This past weekend I went for my first walk - YIPPEE
Other than that not much else is happening.
I have been "home", due to the Pandemic for over 142 days and during this time I have been nesting - reading lots of book, watching movies, doing the day job, and working on my Temari and NO metal work; I have have not been inspired to be in the studio.
This past weekend I went for my first walk - YIPPEE
Other than that not much else is happening.
Last weekend I went to Mesa Arizona for a workshop with David Huang that was all about patinas.
I have always lusted after his patinas (and work) after seeing it up close when I took his chasing class oh so many years ago. As soon as I saw this posted, I signed up. I was the 9th out of 10 students, and then I had to wait almost 6 months for the workshop.
So last Friday I flew to Mesa with my copper tiles, apron, book for notes, safety glasses and expectations. The workshop started on Saturday, for 3 day and I flew home on Tuesday.
It was a wonderful workshop. David gives great demonstrations and shares an amazing amount of information.
We covered cold patinas, hot patinas, boiled patinas, and gold leaf along with layering; we only worked on copper but there is also brass, bronze, steel and even silver that patinas can be applied to; nor did we cover all the possible chemicals that can be used - we covered just the ones David uses most often.
Of course Bunny Bravehart came with me but he just watched as he was afraid of getting burned.
The day went like this.
What we used: But not how we used them as that is what a class or research is for!
To read about learning to make hinges read part a, to see making the box read part b
The day was finally here - time to tie it all together and make a hinge and put it on the box I made just for this purpose.
This is the scary part as I mentioned in the last post. I had a box but what if I screwed up the hinge and soldered it all closed - GASP! The only way to NOT do that is to Just go slow and think everything through.
First up was to cut the hinge seat into the back of the box where the lid meets the bottom. I started by filing in a 45 degree angle on each outer edge. Then I taped it all together and using the chenier files, cut the rest of the seat for the tubing. It was file, blow away the copper dust, place a piece of tubing in the groove and determine if it was deep enough, repeat....
Well over an hour later the seat was complete. Then I had to cut the tubes for the knuckles. I decided on a 3 knuckle hinge. With the back being about 2" long, I could do a center knuckle of 1" and 2 outer knuckles of 1/2". First I cut 2 1" pieces of tubing and then cut one of those in half. Using the miter jig, I filed and sanded all the ends square.
Then using a pencil and a steel ruler, I marked the center of the back and then the center 1" where the middle knuckle would be placed. I then used white out, as my solder flow preventer, on either the lid or the bottom where each knuckle would be placed. While that was drying I rolled some easy solder down and cut small snippets.
I went to the soldering station and placed the knuckles on graphite pencil lead and placed them on the back of the box which was being supported by fire brick ends to stabilize everything. Time to flux, light the torch and solder away. I was able to use one small piece of solder for each knuckle to tack them down. I then pickled it all to make sure everything was aligned and correct before putting it back together with more white out, flux and the final soldering. Once again into the pickle it went. Then I work hardened some copper wire, inserted it into the hinge, as the pin, and "rivetted" the end to keep the pin in place.
Lastly I had to clean it all up, give it a quick 'polish' with some pumice to matte the surface before adding a patina and a final buff polish to shine up the high points.
And here we are - a finished box!!! And at the very bottom ALL the boxes!
To read about learning to make hinges part a read this first
Monday (Day 3):
As part of learning to make boxes and boxes hinges, one eventually get to the point where you have to put a hinge on a box so obviously you have to make a box first which can be scaring because you want a good box, so will it will be a good one and then once you have made said box, and you put a hinge on it; well will the hinge work and if it does not can it all be saved? This is how I spent Sunday evening while watching the T.V. and while trying to fall asleep.
If you have been reading the other box project posts, you will be aware that I have been adding to the seam count with each subsequent box: #1 a round box with one seam; #2 an almond/eye shaped box with two seams; #3 a triangular box with 3 seams and then for #4 a square box with 4 seams. So what should I do for box #5? Ah, I cheated and decided to make a half circle box that had 2 side seams.
