Friday, 25 April 2008

Which photo do you prefer ?

Do you prefer the grey or the green. Please vote above. Thank you.


Thursday, 24 April 2008

Broken Trophy - 130 years old.

You have all seen it on TV. The winner hosts the trophy in the air, the crowd roars and then the idiot drops the trophy................

So this little beauty is 130 years old and belongs to the local Football Assocciation. I have been asked to repair the stem and the nly decent way, due to the damage, is to replace the broken and bent stem.

I will post some more pics as and when I start repairing the base. Hopefully it will go on for a few hundred years more thereafter.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The Crown Ring

Made in sterling silver. I have just finished this ring and added it to my Etsy shop. A rather sweet little crown/tiara ring.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

New Title Bar

So I have just written a new "Title Bar" in flash. Its the thing at the top of the page with my name on it.

On the left of it, I have included an interactive menu system, which meant I could remove some of the bumpf from the sidebars.

What do you think? Do you like it? Do ya care?

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Resizing a ring , when you are not sure of the gemstones!!

This is an age old trick when you want to solder a ring, but you are not sure the stones will take the heat.

This ring was bought into me to be re-sized. So Having cut the shank, reduced it down 2 sizes, I am ready to solder. The gemstones are suspect and I don't think they will take the heat (1,000 deg c ish). So I grab a lid and fill it with water. Ideally this should be metal (mine is plastic as it was all I had to hand. Obviously if you are not carful, plastic and 1,000 deg don't get on too well. LOL

So the gemstones were immersed into the water using tweezers and the ring was fluxed. Thewater will naturally draw heat away from the ring, so a large and very localized flame is used to do this solder as quickly as possible.

The water will get warm (40deg c) whilst you do the job, but it ensures that the gemstones are not affected by the immense heat required to do the solder job.

Now all you have to do is file, sand and polish.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Three horse brooches. Gold, Silver and Bronze

The local Lady's Golf Society commissioned me to make their logo into brooch medals for a competiton. 9k yellow gold, Sterling Silver and Bronze.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Trophy repair. A new sterling silver base.

Sometimes I get odd requests. A client came into my shop and asked if I could make a new ring for his trophy base. The old base had fallen apart so he made a new one in wood and wanted to add another silver ring.

The trophy dated back to 1930, so hopefully this new ring will last another 80+ years.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Fab, gorgeous and fab, did I mention fab?

So I stumbled upon the blog first and the Etsy shop second.

Some stunning pieces and you can now have them personalised. So pop by and have a look at 88words Etsy shop.

It is so hard to find quality jewellers and 88 is certainly one to keep an eye on. If you would like to read about how she makes these lovely pieces, then pop by and catch her blog.

A lovely lady and if you dig deep enough you will find her website, which she shares with a very talented hubby artist. It must be fun times in the 88 household.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Beth's step-by-step tutorial on casting.

Beth is a fabulous jeweller and metalsmith. If the "secrets" of jewellery making intrigue you at all or you just want to have a look at her lovely jewellery then pop by and visit her BLOG or ETSY SHOP.

Beth has written a fantastic tutorial on "The Lost Wax Casting Process". What that means to the layman is as simple as this. You prepare a mould (or mold for the Americans- but us Brits know how to spell correctly ;-) ) Then you heat up some metal until it is liquid. Then you pour the liqud metal into the mould. Pop and have a look at Beth's tutorial.

If you would like direct access to a group of professional jewellers and metalsmiths, then pop by and meet the Etsymetal team.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Making moulds (molds) for the Lost Wax Casting Process.

A little tutorial on making your own moulds (molds) from which you can cheaply make duplicate waxes for the "Lost Wax Casting Process"

It all starts with you wax model. I hand carved the little textured heart. This was then attached to a sprue. For those who don't know, the "Sprue" is the branch to which the wax model is attached.

Here is a close up of the homemade mould box.

These are simple to make. I just cut 3mm acrylic sheet to my required size. I use little triangles underneath to re-inforce the structure and a little block with a hole drilled in the middle, into which you can insert your sprue.

The sides ate then attached with some large elastic bands. The top of this little homemade box is left open.

You need some very accurate scales. These scales above are accurate to 0.1g.

Foe my mould box I need about 90g worth of rubber. I use this silicone , two part mixture. I use paper cups to mix in, so I can just throw them away. I weigh out 90g of the liquid rubber from the tin. The hardener is added at 20:1 ratio. So 5% is required. I slowly measure in 4.5g in weight.

This stuff will start to set in 20 mins, so you need to act fairly fast.

I use an old screwdriver to mix the compound until the colour is uniform (above right)

The liquid is then placed into my vacuum chamber. This extracts the air from the liquid. The photos above show the liquid in the chamber starting to bubble. It raises in volume as the air is extracted, then it will suddenly drop back down.

I leave the liquid in the chamber for about 6 mins. Until there is very little bubbling going on.

The liquid has now been de-gassed and when it is poured into the mould , it will make a nice solid lump of rubber.

Thsi liquid is now poured into the waiting mould case. You require the rubber to cover the model so that there is at least 1cm of rubber on all sides of the model.

The silicone will now cure over night and in the morning will be ready to be worked further.

In the morning the elastic bands are removed and the sides of the mould. With a little wiggle, the mould will now come out of the mould box.

The image above right, now shows the solid rubber mould has been cut open. I use a simple , very sharp scalpel blade. It really isn't rocket science, but just be careful as you don't want to cut your fingers.

Cut down the sides of the rubber mould, You want to split it nicely into two. Follow the sprue down to the model , then just cut around the middle of the model until it can be easily freed.

On the above mould you can also see that I cut two "buttons". These help to locate the mould back into place when you close it togeter.

I leave the back of the mould uncut, so it acts as a hinge. This will also ensure that you never lose one of the halves.

Here is the low tech wax injector, otherwise known as a cheap syringe.

I melt some injection wax (special wax that has great properties for flowing into moulds in a liquid state.)

I simply put a small amount into a heat proof jug and microwave. This wax melts at about 70 deg c.

As you work, using this method, the wax starts to cool and starts to set. So just keep popping it back into the microwave. Just be careful as it is hot enough to scald.

With the wax at the correct temp. I simply such up a small amount and , holding the mould in one hand. Inject the liquid wax into the mould.

You get a feel for doing it after a while and this method can produce fabulous waxes.

Wait for the wax to cool in the mould (1-2 mins), then open up and remove the "new" wax.

If it is perfect, pat yourself on the back, if it is a bad one, pop it back into the melted wax jug and do another.

Typically 60% of mine come out perfect, but it is so quick to make another that I don't mind.

I would normally be holding the mould with my other hand, but I didn't have any one to take the photos!!!!!

Here is the finished cast piece.

Polished and oxidised.