Sunday, December 18, 2011

Season's Greetings

Best wishes to all!  Let us hope for a great new year in 2012!

I do regret not posting more than I have in the past.  It is challenging to find time anymore to work on making jewelry.

I did find time to experiment with the Crafted Findings Rivet System tool and found that while the tool does work, it was very difficult for me to handle, and I probably would have spent less time by doing rivets to old fashioned way.  The tool does work, and will do a nice job of setting both rivets and eyelets, but you do have to be very careful to get either rivet or eyelet exactly centered or you'll mess up.  See example at right.

Notice the copper rivet upper left and the aluminum rivet upper right inside the brass ring. These got slightly offset when the flaring tool was used.

Anyway, I might get the hang of using to tool sooner or later.  More likely later.

While not being totally satisfied with the piece, it looks just s good as some I've seen published by "experts" in the media.  With a little touching up, it can be included in a metalwork necklace.

We had a nice warm day, for this time of year, yesterday, and I was able to find some time to work in the other "studio," the garage. Annealed some metal, and pounded out some disks, ran some through the mill, so I have a number of pieces to play with when I once again find the time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Toys

Pictured is the hard to find Speetog Plier Clamp, apparently manufactured in the United Kingdom in the 1940's.  It is difficult to run down the exact facts about this unusual and interesting tool.  I first saw one on John De rosier's blog several months ago, and I have been searching for one since then and finally found one on Ebay.  Actually found two, but one seller wouldn't ship to the USA.

A similar tool can been obtained from Otto Frei, although at a much higher price.

The jaws of the original plier are serrated and need to be padded for jewelry work. 
I asked John what he did to pad his Speetog's, and he kindly replied with instructions.

Below, the pliers with leather padded jaws.  Affixed with Loctite epoxy weld.  How's the grip on metal?  Absolutely fantastic!

Pictured above is a Toolmaker's Sine Vise.  The base measures 5 inches long, 2 inches wide, 3 and 3/8 inches high. Jaws open to 2 1/8 inches, and are 1 inch deep.  Vise can be tilted to precise angle, thus the term "sine."  It's hefty, weighing in at 8.5 pounds.  Does a jewelry maker need one?  Absolutely not.  But when I saw one on Ebay at a good price; well, being a tool nut I couldn't pass it up.

Close up of a piece of copper wire being pounded into a rivet.  Well, not really pounded, lightly tapped.  The nice thing is that the vise is heavy enough not to move around when being used, and can be moved where ever needed.  Sine vises are not meant for heavy work, so I think it will work out just fine.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What I am working on.....

Lots of mistakes made on this piece.  The horrid clasp is only temporary.  I'm coloring the Faux Bone™ with acrylic paint and Gilder's Paste.  When that's done, with the pieces cleaned up, I'll put a couple coats of Renaissance wax on them  Then put it all together and hope for the best!

The bit of screen doesn't belong to this piece.

Gilder's Paste is kind of neat stuff.  Best if slightly diluted with mineral spirits.  I used Iris Blue on the back side of the bone, and on the edges.  There's more left to do there.  The acrylic is also slightly diluted, but with water.  I can see some areas that need a bit color.  Slow process.

Anyway, thanks for looking.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It has been awhile since I posted anything, and the reason is because I am the only vehicle operator in the immediate family.  As a result, I have spent the last few weeks driving people to doctor's appointments, emergency room, hospital,  rehab center.  Anyone going to an emergency room in my neck of the woods will be in for a long, long wait before a doctor comes, and then long wait again.

As a result, I've done nothing in jewelry making, and I have no idea when I'll get back to it.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Scrap Copper Pipe Washers

Some followers of this blog may recall mention some time back about some scrap copper pipe I scrounged.  The outside diameters are 3/8 and 3/4 inch.

The 3/4 inch pipe was annealed and the coloration comes from that process.

Random lengths were cut from each, and without regard to cutting exactly straight.

Then the cutoffs were placed in a dapping block, again without regard as to even dapping.

Next, the cutoffs were flattened with a small brass mallet, resulting in the odd shapes.  Which was what I wanted.  Perfectly round ones would be boring!

The bottom row washers are partially textured.

The smaller washers at the top and right came from cutting a longer piece off the 3/8 inch pipe.  They have considerable, but interesting distortion.

An interesting experiment which, I think, hold some promise.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Update, again

Ah, me.  Nothing to show.  Been trying to get something put together but success is elusive.  I have so many unfinished pieces lying around patiently waiting for me to get moving.  Gah! It's pitiful!

A terrific jewelry artist, Ann Cahoon writes in Ganoskin about sawing myths, and it's worth a read.  One myth she didn't write about is whether you should or should not relieve the tension on the saw blade when you have finished sawing for the day.  Some say yes, others no. So who is right?  Some say you should always fit the size of the blade to the thickness of the metal, other's disagree, saying using a finer blade will mean less filing afterwards.

Another thing.  There's a myth about sawing thin metal.  She doesn't touch on this, but there is a way to saw out intricate designs in thin gauge metal.  I have not tried this, and it isn't original with me.  It involves making a sandwich.

You need two pieces of thin wood, like doll furniture wood, your thin metal, 28, 30 gauge, wax paper, and a printed design.  It goes like this, bottom wood, then wax paper. then metal, then wood, with your design glued on top of the top piece of wood.  Tape the sandwich together so it won't move, drill access holes for the saw blade.  Saw out all the interior spaces, then the outside.  I repeat for emphasis:  I have not tried this method!

Also, Charles Lewton-Brain discusses the use of "duct tape" at the bench.  Confess, never thought of that as I thought it might leave residue behind.  Tested using it to hold a pice of metal on bench block.  Hah! No residue! And, it holds better than the ubiquitous painter's tape.  One possible drawback, not every brand may be equal.  Another, rolls are usually huge when new and take up space, something virtually non-existent in my cubby hole.  Since it does work, I will find space somewhere.

DynastyLab continues with his torch series.  Mentions a torch currently unavailable in the U.S.  A "Bullfinch" brand.  If you are interested, Google "bullfinch torch" and find it's available in Great Britain.  I would bet you can find a company that would be glad to sell you one.  Me, not interested.  I am interested in the blowpipe torch sold by Fischer.  I might be opening a can of worms for myself!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Nothing to show for this week, but I have been busy using what time available to get some things done.

Spent the hard earned money on supplies, more copper sheet, 24 gauge.  Amazing how fast you can go through a 12 x 12 inch sheet!  Used up a entire sheet pounding out various sized discs and some misshapen washers.  I may have devise something to get the hole centered in the punch as I don't seem to be a very good judge to get it right.   Four washers out of eight, ah well, fifty percent, anyway.  Ran some of the metal through the rolling mill for textures.  Some of the discs will end up a bead caps.  Others, don't know, yet.  Got out the circle dividing template, marked centers, punched holes.

Did no further work on the anvil.

Paid a visit to Harbor Freight and bought some compartmented storage boxes.  Little more pricey than the hobby shop, but better quality. You can never have too much storage!  Ha!, you might know, no space left for the boxes.

Then, ordered several tins of Gilder's Paste.  I really like this stuff!  Lima Beads,  has a good selection and best price. Plus, if you are an established customer, you might get 10% off your order, and if you're not in a big hurry, there's free shipping!  There's some "how to use" instructions on the site.  Check it out.  Another way to add color to your metal, (copper and brass), polymer clay, and Faux Bone™.

