Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Soldering for Beginners

I've been teaching metalsmithing classes here in Winter Park, Florida for the past year and enjoying every minute of it. My soldering classes are particularly popular and extremely successful. It's been a lot of fun introducing those new to the technique and re-acquainting others with this fun skill.

My soldering class focuses on the quickest and easiest way to solder while keeping expenses to a minimum using copper or sterling silver as the practice metals. The techniques used in class, of working with high temp solder to create a strong molecular bond, will work on copper, sterling silver, bronze, brass and gold.

Email me if you'ld like to learn more about my classes or private lessons.

Here's a wonderful and quick video explaining the soldering process.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Open House at Firefly Studios

Happy to announce that I have a new studio space in Winter Park. My space and work along with pieces from other artists will on display at the Firefly Studios Open House on Saturday evening, March 31.

What is Firefly Studios?
A local venue offering metalsmithing and jewelry making classes, workshops and events for all levels of interest and experience.

Open House
Saturday, March 31, 5pm - 9pm
1160 Solana Drive
Winter Park, Fl 32789

jewelry … painting … glass … sculpture … collage

ONE NIGHT ONLY. This evening's event will showcase works from more than 10 artists from Florida working in a variety of mediums, not just jewelry. Tour the classrooms, review upcoming classes, meet the instructors and discover a unique venue for artists and the community.

Just down the street from us is McRae Studios and they will be hosting their spring open house the same night. McRae Studios is a collective of 22 amazing artists that only open their doors to the public 2 times a year.

Between the 2 studios, everyone is sure to find something they can't live without :)

One night only.
Free of charge.

Participants at Firefly Studios:

Facebook Event Page

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Copper Plating with Contaminated Pickle

My beginning soldering students create copper rings but the bezel cupss used to set the stones are fine silver. The inevitable question... how do I make the silver bezel cup the same color as the copper ring? Quick answer, use contaminated pickle to "plate" the silver bezel cup with copper.

There are to steps to this process.
  1. The pickle must contain copper oxides. Achieve this by pickling some copper pieces you've soldered or annealed.
  2. Iron must come in contact with the silver while in the pickle solution. Achieve this by using steel tweezers to place the silver into the pickle. Wrapping binding wire around the silver piece you want plated also works.

Easy peezy. Looking for more detailed info on this subject, try this article on Ganoksin.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tripoli and Rouge - the differences and when to use them

You've used files and fine sand paper to shape and refine your work but very fine scratches and a dull finish remain. Your next steps are to polish and buff. In some cases these last two steps are skipped. Instead, some prefer to go straight for the tumbler or use a scotch-bright pad, steel wool or brass brush to impart a "textured" finish to the work to hide the imperfections. While these methods seem quicker and easier, they open the door to problems down the road.

So what is buffing and polishing and how and what do jewelers use to accomplish these tasks? Ask 10 different jewelers or metalsmiths what compounds and methods they recommend to finish their work and you will get 10 different answers. To confuse the issue more, formulas and tool recommendations are not consistent industry wide. For instance, each manufacturer uses different formulas for their "red tripoli" and so on. And then there are the names and terms used interchangeably.

Below are recommendations based on the most commonly used products which should get you started with minimal cost.

Note: For best results, polishing and buffing require the use of some sort of motorized tool like a flexshaft, micromotor, dremel or lathe machine.

To put it in the simplest terms...
#1 : Polish first - using tripoli to remove fine scratches from metal surface
#2 : Buff - using rouge to to impart a shine and luster to the metal surface

Choose your compound, the basics (check to make sure the compound will work with your metal):
1 : Tripoli - it will be labeled Tripoli and is reddish brown in color, use with a felt or fabric (muslin) wheel. The felt will be a bit more aggressive.
2 : Rouge - called Fabuluster, use with a fabric (muslin) wheel
!!!!! Do not cross contaminate your wheels, use Tripoli wheels only with Tripoli and Rouge wheels only with Rouge.

Clean up:
These products can be greasy and waxy. Ultrasonics or a solution of ammonia and water will remove it (caution with stones).

Here's a link to a great article on Ganoksin about this subject:
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