Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finishing up the three stone ring

Today we finished drilling out the bottom gallery section using a variety of bud burs going from the bottom and the top to even out the oval. We then put it in the magnetic tumbler to give it a higher shine so we can see where to work on next. I also added a bit more solder to the tops in areas that did not completely flow all the way through on the sides.

We then constructed the shank using a rolling mill instead of the traditional forging method. we used square stock and put in 4 different tapers and elongated the mid section. We then bent then on a shank bender ( I think that's the name). After that we sawed out the flat sections at the top and created the proper angle that our setting would fit in at. We then sawed the ring apart in the center and used the bypass method to get the correct size and opening for the setting. We then free hand soldered the two halves of the ring together and hammered it round and began filing. We still need to file a dome and drastically reduce the width and depth of the stock. We definitely should be finished with this tomorrow, so more pictures are to follow.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The prongs

So soldering on the prongs was quite the challenge.... We first fit them all and then super glued them in place. We then placed them in the clay and soldered on the bottoms of the prongs using medium gold solder. We are working in silver, but he said using the gold solder would be a tiny bit easier, and really you can't see it that much anyway. Also, we are going to rhodium plate the entire piece at the end.

We are now in the process of reaming out an oval in the bottom gallery section as you can see in my photos. Then we are going to saw apart the prongs at the top and finish up the rest of the setting. We are also supposed to make the shank tomorrow. I really hope we get this ring finished tomorrow, I want to see the final piece!

--Also the prongs are still super long and need to be trimmed to the proper size, so don't let that throw you.

Lion head

Here is a lion that I carved out of wax in Kate Wolf's figurative wax carving class. It has been cast in silver. I still need to refine a few things around the eyes and nose, but I was pretty happy with all the detail I got in it. Carving definitely does not come natural for me, so this was a challenge.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pronging it

Today we notched all of the places where our prongs will go. We got a little bit of a late start today, so we didn't get to solder them on yet. We will solder on all the prongs tomorrow in pairs utilizing clay and super glue to ensure they stay in place.

I will have pictures of the pronged gallery wires tomorrow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Three stone ring (continued)

So today we finished filing the top gallery ovals. Then we checked to make sure that the curve was still the same size that we made it originally. We then took two small silver blocks and soldered them onto the finger curve portion to coordinate with the tabs that we left on the ends of the top gallery section. This was quite and interesting task to tackle. The piece wanted to slide around and not stay in place and we had to use a huge flame, but also keep the piece from drooping down and out of the original curve we had put in for the finger size.

After that block was soldered on, we soldered on the top gallery wire using binding wire to keep the pieces lined up correctly.

Then we used a micro needle burnisher to scribe lines on the bottom section based off of the out most portion of the top curve. We then sawed those pieces out, and began filing. My bottom section still has a lot of filing to go, and of course we still need to drill the hole out of the center of the bottom gallery.

This project has been challenging, more so because I'm being extremely cautious so I don't have to start over again.... but it's a technique that seems to be able to be applied to a ton of different designs with ease. If I wanted to do this sometime down the road with different shaped side stones from the center stone, I would just make each gallery section separately on a flat piece of metal the same as the steps above. Then put the pieces together in clay in the manner I wanted them to relate to each other and super glue and solder together.

Hope you all (or 1....ha!) are enjoying the blog! Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The past few days

Sorry I've been bad about posting lately, I had a lot of visitors come to town. We've been doing some real exciting projects lately. One is a pendant with 8 little rubies. We attached the bail to the pendant and then set the stones. We set them in a way that you would cut a traditional channel setting, and then we simply pushed over the prong and finished the piece.

We also created a wire basket out of wire yesterday. This was very challenging, and required checking the layout very often, but it was a neat project. I really want to focus on fabrication, so the past two days have been great.

We started on a three stone ring project today. We started by bending what would become the bottom gallery base to the correct finger size. Then we bent the top gallery section to be slightly larger and lay in a parallel to the bottom gallery. We then layed out the stones and drew scribe lines of where to cut later. We then sawed and reamed out the center, and then cut the outside out of the rest of the sheet with little tabs attached to help in soldering the two layers together. I still need to file my piece, but the gross shape is there. Not sure what steps we're taking tomorrow, but I'm sure it will be challenging.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Catching up

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. So last week we did channel setting you can see the picture below. He has some great tricks on how to do channel setting different from the norm, so make sure to visit the school if you have any interest in channel setting. We also polished a ring from a filing exercise before. The picture isn't great, but it got super shiny. I used 800 polish (Blaine said it was an Asian polishing formula). He also spoke of the awesome quality and usefulness of Picasso Blue (he said it would eliminate 3 polishing make sure to look into buying some if you're doing a lot of mass finishing work and want to save some time.