Decided to buy a new book just out at the bookstore.  "Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry", by Barbara Lewis.
Lewis has developed a technique using an ordinary Mapp gas or Propane fueled torch to fire enamel. No kiln needed.  Great!  Last thing I want is a kiln.  Too rich for my blood, plus no place left to put one! Now that I've bought the book, guess I'll have to get some enamel and try the technique out and see what develops.  Be awhile before I do that, spent all my pennies on the above stuff.

And, speaking of torches,  checkout DynastyLab's blog,  and take a look at his "torch series".  He has published two articles so far, more to come.

Finally, something I've been meaning to do for some time now, is mention another blog, "Jan and Shane Rogers Blog for Mixed Media Art and Jewelry."  They've got more items on their blog than you can shake a stick at!  Sorry to be so long in giving your well deserved recognition!

Next post, a week from now.  Maybe I will have something to show, then.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Anvil, in progress

After grinding, filing and some sanding, as you can see, some progress has been made.  Been a lot of work to get it where it's at now.  The one really deep ding on the bottom is just going to have to stay.  Still a long way to go to get it finished.  I'm going to set it aside for awhile and try to work on some jewelry.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Metal Stamp Holder --another scrap wood project

Two scrap wood blocks, glued, and bored with brad  point wood drill bits, then glued onto a beveled wood block to tilt it forward.  There are some open spots for additional stamps should they be obtained sometime in the future.  I made it small because it is easier to handle that way.

Did more work on the anvil.  It's coming along slowly.  I might get it finished this weekend.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Here is an anvil I picked up on Ebay made from an old railroad iron.  The top is 2 1/4 inches wide by 12 3/4 inches long, and is about 4 inches in height.  I haven't looked up info on railroad irons, but this seems like it was originally narrow gauge rather than standard.

Today was relatively nice, so I went to work on the anvil.  Whoever had it before me worked it over pretty good and as you can see it has a lot of dings.  Some pretty deep.  The top looked exactly like rusty bottom so there was quite of bit of work just to get the rust off.  There's still a long way to go and some of the dings are just going to have to stay, being so deep.  But, I think I can work around them.

I think the shape is pretty neat, and that's the main reason I bought it.

In between grinding away on the anvil, I decided to make a holder for some decorative metal stamps.  But, I didn't have time to finish the project.  I'll post a pic of that, ah well, sometime!

An oversight:  I should pay more attention.  I see there are new followers of the blog, so a belated welcome to you, and thanks.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Company gone back home. Glad to see them come, glad to see them leave.  Maybe that's a poor attitude to have, but grandchildren of 2 going on 3 and 3 going on 4, can wear you out in hurry!  Boundless energy!

Now, September is here and maybe, just maybe we can enjoy some cooler weather.  Summer has been a scorcher.

And, maybe I can get back to working again on some jewelry pieces.  I'm going to switch gears a little and try to do more metal, and metal and faux bone together.

Here's a little tip beginning wire workers might like, and anyone else using wire wraps and jump rings.   Sometimes, no matter how careful you may be, a little snag may show up.  Take a piece of cotton, or cotton ball, and lightly swipe it over your jump rings and wraps.  You'll soon know if something needs to be rectified, as the cotton will snag on it.

Probably Monday next, I'll have something worth showing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Old, Dry, Cracked Bones

Previous post showed some cut out pieces of Faux Bone™ on the bench top.  After hacking away on them during the week, below is the result.

Brown shoe polish for color, some wood beads and some of the heat treated copper jump rings and tube spacers.  Strung on Greek leather cord. Marks cut in with a single edge razor blade.  I have more control with this type of blade than the common craft knife.

A note to regular visitors. I'm taking some time off from posting.  Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


The pieces in the photo were heated in an oven at 350º (F) for 20 minutes.  It demonstrates that you can get some strange color on copper.  Some turn silvery, others gold, and some with the red metallic color.  These are just a few of hundreds of pieces.  You just never know what will pop up.

Some Faux Bone pieces, cut, partially finish with the filing, more to be done.  Last of the Atoll series in back.  New Island pieces in center, saved cut-outs from the pieces in back, and free form pieces in front, all nine to eventually go on a necklace.  Haven't a clue how they will be finished.  I will just wing it as usual.

Missfickle beads have arrived from the good folks at Lima Beads.  They are fantastic!

Stay well, make good stuff, and thanks for looking.

Some folks have to have music.  I have to have Altoids, and the tins make good storage boxes.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


This how I do it, the method and the tools.  There may be better ways, so you should not consider this the only or best way.

I use 1/8 inch diameter tubing to make the spacers, but the method applies to other sizes as well.

The tools:  

The tube cutting jig I use is made by Pepe Tools.  A medium cost range tool.  It comes with a handle for hand held use,  but I don't use it that way. Can be adjusted to cut lengths up to 13 cm. Has a little lever clamp to hold tubing in place while you cutting. Most suppliers will say it can't be used in a vise.  Well, I disagree. 

Vise.  Most any small vise can be used.  I use either a vise with a 1 inch wide jaw, or a Panavise with a 2 1/2 inch jaw.  I prefer the latter.  The jig can be mounted in the vise securely, leaving room for tightening or loosening the adjustment screw.

Jeweler's Saw Frame.  I use a Grobet, with a 2 3/4 inch throat.  Any other will work just fine.  With the Grobet frame, you must really tighten down the thumb screws.  I've failed to do this a couple times and ended up breaking  brand new blade. Bummer! I have a German made frame as well, but it holds the Faux Bone™ blade, and I'm too lazy to change it.  Why two different saw frames?  Wanted to try both kinds out.  I have no actual preference.

Saw blade.  Size 4/0. The only brand of saw blade I have ever used are Rio Grande's Laser Gold brand.  These blades seem to last a long time, but I have no way to compare them with other brands.  I use 4/0 size because it doesn't leave very much of a bur on the ends of the tubes.  The cutting length of this blade seems a little short, 2 3/4 inches.  I don't know how this length compares with others.

Bee's wax.  I use this to lubricate the blade by very lightly stroking the block of wax along the backside of the blade. I try, but sometimes forget, to lube the blade before every cut.  This may be overdoing it, but I think it prolongs the life of the blade.  The blade will eventually break no matter what you do, as metal fatigue sets in aftwer awhile and weakens the metal.

Tweezers, fine point.  I'm cutting very short pieces from the tubing, 2, 3, 4 mm in length.  Sometimes, more often than not, I need tweezers to remove the cut-off from the jig.

Good lighting.  You always need good light.

Receptacle for the cut-offs.

Tumbler.  I tumble the cut-offs with Lortone tumbler in water with a dash of Dawn dish detergent for an hour to polish them up a bit and minimize any tiny burs that might be left.

Sawing:  I find fresh saw blades tend to be grabby in the metal until I've sawn five or six pieces, then the blade settles down, broken in,  and the sawing becomes easier.  I positioned the tube cutting jig so the sawing is horizontal, and  I only use the weight of the saw frame for pressure on the metal.  I have no frame of reference as to how fast I move the saw back and forth, but I guess it's somewhere between fast and slow.

I listen to the sound of the saw blade working through the metal.  When the sound changes, softens, I know to slow down and go easy as I'm almost through the metal.  I also know that if I don't, when the blade breaks through, it will drop and hit the bottom of the jig and bounce.  This bounce can send the little cut-off flying out of the jig to who knows where and is lost.  And, it's probably not good for the blade.

