Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 8 - Steel on My Mind

This week I have two finished items to show. More than that got done, but these are the ones I took photos of.

First is the piece I had hoped to finish last week, then gacked when I was closing the last prong. It's fixed, has a new patina, and a new prong mount. May I present Don't Leave Home Without It. Copper, chased and repouss├ęd, cupric nitrate patina, sealed with Renaissance wax.
This is your brain on jewelry.
Back side showing the steel setting.
The setting is steel wire soldered together. I owe a debt of thanks to Peg Fetter, who was kind enough to field my phone call full of questions out of the blue and who pointed me in the direction of a book which had clear instructions and photos on how to solder steel. That's The Penland Book of Jewelry: Master Classes in Jewelry Techniques. The chapter by Rob Jackson covers fabricating jewelry with steel. Thanks Peg!

When the focal was done I decided to try fabricating a chain for it. That's currently in pieces on the bench.

Second is a bit of tool reclamation. While clearing out boxes from the studio I came across this poor thing. It is a mason's chisel (I think). You can see that it's in terrible shape; heavy rust all over. Just steel brushing wasn't going to bring it back to usable condition.
So I stuck it on a bath of white vinegar (the cheap stuff you can buy by the gallon) with some table salt thrown in it. Left it there overnight. The next day I fished it out and brushed it off under running water. This is the result.
It was pretty obvious that the rust pitting was very deep and there were a couple of spots that looked like they might be cracks. Some other spots looked like a bad weld job. In any case I didn't need a mason's chisel. But a hatchet stake could be useful. So it was on to a 60 grit flap sander in a 4.5" angle grinder.  The surfaces were taken down to bare metal and the edge got reshaped a little to reflect its new use. That got it to this stage.
Finally, I taped off the edge and gave it a good coat of enamel spray paint to protect it from further rust. Ready to join the other stakes in the rack.
A good deal more got done on cleaning up the studio but that's enough for now.

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