Monday, August 20, 2012

A torching we will go... and brass sorting

copper plated brass, turquoise
I woke up at 430 this morning for the 3rd night in a row.  The last 2 nights I just hit the bathroom, then went back to bed to stare at walls (which is amazing hard to see in a pitch black room) and finally drift back to sleep.  I then wake up feeling like I got ran over by a trunk.  I don't know if it's my allergies, free floating anxiety, or CPAP problems, but I'm not sleeping well right now.  Ugh.

So today, since I had to get up 15 minutes earlier than normal anyway, hell, why not get up 2 hours early instead??

I have jury duty today, so I have to be up and around earlier today.  Jerry normally drops me off at work around 8am ( I clock in at 830) and I have to be at the court house at 8am sharp.. so I figured last night if we got moving 15 minutes earlier I'll have enough time to find my jury room and be right on the dot.

I hate being late.

Yesterday, with the weather being so nice I broke out the torch and worked on several pendants.  I also made balled up head-pins.  I forgot how much fun making head-pins is!   I made them in sterling, fine silver and Argentium.

Argentium? It's a newer sterling silver alloy that made with metalloid germanium. By replacing the more normal usage of copper for the other 7.5% of sterling, it's more resistant to tarnishing and fire scale.  It's the copper in silver that makes it tarnish, gives it fire scale.

Fire scale is color ( and sometimes texture) changes that can happen in the torching process, and it's really hard to eliminate without very careful application of the flame, flux and then pickling the piece.  Honestly sometimes the effects can be interesting and you can incorporate it into your designs.  Usually it's unsightly and unappealing.

Argentium more or less lives up to it's name, but in my opinion it sometimes takes on a more yellowish cast... so to date I've not used much of it.

Becides, argentium doesn't react to LOS very well, and where is the fun in that?

I bought some Argentium wire way back when it first came out  and never bought more.  I've heard through the grape-vine the yellowish taint has been fixed.. so maybe I'll try it again sometime. 

But I've got a couple of ounces just sitting around so why not use it up?

My favorite to ball up is fine silver.  Pure silver ( or 99.9% pure) it stays nice and silver in color no matter what you do to it. You don't have to pickle it, and it balls up just perfect everytime.  No mess, no fuss. 

Fine silver is very soft though, so you can't use it in every application.  For head-pins it's perfect!  Most head-pins get very little wear or stress going, so you can use the softer metal.

Strangely I've never balled up my own copper head-pins.. and now I have bronze wire to play with.  I think the next time I break out the torch I'll experiment some more.

anyway, now that I have a pile of pendants, I need to finish them... so I really need to get my 2nd bench cleaned off so I can do that.

My 2nd bench is currently covered with brass stampings in little bins.  I've been keeping my brass in a couple of large containers unsorted, but I have so much of it now it needs to be more organized.

Those of you who know me personally, you can understand how bat-crazy I'm getting because it's not organized.  I've come obsessed with getting it in some sort of order so I can find what I'm looking for.

I started to sort it out over a month ago, but I've had to interupt the process in the normal course of life, work, shows and finally vacation.  I got about 1/2 of it sorted, and had to stop.

Since I don't have another show til September, I really want to get this done, now, I mean like really now.  Like any organizational situation, half the problem is just deciding how you want to organize it. 

By finish, by shape, by use, by xxx????

And of course so many of the pieces can be defined under more than one category, so deciding if it's shape or use that's more important??

I think I've got my order issues resolved, and yesterday I managed to get everything sorted in the trays... I've got 3 plano boxes sorted and labeled now.  I think when I am done I'll end up with 7-8 boxes. 

I think I'll incorporate my non sterling/goldfilled metal beads/charms/findings.  That way all my base metal stuff is all together.

I'll be happy if I get this done by the end of the week.

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