Well, now you know. Perhaps some who visit this blog will find this information useful.  Thanks for taking time visit.  Meanwhile, be well, stay happy and make great jewelry.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

La Bench

Little change of pace, a pic of my CLEAN! bench.  In the past, things got really messy. Now I'm trying very hard to work neater, put things back in a certain spot, making them easier to find.  Tools have been moved to be more accessible and those that aren't used as much are put away.  A coil of 16 gauge brass wire is on the bench pin, cutters and pliers in a tray in the drawer.  The little plastic cups (saved from the BBQ Joint), hold jump rings and tube spacers just recently cut.  Pretty soon, the different batches will be tumbled, and some of the copper will be heat treated, some will receive some LOS.  Those heavy duty Xuron cutters resting in the tray really work well for the heavier gauge wire.

My workplace is really tight.  I couldn't back up far enough to show the whole bench.

I guess I have some sort of fixation on other people's workplaces. I love looking at them.  Everyone is different.

A lot of jewelry makers like to listen to music, or the radio as the work.  I am a complete opposite.  I like silence.  I have trouble concentrating if there is noise, music or otherwise.  But, I do like music, and when I do listen to it, I don't want the distraction of anything else.  Funny that way.

Next post probably a week from the date of this post.

In the meantime, stay well, have fun and make great jewelry.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Atoll No. 3

Another Atoll pendant, unfinished as usual.  This time because I need to order some Missfickle beads from Lima Beads.  Nice people there, at Lima Beads.  I think those special patinated beads will work quite well, along with some heat treated copper spacers and jump rings. It will be strung on greek leather cord.

Fux Bone™, brass and copper rivets.  Color, green acrylic paint, Iris blue Gilder's paste. Stone is ocean jasper, suspended from copper wire.

I guess I have some sort of passion for the South Pacific atolls.  No two are alike, and many have unique fauna found no where else.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Heat treating copper

Here's a tip from Robert Dancik, and I thought I would give it a try.  Heat patina on copper.

Heat an oven to 350 degrees, put the copper wire in the oven and heat it for 15 to 20 minutes.  Even though it's hot outside, and the oven does put extra pressure on the air conditioner, I just could resist trying this out.

I coiled the wire, and just for purely experimental purposes. put some of the spacers which I had cut from copper tubing, and some jump rings, in a little metal tray, and put everything in the oven.  Set the time for twenty minutes.  All well and good, except I got caught up in something and didn't here the timer go off.  So, I don't have a clue how long the materials stayed in the oven.  As it turned out, I don't think any harm was done, but the colors!  Wow!  They are hard to describe. There's gold, silver, a purplish silver, two-tones on some, bronze, and bright copper.  Why didn't the pieces come out as one color, and why some with very little change?  Mystery.  I"m going to do some more experiments, but I'll wait for cooler outside temps.

Anyway, thought I would pass this on, maybe others will want to give this method a try.

Changed the bench pin to a larger surface which should help with the preliminary sawing.  I will still need to make some little improvements on the larger pin.  And, I need to reposition the bench pin as it is really too high for my comfort.  Gah! So many things I need to do to make life easier!

Finally broke down and got an inexpensive filing block.   If you ever buy one, better buy a bottle of rubber cement, as the block is not fixed to the base, which makes it useless, at least for my purposes.  But it works fine now that block is cemented to the base.  Very helpful adjunct to the bench.

And now, I have to make more jump rings and tube spacer's.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Desert Land™

Finally finished a piece!

Focal is Chohua Jasper affixed to a piece of Faux Bone™ and painted with acrylic paint.  The other two stones are Paint Brush Jasper.  Copper beads. Copper tube spacers and jump rings which have been heat treated so they come out with some variations in color.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Stuff, New Toy

Well, you know me, can't resist getting something new.  In the can is Gliders Paste, Iris Blue, from Cool Tools.  Nine different colors.  Neat stuff, tested it out on some bone, and it looks like it's going to work quite well.  It does come out much lighter than its appearance in the photo.

Below, also from Cool Tools, a micro engraver, Beadsmith brand.  Powered by two AAA batteries.  This little engraver works very nicely, and is much easier to handle than some of the larger ones.  Small tip shown, there is also a larger tip.  But, there's just one really big problem.  My penmanship never was very good and my engraving/calligraphy skills are totally non-existent!  No joke, but I can use the tool in other ways.

Still sawing spacers and making heavy wire jump rings.  Brass, copper and aluminum. Someday, you'll see how I'm using them, together with the spacers cut from 1/8 inch tubing.

Want to see a picture of a studio to die for?  Check out the latest issue of "Ornament" Volume 34, No. 4, and droll over Linda Threadgill's fabulous studio.  Just wish there had been other views. I do like to see other folks work places.  Several are shown on Ganoskin, but the photos are so small, it's hard to make out what's what in some of them.

Still hot here.  I try to stay out of the heat as much as possible.  Not nearly as tough as I once was.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


It is very hot here.  Too hot to do much out in the garage where some of the equipment is kept.  Made more jump rings and tube spacers.  Now, I have to get into a "stringing" mode and get some of the pieces finished.  I like to make the focal points and attendant pieces, I just don't like stringing.  But, it has to be done sooner or later.

Still puttering with the step by step article.  I'm on draft number twelve and it's still not right.

Have you had a chance to visit "The Bench of an Apprentice" ?  If your into metal, there's some good information here.

Nancy L T Hamilton is starting a new video series.  Good information here also.

Judy Freyer Thompson over at Faux Bone™,  , has a Crab Claw ring, and one other ring, in "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" exhibit on Ganoskin.
The exhibition is worth a look.

Thanks for your continued viewing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I regret I have nothing to show this week.  Maybe not even next week.  Of all things, I ran out of some supplies of which I thought, mistakenly, there was more.  Not so.  Ordered more, but when they will arrive, anybody's guess.

I have been doing some work, drudge work, I don't especially enjoy, but has to be done.  Made a bunch of jump rings, so there's good supply of those.  Made a bunch of spacers from copper tubing and ran out of that.  More to order.  Gah! it's endless.  Thought I had some brass. Nope.  Very poor inventory management.

Found some of the copper beads had holes too small, spent a lot of time getting those fixed.  Drudge work. Next week, more drudge work until the supplies arrive.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Atoll No. 2

Atoll No. 2 partially finished.

Faux Bone™, Swarovski crystal pearls, creamrose and tahitian-look, copper wire rivets, palm trees scored in with X-acto knife, colored with green acrylic paint and light blue Prismacolor pencil on the interior and exterior.

Last posting for awhile, be sometime next week.

Thanks for your continued viewing.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Atoll No. 1

Start of a new series.

Faux Bone™, swarovski crystals, copper and brass rivets, copper wire, blue and green acrylic paint.  Eventually, I'll hang it from some Greek cord.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Still sawing, filing and sanding

I have started a new series using Faux Bone™.  I haven't stopped with the Organics, but writing that step-by-step used up a lot of time.  After setting that aside to sort of re-set the brain, I took a nearly full sheet of bone and drew out some designs and started sawing and sawing,  sawing, ending with twenty pieces.  I decided to saw all the pieces, one after other, rather than do one, finish it, then do another.

