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Wax Carving to Finished Jewelry Video Series

A to Z Design to Finished Jewelry Video Course



The A to Z Design to Finished Jewelry Course is a video series that takes you through creation a piece of jewelry, from concept and drawing, all the way to the completed piece of reproducible jewelry. The videos cover, in real time, all the processes from transferring your design onto a wax blank, preparing and carving the wax. Casting that wax into silver, and cleaning up the silver into a model that will be molded. Injecting wax into the mold and casting those waxes into silver. Preparing those castings with tumbling media and polishing the castings. Finally, the piece will be set with a pear shaped stone in a prong/bezel setting, and the piece of jewelry will be final polished and cleaned, ready to ship.

New Direction in the JewelryMonk Journey

Some dreams are just that, dreams. 

I have had a dream for many years about starting a studio/training center in my area, but it never really got further than that, a far off dream.  Most of you know I have been making jewelry for others for over 30 years, and after a bout with illness, decided life is just too short to have regrets, so quit my job to work for myself as a jewelry teacher and consultant. (I am all better now BTW)  It has been going well, and I really enjoy it, have been doing a lot of traveling, which I enjoy, but it is not in the direction of that long-held dream.

I started doing something this year which changed all that. It is something I have heard about, and thought it sounded good, but never really tried….. all-in anyway, and that is goal-setting.  I have had goals in my mind, I have had goals in my plans, but they always got put aside for the next “shiny” or important thing that came across my bench.

Well, I did something drastic this year, I made a list of goals, 5 Year – 1 Year – 1 Month – 1 Week – 1 Day, and I wrote them down.  You are thinking “big deal, what will writing down goals going to do?”  I didn’t just write them down, but I visit and read them every day, and fine tune them, and ponder on them, DAILY.  You wouldn’t think that would be such a game changer, but you know what, It Is….. For me anyway.  I started accomplishing my daily goals, and my weekly goals which was a big boost in my confidence.  Then started thinking “I wonder, just wonder, what it would take to get to my BIG long-off goals?  Well, I did a little checking, did a lot of praying, and before I knew it, I am ready to sign a lease on a downtown building on my Life-Long Goal of starting my own Studio/Training Center!

So that is where I have been lately, and that is where I am going in the future. I will still be here at JewelryMonk.com Educating, Encouraging, and Equipping y’all more and more. I will get back to podcasting at The JewelryMonk Podcast, but I will be doing it all from The New JewelryMonk Studio and Training Center. I will also be starting specialized training classes next year, and be putting together some very cool Vacation/Training packages.

    I also have a new comprehensive video series coming out soon focused on metal fabrication and soldering.  Stay tuned, this one is very cool.

 

So, there are some new things coming soon at JewelryMonk.com and I am excited and scared….. but more excited than anything.  So thanks for coming along this journey with me, and stay tuned, I ain’t going anywhere, well except downtown.

Take Care. Now, Go Make Something Shiny!

Doug

4 Prong Setting Tutorial

How to Set a Round Stone in a 4 Prong Setting

I wanted to demonstrate how to set the 2mm stone in a 4 prong setting. In past blog entries I have set stones in shared prong settings, flush settings or gypsy settings, channel settings, bezel settings, and “V” prong settings, but I have never showed how to set the most common of all settings, the basic 4 prong setting in a die struck setting, so kick back, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy.

Prong Setting Header

I do a little prep work to the head before I begin setting the stone. When I soldered the head into place, there is a little fire scale to the inside of the head. I pre-polished the shank and the outside of the prongs with a 3M Brushes and a Brass Brush in my Foredom. I like to clean up and polish the inside of the setting before the stone is set, for once the stone is set, it is difficult if not impossible to shine the inside of the setting. To polish the inside of the setting, I use a small piece of cotton wrapped around a 0.7mm Tapered Cylinder Bur. A small ball bur will also work. I like to use Natural Cotton, which I usually get out of an aspirin bottle, as opposed to synthetic cotton because it seems to me that the natural cotton holds onto the polishing compound better, but either will work. I spin the cotton onto the bur into a cone shape and add Red Rouge to the “bullet” shaped cotton. I insert this into the inside of the setting and polish.

Prong Setting (1) Prong Setting (2)

Prong Setting (3) Prong Setting (4)

Prong Setting (5) Prong Setting (6)

After the inside is polished, it is time to notch or cut the seats into the prongs. As a rule of thumb, I like to cut the seat about 1/3 the way down the prong, from the top, and cut about 1/3 the way into the prongs. Here, I use a sharp set of dividers to mark the inside of the prong at the same level. I scribe a line as a guide to start cutting. In this instance, the stone I am setting is 2mm, I am using a 1.5mm Hart Setting Bur. The girdle (or side) of this stone is a little thicker than normal, so I cut the seat at an angle to match the stone. When setting stones, always try to match the shape of the girdle with the shape of the cut into the prong.

Prong Setting (7) Prong Setting (8)

Prong Setting (9) Prong Setting (10)

Prong Setting (12) Prong Setting (11)

Next, after you have cut the seats into the prongs, place the stone into the setting and visually check to make sure each prong matches the stone shape and make sure the stone is level. If it is not, adjust the cuts in the prongs at a bit and check again until you are satisfied. Once you are happy with the way the stone sits in the prongs, gently close the prongs with a pair of Needle Nose Pliers to hold the stone in place. Again, check the stone to make sure it is sitting the way you want it to. After you have the prongs closed onto the stone, it is time to tighten the stone. Using the same pliers, gently pull the top of the prong over the stone by placing the pliers at an angle, using the prong on the opposite side to support the pliers and pull the top of the prong down onto the stone. Do this to all 4 prongs, making sure the prongs are “square” or evenly spaced from one another. Check to make sure the stone is tight by grabbing the stone with your Tweezers and seeing if the stone spins.

