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Flawless chains


#1

I’ve started building chains out of fat sterling wire - 2mm wide. After
tumbling, they look truly handsome. However, eagle eye here is bothered by
the tiny marks left by my pliers - even the round noses mark the sterling
slightly when I join the jump rings in preparation for soldering.

Who in this group has solved this problem? I’ve tried wrapping the pliers
with different kinds of sticky tape,but it inevitably slips, making the join
not solder perfect.

Helpful hints really welcome

Thanks

Cathryn


#2

I’ve started building chains out of fat sterling wire - 2mm wide. After
tumbling, they look truly handsome. However, eagle eye here is bothered by
the tiny marks left by my pliers - even the round noses mark the sterling
slightly when I join the jump rings in preparation for soldering.

Who in this group has solved this problem? I’ve tried wrapping the pliers
with different kinds of sticky tape,but it inevitably slips, making the join
not solder perfect.

Helpful hints really welcome

Thanks

Cathryn


#3

I’ve tried wrapping the pliers
with different kinds of sticky tape,but it inevitably slips, making the join
not solder perfect.

Helpful hints really welcome

There is a type of liquid plastic for coating plier handles (for comfort)
and other uses - available at most hardware stores. It comes in red, blue,
yellow. I think you just dip it and let it dry or perhaps dry it with a
hair dryer. Someone else jump in here and give this stuff a name… I
think it may work for your purposes.

Kim


#4

Are you using fine silver? Then perhaps the silver is too soft.

If you are using sterling, and it does not spring together for a nice flat
joint, then perhaps the metal has been too annealed and is not hard enough.
Are you cutting the pieces with a fine sawblade? If not,that will make the
joint cleaner and easier to line up. Also use the highest solder you are
comfortable with, the high silver content will make a cleaner seam.

But being a perfectionist myself, I always go over the seam with a quick
touch of my fordom tool and a high polish rubber wheel. :slight_smile:

Elizabeth


#5

At 07:32 PM 12/3/96 -0800, you wrote:

I’ve tried wrapping the pliers
with different kinds of sticky tape,but it inevitably slips, making the join
not solder perfect.

Helpful hints really welcome

There is a type of liquid plastic for coating plier handles (for comfort)
and other uses - available at most hardware stores. It comes in red, blue,
yellow. I think you just dip it and let it dry or perhaps dry it with a
hair dryer. Someone else jump in here and give this stuff a name… I
think it may work for your purposes.

Kim

I’ve seen this product sold under the names of “PlastiCoat” and “Dip-It”;
readily available here on the east coast. It needs to be reapplied
periodically but works great for coating surfaces you don’t want marred.

Susan

C Gems
Original Designs and Period Jewelry
cgems@pipeline.com


#6

have you tried dipping the points of pliers into that red plastic stuff you
can get to coat tool handles?


#7

Hi Cathryn,

I have encountered, but not solved the problem. I had a recent
experience that gives me a different slant on the issue.

Over the summer, I started working with a new gallery in a prominent
location. The manager and employees really seem to love the stuff, but
it could be selling a little better. C’est la vie… Anyway, one of
the employees was flipping through my portfilio and focused on a
southwestern style overlay bearpaw pendant with a small turquoise cab.
I still had the piece and had not included it in the inventory for the
gallery.

I felt the piece was really not up to standard. I think I missed the
solder flow and overheated the piece, causing the 24 ga. backplate to
warp a little. I had also soldered the bezel in before sanding the
overlay part flat, causing a less-than-smooth reflection on the silver.
I chocked it up to a learning experience.

Anyway, the guy really wanted it, and when I dropped it by the gallery,
a girl there wanted it, too! More than what was for sale in the case!
She wishes she had seen it first, and was amazed it wasn’t included in
the initial inventory. I explained why, and she felt that those "flaws"
gave it the character of being handmade.

Well, that threw me into a headspin, because like you, I strive to do
everything as perfectly as possible. I’ve seen work done intentionally
with a “crude” look, and I’ve seen crappy work, but there seems to be a
third type… visibly wrought?

I’d be inclined to do what you’re doing… being as careful as possible,
but don’t sweat the minor flaws if it adds to the “character”. I would
also be interested in hearing from other viewpoints!

