Author Archive | Doug Napier

Pendant Project Part 1

Pendant Project

OK, if you have a little time, stick with me, over the next week or so I am going to take you on a journey, and at the end, we will end up in Cool-Pendant-Ville. But first, I am going to show you how to make just a small part of it, So pack your bags and let’s go!

If you are making jewelry long enough, eventually you are going to come across a project with a stone with a sharp corner, either a marquise, pear, or square shaped stone. Today I will demonstrate how I go about making a v-bezel for setting stones.
First, I find either a scrap piece of sheet silver or cut a piece off of some stock. I roll it down in my Rolling Mill to about 0.5mm and then anneal it. If you are unfamiliar with annealing, search “Anneal” on this blog, or CLICK HERE.

Bezel1 Bezel2

I then file a flat edge on one side of the silver and scribe a line approx 2.5mm away from the edge. (longer or shorter if you want longer or shorter bezels.) Once you have a line scribed, use a Square Graver or a Flat Graver at a 45 degree angle to cut a grove into the silver about 2/3 the way through the sheet. After the groove is cut, I run a Square Escapement File along the groove to make it uniform and straight.

Bezel3 Bezel4

Bezel5 Bezel6

Hold the silver sheet with a pair of Smooth Jaw Parallel Pliers with the grove even with the edge of the pliers and use a Square Prong Pusher to fold the sheet to a 45 degree (or square) angle. I also tap the silver with my Rawhide Mallet or a Plastic Head Jewelers Hammer to make sure it is seated against the other side.

Bezel7 Bezel8

Bezel9 Bezel10

Next I fluxed the solder joint with Handy Flux and add 3 pieces of small solder, spaced evenly, to the inside of the bezel. Do not use too much solder, you can always add more, but it is a pain if there is too much. I solder from the back side of the bezel with my Smith Mini Torch, to make sure the solder penetrates the solder joint.

Bezel11 Bezel12

Bezel13

Now measure the finished side and scribe a line along the other side the same width, and cut with your Jeweler Saw Frame. (I use a 3/0 Saw Blade) Again, you can trim the sides either longer or shorter, and use thicker or thinner silver, depending on the application you are using.

Bezel14 Bezel15

Bezel16

Now trim off the amount you want and solder to your stone seat or pad.

OR…. Stay tuned and see what I will do with this……
Now, go make something AMAZING!
Doug

How to Deal With Pits and Porosity

Tool Modification and How to Deal With Pits and Porosity

 

Ready for another quick lesson? Today I get to address one of my favorite-est (not a word) subjects in the world….. Tool Modification. I mentioned before that I seldom throw away tools, bits, burs, etc. I am always trying to find a way to modify them into new uses. For one reason, I can make tools for the exact job I am doing, and 2, it is a free way of expanding my tool arsenal. (you should see my garage…..)

Bits1

Here is a quick way to make a tool that works wonders cleaning those hard to get into areas. If you have a small used up bur, snap/break off the end and grind of sand with a sanding disc with between 3 and 6 different angles or “facets”.

Bit4 Bit3

These edges when spun in a Foredom work as a powerful burnisher that will grind and smooth rough areas that ordinary tools and burs can’t reach.

Detailing

If you work with casted or soldered pieces, then you are no stranger to pits and porosity. This little tool also takes care of some of the small pits and porosity, where trying to polish these away usually just reveals more pits and porosity. Use this little rotary burnisher to rough up and “smear” the metal over the bad areas, then when you sand and polish, unless the porosity is extreme, you should be able to remove or repair these areas. Click on the image to expand it.

Porosity1 Porosity2

Burnished2 Burnished1

I have a huge selection of burs, burnishers, grinders, texture-makers, and pit-beaters to select from that I have made over the years, and I am constantly experimenting with new shapes and styles.

Tools Reused

Now, put on that creative cap and make some fun tools to experiment and play with.

Doug

Talking about Design Help Tools Today

Designs and Inspiration can come from many, many places.

1a Locket 01

This post is from a tutorial I did a number of years ago. I was contacted by a friend who had a friend (likely story…. friend of a friend) who had a 1800’s locket handed down from their great grandmother, and they wanted the design re-created into a set of earrings. (actually 2 different sets) This process I show though, can be used for just about anything you want to trace and re-create.

I guess the first subject to talk about at this point is starting the design. The great thing about designing jewelry is that you have a blank page, if you are making jewelry for yourself, there is no right or wrong design, it is an expression of yourself, and the only limitations are your skills, and that is what we are here to do, hone our skills. If you are making jewelry for others or for the market, then you have to take their likes and desires into consideration.

There are a number of ways to start to create jewelry, from finding an existing media and turning it into jewelry, to Computer Aided Design (CAD), wax carving, metal fabrication, Precious Metal Clays (PMC), etc. We have touched on many of these things in the past blog posts.

In this example,  let’s look at metal fabrication…… (my love language) I was sent this antique locket that the customer would like the design as an earring. If I could draw, I would do that, but alas, I can’t draw my way out of a paper bag. I decided to scan the design and get it on a piece of paper. In this instance I used a CAD program to trace the design, but you can use the original picture, scaled to the size you want. I then I trimmed the image and taped it to a flat sheet of sterling silver. I took a very sharp metal scribe and traced around the outside of the picture with a series of small puncture points through the paper, just hard enough to make a mark, but not too deep.