I looked at what 20g copper I had and decided that the box would be about 1" tall and about 2" long on the straight side and the front would be round with a radius of about 1" (if the flat back is 2" wide, that is the diameter). I went through my rolling mill textures and selected one which I would use for the walls and the lid.
Using my round stepped bracelet mandrel, I formed the half round and then filed the ends flat and using hard solder, attached the front to the back wall. I then stamped my maker's mark on the bottom plate and textured the top plate. I then scribed where I would cut the lid from the bottom and using a separating disk, cut an air slot for when I solder the top and the bottom on. I write inside bottom and inside top on each piece so I don't put them on the wrong end or on "inside out". Everything was fluxed and using medium solder, I attached the top and the bottom.
I put the whole assembly on the concrete floor to cool as quenching it can cause it to warp. I also don't put it in the pickle at this point as the that air hole is too small for pickle to get in or out of easily so now is when I cut the box apart and then pickle it.
After pickling it is time to trim all the extra copper off the top and bottom and to even up the making surfaces where the lid is cut from the body. This takes time as you want it all even with no gaps. After that I made bearing plates to fit inside the box. The are soldered to the back wall so there is extra material to support the hinge.
The box is done and now comes the scary part of making and soldering on the hinge. That's going to be the next post.
I was going to work on this two weeks ago but getting the flu put a kink in that idea but with the holiday and an extra day of vacation, I gave myself 5 days in the studio to learn hinges and to make a box with a hinge. This post is about learning to make a hinge
I reviewed the 5 silversmithing books that had information on hinges. I would start with a butt joint and then a book joint. I selected some scrap 18 gauge copper and cut it to be 1" wide and then cut copper tubing 1.25" wide; these would be my joint knuckles. Per the instructions, I beveled the ends of the copper and then used my chenier file to create the seat for the hinge knuckles. I cut the tube into 3 sections with the largest being half the length, for the center knuckle and the remaining amount in half for the outer two knuckles. I marked the copper with a lead pencil while placing the center knuckle, I then soldered down the two outer knuckles and when I went to place the center knuckle, I saw that I had pushed the outer knuckles inward thus making the space for the center knuckle too small.
Hinge #1 was done and wrong. I should have soldered the center knuckle first and then the outside ones.
For Hinge #2, I started again; bevel and cut tubing. Place the knuckles on a piece of graphite pencil lead to keep the knuckles aligned on the metal and solder.
Hinge #2 was done and wrong again! I had all three knuckles soldered but now two; a outer and the center knuckle were soldered to one side; I should have used white out to prevent errant solder flow.
I cut more 18 g copper and tubing. I placed everything flat on the solder block an fluxed and moved the outer knuckles out of the way but kept them on the lead. Then using very tiny solder chips, just to tack the knuckles, I soldered the center knuckle. Then I moved the outer knuckles back into position and soldered them into place. I let it all cool and put everything into the pickle.
After removing the sample from the pickle and cleaning the joint, I put the hinge back on the solder block, reinserted the graphite lead, fluxed and finished the soldering of the knuckles. Yes I got the knuckles fully soldered down but I also got some on the copper along the hinge seat.
Hinge #3 was done and almost correct - I need to use smaller solder chips!!!
Hinge #4 was a full repeat and much better but still not perfect.
I inserted some copper wire into the hinges, as a pin, to prove the hinges worked, without trimming the outer knuckles and called it a night as it was now 5pm, but I decided to reread the chapters on hinges, again, after dinner.
Time for Hinge #5 - This one would be a butt hinge and following the instructions EXACTLY, used the chenier files to cut a groove in each half, I cut and filed the ends of my tubes square using my miter jig; I used white out, in lieu of yellow ochre, to work as a mask on the copper where the knuckles would be placed; I aligned my knuckles on graphite lead. It was time to solder; I ran the solder wire though my rolling mill to thing it and then cut very, VERY tiny chips. I then fluxed the hinge seat and placed the knuckles on the graphite, in the seat and turned on the torch. Working slowly with the flame, I warmed everything up and when the flux was glassy, I placed the solder chips and used the heat to pull the solder into the seat of the center knuckle. I then focused the heat on the first outer knuckle and proceeded to solder it in place and moved on to the second outer knuckle. Into the pickle it went. Afterwards I trimmed the outer knuckles and inserted some copper wire for the pin and filed the ends flat. SUCCESS, I had a good hinge with almost NO solder to clean up.