The shape of some of the pieces is different than any I had done before, and may be, in their own way, more interesting.  We'll see.

After sawing all the pieces, I took a mini-drum sander and smoothed the edges.  Now I have to decide how to finish them.

Then I retrieved the step-by-step, read it again and groaned.  It won't do.  Another re-write is called for, so it's back to the keypad for more typing.  Maybe I'll get it right this time!

I doubt if I can post any photos until  next mid-week.  Too many things in the way right now.

Monday, June 20, 2011


A friend has encouraged me to write a step by step article, so I have been busy writing and rewriting.  The article, if published, won't be until sometime in 2012.

Now that I finished the final draft, I can get back to making some jewelry.  Maybe I can get something finished by the weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Organic 3

Faux Bone™ Sawn, shaped, inlay of plumber's epoxy putty, textured, colored with burnt sienna acrylic paint, Renaissance Wax.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Frustration Dampeners

Changing drill bits can be a hassle.  There are no 3/32" shank drill bits which exactly match wire gauge sizes, so using a quick change hand piece is out.  Using  keyed chuck hand piece is the only option, leaving one with constantly adjusting to this size bit to that size bit.  Shown are two different adapter chucks, both with 3/32" shanks.  The one on the left is meant for bits No. 60 down to 80.  The one on the right come with two chucks, for No. 60 on up to 48 (12 gauge).  The adapter chucks aren't that expensive.  I now have a full suite fitting wire gauges 12 through 26 gauge, including the 1/16" bit for certain eyelets and rivets.

I have placed them in individual plastic tubes and labeled them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thank you!

Galeriaaurus, Poland;  &  Kreativbua, Norway.  Thank you, ladies, for continuing to cite my jewelry making efforts on your blogs.  Thanks to both, viewers of this blog have increased dramatically.

Two more Organics are partially finished, and three more to start.  I like to work on more than one at a time.  I think it helps to get a fresh look at a piece after you've worked on it for awhile and then set it aside, out of sight, out of mind.  I will end with seven of the Organics and move on to other things for awhile.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Organic 2, Complete

Upper photo shows the piece after heating and domed in a wood dapping block.

The completed piece with texture and color, Burnt Sienna Acrylic.

Hope you like it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Organic 2, partial

Organic 2.  Holes sawn and drilled, partially shaped by filing. Rivets installed.  As you can see, there's still a lot of little crumbs which need to be removed.  I may still add some more small holes.

Next step will probably be to heat the material and shape into a shallow dome.  Then add texture and color.

Galeria Trendymania again

To be fair to some of the other artists whose work I particularly like, they are, in no particular order:

Alabama,  Ksenia Art,  Extrano,  Drakonaria.  Aurus,  Vigoart,  7Malin,  Galeria Oko,  Hannah Studio,  Iza Malcyzk.

If you haven't taken a look, go ahead and do so.  I'm sure you will find plenty to admire.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

In Awe

It is difficult for me to grasp, but I am in awe of the number hits this blog received yesterday!  Amazing!  Thanks to all who visited, and who may visit in the future.

Some much needed supplies of wire arrived yesterday, 1 pound spools and that means that I must soon put up a board with pegs to hold them.  Ah gee, I will have to move the tool cabinet, no big deal as it is on rollers, but it also means moving the bench out away from the wall and moving the stump.  The stump has become heavier and harder to move with all of the stuff it's carrying. An all day job for me.

Also arriving, one of Wubber's newest pliers, the wire looping one.  It works absolutely great.  Not that I can't make loops the old fashioned way, but these pliers make loops a cinch.  One caveat, one size only.  If you want bigger loops, you still have to do it the old way.  I can see at sometime in the future, there may be a larger looper coming from Wubber's.  We'll just have to wait and see.

Organic 2 is one quarter finished.  For some strange reason, sawing it out was not fun, and I broke three blades.  Had be something I was doing wrong.  Maybe forcing the blade, white knuckle syndrome, take your pick.  Ended up using a short, bent blade, and taking a lot of care not to get the blade in bind.  That increased the sawing time considerably. Anyway, the sawing is done.  The next step is cleaning up the holes.  Then, I think I will put in some various size rivets, and then begin to shape the whole piece.  After that, heat it up with a heat gun and form the piece on a wood dapping block.

Thanks for your continued interest.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More on the Organic piece

I asked a friend of mine to critique the piece, and not pull any punches.  If she thought it was not good, or could be improved to say so.  She is a lot smarter than I am, a long time teacher of jewelry making and a writer of articles on jewelry making.  Well, I can't tell how pleased I was when her critique was positive and encouraging.  As a result of her report, I am planning several additional pieces along the same organic line, and I hope I will be able to finish one before the weekend and post it.  I am very much taken by the nature illustrations by Ernst Haekel of tiny organisms, although reproducing these in faux bone or metal is far beyond my skill level.  But, I can use some parts as inspiration to make something which looks organic. Let's hope I am successful!

Thank you new followers and to all who have been curious about my work.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Whole bunch of holes, drilled, sawed, filed, sanded, textured, colored with burnt sienna acrylic paint.  Approximately 2.5 cm x 4.2 cm.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tool Tray for Faux Bone™ Work

Some things I like to keep neat on the bench.  In back, a checkering file and a small Fretz riveting hammer. A center punch is kept in the little section in front of the hammer handle.  I do not use the riveting hammer to strike the center punch. For that, I use a double head brass/nylon hammer. In front, left to right, Robert's swivel head shaping tool (actually a wax carving tool), which doesn't get much use, and a fine grit mini sanding drum, which gets a lot of use. Next are various files in various degrees of coarseness, a needle tool, triangular scraper, another needle file, flat # 2 that is sometimes used to neaten up the end of a rivet, an X-acto knife with the standard blade.  In the last compartment on the right, an old typewriter cleaning brush for cleaning files, and a tool I found on the street that I've altered into a sort of scriber. I have no idea what use it was intended for originally.  The white square in a piece of Faux Bone™.

Also, outside the tray, a woodworker's countersink drill bit.  Used to chamfer drilled holes to neaten them up a bit.  Playing cards with hole punched in them. Guide for cutting rivets to length.

Getting ready to cut another shape, a crescent, and showing more of the messy bench. Some other shapes and some ideas that didn't quite work out.  Maybe someday I can save them from extinction and use them in another piece.

Next post will show the next major process in making a piece.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

South Seas, almost complete

Piece complete except for the ending and the clasp.  Haven't decided what to do there.

The design of the necklace was inspired by a piece by Sydney Lynch, one of the artists featured in "Jewelry Design Challenge" edited by Linda Kopp.

Sydney used sterling silver tubing, all cut to the same length, South Seas uses copper tubing (from Metalliferous), random cut and textured, and treated with Cool Tools Patina Gel (LOS). With jump rings, by me. and copper beads from Blue Mud, strung on black greek leather cord from Monsterslayer.

Drops are all ocean jasper (most from Ebay sellers), on copper wire with balled ends.

One reason to put the ocean jasper beads on drops.  Greek cord won't go through the holes.  18 gauge wire will rarely go through without re-drilling, and sometimes 20 gauge won't go through on long shape beads because the manufacturer's drills aren't long enough, so they drill part way from one end, the turn the bead and drill back, hoping the two drill holes meet.  More often than not, they don't. What is really a strange thing is a bead with two different sized holes! 18 g fits one side, but only 20 g on the other. Strange.  The long bead on the left had one end where a piece had cracked off.  To even the end up I used an aluminum oxide cut-off wheel (with water) in flex-shaft.  Took about 20 minutes, worth it to save a nicely patterned bead.

