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Saturday, June 14, 2014

A New Technique

This morning started off like any other.  I gathered my first cup of coffee and received a text message that my house friends were going out early.  That's my clue that I can use the hammer inside the house.  My hammering can be annoying to those within ear shot, so I usually go outside.

I gathered my idea and materials and began a long over due project.  My friend Cindy was very generous and gave me some alphabet and number stamps.  She also requested that I practice using them while making her a bracelet.

I'm so darn fugal and didn't want to practice on an actual bracelet blank, so I cut a few pieces of metal from some scrap copper.  From the videos that I've watched, you're supposed to hit each stamp a single time.  I must not have enough force in my hammer swing because I found it necessary to whack away at least 5 times.  A learning curve I guess.

After I did a bit of practice on the scrap metal I did some measuring to get my words in some sort of alignment.  I was imagining running out of space on the bracelet blank, or being lop sided.

While stamping the letters, the metal decided to curve.  It became increasingly more difficult to hammer with the metal on this angle.

I turned the curved metal over and began to hammer it flat.  I used the regular hammer and not the rawhide hammer (duh!).  This caused some marks in the metal, luckily on the edge.  So I went with the mark and continued it as an artistic element.  Then I trimmed the metal to curve the corners.

Time for some serious sanding.

Now for more sanding with a lighter grit.

Sanding, sanding, sanding

Now I 'thought' I was ready to shape the bracelet into a cuff.  - WRONG !!

Yeah, this dummy forgot to anneal the metal.  The metal had gotten really hard during all that hammering, so it made it impossible to curve.  Insert panic!

I toted the materials outside where I fired up the torch and annealed (softened) the metal.

I flattened the soften metal with the rawhide hammer.


I'm diggin' the colors that the flame left in the metal.  I could remove it if I had pickle, but pickle hasn't made it to my studio.  (I need to shop.  Don't laugh, but I don't know what pickle looks like or where to buy it!) Originally, I was thinking I would use liver of sulfur, but now it looks like this is the finished color.

Here she is.  She needs a coat of Renaissance wax to keep the colors from changing.  The Ren wax is hiding from me somewhere in the studio.) Then I want to put her in the tumbler to harden the metal.  It's still a bit soft.

I am now storing my jewelry in air tight bags to keep the patina from changing.  I am using a small hand held food vacuum sealer and their specially designed zipper bags.  I just put the little hand held vacuum over the 'spot' and it removes the air inside the bag.  Since it's a zipper type bag, I can open and remove jewelry and then reseal it with the vacuum.

The bottom line is I'm okay with the results of this cuff.  I can do better!  I think I prefer to do chemical embossing.  I think the letter stamps are a definite asset to the studio, but in specific applications.  At least that's what I think now.  I've been known to change my mind.  Giggle!

Thank you for stopping by and reading along.

Getty Up!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your learning process. I love how copper looks when it turns colors from a heat source. Wondering if maybe your work surface for stamping was too hard to have to hammer each letter so many times. Just a though. I haven't tried the tech yet, but just kind of makes sense to me.


Thank you for your kind words. I'll answer any of your questions very soon. Linda