Time for Hinge #6 which is a book joint - this is the type of hinge that would be on a box between the lid and the body. I worked really slowly and carefully; repeating everything I did for #5 - file, sand, place, check and check again, masking with white out, cutting tiny solder chips, fluxing and checking placement again before turning on the torch. I soldered again in two phases the first being to tack the knuckles and the second fully attach them. And... I had a successful book hinge!!!
It was now 6pm and I was done for the day having been at hinge making for 6+ hours.
Next up would be to make a box and put a hinge on it, starting tomorrow.
This weekend I am continuing my quest of learning to make boxes by adding hinges to them; of all the boxes I have made so far, they are slip fit.
I have been told that certain boxes don’t need hinges – ones that are smaller in size are more decoration than functional such that they are not opened very often)
And hinges don’t appear on just boxes they are on lockets (which are small and are certainly decoration), bracelets, and other jewelry as connections between elements.
Then there is other hollowware like the lids for tea and coffee pot, lids on salt cellars or mustard pots, tea caddies and infusers
But unlike hinges in our house, we can’t go to a store and just buy premade hinges – they must be made specifically for each object. And the object has to be modified for the hing
I have looked at a lot of books old and new about hinges. The older ones describe the process but don’t illustrate it as printing images in books use to be very expensive. The newer books have pictures with captions and text but not many give you an exact step by step probably because each item you put hinges on is different. The picture at the top of this post is of all the books I have which discuss hinge making and I read each at least 2 times before it started to make sense (doing this when one is tired does not help and might make understanding it worse).
I am now ready to start constructing some sample hinges which is best as you don’t want to spend hours making a box only for a hinge and then have the hinge incorrect or soldered solid.
I have copper sheet, various sizes of copper tubing for the hinges, copper wire for the hinge pin, solder, a tube cutting jig jewelers saw, and small files specifically for cutting grooves foe the hinge tube to sit in.
There are several types of hinges and I will be making samples of each if not more than one of each before i ever put one on a box. This is what I will be working on during the rest of the month. When I feel that I can make them well, I will then construct a box and add a hinge.
This being Thanksgiving weekend and I could have 4 days in the studio, I planned on my biggest box to date and the next step in this journey - 4 corners.
The box would be 3" wide by 3" long by about 3" tall.
I set up my metal last weekend, a 12" by 6" of 20 gauge brass by drawing the scoring lines and clamping it to the table with my guide. And then I went to the day job for three days....
Thursday, I woke up at 6:00 am with the shop cat (Boots) announcing her presence at the bedroom door (the shop elf was fast asleep) so I got up and went to have my cuppa coffee. I went in to the studio and turned on the lights and the heater as it was about 65 and a wee bit nippy. Then it was to the kitchen to brew my cuppa and feet the cat. While having my cuppa, I read a sci-fi book I started on Monday was getting rather disappointed with how the author was ending it. By now it was 9:00 am and it was time to go to the studio which was a comfortable temp.
I took off my wedding ring and my good glasses and put on my safety glasses; sat down at the work table and started to work on the first of three scored joints. After a few minutes I realized I was not staying on the line and was making a real mess of it as the scoring tool for 90 degree had a very shot arm and my cutting point really wasn't 90 degrees. I tried to fix it and decided it was just easier to make a new one from another old rat tail file I had. That took over an hour and finally I was away and scoring and creating lots of nice brass curls. I did a check of my cutting and found I was a hair under 2" from the end so all my other scores would have to be moved to the left and a sliver of brass cut off one end. I stopped scoring at 5pm, as I knew I would not get the third one done and I was very tired. It was time to make dinner and relax for the evening.