Cool Tool's Patina Get is great stuff to work with, still stinky though, as you might expect with liver of sulfur.  Where lump los quickly loses it's effectiveness with exposure to air, you can leave Patina Gel container open and it doesn't degrade. Plus, it's much easier to get the strength of solution you desire, and it will work with cool water.  Just slower working.

Thanks for taking a look.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Galeria Trendymania

When I turn on the computer in the morning, Galeria Trendymania is usually the first site I visit.  There is so much just simply superb work there in several different disciplines.  The only thing about the site I don't like is that it's all Polish text and translation to English is often difficult to impossible, even with online dictionaries and translation services.  I am able to figure out some of the text, but it is still a chore.

There is one jewelry artist whom I would like to take the opportunity to extol her work, and that is Fiann.  It seems that in any medium she choses to work, she does a masterful job.  Be it metalwork, metal clay, or polymer clay, it is all excellently done.  If you visit the site, you can find her work under "Bizuteria", = Jewelry.

Fiann  is not alone.  There are many others deserving of praise.  Check it out.

I guess I am getting old.  My energy level has gone down considerably.  I've been working on and off on one particular necklace which is giving me a lot of difficulty.  Tomorrow, I will do some patination on some of the parts of the design, and after that, I may be able to finish getting it together.

Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

South Seas

The details:

Base, 1/4 inch Faux Bone™, one and five-eights inch 55º ellipse (approx.) outside. 13/16ths circle inside diameter, bottom of circle slightly scooped out with 1/4 inch, 320 grit mini-sanding drum. 24, 20 and 18 gauge copper wire rivet decoration.  See note below.

Ocean Jasper nugget on 20 gauge, balled end copper wire with small copper bead caps. The bead caps were punched from 24 gauge annealed copper sheet with the micro punch. The ball end of the wire was immediately quenched in ice water, preserving the bright reddish pink color.

Edges were rough filed with the small half-round file you see in the accompanying photo, then gone over with a No. 2 cut half-round needle file. A fine grit mini-sanding drum was used to shape the interior. A No. 4 half-round needle file was also used on the outside perimeter of the ellipse to remove most of the saw marks.

Wet sanded with 320, 400 and 600 grit sand paper.  

Blue tint added using aquamarine Prismacolor pencil and Golden Acrylic Interference Blue (Fine) paint.

Renaissance Wax over the entire piece and buffed.

Note: When using small gauge wire for rivets, you should adjust your thickness gauge accordingly in order to trim off the wire to the proper length.  Otherwise, you can end up with more, or less, wire than needed. It is a good idea to use some of the scrap material to test out the different gauge wires. In this pendant piece, I elected to make the rivets flush with the surface. To do this I used a No. 4 cut flat needle file. Then sanded again.

Tip:  There can be a slight variation in wire gauges.  Use scrap faux bone. Select the proper size drill bit for the gauge, drill the hole. Use a triangular scraper to ream a countersink on both sides of the hole, or use a larger size drill bit. You may find it easier using a pin vise to hold the bit. Cut a small piece of wire, remove any burs on the cut ends with a small file, sanding stick, or cup bur.  Hold the wire near the end with a pair of flat nose pliers and insert into the hole. If it refuses to go in, or slips in easily, then the hole is either too small or too big.  There should be some resistance in getting the wire through the hole, but not so much the wire bends. Go to the next smaller or larger drill bit and try again. Complete the rivet.  If it looks o.k., then test the next larger size.  Mark your cut-off gauges with wire size.

Decide where you want the rivets placed, and drill all the holes.

Begin with the smallest gauge wire and do one rivet at a time. Then go to the next larger gauge, and so on.

Be careful when reaming (countersinking) the hole. Too much and the rivet won't fill in the countersink.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Still Alive

Just a brief note to let all know that I haven't fallen off the edge of the world.  You didn't know I live on Discworld did you?

The flood damage is cleared up on my part. The wife still has tons of material to go through.

I will post a photo of a piece very soon. Hope you like it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bad News

Hello folks.  I am sorry to inform you that I will not be posting for awhile.  My wife and I have two units in a storage facility which, unfortunately were flooded, due to the torrential rains we have had, and a nearby creek over topped its banks, sending water into the entire facility.

My wife had a considerable amount of her artwork stored there, and we will be days of drying out her things.  Ironically, while all the mats are gone, water color paper does survive!  We just have to keep it from becoming stained and moldy.  We think all of the frames survived, which is good.  But thousands of dollars worth of matting is gone.

Hope to be back posting in a week or so.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Drrrrummm roll. please!  Ol' John has actually finished a piece!  Due to monsoon conditions, I won't be able to post a photo until the skies clear and there's enough light to take a picture.  I like diffused daylight, no flash or artificial light, so the wait is on for decent light.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


This blog is supposed to be about my jewelry making efforts, but I must say the weather around here lately has been nothing but wet, wet, wet!  Rain storms, thunder storms, three hailstorms so far, two in one day, and tornado warnings, flash flood warnings, and still more to come.  We are, however, more fortunate than some who suffered the havoc of large hail and tornado damage.

Onward to what progress has been made in the la studio.  I've set aside the Beach Combing piece for the time being.  The time being when the inspirational muse thrums a few chords in my brain so I can finish the piece.

In the meantime, I have started a new piece which is about halfway finished.  I should have it done by Wednesday/Thursday, and hopefully we will have a break in the weather and I can get a photo of it for your viewing pleasure.  Plus I'll show the tools used and bore you with how I did it.

See you then.

Couple more items.  The photo of the micro-punch might be misleading.  If you look close, the top plate is not down firmly on the metal as it should be if actually stamping the metal.  The punches can be used from either end and must be struck with a plastic or nylon head hammer.

Run across another blog which might be of interest if your working with metal.

Interesting and informative commentary there, check it out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A New Tool

This the Micro-Punch set from Micro-Mark. 9 punches, ranging from 1 mm to 5 mm in 0.5 mm increments.

The copper strip is 26 gauge and was annealed prior to punching out some small discs.  Also, the punch was lubricated with Bur-Life.  Although the punches are advertised as hardened, I take no chances and anneal and lubricate.  I will say this, although small in size, the tool is precisely made.  I doubt if I will ever use the tinier punches, but the four larger ones have potential.

I keep the set in an Altoids mint tin. It does not come in any kind of storage container other than a rather weak plastic bag.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ceremonial Blade

From scrap piece of Faux Bone™, acrylic paint, fetish is a small guinea feather, dyed chicken feather, tucked into a seed bead with a piece of balled end coper wire. Eventually be hung from black greek cord.

Still trying to finish the Beach Combing piece.

My remarks about the false copper wire elicited some responses from a manufacturing company in India, named GKon Electronics.  Google apparently picks up on key words so word gets spread around.  Sorry, I am a small, very small user of copper wire and have no room or resources for huge bulk orders.  :-)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Set Back

Due to the impure copper wire, my projects are on hold until new copper wire comes arrives.  The really bad part in that I will have to take some things apart and rework them, other pieces won't be salvageable, and will have to be trashed and remade.

