the techniques they employed to achieve wondrous constructions. TheĀ past machine age is pure romance to me. This is lost in a newĀ era where, at the push of a button, designers/artists realise three dimensional objects, made by unseen operatives with mass production machines in such vast numbers as to make pretty much anything commercially viable. I have neglected to fully understand what is fashionable, wearable and viable. That’s the negative. The positive is that now I am no longer attempting to make a life for me and mine using just my hands. My resulting, more relaxed attitude towards this craft will, with luck, result in a positive re think. Trying to become a ‘mathematician’, not concerning myself as much with the mechanics, ‘computer’ aspect of creating wonderful objects. WorkingĀ towards becoming a creative designer, rather than just as a solver of technical challanges. Watch this space šŸ™‚

If you look at the bolts I modified for this job, I looked at stakes from established tool supply houses. Here in the U/K it is becoming ever rarer to source forming tools, the ones that are available are prohibitively expensive for a hobbiest. As we use very soft, non ferris metals, even a common or garden bolt will suffice for forming. If you wanted to make a more permanent, planishing stake from a bolt you can buy/salvage hardened steel bolts and fashion them to the shapes you desire. Cylinder head bolts work very well, you can look up through fastener suppliers, the hardness rating of a bolt, if you wish to purchase new.

I used a metal lathe to make these. I was thinking though that those of you without access to such a machine could use a drillĀ and a hand file to create a similar stake. Chuck up a bolt that you have founded off best as you can in a vice, then spin it in the drill, rounding as you go with a file. Finish off with coarse to fine paper whilst still spinning in the drill. Be careful as the bolt will get hot. Try to use a drill stand so as to keep it all steady and have both hands free for proper filing. I also add chalk to the file and paper. This gives a better finish as it prevents the build up of metal particles in the ‘tooth’ of the file or paper.

My aim with the next post is to introduce you to my garage machine shop. Fair warning to those of you not interested in such things.

If you have any questions about the ring, or anything else, as always, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you for looking.

All my very best wishes.

Stu Art šŸ˜‰

 

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Studio photograph session with Paul Mounsey for my chased and repousseĀ“ jewellery, art metal and silversmithing

http://www.paulmounsey.co.uk/

http://www.paulmounsey.blogspot.co.uk/

I came back from a session with Paul yesterday, I am blown away with the results and could not wait to share it with you all. Especially for people who have struggled to be heard with their work alone. I feel certain that with Pauls’ input my opportunities for being better represented have just taken a seismic shift into the unlimited possibilities zone.

I am so excited to see my work looking this great in print. As I have said before I have been slow to appreciate the importance of quality images, mistakenly assuming that buyers and gallery owners would see past the groggy images, being only interested in the finished article; don’t you new makers make the same mistake. A string of rejections and soul searching could have beed lessoned if I had images such as these to start with, as feedback from the people and places you approach is not common. The inevitable result, you are left floundering as to why people don’t bother to follow up on your enquiry. The reason, you are not seen as a professional, someone who has not paid attention to detail, and will continue not to do so, not the best trading partner.

I felt, as I’m sure most of you do, I was capable of taking a photograph, how hard can it be eh!

When I entered Pauls studio I was amazed at all the specialist equipment and his attention to detail. The computer alone looked as though it could handle much of the NASSA space programme. His lighting and the props he uses to tease out the smallest detail was truly astinishing. Without thinking and with the intuitiveness most of have for driving a car, he continually made minor adjustments to the lighting. Flash and reflective surfaces being altered for every shot, his intimate understanding of his subject made this an outing rather than a chore. I love to see people who are doers rather than talkers effortlessly practicing their hard fought for, practiced craft, making it appear effortless and seamless, the way that time served people can. This was a true treat and a fantastic experience that, as soon as I make more work that needs it, I will return, no hesitation.

The chased and repousseĀ“ surfaces now come aline, punch textures become more defined and the reflective planished surfaces are simply stunning. He managed to capture the aged patinaĀ I wanted for the copper art metal bowl. Oxidisation looks more pronounced and less fuzzy helping to clearly define the raised texture left behind after polishing. Silversmithing items like the highly reflective surface of the Britannia silver bowl are notoriously hard to photograph, check out these beauties above!