Friday morning, a certain cat announced her presence not only at 7am but at 2 am. I was able to roll over and go back to sleep for a bit but when a cat walks on you and purrs in your ear it it rather impossible to go back to sleep. Once again I went downstairs, fed the cat and coffee-d myself. I headed into the studio around 9 am and sat down to finish the scoring and beveling of the outer ends.
I will mention that when scoring, which is done on the inside, you watch the outside for a line to appear. This is from the pressure the tool puts on the metal because it is so much thinner having been scored. When you see this line you go very slow as removing too much will result in the joint giving out resulting in one part separating from the rest. The scoring continues until you can just begin to bend it by hand.
Finally it was time to solder. I started with the center joint, then doing each of the other two. I then cleaned it and then using binding wire, closed up that last corner nice and tight.
After soldering and cleaning it, I drew a line at the top as to where I would cut the lid from the bottom body. I also cut the top and bottom plates. After I soldered the bottom plate and the bottom was in the pickle, I took the top piece; annealed it and used the hydraulic press to form a design. The design, having lots of little details required me to anneal the brass three times and to use lots of little pressure pieces to push it all out.
Using a cut off wheel I cut the lid from the bottom and soldered the top, with the design, on. It was now time to file and mate the two parts; fit the bezel and polish it.
Of course, along the way I had a few unintentional learning experiences (documented below) which I am a bit disappointed with but now I can see that doing something this big is not easy... It may not be perfect but I did make a box with FOUR corners and lots of soldering, filing, sanding, measuring. The next one will be sooo much better.
For the next part of the box project, I will continue to make a box but this one will have a hinge which will require me to make many samples of hinges before I add one to a box. That starts next weekend!!
Big Learning Experience Number 1:
That is a machinist square so that is a true 90 degrees.
I have a side wall that is bowed inwards, this happened while soldering the base on and I didn't see it until I cut the lid off! And my walls were square when I was done soldering the joints because I did this with the square, hanging off the side to check.
The silversmithing books warn of walls warping either when quenching or while soldering. The book makes mention of getting it up to temperature and clamping it and letting it air cool but since it was soldered I don't know what could have been done except to start over.
Big Learning Experience Number 2:
There is another warp along one of the other sides but it one bows outward.
Big Learning Experience Number 3:
Yes, the top seperated from the wall; this happened while soldering in the bezel. Originally, it was just at the corner and as I tried to fix it but it opened more which is what you see here. I stopped while I was a head.
There are two parts to this installment of the box project
Part A was 2 weeks ago and B was finished today.
This box is a triangular box with corners; I figured doing 3 corners was easier than 4 which is why this box is triangular.
Before starting this phase, I pulled out my silversmithing books, again and read up on this subject. Some of the books say to file a bevel on each edge of the corners where the angle depends on how many corers you will have; 45 degrees for 4 corners (45 times 2 equaling 90 degrees) and 30 degrees for 3 corners as the total of all the angles is 180 degrees, yes geometry comes into play here. Then using binding wire and supports, you solder all the corners together. Other books say to scribe the angle into the metal such that the metal is still all connected, for n-1 corners and then you only have to bevel the 2 outside edges. The scribes/grooves are then bent to close up the box and it is easier to solder them all closed. I asked my mentor what is best and she said to scribe but to do that, I had to make a tool to do the scribing cause no one makes them for you to purchase; welcome to silversmithing!!
Time to make TWO tools one with a 60 degree and another with 90 degrees. One of my books gave information on how to make these tools out of old files or other tool steel and the shop elf sacrificed (handed over) two files he no longer used for the cause. First you bend the handle down, as this will be scribe and the file become the handle. Then you file and grind in the angles and taper it so there is a very sharp edge right at the tip. I then hardened and tempered the tip. After a few starts, trials and restarts I had my tools and sat down to scribe some lines.
