Sunday, November 2, 2014

This is a test from my phone

This is completely excellent!  Blogging from my phone!  Why did I only just now think of this!!!!!  Oh, some limitations, I can't put text under the photo...but great. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sizing a ring using a dovetail joint

I knew I hadn't blogged in a long time...but 3 years??  YIKES!  Not good.  I recently had a friend ask if I could size a ring I made for her daughter and I thought it would be a great tutorial article so, here I am, blogging again after 3 years.  

My friend, who shall go nameless, says that this method of sizing a ring isn't necessary now that solders are so good.  I respectfully disagree.  I love this method for sizing a ring up.  It's super fast, really easy and, best of all, it holds itself in place while you solder.  It's called a dovetail joint and you'll need any kind of cutters (flush, semi flush or not flush at all) and stock that matches kind of closely the stock your ring is made.   You will also need: 
*a ring mandrel
*a jewelers saw
*a small triangular file
*all the junk you need to solder something  

Step one is finding an original solder seam.  Sometimes you can find the seam, sometimes you can't.  If you can't, you'll have to just guess and pray the shank doesn't fall apart when you heat it.  Always a good time.  Use a big, bushy flame and evenly heat the piece gently until the ring turns brown.  Just as the ring turns brown, the solder seam should show up and a bright silver line.  If the ring is gold, it'll be a gold line.  Here is an example:
Once you have found the solder seam, you'll want to cut on either side of the seam with a flush cutter...but here's the want to use the NON FLUSH side to make the cut.  Usually, you want the end to be nice and flat but for this method, you want to use the opposite side of the cutters to make a pointed set of ends.  Like this:

I didn't do any filing to these, I just gut them with a pair of flush cutters.  These flush cutters.  Next, you want to make the piece that will fit in the slot you have created.  You will need your dividers for this step. Slide your cut ring on your mandrel up to where you want the new size to be.  For me, this is a 5 1/2 (except my mandrel is off, so it's a 5 1/4).  Take your dividers and measure from where your mitered cuts start.  Like this:
can you see that I'm up where the bevel starts?  So, take this measurement and now transfer it to your prerounded sizing stock like this:
I have a ring bender but you could just as easily hammer your stock over a mandrel.  Make sure it's prerounded or this whole technique won't work.  
Next, you will cut with the flush side of your cutters at your scribed line.  Your next step will be to make a cut with your saw blade on each side of this piece.  Like this:
Can you see that?  it's a terrible picture, sorry.  You want to go no deeper than the depth of the saw blade.  I used a 2/0 I think.  Do this to both sides of this tiny piece.  Go ahead...I'll wait.  
Once this is done, you will take your triangular file and run it along this saw cut.  Trust me, don't skip the saw's fast and it makes a difference.  Run the triangular file a couple of times along the cut...don't go nuts...just a couple of passes.  It should look like this:

Again, sorry for the bad pictures.  So, now you have this tiny piece and it's time to fit it into place.  What you want to remember here is that you want it fit so there is enough tension to hold it in...but not so much that when you heat it, it flips out.  Again, trust me, you REALLY don't want it to flip out of there.  It will look like this:
BOOM!  It fits great, doesn't it?  And it was SO EASY!  Now all you have to do is suck solder in there and you're golden!  it will look like this after you solder:
Only...take my advice...pickle the ring after you find the solder seam in step #1.  I didn't and had some pitting in the solder that I had to clean out and fix.  No biggie.  But if I had pickled the ring, that might not have happened.  
I was in a hurry to finish this ring and took a million quick pictures of all the clean up and polish but...they sucked so I'm not going to use them.  And I think you can handle it from here.  Even with taking the photos, this took less than 15 minutes.  It's so easy.  If you have any questions, please leave them in comments below.
I hope this is helpful!
Good luck!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chatty Metalsmith's Blog Jamboree

How do you deal with change? Does it stress you out? Do you look for opportunities? This month the Chatty Metalsmiths have chosen "change" as the topic of our new Blog Jamboree. We have gone though some big changes to our group in the last month due to the closing of some of the forums on Etsy and the creation of our new team. Some people handled the change well, others freaked out...which got me to thinking about how I deal with change...

I have lived through lots of change. As a child, we moved almost every state, house, school, friends. I think this experience made me more adaptable and comfortable with big changes. I even crave change now. Every few years I have to rearrange the furniture or I start to feel stagnant. Big changes are good, they bring new environments, new possibilities, fresh starts. I love a change of scenery!

