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Should I melt low-quality amber for adhesive?


#1

Hi,

I’m making a pendant which will contain both ebony and elk-ivory,
with a silver frame.

What I want to do is drill holes in the ebony and “lathe” bits of
elk-ivory for pushing into the holes, to make a constellation.

Since elk-ivory is fragile, forcing pegs of it into the holes with a
hammer would only shatter it. On the other hand, epoxy is out if I
want to call this fine jewelery.

I recognize that amber is a tree resin, an organic substance, which
can have adhesive properties. If I melt some with a hot knife or in a
candle warmer to fit a loose gap around the peg, would the resin
actually be sticky enough to adhere between two other organic
materials?

Thanks,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#2

If dowelled exactly,(measure the ivory and holes in your design and
recheck, to make sure the fit is perfect).Use a very lightweight
jeweler’s hammer (2 1/2 oz.) is perfect for tapping hard-to-fit
parts into place, You want the dowelled parts a little tight but not
having to bear down to force the pieces into place. resins, gums,
etc. may be too thick and unnecessary- but dosen’t make a piece art
jewelery or not because it contains it. same you shouldn’t really
need adhesive except for frame of metal. natural or synthetic doesn’t
affect the fineness mark you would put on the piece if using a
precious metal.

Copal (sweet gum resin), Gum arabic (available at international
grocery stores, art supply and and from some jewellery supply
vendors ( pre solved and brush able just let it reduce a bit in a dry
room before applying).

Art supply stores also sell hide glue- ready to mix -.which is what
i would probably choose as its the “hot glue” of the ancients and has
uses beyond jewellery and woodwork. If kept closed with a lid on it
(be sure to rub some petroleum jelly or beeswax in a humidity free
location stored nicely, perhaps in a custom made presentation box,
may last as long as thousand year old pieces that still remain
connected today. Even pine pitch (once hard, deep reddish and dried
on the tree) once crushed and melted in a container you can cover and
dedicate to it will work as a crude adhesive (you must skim the
insect parts, bark, etc. from nodules

you collect off the ground around the trees. If they are still
opaque leave them there: they aren’t ready to use as an adhesive
without adding other things to them.

) True cements work too.“man-in-a-can” is a widely available brand
that once set is carve able, sand-able, mould-able, etc, and cheap,
and there are a few new brands of extra fine “portland” cement in
small containers for beaders being sold by craft supply vendors.
Still, I think hide glue if it’s a natural material to natural
material you want to reinforce/join. A piece containing 22 karat gold
and epoxy doesn’t automatically make it costume jewellery! Just be
truthful about your assay markings- the design, materials quality,
the audience or commission and market as well as marketing will
dictate the tier, or a collection’s place within the scope of
jewellery. rer


#3

Andrew,

Ive used wood in jewellery, the main drawback is the way it swells
and shrinks depending on the humidity of where its being used or
stored.

So your going to need an adhesive that moves with the wood.

Despite being one of the most dense woods ebony is still a porous
substance and needs to be stabilised with something like bees wax in
a terpentine base.

Id still use epoxy resin for gluing your ivory into the ebony, youll
only need a clearance of 1/1000 in.

Hammering them in? your joking of course!! As for it being fine
jewelley, with your surname it will automatically be fine.

The product from your hand will speak for itself.

await a photo of the finished item.

A nice idea I may add.

Tho for contrast i would use abalone shell.

I did a similar pendant with the constellation of orion.

This was done with diamonds set in platinum flush mounted with a
deep transparent enamel in a sky blue colour.

Still have a picture of it.

lovely piece.

Ted


#4

Hi Andrew

My grandmother used egg white as an adhesive to restore porcelain,
it does however yellow with age. But it is very tenacious.

Richard


#5

Hi,

I'm making a pendant which will contain both ebony and elk-ivory,
with a silver frame. What I want to do is drill holes in the ebony
and "lathe" bits of elk-ivory for pushing into the holes, to make a
constellation. Since elk-ivory is fragile, forcing pegs of it into
the holes with hammer would only shatter it. On the other hand,
epoxy is out if I want to call this fine jewelery. 

Nonsense. You can’t take everything people tell you here as absolute
truth (even my advice). While using glue to hold stones in metal
settings is frowned upon for good reasons, jewelry made from wood and
ivory is a different matter. Glue is perfectly appropriate in an
application like that (although purists might not consider it
"fine"). I’d probably use a waterproof carpenter’s glue rather than
epoxy for this project, but a good grade of epoxy (not the 5-minute
stuff) would work too.

I recognize that amber is a tree resin, an organic substance,
which can have adhesive properties. If I melt some with a hot knife
or in a candle warmer to fit a loose gap around the peg, would the
resin actually be sticky enough to adhere between two other organic
materials? 

No, amber doesn’t have adhesive properties, and it can’t substitute
for glue. Copal resin, which is often sold as “young amber” (the
resemblance is only superficial) might work that way, but not as well
as real glue.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com