Prong Setting (13) Prong Setting (14)

Prong Setting (15) Prong Setting (16)

Prong Setting (22)

Once the stone is set and tightened, I like to file the prongs down just a bit to make sure the prongs are even and all the same height. I use a #4 Barrette Needle File to do this. Next I use a small 1.0mm Cup Bur to round and finish the top of the prongs. The prongs measure about 0.6mm in thickness and a 1.0mm cup bur seems to be about the right size. You want to use a cup bur that just fits over the whole prong and does not “ride” on the stone. Make sure you only use this just enough to round the prong and not reduce the size of the prong too much. You want some prong on top of the stone so it won’t wear down too quickly.

Prong Setting (17) Prong Setting (18)

Prong Setting (19) Prong Setting (21)

Prong Setting (20)

Lastly, after the stone is tightened, and the tops of the prongs are finished to your liking, it is time to polish the tops of the prongs. I like to use a Medium Hard Felt Wheel with Red Rouge on it. Again, you do not want to get carried away and polish off the tops of the prongs, but just enough to give them a good shine.

Prong Setting (23) Prong Setting (24)

Prong Setting (25)

I know this stone setting is rather small at 2mm, but the same process will work for any size stones. If you are new to setting stones, I would suggest starting with larger stones to get used to the process.

I hope this helps to explain and simplify the basic 4 prong setting. Mastering this process will go a long way in stepping up your stone setting program and help you to design more pieces with stones, opening up a whole new world and making you more confident in all types of setting.

Thank you as always for stopping by and following along on this journey. I hope you are experimenting with some of the techniques I share. Be sure to sign up to get these tips emailed to you, or send in comments or questions either by commenting here, emailing me at doug@jewelrymonk.com or send me a voicemail. I read and check them all.

Now, get out there and Dazzle the World!

Doug

”The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”

Tool Prep and Maintenance Today

How to Modify Your Tweezers

I have heard it said, and attributed to Abe Lincoln, “If I had 4 hours to cut down a tree, I would use the first 2 hours sharpening the axe”. That must be one big tree…. But I get the idea.

Tool Preparation is very important!

HERE is a Quick Video

Today we will talk about refining the edges on our tools, namely our Tweezers. Most people don’t think about it, but many of our tools are an extension of our hands, and the better we prepare out tools, the easier our tasks will be. Heck, I even prep my nails with a #2 Flat Hand File once a week, but that is for another day…..

In soldering, setting, filigree work, and many of the intricate tasks in jewelry making, nothing is more frustrating than picking up a small piece of solder, or a stone, and having it “flick” out of your tweezers into the great unknown. There is nothing that will stop this from ever happening again, but today I will show you how to keep it to a minimum.

Tweezers Header

When we buy a new set of tweezers, even a quality pair, the tips will look somewhat good and clean, but if you look close, they look something like this:

Tweezers New

When you think of tweezers, you think that you want the tips to come to a point at an angle to be able to pick stuff up, like fingers. Well in my experience, I have found that if the tips come together more parallel, the “flick-rate” is much less and they seem to pick up stuff easier. Also if the inside edge is flat and the very tip is flat, they work much better as well.

Tweezers (2) Tweezers (3)

Tweezers (4)

I usually file the edges with a used up #4 Flat Hand File to get the edges close, then I will run a Snap-on Sanding Disc over the filed surface to get rid of the deeper scratches. Last, I rub the edges of a piece of 400 Grit Sandpaper , flat on my desk to finish the edges flat. I also place a piece of sandpaper inside the tweezers, close them, and pull the sandpaper out a few times to make sure the two surfaces are parallel to one another.

Tweezers (5) Tweezers (6)

Tweezers (7) Tweezers (8)

I hope this helps you reduce your “Flick-rate” (my made up word of the day) and you can spend less time on the floor with a flashlight, and more time admiring your beautiful handiwork!

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Now, go Make something Shiny!

Doug

JewelryMonk Design Contest #2 is in the Books

Have you ever had a great idea and thought “This will be cool, I can have this knocked out in a few weeks?”  Yeah, that was my idea BACK IN MARCH!  Well, with 2 month long trips out of the country and a LOT of video coverage, the 2nd JewelryMonk Design Contest piece is in the mail and off to Jen Popolis, the winner of the contest.

It is FINALLY going out in the mail today. (she is so patient) I am still editing the video series, but it should be done within the month. This project was all done by metal fabrication and soldering with sterling silver sheet and wire. Then I made a model, a mold, and cast the piece in sterling silver, set the 6x6mm Citrine, and polished it. Jen won her design as a finished piece of jewelry, and she gets the model and mold to do whatever she wishes with, as well as a video series that covers the whole process.

When I am done editing the videos, I will make them available to everyone! There will be about 15 videos covering every step I did from sketch to finished piece, as well as a bonus video to go along with each lesson. So actually over 30 videos that will cover this whole process in HD. Like I said, I get excited doing this.
So, stay tuned here at www.JewelryMonk.com, or better yet, subscribe by clicking -> HERE <- and never miss out on any JewelryMonk goodness.

Here is a quick little video Montage of some of the fun I had:

I have so much fun doing these contests, so stay tuned for the next JewelryMonk Design Contest.

As always, thanks for following me along on this JewelryMonk journey I am on. I try to stay focused, but there are so many facets of jewelry making, it’s like a cornucopia of goodness, and I can get sidetracked. Between this page, the JewelryMonk Podcast, the FaceBook page, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat……. I can sometimes lose focus, but I will be here throwing out stuff for anyone to pick up…… Like Johnny Appleseed of jewelry. haha

Take care,

Now, Go Make Something Shiny!

Doug