Let's just say it was a bit of a learning experience (not a failure!). I measured a 6" by 1" wide brass piece and drew lines for where the joints would be and then used a tungsten carbide tipped tool to do a shallow scribe using a machinists square. Using some C-clamps and a piece of wood I held the brass to my work table and started to scribe pulling towards me. My tip was not sharp enough to actually pull off metal so I had to keep going back to the bench to refine the point. I also kept popping out of the groove and really scratched up the brass. Eventually I was able to bend the join and form the metal. Then I realized that my measurements were off and the sides were all different lengths and would not meet.
Again, it's a learning experience and the next one would be, damn it, correct! Here are pictures of my tools and my first trial at scribing 60 degree joints.
Yesterday I started another piece of metal, this time copper, for a triangular box. I measured 3 or 4 times and this time I used a piece of steel as my clamp and guide which I could hold the scribing tool against to get a straight line. I also used a "three square" file to get a good 60 degree groove. I went slow and careful to get the two grooves and when that was done, I then used my belt sander to put 30 degree bevels on each edge and then it was time to bend; and YES! they met up and when I measure, only one side was 1/32" off.
It was now time to solder. I fluxed the inside two joins and the inside and outside joint that was actually open. Then I heated and using hard solder just put a small ball at each open end and using heat, from the outside, I was able to pull the solder to the other open end - isn't it wonderful when things go as they are supposed to.
Now to put on a base. I found some scrap 20 g copper that was just the right side and so I soldered on the base and I took another piece to the hydraulic press to another impression for the lid. After trimming up the base, I cut off the lid wall with a separating disk and soldered up the top for the lid.
Once the base and top were cleaned up, I tackled the mating edges and added a bezel and just a little bit of sanding to make sure the lid slid into the body; then did a quick polish and I was done!
Next up, over the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend, a square box.
This past weekend, Sherri, came back to my studio for another 2 days of workshops and another student, Barbara, joined her on Saturday.
Saturday’s workshop was a Fold Formed Cuff project but the following skills were also covered: using a rolling mill to texturize the metal, stick soldering with hard solder, fold forming basics, and liver of sulfur patina. We started the day at 10:00 am and the cuffs were completed by 5:30 pm.
On Sunday we started the day with working on Sherri’s on soldering skills. We started with copper scrap taken from my cut off pile, and I set up for a butt joint between 2 flat pieces; starting with a smaller torch flame that she was comfortable with Sherri quickly saw that the copper never got hot enough to melt the solder. We increased the tip size and had a slightly larger flame; again the solder would not flow. We then increased the flame, a lot, and Sherri was able to solder the two pieces together. The copper went into the pickle and after we cleaned it, I then bent another piece of copper and stood it on the 2 pieces of copper that had been soldered together. This time, using hard solder we put a small ball at each end of the joint and Sherri started to heat everything. With a slight adjustment of the flame (larger) the copper got hot and the solder melted and using the heat of the flame, she was able to pull the solder along from each end and completed filling the joint. Sherri now had a better understanding of how to gauge how much flame/heat is required when working with more metal AND how to practice soldering without doing on a production piece!
It was now time to start the anticlastic bangle, similar to what I had made last month. We started with brass and then moved to silver. We discussed getting a good seam with hard solder so it does not split during the forming and how to recover if a split does start; forming the bangle with sinusoidal stakes and the correct hammer(s); and cutting the metal length to get a proper sized bangle when done. The bangle was finished by adding some gold ball accents and edge thickening.
This project is from 2 weeks ago, I thought I posted it but I guess not.
This is an oval box (1 seam) but I put a hydraulic pressed stamping on the lid. I did the stamping twice just to practice getting a good impression. Actually this is the second oval box too; the first was out of 24g copper which is just too soft and this one was made with 20g which is still a bit too thin, for copper but these are all about practice.
I spent a good amount of time working on the bezel for the lid and I am getting better at fitting it and soldering as I am not doing as much clean up. This box is about 1.25" tall and a 6" circumference resulting in about 1.25" wide on the short axis and 1.5" on the long axis.
Next up scribing corners, I am starting with a triangular box.