Saturday, October 29, 2011

Metals 1: Project 1

This semester my classes are as follows: SQL, C#, Eng writing, Calculus 1, AND ..... Jewelry and Metalsmithing! Can you guess which is my favorite?
It is hard work and rather time consuming but if you have the opportunity to take a metals class DO IT! Sooo much fun!
When I first walked into the studio it was a bit intimidating because there were tons of  "man machines" everywhere but I promise it's turned out not as scary and difficult as I thought. (It helps that my Prof is an adorable, petite, prego woman and if she can handle a drill press, by golly, so can I.)

Anyways, this is the process I went through for my first project. I decided to post it because, frankly, I'm rather pleased with myself for taking two sheets of metal and turning it into something awesome.

For this project I used two kinds of metal: Copper and Nickle Silver - both 18 gauge.
Copper is a lovely, beautiful, soft metal that is super easy to work with.
Nickle Silver is hard and cranky and was a major pain even to cut. I broke 5+ saw blades cutting the feather outline. (which wouldn't be a big deal except that these aren't the kind of saw blades you can run to Lowes and buy. They are a piece of teensy wire with teeth and therefore must be special ordered.)

You wouldn't know by looking at it but quite a bit of work has gone into those shapeless pieces of metal. First they came from a larger sheet so they had to be cut out. Second a texture was applied via roll printing.
The copper piece I sandwiched between two sheets of sandpaper to give it the soft, bumpy texture. For the Nickle Silver I used strands of embroidery thread. As I said, the Nickle is cranky and required several passes of roll printing (with annealing between each pass to soften the metal again).

Then I started sawing.
And sawed and sawed and sawed and then sawed some more.
And then I filed, filed, filed all the rough edges away.

Once all the edges were lovely smooth I taped it all together to drill holes for the rivets. Taping the metals together ensures that your rivet holes are perfectly alined on all pieces.

Then I had to MAKE the rivets by cutting tubing. Because rivets are decorative as well as functional, I did a variety of sizes and types. I even did a couple hollow rivets!
The rivet in the picture above was actually the largest so you can imagine the challenge of riveting.
The good news was that once I was done riveting I was basically done with the hard stuff. All that was left to do was add a patina!
There are multiple ways to add a patina to a piece but for this project I used JAX chemicals. Its much quicker and the color is almost guaranteed.

Isn't it lovely!
I don't think I can properly tell you how much I enjoy thing class. :)

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