Your patience is appreciated.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

More on impure copper wire

You cannot ball the ends of wire pieces using a torch with the impure copper wire if you're into that in your jewelry making.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Impure Copper Wire

I have just discovered that impure copper wire is being sold in some craft stores.  I had to stop and do some clean up at the bench and while picking up some copper wire cut offs that missed getting a little container I have for that purpose, that some of the wire stuck to pair of tweezers that happened to be magnetized.  I checked some of the spools of copper wire with a magnet and the wire stuck to the magnet, indicating it was not pure copper as sold.  Maybe this won't make a difference to you in your work, but it should.

P. S.

I knew I would forget something! Note to self, make notes.

Just a suggestion.  You just got your piece of Faux Bone™ in the mail.  Cut out about a two inch square of the material.  Wet sand one side only, going from course to fine grits.  Sanding one side allows you to get the feel of the results, and will help you grip the material for the next procedure.

With your file, rough shape one edge, then smooth in down, using the circular filing method as shown in the tutorial DVD, checking the results as you go.  Sand this side.

Next, drill some holes of the appropriate size, and practice riveting.

Next, practice adding textures with craft knife, stamps, or other materials.

Practice adding color, with acrylic paint, shoe polish, alcohol based ink, color pencils.

Now you're ready for the big time and a finished one-of-a-kind piece that rocks!

Avoiding the Oops! Moment

Learning from my mistakes is part of what this blog is all about.  I have no formal training in jewelry making.  The result is that I often do things wrong, the hard way, or do something too soon, or too late, or forget entirely. I have an innate tendency to work without any clear aim as to what the final outcome will be.

Well, enough of that. let's get on to the title, "Avoiding the Oops! Moment."

Let us assume you have cut out the shape you want from a sheet of Faux Bone™, and you've shaped and sanded it.  Next comes adding some decorative elements to the piece.  You decide to add a spiral made from 16 gauge wire.  Assuming you have read your wire gauge to drill bit size chart correctly, you have avoided an Oops! moment, and now you drill a hole to attach the spiral.  If you stop the drill's rotation before withdrawing it from the material, you may have just created an Oops! moment.  You have a stuck drill bit and likely a broken one, when you try to remove it.

Operations such as sawing and drilling create friction and friction means heat, and when you stop an operation, the material very quickly cools and seizes the saw blade or drill bit, tightly gipping it. It is almost impossible to saw out a shape without stopping somewhere.  Mr. Dancik has a neat little trick to free the blade.  A reason to obtain the DVD tutorial.

To continue with adding decorative elements.  You attach the spiral.  Now, you want to add some wire rivets to add interest.  These rivets are to be flush with the surface. Mr. Dancik refers to these additions as "information."  You decide these rivets are to be made from 20 gauge wire, drill the holes, insert a piece of wire into a hole and trim the wire to the appropriate length, using Mr. Dancik's two playing card trick..  Oops!  Did you remember to make a tiny countersink around the top and bottom of the hole?  Okay, now to make the rivet, first the top and now you the bottom. The first hammer blow sent wire down into the hole!  Oops! What happened?  The 16 gauge wire spiral held the piece up above the surface on the bench block or anvil, so there was no solid surface under the rivet. There is a way out, move to the edge of the bench block, but that can become a little tricky. The moral of the story, attach elements of different thickness in order of least thick first, most thick last.

Let's say you want to attach two half-drilled pearls, one on the outside and one on the inside of a piece where you have made an interior cut-out.  You drill the appropriate holes for the wire stub where the pearls will be attached.  If you did not measure the size of the pearls to see how much room you need to attach them, you just created an Oops! moment.  I did just that and reported it below in New Elements in case you missed it.

Of course, you are not nearly as fumble-fingered as I am, but I mention this as it may be of help. Always, when using small items, work over a catch tray.  Things have a way of getting away at the most inopportune moments and tiny little beads, nuts and screws, rivets, etc. hit the floor and bounce who knows where? I have a mandrel screw that has never shown up since I dropped it.

Hope I haven't bored you too much.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saga of Faux Bone™ continues

Sorry, no pictures today. Cloudy, rainy.  Maybe this weekend.

Still working on the Beach Combing piece.  Making the various elements wasn't the real problem I am facing, it is assembling it into something that looks right.

The crooked little stick I mentioned previously turned out to be a piece of vine and is not usable, so that's out of the composition.

The cartouche (the spell checker doesn't like the spelling), piece mentioned earlier is on hold. I know what I would like to do with it, but it may be beyond my ability to pull off.

In the meantime, I'm starting to experiment with colored pencils on faux bone, specifically the recommended Prismacolor type.  We already had a large selection on hand, so I didn't have to buy any additional ones.  We had some other types, but they do not work very well at all.

Thanks to all who have been stopping by for a peek.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Elements

Shown are some more elements which may or may not be added to the final piece.  Things remain in flux as to what to add and what to leave out.

The pieces on the right and bottom were not meant to be as they are now.  Here's why. You probably have heard the old adage, measure twice and cut once?  In this case it was: Check your drill bit size twice before you drill. I have some half-drilled Swarovski pearls.  These accept 20 gauge wire.  So what do I do?  Read this nice chart of drill to wire sizes from Nancy L T Hamilton I have taped to a shelf over the bench, wrong.  So, instead of putting a No. 67 drill bit in the chuck, put a No. 60!  Really bad move. No. 60 is for 18 gauge wire and the pearls, they aren't going fit.  So I have to start over and ball the ends of 18 gauge and then with the aid of good old Zap - a - Gap glue, glue on some seed beads in place of the pearls.  As a rule, though, you do need to use some kind of glue with half-drilled pearls, real or artificial.

Learn from my mistakes, folks.  It's all part of what my blog is about.

One little thing I've found out, which may or may not be of help to anyone working with faux bone, is pre-sanding.  There are few hard and fast rules about working with faux bone.  In general, you draw out the design, saw, shape and then sand.  In some cases, when working with a small piece, if I sand off the slick surface of the material, it is much easier for me to hang on to it.  As I have mentioned before, I sometimes have to rely on a ring clamp or a vise to hold small pieces.  My fingers just aren't strong enough anymore.  You have to do what you have to do.

Speaking of sanding.  There is a most informative nice little video on Ganoskin about an easy way to sand interior spaces that are hard to reach. A very neat solution to what is sometimes a vexing problem.

Found a nice little crooked stick when out on a walk today.  A piece of that might just work in the Beachcombing piece.  We shall see.

Next post in 2 - 3 days.  Thanks for stopping by to see what's up with the journey.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Beachcombing (in progress) phase 4

Another addition to the mix of what eventually will become a necklace.  This piece has been heat formed into a dome using a heat gun and a wood dapping block and punch.  Lines drawn with an X-acto knife and patina is Paynes Gray acrylic paint. Paynes Gray has a bluish tint.

I will start work on some of the stringing.  I may not post anything until Monday, so be patient.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beachcombing (in progress) phase 3

Two more components to be added to the mix, which will eventually become a necklace.  Both pieces were heated and then formed.  The starfish measures about 7/8s inch across.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beachcombing (in progress) phase 2

Unfinished Faux Bone™ sand dollar and a seashell shard.

The sand dollar is one inch in diameter, or 2.5 cm, and is 1/8th inch thick, or about 3 mm.    The shard is about 1 and 1/2 inches long, or 40 mm, and is 1/16 inch thick, or about 1 1/2 mm. My measurements are only approximate.