We worked on chain repair and retipping today. The chain repair was actually pretty fun and easy to do surprisingly. We haven't filed the retipping at all, so I'll add a new picture once we do that. Sorry about the picture quality, the light in the room isn't as good today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bead and Bright setting

So today we've been working on bead and bright setting and finished up the day with a little gypsy cab setting. We're not finished with the latter yet, so pictures will follow tomorrow.

Oh my, my hands are so sore today from all the graver work! You can see two of my bead setting projects. We used two different techniques, thus the two different rings. The second technique (the one with less distance between the wall and the stone) can be used for colored gemstones, which I thought was really fantastic. In this technique we carved around to make the beads, in the first technique we actually pushed beads up out of the metal.

My projects still need to be polished and a little burnishing done to the inside, but we haven't had a chance to make those tools yet.

I would write more about how we did this, but my hands are quite sore and need some rest.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Prong Setting

I'm going to keep this short today because Buck and Bouncy are going to arrive in Virginia Beach soon, and I need to get ready!

Today we did prong setting. We did both and undercut method in tiffany prongs (the thicker prongs) and a vertical setting (the basket prongs).

My pictures tonight are not so I apologize, but I will work on that later in the week.

Tomorrow we are doing more gypsy setting and I'm not sure what else. Then on Wednesday we are doing bead setting....I've done it before, but he keeps saying how hard it will be so I'm getting a little nervous.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stone setting, the beginning...

So on Thursday we started with flush setting. Those are the two picture at the top of the page...I had learned flush setting before, but somehow struggled through doing this. I think I was just getting tired or frustrated or something along those lines. Flush setting is where the stone appears to be sitting in the surface of the metal. It's a very pretty setting for adorning a ring or to compliment other stones that are set in different ways in a piece. You can see my mistakes, so apologies, but supposedly we will be able to "do this in our sleep" by the time the class is over. Let's hope I'm able or close to being able to do that.

The other setting is a gypsy set ring. In this ring the sides of the ring swoop up to the pinnacle of the stone. I really like this type of setting, I think it emphasizes the stone in a very unique way. Setting this stone is very similar to bezel setting, but has it's own characteristics.

A tip that I learned and forgot to can cut tiny strips of 3m micro finishing material to file in areas that are hard to get into. It's fantastic!

Next week we are learning polishing and bead setting in the beginning of the week.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

There is the trio basket ring that my last posting was about.

Today we focused on flush setting. I don't know if it's because I'm getting tired or what, but it was surprising that I didn't do this perfectly (I had taken the previous stone setting course and felt comfortable with this then and prior to today, ha!). Maybe I was just pressuring myself to be too perfect on it, oh well it's over and done with.

I don't have any picture of that, but hopefully I will add some shortly. If you don't know, flush setting is where the stone appears to just be sitting flush with the surface of the metal with nothing apparently holding it in...well to the naked eye that is. It's so so beautiful when done well, maybe that's why I was pressuring myself....hmmmmmm

Tommorow we are working on gypsy setting and making various tools. I'm pretty excited about the gypsy setting since we didn't get to that in the intensive stone setting course I took. Hopefully everything goes a little better tomorrow.

Gosh this week has just flown by!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 8

So today we finished the 3 stone open throat ring. I forgot to bring it home to take a picture, but maybe I will be able to tomorrow. Again it's not been polished up yet, I have a feeling we'll do all of that at once.

This project was really challenging but something I've always wanted to be able to make...especially the open throat part, I never knew how that was done before today.

Blaine's great at being able to solve issues and problems that we have with our pieces which is fantastic. There have been many times I've thought I'd have to start over and he almost always has a solution that makes it look like nothing was ever wrong.

Tomorrow we're working on flush setting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Marquis bezel ring and 3 setting heads

So today we started with this marquis head and set ring. The first step was to round out the shank with a diamond drum and some hammering. Then we sawed part of the forged/tapered area to get the proper angle for the marquis bezel. Then we filed the sawed area flush and used a diamond thimble shaped bur to round out the same area.

Then we followed up with trying to get this marquis bezel to sit level and centered on the shank. This was very challenging. The bezel wanted to pop up and out so it took a lot of finagling to make it work. We then put the whole ring into head set pliers. Boy are those things hard to use! I think my bezel popped out 8 times before I got the tension just right and everything lined up. From there we soldered the out most side while still in the tweezers. And then after the first side was soldered, we could finagle the second joint to make sure everything was centered and ready to go.

The final step was to again round out the shank with hammering and a diamond drum to grind out any part of the bezel that might be hanging in the middle of the ring.

