Monday, May 2, 2016

05.02.16 Let's go tubing! (Intermediate Fabrication - part 3)

It's May - which in Central Texas, means "summer" - so when I suggest tubing, you might think I'm referring to floating down one of our many lovely rivers in an inner-tube. Indeed, that kind of tubing is a great and relaxing on a hot day, but today I am referring to actual tubing...made of silver, with thick walls and a hole in the middle. I used thick walled 4.5 mm tubing to create the bezel for the blue zircons on my oval hollow form earrings.

After finishing those (and deciding that I like fabricating hollow forms), I started second pair, with a teardrop shape.  Rather than using a traditional jump ring, I used very narrow tubing to hold the earwires. Soldering the tubing to the top of teardrops was a great practice run for fabricating a hinge, our final project. 

Creating a hinged piece involves soldering tubing to two different pieces of metal, then connecting them by running a wire through tubes and riveting (flattening) the ends.  This allows multiple parts to be connected, but move.  We practiced with copper sheet before moving on to fabricating our last piece in silver.

I decided I wanted to make a pendant with a hinged bail.  I needed to make sure that I measured carefully so that I could cut across the top of my round backplate and create a straight edge for soldering my hinge.  As I like to do, I made a sketch (to scale, using graph paper) and decided to put a moon cut out on the reverse.

I wanted a piece that complemented my teardrop earrings (which I set with black spinels), so I designed a round pendant with a black teardrop stone. I'm calling it "Dark Side of the Moon".

After getting approval for my design, I set about creating the bail and hinge for the top of the pendant. In addition to cutting the pieces of tubing to be right size, it is critical that they be aligned when they are soldered on, so that the pin can slide through.

If the hinge pieces are crooked, it's not going to come together properly. In order to line up the pieces for soldering, we put a piece of graphite (mechanical pencil lead) through to hold them in place, and then I was able to attach them to my pendant.

After assembling and polishing - I bezel set a teardrop shaped black onyx - and in just four short weeks, I had a whole new set of metalsmithing skills under my belt.

I'm pretty pleased with the result of my classwork - and I'm looking forward to my next Creative Side class, argentium earrings with Ronda Coryell.

Until next time.

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