Polishing My Skills

I have a long way to go in the metalsmithing department.  This week I have been learning about polishing and finishing.  Lexi Erickson has a good video filled with 11bd33useful information on finishing jewelry by hand called (not surprisingly) Hand Finishing Jewelry.   But not everyone wants to finish their jewelry the old fashioned way.

If you want to learn about the myriad of rotary tools and flex shaft attachments  available to put a shine on your jewelry, I can recommend two free on-line videos.

The first one is from Nancy Hamilton and the second one is from Beaducation.     For someone like me who did not even know what all the tools were called much less how to use them, these videos were a key to the mysterious world of tripoli, radial brushes, microns, their seemingly endless varieties, and what attachment to use use for what.  I learned what a pin polisher is, what those brushy attachments that 3m makes are called (bristle disc or brush discs), what the different colors mean (I found this handy information on the Contenti site) and lots of other tips including safely precautions. And Nancy Hamilton has a page on her web site which is chock-a-block with information on how to make your jewelry shine.

Now all I have to do is practice, practice practice my fabrication skills (which I have time to do now that I am retired.)   All the finishing in the world won’t cover up poor fabrication.  But one step at a time, right?

Make Your Own Viking Knit Tool

To start Viking Knit the conventional way, one generally fashions a

Flower

Five or Six-leafed petal out of wire

Flower2

secures it to the top of a dowel, and then starts the weave from there.   I decided to try making a tool to make the process a little easier.  I am posting this because some people might find it helpful.

Screws

I took a wooden dowel about 3/4 inch thick and drew a six slice pie on the top with a Sharpie marker.  I continued those lines down the sides of the dowel mandrel using a ruler to draw them straight.  These are guide lines for the Viking Knit.

 

TopView

I used a rotary tool like a Dremel to drill pilot holes for small screws.  I screwed the screws into the mandrel by hand.  You have to go slowly because it’s easy to split the wood.  Don’t use a hammer.

Starting Loops

 

This picture shows how I loop the beginning wire off of which I will work the Viking Knit.  I have used a bit of tape to secure it.  You could also hold it in place with a band of wire under the screws.  Since this part will be cut off, it doesn’t matter what it looks like so long as you are comfortable with it and it works.

 

 

First Row

 

This  is the start of the weave.

 

8Rows

The lines help you to keep your rows straight.

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This is the single weave knit that I’ve removed from the dowel after cutting off the starting loops.  (This is 24 gauge copper wire)  I have another dowel the same size as the starter tool I made and I could slip the open weave onto that and keep weaving for a longer chain.  That would help me to keep a uniform shape.  There are those who would be able to do this without the dowel, but I am not one of them!

Length before Reduction

 

I made about 10 inches of weave and pulled it through the drawplate until it was about  18 inches long

Pliers

 

I recommend using wire drawing pliers because it makes the job so much easier.  They don’t have to be expensive.  

You could put end caps and  a clasp Viking Knit at this point.  Here’s a video that shows how to do that.

 

But you don’t have to be limited  to end caps and clasps.  Next week I will post on a new idea for designing and finishing single knit Viking Weave that I hope gets your creative juices flowing.

A New Spoon Bracelet

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Bracelet

I’ve had spoon parts banging around in my  leftovers box ever since I made  some earrings  from the end of the spoon handles.  “Too short for  bracelets,” I told myself.   Then one day, just fooling around,  I put one of the spoons through the rolling mill to see how  how it looked. Interesting but still too short for a bracelet.

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I threw the piece in with a batch of copper scraps and rusty pieces and it sat for a few more months until one day I decided to apply a  verdigris-like patina on the bowl part.    I liked how it looked.  I had to make it into something now!  Even though it was still too short for a bracelet, I knew it was meant to be  a bracelet.  So here’s what I did:

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I drilled a hole in the tip of the spoon bowl, in the middle of the spoon bowl and on the end of what remained of the handle.  Then I  balled the end of two pieces of 14 gauge copper wire.  I dropped one of the pieces of wire through the hole of a drill bit gauge with the balled end sticking out of the hole.  I hammered the end flat and sanded it smooth .  I repeated this with the other wire.  Then I used a plastic mallet and a bracelet mandrel to hammer the spoon and handle into an oval bracelet-like shape.    I cut one of the pieces of wire to about 1 and one half inches and flattened the other end and filed the tip smooth. Then I  threaded it from the back of the bracelet through the hole in the tip of the spoon and used a pair of round nosed pliers to shape a clasp.

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I  fashioned the two pieces of figaro chain and jump rings  to  clear the tip of the clasp and hold the bracelet closed by tension.  There’s not a lot of play in the closure and you have to squeeze the bracelet slightly to release the chain from the clasp.  The bracelet isn’t tight fitting, however, so this is easy to do.

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Why did I use two pieces of chain  instead of one?  I thought it looked better!  One figaro chain looked too delicate for this bracelet.

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To make the focal piece, I  threaded the remaining piece of wire through the center hole,  a rusty washer,  a  Danish 5 kroner coin and a piece of drilled tumbled glass.  Then I cut it close and made a small loop in it.  This was a challenge to do without breaking the glass!   I finished the bracelet with a dangle  attached to the loop.  All the parts  fit snugly.  I made sure I  filed the riveted ends of the wire inside the bracelet until they were smooth;   I hate to wear anything that’s not comfortable.  I coated the spoon and washer with Renaissance Wax to protect the finish before assembling the bracelet.

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Here are some basic directions on how to make the bracelet.  I would be thrilled to receive pictures from anyone who tries it!

New Spoon Bracelet Directions