So, I love a good big change but the small ones really throw me for a loop. Kid says he wants cereal instead of waffles for breakfast, Husband needs to be to work an hour early, a doctor appointment or a kid home sick from school....all those kinds of changes throw off my routine and I don't like that at all. I can't get my head in the game, things get missed or left behind...I feel like I'm floating through my day. Little changes, life's snags, leave me feeling like a boat without a rudder.

Big changes are easy to control. They need planning and orginization and I know when they will arrive. Small changes are out of my control and really throw me for a loop. I'm at the mercy of the whims of another instead of the force of my will and momentum. Having kids is a baptism by fire into the world of millions of tiny little changes. People say "having a child changes everything" and they are right. But it's not one big predictable, controllable's an infinite number of small adjustments and you have to either learn to roll with it or you're going to get run over,...because the kids are driving the car!!

If you'd like to read what some of the other Chatty Metalsmiths have to say about change, check out their blogs:

Monday, February 14, 2011

HAHAHAHA!!! RAW2011 6/52

I couldn't resist. All those cute rings are nice and all but this week I had this idea in my head and I love the way it turned out.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

RAD 4-5/52 good progress

Weeks 4 and 5 were a relaxing dip back into what I'm good at. These rings didn't have to be sketched, they didn't require a whole lot of thought or forging new ground but they felt excellent to make. Last week, I talked about making rings that looked like Hartleystudio rings...and I think I accomplished that. They feel comfortable, like new socks.
I chose not to oxidize this first one. Someone on Flickr made a great comment about this bird being "innocent" looking and I think that was dead on. This ring is light and airy, like the bright white of the silver works well.

For this next ring, I wanted a more serene, nighttime scene. This one was always going to be oxidized so this bird isn't as cutsie as on the previous ring. I'm really pleased with them, and they are both staying in my collection. I need to decide if I want to add them to the I want to make these again? I'm not sure. I'll be thinking about it in the coming weeks...

So, what's with the birds? I keep asking myself why I keep making all this cutesy bird jewelry. I am not cutesy, not in the least. I carry on because I really do love birds. My kids and I watch birds, have bird books and catalog all the birds we get at our many feeders. In 2006, when my daughter was born, we even chose "Bird" as her middle name. I think I have one more bird ring in me, maybe I'll make it next week...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

RAD 3/52 two steps forward, one step back

Well, here I am at week three of RAW and still, I struggle. Back in December I thought I'd be wowing myself all over the place and now I feel as if these are all exercises in humility. I know this is a lovely, well made ring but there is a problem. You want to know the problem? Here's the problem...I want to make rings with color, rings that are georgeous. I want to dive into my stash of colored stones!! BUT, I don't want to just slap it in a bezel with some gallery wire and call it a day. I want it to say, "this is a hartleystudio ring!" but right now this ring says "I'm for sale on Etsy." Disclaimer: there is nothing wrong with a bezel set ring on a band and there is nothing wrong with all the thousands of rings for sale on Etsy...well, not most of them. Seriously, there's some terrible stuff for sale on Etsy too. HAHA! But, I digress. There are tons of rings out there that are awesome, well made and beautiful to look at and I'm glad for it. I just don't want to make them. I want to make MY rings, rings that are just a little different and that's where I'm having a problem. I think my problem with this week's ring is that I threw all my eggs into one basket. I tried mixed metal, a notched bezel, flowers, a stepped back plate and, just for good measure, I tumbled it. And, it's boring. Super boring. There's nothing interesting in it because no one feature can stand out. I usually do simplicity really well and that's what I need to remember. So, I'm going to call this week's ring two steps forward, one step back. I learned a little, did a little soul searching and made a ring. I'd say that's a pretty good week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

RAW 2/52 failure

OK, so maybe not a failure but it sure didn't turn out how I expected. This ring started out as a sterling silver band with a yellow gold cup perched on the top. Into the cup, I attempted to flush set a lovely ruby. Actually, I attempted to set one diamond and two rubies, one after another. When one failed I cut the seat slightly bigger to accommodate a slightly bigger stone. I couldn't get any of them tight in the setting and, after cutting the seat bigger and bigger, I cut through the cup and it was all bets off. And it pissed me off. I consider myself someone who can set stones pretty well. I understand the physics of stone setting and was taught by some real top notch goldsmiths. The trouble is, I don't practice enough and, in not using my skill, I have lost my ability.

It felt awesome to beat the shit out of that ring. I beat it so hard, it was too hot to touch for a few seconds. It's brittle and hard and raw. I hate it when people tell me how to do something when they clearly can't do the thing itself. This is what I have become. I have practical knowledge but have lost all my ability to apply it.

In the coming weeks, I will be working on setting stones, not smashing rings.