Dave Sebaste


#8

At 06:50 AM 12/4/96 -0800, you wrote:

Hi Cathryn,
I explained why, and she felt that those "flaws"
gave it the character of being handmade.

I have the same thing all the time . I make forged damascus steel for my
knives…
Once in a while I get a weld flaw. I leave it in because my clients want
that aura of the handmade product.

Striving for perfection but lagging behind
Darrel Ralph

If your interested http://www.infinet.com/~browzer/bldesmth.html


#9

Dave,

I too have been critized sometimes that my work is too flawless, a touch
"commercial" OUCH!

On the other hand, I have been praised for my craftsmenship.

What to do?

Do what makes you most comfortable.

Elizabeth


#10

Dave,

I too have been critized sometimes that my work is too flawless, a touch
"commercial" OUCH!

On the other hand, I have been praised for my craftsmenship.

What to do?

Do what makes you most comfortable.

Elizabeth


#11

At 01:52 PM 12/4/96 -0500, you wrote:

Your clients should drive the answer to that question. Mine expect premium
quality products . They say the same thing if it nat as good as a commercial
pc they wont buy it… but they still allow for a bo bo here and there .
Darrel


#12

Cathryn:

I have been making lots of chain with 12ga round sterling links. Lots of
tool marks and imperfections. I use grinding wheels (exterior) and small
files (interior) to get rid of the most obvious problems. I then tumble in
ceramic carbide media, fine cut media and then walnut shell. I don’t think
we have to do perfect work, but I certainly don’t want jaggies and other
obvious flaws.

Kenneth Gastineau
@Kenneth_Gastineau1


#13

In a message dated 96-12-03 21:06:43 EST, you write:

<< I’ve started building chains out of fat sterling wire - 2mm wide. After
tumbling, they look truly handsome. However, eagle eye here is bothered by
the tiny marks left by my pliers - even the round noses mark the sterling
slightly when I join the jump rings in preparation for soldering.

Who in this group has solved this problem? I’ve tried wrapping the pliers
with different kinds of sticky tape,but it inevitably slips, making the join
not solder perfect. >>

If I find that my links are marked by pliers, I use my needle files to remove
the deep
marks. To remove the shallower marks, you could try steel wool or sand
paper.

Good Luck! Rita


#14

Dave and Cathryn: I ran across a hang tag for a lady who makes artsy non
metallic earrings and thought you might be amused at what she writes there.
She says in her copy that she INTENTIONALLY includes small flaws in her
work so that people will know its not made by machine. I too really sweat
the perfection of my pieces and I don’t think I’ve made a really perfect
piece yet despite trying. One thing I"ve had to live with since I do silver
work and have to solder maybe 20 times on a single work is firescale. You
do that many solderings there’s just no way around it. What that means is I
have to polish it off where I can and this rounds alot of some details. But
the fact is I’ve grown to like the roundness that this imparts to most of
the work. If I didn’t have to do this the work would look stale and cut
out. If I ever get into higher karat gold work it’ll be interesting to see
what changes . Unfortunately most people can’t tell good craftsmanship from
bad but I still do my damndest to learn and do things the most perfect I
can or I wouldn’t be hanging out in this group soaking up knowledge like a
sponge. So I am really greatful to the people in this group and it strikes
me what a unique collection of people we are right here and right now in
the world and how we all help eachother using a unique and new technology
(the internet). Yes, pioneers we be…Dave

Art Jewelry for Conscious People
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html


#15

Dave Stephens wrote:

If I ever get into higher karat gold work it’ll be interesting to see
what changes. Unfortunately most people can’t tell good craftsmanship from
bad but I still do my damndest to learn and do things the most perfect I
can…

Some jewelry designers I know who produce fashion jewelry that is cast and
clunky in sterling silver recently started producing their designs in 18K
gold and found that what were considered desirable variations or “marks of
the hand” in sterling were considered “defects” in gold. Exact same
designs, cast from the same mold.

Kim


#16

Hi David! You wrote:

Well, that threw me into a headspin, because like you, I strive to do
everything as perfectly as possible. I’ve seen work done intentionally
with a “crude” look, and I’ve seen crappy work, but there seems to be a
third type… visibly wrought?

I’m finding that the third type is the most difficult to achieve. My work
has always been very “clean”. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of making
it “perfectly” and have always received lots of compliments about “quality
craftsmanship”.

