Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

16th Century pieces and enameling

I am currently working on a 16th century girdle book. I have the
pattern and a design, but I lack the knowledge I need…

I want to attach some stones (mainly cabochons) and some enameling.
Because of the enameling, I know to do that first, then last step,
attach the cabochons…

The problems I am having are these:

1.) Until I can afford a kiln and full enameling setup, what is a
way I can at least try some of my patterns and make sure they look
right? Do any of the coloured resin system things work?

2.) What metal do I use to form the little ridges and lines to make
the place to hold the enamel?

3.) And where oh where can I get a decent, idiot’s guide to
soldering? I have listened to a ton of people tell me how and what
to buy, I still bought the wrong things and have almost soldered my
fingers together (that tip is HOT)… So I just need something that
takes me nice and slow, maybe with pics??? And a defined list of
what to buy, (too many people have just said ‘flux’ and 'solder’
but there are many many ptions,)

Any help would be appreciated! As usual, my plans haev exceeded my
knowledge!!!

Thank you!
Kim

I am currently working on a 16th century girdle book.  I have the
pattern and a design, but I lack the knowledge I need... 
    I want to attach some stones (mainly cabochons) and some
cloisonne. Because of the enameling, I know to do that first, then
last step, attach the cabochons... 

The settings for the cabochons need to be in place before the
enameling. It’s not a good idea to solder on an object with
enameling.

The problems I am having are these: Enameling can be done with a
torch so having a kiln is not always necessary. If you are
enameling something small enough, a little "pot" kiln will work. 
1.) Until I can afford a kiln and full enameling setup, what is a
way I can at least try some of my patterns and make sure they look
right?  Do any of the coloured resin system things work?
2.) What metal do I use to form the little ridges and lines to make
the place to hold the enamel?

Fine silver cloisonne wire is used for the lines. The surface may
also be etched so that there are cells to fill with enamel.

I think that there is a lot that you need to learn before you
attempt this project. If you just want the look, that is one thing
but if you are trying to be historically accurate, you should try to
find some classes in enameling and metalsmithing. If you are doing a
book, you don’t want it full of mistakes.

A very good book is “The Complete Metalsmith.” If you are talking
about a hot tip, I suspect that you are doing low temperature
soldering with equipment from a hardware store. Silver soldering is
done with torches and high temperatures.

I still bought the wrong things and have almost soldered my fingers
together (that tip is HOT).

Good luck
marilyn smith

Hi Kim,

This is a pretty ambitious project! I’d like to suggest that you
plan on using the resin-based enamel substitutes. They can really
be quite convincing on a project like yours and don’t require
expensive tools or years of practice. One of the things that make
enameling so challenging is that the enamels melt at a higher
temperature than most solders, meaning that all your solder joints
would flow and all your pieces would disconnect. This is especially
true if the “hot tip” to which you referred is on a soldering iron,
which will only heat to a few hundred degrees; enamels usually need
temperatures over 1500 degrees! Enamelists either fuse their work,
meaning that they connect them without solder by melting the edges
together (doing this without melting everything into a lump takes
exquisite torch control and tons of practice) or use very high
temperature solders (also really difficult for a beginner).

If you were to decide to use the resin products, you could even glue
your separating wires to your piece and only need to solder the
structure itself.

Good luck, and be easy on yourself. Don’t expect perfection the
first time you try things - enjoy the process!

Linda in MA, with a foot of snow in the garden and more expected
tomorrow, Monday AND Tuesday

Dear Kim,

If I were there mentoring you, I would never let you start a project
that had multiple techniques in it which you had not yet mastered. I
would want you to learn to solder by making some chain and doing some
overlay or something like that on a simpler project. I would insist
that you try enameling on a simple pendant or pair of earrings, and
have some success with it, before you tried it on a complicated
project.

What I feel I would be protecting you from is this: You start a
piece, get in way over your head, goof up part of it, don’t know how
to fix it and proceed, and abandon the whole thing, feeling very
discouraged. I’d like you to have some small successes along the way
as you gain the skills to actually build a complicated piece.

Perhaps you are the rare, extremely persistent person who can keep
going through these difficulties, but why make it so hard? Learn to
walk before you try to run. That is how most people do it.

I hope you are not discouraged by my words. That’s not the idea! I
want you to have success with your vision.

M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler
Goodland, MN
www.craftswomen.com

Dear Kim,

Speaking from the perspective of someone who learns things by
running up to the edge of the cliff, looking over for a bit of
planning (test the wind, look for large rocks - hey, are they
cuttable?), then jumping feet first and enjoying the ride, I think if
passion to make something specific is driving you, then try it! I
know if someone told me I couldn’t jump off the cliff, I had to walk
slowly all the way around over and over before I could try something
fun, I’d not do anything at all.

That said, of course you need the basics but you CAN learn them by
trial and error, sans drudgery. I know lots of people will say I’m
wrong, but oh well!

It all boils down to your own style of learning. My very first piece
was a very complex, difficult piece and it turned out great and it
got me so jazzed I kept going. Had someone told me I HAD to solder
boring stuff first, well, I guess I would not have listened anyway!
(Just ask Mark, who lurks here - he was the guy I decided to take a
class from when I got crossways!)

Roseann Hanson
Desert Rose Design Studio
www.desertrosedesignstudio.com
Tucson, Arizona
520-591-0508 voice/message
866-421-1813 toll-free fax

I guess one of the things I forgot to mention is a bit about my
background.

I have done Elizabethan Costuming for 15 years now. I learned by
agreeing to have a dress done for a competition that was 2 weeks
away. The problem was, I didn’t even own a machine or know how to
thread one. The result, my dress won.

I have always prided myself on pushing hard. Ask my apprentice, she
sometimes hates me! I try it, and when i mess up, I take it apart or
start over and try again, until it is perfect.

I have started in jewelry now. I have a design drawn up for a girdle
book that has no soldering or enamel on it at all. It is basic and
testing the construction design of the piece. I just know that to go
to the next design I have planned is going to require soldering at
the bare minimum. Hence, I need to learn that. I know how to set the
cabochons. Now it is up to learning the enameling piece. I COULD do
it with alot of “other” techniques, but that is going to look cheap
and that is not what I am going for. I refuse to epoxy and rubber
cement the whole thing together.

I am looking for classes here, but can’t seem to find anything that
is practical for me. They want to teach me how to arc weld… Not
what I need…

And as far as jewelry classes here, I found alot on hemp
jewelry… Again, not what I need…

So, for now it is trial and error method. But as that has always
worked for me in the past, hopefully it will continue to do so in
the future.

For those of you who sent me references to books and such, please
know that I have several of them on order now… and thank you!!!
As the project progresses, I will be posting a project diary on my
site (when I finish developing it)…

I think I have way too many projects started! (lol)

Thank you!
Kim

Continue from:
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/16th-century-pieces-and-enameling

For those of you who sent me references to books and such, please
know that I have several of them on order now.. and thank
you!!!!!!! As the project progresses, I will be posting a project
diary on my site (when I finish developing it)... 

I don’t know where you are located, but I can put you in touch with
our local Mistress who teaches enameling at Art/Sci nights.

Betsy, (currently in DFW- (in’t great to be on the net?) i.e. Elfsea,
Ansteorra) and Orchid lurker