The sand dollar has just a bit more detail to be added, then the patina.  The shard is probably finished.  I not sure that anything else needs to be done. The patina is orange acrylic paint with interference red acrylic paint over the entire piece.  It isn't noticeable in the photo, but it gives a sort of nacre-like sheen to the piece.

The shard began as a sort of ellipse with one end rounded.  I gripped one end in a pair of round nose pliers, heated the material with a heat gun, then gripped the other end in another pair of round nose pliers and twisted the piece.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beachcombing (in progress)

This was posted on to show some other things one can do with Faux Bone.
The scratches and long lines are made with an X-acto craft knife.  Nail sets used to make the circles. A checkering file was used to create the lines along the edge.  The seed beads are on tiny steel veneer pins inserted into holes drilled into the edge with a No. 74 drill. The material is 1/8th inch thick at the beginning, now thinner all around the edge.  Patina is burnt sienna acrylic paint.

The pendant is nearly finished and in the end there will be additional items added to the stringing to make the necklace complete.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pendant 6

Finally finished something.  Another pendant which I have no name for it.  It is rather thrown together, with no clear idea as to what it should look like or represent when finished.

A number of techniques are involved here:  From wire work, bead stringing, riveting, eyelet emplacement, texturing, etc.

Materials: Faux Bone™, brass wire and eyelets, seed beads, ocean jasper, Swarovski half-drilled pearl beads attached with Zap-A-Gap on wire posts, Golden red oxide acrylic paint, Spirit River light blue Unique Hair (a fishing fly-tying material.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pendant 5

Brain fried, unable to think of a better name for this piece.  I guess that's because I'm not overly thrilled by it.  Threading the beads on the wire was a real chore to get done. I don't believe I will do this kind of thing again. But you have to teach yourself what's good and easy, and what's difficult enough that you don't want to do it that way again.

Couple notes which may be of interest. The group of parallel lines on the side were made with a medium cut checkering file. You can turn the file 90˚ degrees and make a crosshatch, or 45˚ degrees to make a diamond pattern. Pretty neat tool.  Bit on the expensive side, though.

The round brass dots are rivets set into the faux bone with a neat little tool from Crafted Findings.  It is their Riveting System for 1/16th" Semi-tubular Rivets.  It works really well.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Just as I thought.  Cut the wire too short!  Live and learn. Sometimes, making mistakes is the only way to learn.

Anyway, it isn't terribly bad, just not as good as it could have been.  The rock look isn't too terrible either, but that's just my opinion.  Again, I used Golden brand acrylic paint, Payne's Gray, Burnt Umber,  Red Oxide, Quinacridone Magenta and Interference Red.  The latter gave a little gloss to the finish. Rather than using the finger painting method, I used stencil brushes and daubed the paint onto the faux bone.

I keep telling myself to think ahead and hopefully not make mistakes.  Ha! that'll be the day to remember!

Monday, March 7, 2011

More on Real Faux Bone and some of the tools I've been using.

Long winded title.  I've started using "Real" in writing about faux bone to distinguish the "real" from other materials such as polymer clay.  The arrowhead, previously shown in an earlier post, has been textured with a 3/16s inch round bur and the next step will be to drill holes for a copper wire spiral.  One of the tag ends will a leg inserted in a drill hole and riveted. The other end will be a wrap around the top of the arrowhead, and then become a bail.  I sure hope I left myself enough wire!

Here's a run down on the tools.

Fine point Sharpie pen.  Jeweler's saw with Robert's special blade.  Bench pin. Eight inch, half round wood rasp and a four inch half round rasp. The bur mentioned above, and a 3/4 inch diameter bristle brush, in a flex-shaft. The brush cleaned up some of the crumbs left in the depressions. A sanding stick with 30 micron grit. No. 67 twist drill bit. Triangular scraper to bevel the top and bottom of the drill holes. You could use a larger size drill bit to do the same job.  This makes a seat for the rivet.  The ubiquitous three pliers, round nose, flat nose, chain nose, and the flush cutter.  Flat needle file, No. 2 cut to file the wire ends flat.  The so-called flush cutter I have always leaves a little peak on the wire.  Riveting hammer, small, almost teeny size.  Save the fingers!  Steel bench block. The two, hole punched playing cards (gauge for cutting the wire end to make the rivet). Various colors of acrylic paint, what ones I don't know as yet. Have to experiment to see what looks kinda rocky like.

Anyway, hope to finish it, tomorrow, sometime.

Also in the works, a cartouche shape (ha! the spell checker just went nuts!), which I will attempt to stamp something into the material.  They won't be Egyptian, though.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Another Pendant

Amazing! Two posts in one day!

Anyway, as sort of promised, a photo of a faux bone creation.  Wonder if I'll ever get good at this?

Three inches overall height by one and one half wide. Sterling silver wire and beads, plain, old, ordinary craft store seed beads and one goldstone bead.

Drill/Wire Gauge Size Charts

There are several places on the internet where you can find these helpful charts. Two of which I find particularly helpful can be found at:


I use Nancy's more than the other.  Nancy's doesn't show drill sizes for wire gauges smaller than 26.  If you should ever need to find a drill for 28 gauge, or 30 gauge, Monsterslayer's chart does show them.  28 is a No. 83 and 30 is a No. 87.  These sizes are available, but they are expensive.  I don't know why an ordinary jewelry maker such as myself would ever need these sizes anyway.

Today it has turned cold. Winter has returned.  So my efforts at improving my workspace goes on hold. Thus, I hope to finish a faux bone piece for your viewing pleasure, which, if I get enough natural light, I will put up either today or tomorrow.  No promises as it is pretty dreary outside.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pretty Day

Today was a nice, warm, beautiful day.  I elected to work outside, getting ready to plant a few flowers so naturally, didn't get a lot done on the bench improvements.  Did make a shelf for the flex-shaft motor control to sit on, and out of the way.  It won't be taking up room on the bench top where things can get pretty crowded.  Also the flex-shaft chuck key now has a permanent site, where it is held in place with a magnet.  If it gets tossed down in the catch drawer, it gets lost and I have to fish around amongst  all the other tools to find it.  Got all the electric cords for the flex-shaft motor control and the foot pedal  captured.  No more cords underfoot.

Some new twist drill bits came in today. Now I have a complete set of drill bits for various wire sizes, from 8 gauge down through 26 gauge.  It's weird how the drill sizes match up to the wire gauge sizes.  the drill size for 8 gauge is a No. 30 drill,  and 26 gauge is either a No. 78 or a  No. 79.  The latter is due to some variation in size from one wire supplier to another.  I'm guessing that it may be due to a new die, or one that's worn and probably needs to be replaced, or it could be a difference in tension on the wire when drawn through the die.  I dunno, you tell me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another Faux Bone Pendant

Well, folks, I don't know about this one.  It's different, but I made a lot of mistakes in getting it done.  Top is to the left with a curled wire bale underneath.  Approx. 3 7/16's x 3/4 inch or 8.7 x 1.9 cm. Sterling silver rivets,  copper spacer beads with Robert's brass rivets to hold the spacer beads.  I originally had it hanging from a wire wrap loop. Didn't like the look.  Had to put a rivet in the hole.  No round wire the right size, so had to take a piece of 14 gauge square wire, put that in a pin vise and hammer a portion round to fit the hole.  Unnecessary amount of work, which comes from not thinking ahead.  Plus, I probably used too much acrylic paint.  Oh, well. Live and learn.  Got to make mistakes to learn.  If you can that is.