At some point I started to notice that the metalwork I was most attracted
to was looser or more crude. This type of work seemed to have more life to
me. Generally what attracted me to this work was visible tool marks or some
other less than finished look that was deliberate (but made to seem
accidental?) on the maker’s part.

I’ve spent alot of time examining my own need to make things perfectly. I
think that for me, the time spent on making each piece perfect has really
gotten in the way of my creativity. It takes up alot of time and it puts me
in a mental space where I am forcing the metal to do what I want rather
than working with the metal. I’ve been making a conscious effort to work in
a looser manner (so difficult!), and to let myself play more in the studio.

I am starting to see results and am beginning to see what this "third type"
you mention is all about. I think it has something to do with knowing when
the piece is done and stopping, rather than finishing it all the way to the
nth degree. The tricky part is determining when a file mark works and when
it looks like poor craftsmanship. Knowing how to work a piece to perfection
is very helpful because at least you know where that extreme lies. You can
always work back from that. So far it’s a tightrope walk for me - more
often than not I still fall off to one side or the other (too tight, too
loose).

Kim


#17

I’m finding that the third type is the most difficult to achieve. My work
has always been very “clean”. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of making
it “perfectly” and have always received lots of compliments about “quality
craftsmanship”.

Kim

Kim: I know what you’re talking about, I strive to do absolutely perfect
pieces but sometimes I design things with spots that are near impossible to
get into and polish. And also like you I strive to be perfect but the
jewelry that really awes me is ancient jewelry or more free modern jewelry
with an ancient look. Jewelry like you see in chain stores to me is too
perfect, looking machine made which most of it probably is. One of my most
favorite art jewelers is Barbara Bach. Her work is so simple, uses common
stones along with pricey gemstones and each piece makes a strong simple
artistic statement no one can miss. One thing she does as her trademark is
that she hates highly smoothed polished metal and she dips her metal work
into acid to get a rough etched look which really works with her stuff. I
have a problem with being too symetrical. Sometimes to “play” I think it
would be good to make a piece without drawing anything and just start doing
textural things to metal and let go and build on the fly. DAve

Art Jewelry for Conscious People
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html


#18

Hi Kenneth,

Do you have three separate tumblers for the different media, or do you
clean out the tumbler for each pass? What kind of tumbler do you use?

Dave Sebaste


#19

Hi Kim (and all),

You wrote:

The tricky part is determining when a file mark works and when
it looks like poor craftsmanship. Knowing how to work a piece to perfection
is very helpful because at least you know where that extreme lies. You can
always work back from that. So far it’s a tightrope walk for me - more
often than not I still fall off to one side or the other (too tight, too
loose).

Your comment and Dave’s serve to reassure me that I’m not crazy… or
maybe we all are. Maybe we should take a closer look at our flux! :wink:

Anyway, I’ve decided that I am not qualified to tell when it works and
when it doesn’t. I think I’m too close. It’s probably like when some
parent freaks out over their kid’s behavior, and all the onlookers are
thinking, “What a nice kid… if their parents would only appreciate
them…”

I see work (like some in this month’s LJ) that I think is ghastly…
bezels that look like they were set with a pocketknife… and a dull one
at that! I also see great stuff that makes me want to quit (like the
inlaid rings in this month’s LJ)… how could I ever do anything like
that??? I think my “eye for perfection” makes me a less-than-effective
judge of my own work, and sometimes, apparently, the work of others.

At least I’m not alone, and I’m in good company! :slight_smile:

Dave Sebaste


#20

Dave Sebaste wrote:

Hi Kenneth,

Do you have three separate tumblers for the different media, or do you
clean out the tumbler for each pass? What kind of tumbler do you use?

Dave Sebaste

Dave:

I use a large vibratory tumbler. I have only one working base right now and
use 1 bowl setup with a flow-thru system for abrasive medias and I have
another bowl I use only for walnut shell. I can’t stress how important it
is to use a flow thru system. This makes a lot of difference in the
effectiveness of tumble finishing. It is another expense as the little pump
motors burnout a couple of time a year. Without flow thru the media only
cuts for maybe 1 hour, then the slurry is too thick for effective cutting
action. About all that happens then is the jewelry impinging on each other,
which is a primary cause of “orange peel” surfaces.

Kenneth Gastineau
@Kenneth_Gastineau1