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.