Always a good start and the sign of a thoroughly good egg, good strong tea was provided and made the proper way. Paul has a very calm manor and is totally accommodating, listening to and responding to every request and offering suggestions, treating work with respect and careful handling. I could not be more happy, and wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone.

Well, just look at the images for yourself, I had to be a little selective as I felt like uploading all of them! A good example if the pendant from the previous post I asked for an opinion as to the best finish. You cannot deny this now looks like a completely different piece. It is unchanged from when I photographed it with my trusty point and shoot.

I went will Paul Pennington from the jewellery workshop in Porthleven, also attending the same course as me. Sandra Austin used images made by Paul Mounsey in her final presentation. This is what blew us away and led us to seek his services. This is another example of his flexibility and his accommodating nature. This is a last minute thing to get my promotional stuff ready tomorrow for the next day. Paul excelled himself and delivered, returning my images the same day, yesterday. Can’t get better than that can you. Just wish I was nearly as organised though.

I would like to thank Julia Rai from the Cornwall school of art craft and jewellery as she respond to a FB quote I made about photographing work, introducing Paul Mounsey. Well worth a visit, Julia has been a supporter of me since I attended a forging class. Sign up and be amazed at her PMC skills, Not my thing, no hammers required see šŸ™‚ nonetheless awesome.

https://www.facebook.com/JuliaRai

https://www.facebook.com/CornwallSchoolOfArtCraftAndJewellery

Truro exhibition of students work. My completed bowl influenced by David Huang

Wato wato.

I’m almost at the end of my third and final year of my degree course. Truro College runs a yearly show to exhibit all students work in the arts. My copper paternated chased and repousse bowl is finally finished. I would like to take the opportunity to, both, introduce you to a very dear friend and awesome metal artist, publicly thanking her for all her help in the final finishing of this bowl.

http://www.thelanegallery.co.uk/nicola-bottono/

Nicola Bottono works in the above gallery, alas at this time she does not have a website, please look her up. We were on the same Silversmithing and Jewellery course, Nicola graduated last year and is continuing to develop her range at this time. I commented that I liked the patternated finish she achieved with a College project and she, very kindly, offered to apply the finish to this bowl. I thought it would be great to patternate the outside, Nicola thought inside would be better. I think she was right, I’m over the moon with it and hope you all like it also. Its great to have people around you who will guide you towards better decisions rather than allowing you to, potentially, make an error that you will see in hindsight that will be too late to rectify. Very many thanks Nicola šŸ˜‰

This bowl is not without errors, this is the first time I have tried to chase a design on a hollow form. I feel bound to say however that I am chuffed to bits with the end result of what has been a rocky journey to get to the end. If you would like to see the pictures showing the bowl from flat sheet to as you see it here, please let me know. I hope you forgive my enthusiasm for this piece as I see it as a very great start on the road to making more beautiful forms in the future.

Much of this blog was made to help others avoid the pitfalls and inevitable mistakes that I have made to get to this point. All who are close to me will tell you that I struggle with the design aspect of making, this may not be the most ground breaking thing you have seen. From a personal perspective I must say that it represents a major achievement and milestone for me that many times I thought would not happen.

It is all too easy to become despondent and think your work amounts to nothing at all, my tutor for example thinks this is awful. I would be fibbing if I said this didn’t sting somewhat, however I am reminded of the fact that very few individuals would know where to start, let alone finish such a massively time consuming piece. The lessons I have learnt along the way are worth more than gold to me. The tools I have made and customised to complete are a permanent addition to my ‘alphabet’ of tools enabling me to better communicate with less and less effort in the future.

The mistakes and blemishes are the rights of passage for anyone wanting to undertake a large project. All too often I see and hear others wanting to create masterpieces and afraid to fail or look silly. There were many wrong turns, leading to this, to me and others who have seen it, wonderful and fruitful destination. If I allowed myself to be swayed by people who could not care less, this bowl would not have happened. Please please don’t let that happen to you.

Next time I will start to show you the peened disc of Britannia silver that I have used to create a silver bowl. Peening is used to thicken the edge as it is raised. Remember the previous post on making shallow forms with a bench block and a ball peen? The technique is very similar.

Until next time, all my very best wishes.

Stuie