1e Locket Earrings 01  1f Locket Earrings 02

After I traced around the design completely, I removed the paper and I have an outline on the silver. (this works on wax as well) I now pierced the silver in the center of the design with a drill bit or a ball bur, large enough to get a saw blade through. I usually use a 3/0 Saw Blade, but you can use smaller if you like, I tend to break smaller ones a lot more. after I have the piece completely cut out, I smooth the edges and saw blade marks with small “escapement” needle files and sandpaper, then polish. On other posts I get into detail on how to best file, sand, and finish pieces, but I figured we would show an easy way to get your ideas onto metal or wax.  On this piece, I heated up the piece and mounted it in Green Dop Wax to secure it while I cut it with gravers and a Foredom to give the piece more of a rounded look, but that is what the customer wanted and that is the cool thing about jewelry making, it is an expression of one’s self as well as a craft.

1g Locket Earrings 03 1j Locket Earrings 08

I molded the final silver piece, cast it in gold, polished it and set stones.

Finished Amethyst

Thanks for stopping by, I could get long and lost in all the details, but I also try to balance info with content and try to keep these posts short and to the point, I know we all have busy lives and I would like to give quick tips as opposed to long lessons.

Take care, and Go Make Something Dazzling!

Doug

How to Make a Secure Pearl Post

How to Make Pearl Post That Will “Grab”

If you make jewelry long enough, you will eventually make a piece of jewelry with a pearl or a post that will hold a glued stone to it. Here is a quick way to make sure the pearl or the stone you set will be more secure.

If you have a Rolling Mill with a grove for rolling square stock, you are ahead of the game, just roll a piece of silver down to approximately  0.7mm or so. If you don’t have a mill with those rollers with it, well here is another way to go about it.

Find a piece of sheet silver approximately 0.7mm thick and file the straightest edge flat and then scribe a line the same width as the thickness.

Step1Step2Step3

Now it is time to work on and perfect your sawing skills. Use your Jewelers Saw to cut along the side the line that you scribed. Take your time and cut right on the outside of the line. The straighter the cut, the less filing you will have to do. I use a Saw Blade 3/0 to cut this. Now file the edge that you just cut off and make the piece as wide as it is thick. 0.7mm in this instance.

Step4Step5

Next it is time to anneal the small piece you just made. This piece is very small, so be careful not to overheat it in the process. Use a “bushy” flame and turn off your bench lamp. Watch the color of the silver as you  heat it, you want to aim for a dull pink color in the silver. Try to maintain this color for between 15 and 30 seconds, waving the flame (not too close) back and forth over the piece. I use a Smith Mini Torch for soldering and for annealing. Do not get it red hot!  If you do, cool your piece and start over.

Step6

Use 2 pair of pliers or a small vise and 1 pair of pliers. I prefer to use Smooth Jawed Parallel Pliers, so the silver is not marred. These are same pliers I use to hold the silver while I cut it with my saw. Now twist the silver.

Step7Step8

Next, just trim off enough to hold the pearl or stone and solder into place. I use a cup bur to finish off the end of the post, and drill a small divot, a little larger than the post, in the piece to be soldered to. The divot will give the post more contact area for the solder to attach the post to, and make a stronger solder joint. The twisted action of the post will bond the glue or epoxy to the stone much better.

Now, go make something beautiful and have a great day!

Doug

How to Make an End Sanding Bur

Y’all know I like to make and modify tools whenever possible, so here is a quick one for you.Have you ever been working on a piece of jewelry, and needed a tool that just wasn’t in your tool arsenal? This is the story of just about every tool I have made or modified. Allow me to share a tool that I make that is worth its weight in candy bars, or something good like that.

If you have ever used an End Brush, or used one up, do not throw them away when you are done with them. These can be modified into great end sanding tools. First, I mount the used up end brush into my Foredom and turn it slowly while I saw into it with a Saw Frame. I use a 3/0 Saw Blade to do this. I cut almost all the way through, then I just snap it off with my fingers. Now I have a flat ended mandrel.

Tool Making End Sander (1) Tool Making End Sander (2)

Tool Making End Sander (3) Tool Making End Sander (4)

After I cut the end off, I take a small ball bur and add a little “texture” to the end of the mandrel. I used a 0.8mm Ball Bur in this instance. I cut a small piece of Sandpaper, a little larger than the end of the mandrel. I add a drop of Super Glue to the mandrel and apply the sandpaper to the mandrel, grit facing out. The texture that was added is to hold onto the glue better.

Tool Making End Sander (5) Tool Making End Sander (6)

After the sandpaper is glued to the mandrel, and the glue has dried, I trim the excess off with a pair of Semi-Flush Side Cutters, then file the edge flush. I use an old #4 Flat Hand File to do this.

Tool Making End Sander (7)

I have a number of these end sanders around with different grits of sandpaper, from 320 to 600. They get inside of areas and sand flat areas, they work quick, and it the sandpaper loses it’s cut, just take the old paper off (I use a Surgical Blade) and add another piece of sandpaper.

Tool Making End Sander (8) Tool Making End Sander (9)

Again, this is a great tool to have around and definitely worth its weight in candy.

Now, enjoy this little gem and go out and see if you can make a kid smile today!

Doug