O.K.,  going to stop working with the jewelry making for awhile. Have to make some additional bench improvements.  I'm thinking I might have some more faux bone pieces done sometime week after next.

Hey, I'm Famous!

Well, not really, but it was so nice of Judy Freyer Thompson to feature me on her blog Musings.

Thanks, Judy

Interested in real faux bone, check out her blog.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Two Pendants

These are not the ones I had intended to post.  The one on the right is from left over scrap from another project which is currently unfinished.  It sort of resembles an ancient pottery shard.  This piece has no shaping from filing.  I am showing this to illustrate that depending on what the end results you want the piece to be, you don't have to shape the material with a file.  All the shaping was done with the saw, and a triangular scraper.  And the standard sanding sequence. Markings with an X-acto knife blade and a awl.  In addition to the burnt sienna paint, I used a bit of pyrrole orange.

The piece on the left uses Robert Dancik's brass rivets, available from Crackerdog Designs.

Both will eventually be strung with Greek leather cord.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Judy Freyer Thompson, of Crackerdog Designs pointed out that I had misspelled Robert Dancik's name.  Good grief, I'm usually better at proof reading than that.  Not only did I misspell Robert's name, I found I had made other errors.  I think I've got them all corrected.  My apologies to Mr. Dancik and to all who follow or view this blog.

On another matter, the piece I was hoping to post tomorrow, well old John goofed.  I will have to start all over.  Maybe I can finish another piece and post it on Friday.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What's new?

A new faux bone project is in the works and if everything goes according to plan, I hope to post it sometime next week.  Can't give a definite date.  It isn't a straight forward project, at least not for me.  It has involved some nerve-wracking drilling and until I start completing the project, I won't know if I drilled it correctly or not.  In the meantime, I completed the sanding on two other pieces.  I have a tendency to get tired of working on one piece at a time so I switch over to another and work on that for awhile.  I knew a writer who did that.  Always had a half dozen different stories going on at the same time.

Anyway, check back toward the end of the week.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Copper and Faux Bone Pendant

Here, at last, is my "so - so" effort at producing something with faux bone.  Below I take you through the steps and tools which I used to make the pendant,

The materials used are: Faux Bone (available from Crackerdog Designs). one eight inch thick, and Copper Wire, 12 and 20 gauge.  The 12 gauge was annealed prior to use in this design.

As I take you through the steps which I took to make this pendant, I will also discuss the tools used.

I began by drawing out a design shape on the faux bone with the Sharpie, then drew a rectangle around the shape.

Using a Jeweler's Saw Frame, adjustable, 5 1/2 inch throat, equipped with Robert Dancik's special faux bone fine tooth saw blade. along with a Bench pin with a "V" slot, I cut out the rectangle with the saw.  Then I cut out the design shape. It's easier to manipulate the saw around a design on a smaller piece. 

After cleaning away the crumbs left by sawing, I used a Half-round, Coarse Cut Files (bastard cut),  8 inch cut length,  to refine the shape and bevel the edges all around the piece. Then switched to a smaller 4 inch finer cut Half-round Mill File.  Actually, the file selection depends somewhat on the size and shape of the pieces your working on.  Filing will create a lot of crumbs. You may want to wear an apron and have a wastebasket handy.

As I filed away, I used an old Toothbrush to clean the crumbs from the file.

After getting the shape refined, I did use a Triangular scraper, very lightly to clean up some spots.

The next step was sanding.  Sanding produces a kind of softness to the surface.  Using pieces of Wet and Dry Sandpaper, 240, 320 400, & 600 grits, soaked in  container of water, progressively sanded the piece.  After sanding with the 600 grit, following Mr. Dancik'ss instructions, turned the 600 grit paper over and used the back side to further polish the surface, then vigorously rubbed the piece on my pants leg.

The next step was to decide how I would add various decorative elements and texturing treatments to the piece.  Believe me, it wasn't easy with so many different kinds available.  I confess I dithered for quite some time trying to decide what to do.

Finally, I decided to add rivets and wire spirals, then decide where to place them.  The rivets would be made from both 24 gauge and 12 gauge wire. The 20 gauge would also be used to make the spirals.  The spirals would have two legs which will be used to affix them to the pendant.  Or are these tails?  Using a pair of Flush Cutters I cut off a twelve inch length of wire.  Using a pair of Round Nose Pliers, made the beginning of the spiral about 1/2 inch from one end of the wire. This 1/2 inch will be bent down to form a leg which will be inserted into a hole in the faux bone. Then finished the spiral using a pair of Flat Nose Pliers, stopping every now and then to check the size of the spiral.  When reaching the desired diameter, I cut off the wire leaving enough extra to for the second leg.  The second spiral was done the same way except one leg was purposely left long.  This long end would be used to make a bail.  All the legs were bent down and set aside for later application.

Using a small 6 inch Scale, I measured the distance between the legs of the two  spirals and marked them on the pendant piece.  After determining the remaining drill points, I used  the point of the triangular scraper, to make little divots as starting points for the drills. 

Using a Flex-shaft, fitted with a No. 60 Twist Drill Bit, and a small piece of Scrap Wood. drilled the holes for the 20 gauge wire, and did the same for the 12 gauge wire, using a No. 48 Twist Drill Bit.  I also drilled a hole near the top of the piece where With the point of the triangular scraper, I then slightly beveled the tops and bottoms of all the holes.

Now for Mr. Dancik's special trick for riveting.  Take two Playing Cards and tape them together on one side.  Then cut or punch a hole through both cards.  This will become a gauge to determine the height of the rivet above the surface of the faux bone pendant.  A simple, yet elegant tool.

I cut off a short piece of the 24 gauge wire with the flush cutters and filed the end of the wire with a No. 2 cut Barrette Needle File, to remove the little ridge left by the cutters, and to slightly round over the end of the wire to make it easier to push through the hole.  Using the flat nose pliers to grip the wire, I pushed the wire through the hole until it was 2 cards thickness above the surface. Turning the piece over, threaded the wire through the hole in the cards.  Laying the cards flat against the piece, and laying the flush side of the flush cutters against the cards, cut the wire off and flied the end flat.

Putting the cards back on the piece, with the wire stub inside the hole in the cards, laid this flat on a Steel Bench Block, and with a small Riveting Hammer, formed a rivet head.  Removed the cards, turned the piece over,  and formed the rivet head on the reverse side.  Doing one rivet at a time, proceeded to form all the rivets.

Next, I attached the spirals, pushing the legs through the holes, and using the same methods as above riveted the legs of the center spiral and one leg of the top spiral.

With the riveting hammer's cross peen, I added some texture to the spirals.  Then with some Liver of Sulphur  added some patina to the spirals, then scrubbed the spirals with a 3M green scrub pad to remove some of the patina.

Using an X-acto Knife, I scratched some random lines into the faux bone, and made some random dots with the point of the triangular scraper.

For the final surface treatment, I smeared the surface with Golden Acrylic paint, Sepia color, working it into the scratches and dots.

The bail wire was work hardened with a Nylon Mallet, the using round nose pliers coiled the bail, snugging it up against the top of the pendant, 

Thanks for your interest in my blog.  John