Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Here comes the Sun Part II

Here are all 3 suns of this batch done -
You can read Part I here. You can purchase one a sun here.

OK this pic shows what a sun looks like after it's soldered together. I'm sorry I couldn't get a shot of the actual soldering part, but well, trying to juggle a camera and a torch seemed like a bad idea.

I don't heat my pickle because of my Asthma, the fumes of warm/hot pickle can get to me. Pickle will do the same job cold, it just takes longer. What is it's job? Pickle cleans up flux used in the soldering process and gets the icky black stuff and fire scuff off as well.

Since I often only get an hour here and there to work, it's nothing for me to leave it in the pickle overnight, and pick up where I left off the next day. Or the day after.. or possibly a week later.

After a pickle bath, I use soap and water to clean off the pickle, and then it's tool time.
I clean up any edges that are still sharp, and if my solder "leaked" alittle I clean that up. I also add the hole for the bail. I use a variety of dremel bits depending on what sort of clean up I have to do. Sometimes I use a brass brush on the dremel to give metal a satin finish.
Then it's doming time. If us a wooden doming block to preserve the hammered texture of the suns. If I use a metal on I might loose all that earlier hard work! I will use a piece of fabric also to help keep the texture marks fresh.

The sun looks like a 6 legged spider in this picture! After I dome the middle, I very carefully bend back the rays of the sun and gently flatten with a rawhide hammer.

Then it's time to add a wirewrap bail. I usually use 20 or 18GA sterling wire, and add my signature spiral on it.

The last thing I do is any touch up needed, and then It's in the tumbler for a few hours of hardening and polishing.

Once it's out of the tumbler, I do a quick hand polish, and double check my work.

So there you have it! Most metalsmithing pieces go through these steps, and some pieces require even more work. But it's so much fun, who minds alittle hard work??

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