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Working with steel in jewelry


#1

I am very interested in learning how to fabricate Pieces that
incorporate steel but am afraid of starting. I’ve read Tim’s book on
knife making and am not sure if the standard jewelry equipment would
work. I’ve gone by knifemaking supplies places and the billets are so
thick compared to what I’m used to working with. Since I don’t think
you could roll them down that leaves forging which intimidates me. (
I’m bad enough at forging in silver that I can’t imagine doing it
with steel.)

Advice on things to start with or books to consult would be
appreciated. I hope eventually to incorporate Damascus steel into
some of my pieces.

Thanks


#2

belinda!

i just began using some mild steel in my jewelry! it is very fun!
try try try!

i went to the scrapyard in town. i picked through the piles of
scrap and found some steel that was of a decent gauge for my work.
they have TONS of small scraps at these places, and i am sure your
town has one. mild steel, as noted on orchid in the past, is steel
without a high carbon content. this is steel that will rust. i’ve
experiemented soldering it with regular silver solder, without much
of a problem whatsoever. the only thing you MUST remember, is to
have a separate pickle pot, as steel in the pickle will cause all
other non-ferrous metals to be copper plated. also, to keep the
steel a nice grey color, you must seal it with a sealant of some
kind, spray or dip or maybe wax, to keep it from rusting. or if you
like the rust idea, you can follow the advice that has recently been
posted on here! also, many books offer advice on annealing steel.
follow their written advice, or experiment yourself and see how the
metal responds to bending, forming, etc.

furthermore, do not forget about your cold connections, such as
riveting! perfect for ferrous metals! you can also join pieces of
ferrous metal with pieces of non-ferrous metal. such as jump
rings…remembering to use cold connections can really enhance your
work. i know that once a person starts joining metal with heat, they
often forget that there is another way. "the complete metalsmith"
has some good options for cold-connecting.

bettina dittleman (enamelist from germany) even solders steel wires
together and enamels them–for beautiful results!

you can also use stainless steel, although i have not tried this,
because there are many different grades of stainless steel. i am
not sure where to buy top quality stainless, but perhaps someone on
orchid knows…or you might ask abrasha. ( http://www.abrasha.com )
his work also offers good ideas about how to use stainless. doug
wunder ( http://www.edouglasdwunder.com ) also uses cold connections
with titanium and niobium, which you can learn from as well.

there is no harm in experimenting so go for it!!! joanna gollberg