Monday, 16 April 2018

Dairy of a Rookie Silversmith - Part 5.

You might remember that, in the last week of my ten week course, I wanted to make a bangle. 

I had soldered a ring of 2mm wire in week 9, and twisted it into an infinity symbol at home. (Basically, grab both sides of the ring and twist in opposite directions until you have a figure of eight.) In week 10, that final week, I evened the shape up and soldered the crossing point together. Although in hindsight, I'd have been better NOT putting the original solder point from the ring at the point where I was going to solder again...I managed to un-solder the original join. I also soldered two cut rings onto either end of the infinity symbol.

Then it was a case of forming the base bangle (3mm wire) on an oval bangle mandrel (try saying that one fast!) and turning the ends over to provide a loop and a hook; one end of the symbol would be fixed into the loop, the other would catch on the hook, providing a 'hinge'.

As you can imagine, I was working to a deadline, so I didn't stop to take any photos, even though I had my camera with me.

Just this afternoon, I popped down to the gallery to finish it - filed a little off the 'hook' end to make the bangle easier to fasten - tensioned (by hitting gently all over the bangle) and polished.

Here's what I ended up with;

Here's what it looks like on;

And here's the 'hinge' clasp;

I'm pleased with it, although as per the other items I've made, I still think there are things I haven't got quite right. For example, I don't seem to be able to do the polishing very well. Perhaps I'm too impatient, but all my finished items seem to have a slightly matt finish. Which is fine, but I'd like to crack the knack of how to make silver really, REALLY shiny! I think the bangle could do with a really high shine.

I'm also not sure that the bangle is tensioned properly. Each time I thought I'd done it and put it on to check, the bangle would deform as I took it off - to the extent that I had to reshape on the oval bangle mandrel several times. That can't be right.

Oh, and remember the ring that wasn't yet polished? Here I am, wearing it after I polished it, to try it out (Not going to be wearing it all the time until our Silver Wedding next month) 

You might have noticed that I'm wearing the pinky ring on my left hand now, although it was made for my right little finger. Reason being, I found that it was making my finger swell at night, so I'm assuming it's a tad too tight. Either way, it sits fine on the left hand, and doesn't interfere with the sapphire ring I've made.Maybe one day, I'll make another for the right hand and size it up a bit!

I've loved being able to make my own jewellery. Even if none of it is 100% perfect, it's all mine and unique, as well as two of the pieces being symbolic for me and Mr Squidge.

Would I do a silversmithing course or workshop again? In a heartbeat, though I think I would have to pick a really simple project to make the most of the lesson/workshop time, and make sure I really took my time over each stage to get that smooth, high shine finish that looks so beautiful on silver. 

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