The next project we worked on was this three set arrangement. We had to get the cast settings ready to go with filing and drilling. Then we filed the top gallery wire flat on two sides of the larger setting and one side of the two smaller. This was to make sure they set flush against each other, allowing no taper between the heads.

After that step, we put a small amount of white out on the prongs to ensure that solder would not find it's way up the prongs and make and ugly mess. Then we used some special clay to hold and arrange the settings in the proper arced formation. After the settings were in their proper place, I put a dab of super glue in the areas where I would put solder. This was so I could check to make sure the heads were correctly placed prior to soldering.

All was good to go, so I soldered away and voila. Tomorrow we're creating a split shank for this and finishing up the piece.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Assembling shanks and sets and more sizing

So today we started with this wide band tapered ring with the embellishment on the edges of a raised wire. The goal was to size it up 1 and 1/2 sizes and then file the piece that we put in to have the same embellished wire shape as the rest of the ring. This project was pretty fun. I really liked the challenge of recarving in the pattern...even though it's quite a simple pattern.

We carved in the embellishment by take a saw blade and gently creating a divot while keep the new carving round. Then we blended it all together with a safety edge needle file to get the shape you see to the side.

We also put together a shank with a tiffany head. The goal of this was to file the knife edge perfectly so the right angles of the tiffany head were comfortably resting on the angles of the knife edge and there were no visible gaps and you couldn't torque the head out of the shank.

I haven't fully polished any of the above projects, they are still in a very rough case you were wondering why they didn't look finished, it's because they're not :-)

Tomorrow we are assembling a marque ring.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Friday and Week 2

So on Friday we worked on sizing rings up and down. We started with a pretty easy band to size down and then were quite challenged in sizing up this relatively thick tapered band. I was getting tired and it had been a long week so I slipped and sawed into my finger. Ick! I used Blaine's super glue trick for the cut though and after a day it doesn't hurt anymore and seems to be healing pretty quick, just like he said.

I didn't bother to take any pictures of the ring sizing cause it's really not that interesting to see.

So this weekend I checked out the beach of Virginia beach. It's very different from the Los Angeles beaches I've been to. The whole boardwalk is lined with hotels so the walk itself is really boring. The second street over seemed to be where all the shops and restaurants were. On Sunday I just explored a bit checking out a movie and the mall. On the way there I spotted a "Bingo Palace." I've never played bingo nor have I desired to, but all the sudden it sounds fun. Hopefully I'll get to see what it's all about. Apparently all the profit goes to charity, so it can't be all that bad.

Tomorrow we're working on assembling rings. I think we're given different shanks and settings and we put them together. Then later in the week we start flush setting....I know there are 4 other things we do but I can't recall what they were.

Hopefully I'll get some good projects to post on here. For now I have some photos of the boardwalk in Virginia Beach

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 4

So today we worked on filing a knife edge ring where the knife edge wasn't quite on center and also filing a top square plane flat and making sure the square was true (right angles and sharp edges and points). It was quite challenging. I don't have a picture to share, but I don't think it would do the project justice anyhow without having a before picture.

We are going to be bead setting a stone into this ring in the coming weeks...not quite sure when though.

We also started with the torch and various safety tips. The torch stuff was pretty basic so far, but I'm sure it will get a little more challenging tomorrow. We did talk a lot about various ways to catch yourself on fire which was pretty entertaining. Hopefully no one has to yell "FIRE!" any time soon.

Up for tomorrow:

We are starting to size rings up and down and learning different torch manipulation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

picture of filing project

Here's the picture of the ring I was talking about below.

File, file and file some more

Today we worked on filing two cast rings with a lot of mold lines, porosity and other problems. One ring was a signet type ring with a flat shield and thick shank. The other ring was a 3-d spiral on top and a very organic shape with lots and lots of mold lines. I may put a picture up in a bit, but I don't have a before and after, so it may not be that illustrative of what we did. The neat trick we learned was to cut super thin strips of 3m micro material and use it as a "liquid file" on the tight curves...which there are a lot of.

Tomorrow we are doing another filing project on a ring with an off center square that we need to make on center. Then we are moving to the torch...not sure what the project will be exactly but it will be nice to move from filing for a little while.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First day of Jewelry class

I am currently enrolled at the New Approach School for Jewelry in Virginia Beach, VA. It's an intensive 5 day a week 8-5:30 program for three months. I will be blogging about various projects we're working on and so forth throughout the class. Our first project was piercing. I don't think I've ever sawed so much! Here is a picture below. It's a pinwheel type design and it still need a little more filing and finishing, but here it is after the first days progress. The overall circle is about 2 inches.

We started with the half circle type shape and then moved inward layer by layer. The final step was to cut the whole circle out of the sheet. Then file, file, file...