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

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Faux Bone in progress

Shown are pieces of faux bone in various stages of completion.  Some still have to go through the sanding cycle of 240, 320, 400 and 600 grit wet and dry sandpaper, plus a final polishing before adding, as Robert Danzig says, "information" to the surface.  That's any stamping, texturing,  or color, etc.

I should have included a scale in the photo to give some indication as to size of the pieces.  The oval pice in the middle measures 1 3/16ths inches.  It will probably end up  tad smaller when finished.  I really want to try and finish the bottom piece tomorrow.

Hooray!  The snow is melting!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Too Much Snow

Woooie!  My wife and I are both tuckered out!  Cleaning off a forty foot double driveway is a bit much for us old folks.  But we got it done, got the car out, and celebrated our victory by going over to The Village Inn restaurant for coffee (decaf) and pie.  Apple for her, lemon meringue for me. I like apple just fine, but their lemon meringue is terrific!  No mail delivery, no UPS, no Fed-X and no newspaper!  Darn!

And, as you might imagine, very little got accomplished in the faux bone department.  Before going out and tackling the driveway, I did start an arrowhead (sort of), design out of a piece of scrap left over from the other ones.  Still have to finish sanding these.  The arrowhead isn't going to need much sanding as I will tap, tap, tap a ball bur mounted in the flex-shaft to simulate the knapping process used to create genuine arrowheads.  I should say that I hope that is what will happen.  I'm probably going to be stiff and sore tomorrow, and there's no prediction if I can get something done. I might just tinker around and draw up some designs for future pieces.

The blog here has been getting quite a number of hits lately,  Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.   I do appreciate your interest, and I'll try to make the blog as interesting as I can.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bone Wars Continue

There's only about 14 or so inches of snow that will need to be removed from around the car and driveway!  This NW Arkansas!  We aren't supposed to get this kind of snow!  So, I guess I will be shoveling snow instead of trying to do some jewelry work.

Believe it or not, I have managed to get something in the works.  I have four faux bone pieces in varying stages of completion.

First mistake.  Working too small.  Faux bone works much better for larger pieces.  If you ever want to try using this material, think big.  Two inches and up.  In other words be BOLD!  This is not to say that smaller pieces couldn't be done.  For me anyway, the smaller pieces are more difficult to hold onto.  Even larger pieces can be troublesome.  To facilitate holding the material when filing, I resort to using a ring clamp.  If you have strong hands and fingers, you wouldn't necessarily need a clamp.  Another reason to think big.

A common double cut, 8", half-round file or rasp, plus one single cut half-round file, and Robert's shaping tool, are all you need for shaping the material after sawing.  If your design shape has a more complex concave curve, then you might need a small 4", No. 1 cut, half-round hand file.  I doubt if you would ever need to use any needle files.

Then there's the sanding.  A necessary chore which you really need to do in order to remove the shiny surface of the material.  I'm not a big fan of this, but it pays off in the end.

To incise lines in the surface, all you need is a sharp pointed awl and an ordinary craft knife, such as an X-acto or similar.  Of course, there are endless surface treatments which can be done by stamping, heating the faux bone and pressing in any of a myriad of texturing sources.

Anyway, I'm beginning to win the war.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rio Grande

Rio Grande is having a huge sale with hundreds of items at reduced prices. Instead of working on jewelry making, I've been spending a lot of time going through page after page of sale items trying to find things that would be nice to have. I make a long list of things and then begin to ask myself, "Do I really need that?" It becomes a little agonizing at times trying to pare down the list to something manageable budget wise. I did put in an order for some items. Then later, after placing the order, I discover that I missed ordering a couple things that I really did need. Ah, me!

Anyway, I did do a little more experimenting with faux bone. If you want to try the material out, you will need Robert's special saw blade and some kind of tool to trim off the crumbs left from sawing. Robert has a special tool for that. You can get by with a sharp triangular scraper. I've found that a coarse cut file works well as a preliminary tool to clean up the sides of any straight edge piece. A belt sander also works well. When the material is cut, filed or sanded, it does create a lot of crumbs. Not so much dust as crumbs. You need an old tooth brush, or something similar, to clean out the teeth on files. A vacuum cleaner attached to the belt sander is helpful or you'll have crumbs flying everywhere. Keeping a waste basket nearby to clean files over, or under, between your knees when sawing will help keep the crumb horde under control.

The material is easy to drill, and will take a center punch divot quite well. As with metal, the drill bit can skate around, so make the divot before drilling.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice, Snow and struggles.

We had a fairly significant ice and snow event here in NW Arkansas. But, nothing like other parts of the country.

The struggle doesn't refer to the weather, but to my working with the faux bone material. They say, whomever, "they" are, that the third time is the charm in getting something right, or winning. Well, I am now on the fifth charm. No idea how many I have left! Anyway, the fifth attempt is looking far better than any of the previous ones. In lieu of the recommended swivel head cutter (a tool actually meant for wax carving), I have found a triangular scraper works pretty well. One has to be careful using it, as it will dig in, and then you may have a boo-boo on your hands. So, a light touch is needed. Also, I still learning about using the special saw blade. It's getting easier to use it, but for some reason, I'm still having problems keeping the saw from wandering, even though I'm going slow and easy and certainly not trying to force the blade to follow the line. I really didn't expect taking this long to do a simple task.