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Thread: Total greenhorn, be gentle

  1. #1
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    Default Total greenhorn, be gentle

    Good day to everyone reading this and greetings from Finland! I am a 36yo sort of "jack of all trades" craftsman (read; know how to make many things, expert in none of them) and wish to take on a new challenge of making silver jewelry at home, namely rings but possibly others later as well. I've made a lot of stuff over the years spanning from electric guitars to award winning motorbikes to bows, some wood some metal but my work has always lacked the finesse of a jeweler which is the reason I want to try and learn new skills to better myself as an artisan. I have some experience of jewelry making, namely jump ring bracelets etc as a teen, I actually started making a traditional chainmaille bear hunter shirt once but after getting about an A4 paper sheet's worth done the piece was submitted to a local crafts exhibition to be on display, and during the disassembly of the display some individual of questionable morale took it upon themselves to relieve me of the possession of said piece which pretty much killed the buzz enough that I never got to start over. Many would propably recommend me to take a course which I'd love to do alas being a private contractor with two small boys and a wife with a three shift nursing job, added with the covid shutting down all courses attending one has proved quite impossible so my main source of information has of late been the youtube channel At The Bench by Andrew Berry which has proven quite useful so far. I have never soldered silver in my life but have done brazing and own both MIG and TIG rigs so manipulating metal is no stranger to me, but as said I need to hone my skills to develope the finesse needed for this.

    Quite the ramble there. Still reading? Here's a couple newbie questions:

    If I am to make silver rings, what sort of raw material am I to purchase? Is Fully annealed too soft? What would you recommend?

    I have ideas about making rings that are part silver part wood, what glue would you recommend to use? I have gorilla glue urethane glue, and access to different 2k epoxies. I've seen someone use CA glue but as the contact surface will be quite small I'm unsure if I'd trust superglues.

    Andrew seems to be using borax as the flux. I cannot find any locally but I'm probly making an order from the shop on this site at some point and they seem to carry it. I dabbed into tiffany glassworks some time ago of which ai have a vile of yellow fluid flux that seems to work wonders when doing electric soldering work on the previously mentioned motorbikes. I have zero idea what precisely that bottle contains, would you reckon that same stuff could work with soldering silver?

    I'm sure many newbie questions will arise as the journey kicks off, more of those as they come.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Scotland
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    Default

    Good Morning Matt and welcome. That was an epic introduction and what a journey back to jewellery. Pandemics will do all sorts to us!.
    So many questions . I’m not surprised the theft robbed you of your interest too.
    A couple of answers maybe for now. Most of us will have started off with a borax cone and dish, I’m not sure there was an alternative when I trained. Many have moved on to the liquid Auflux and you can get both from Cookson.
    You don’t say whether the wood will be part of the ring construction or an inlay? I’ve only done the latter and always used a 2 part epoxy like Araldite which can usefully also be used with wood dust as an inlay which I used to do with ebony.
    I think that was the start and end of your questions but it’s early in the day and my brain isn’t in gear yet.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2021
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    Vääksy, Finland
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    Ah, araldite, I've heard of that and know of people having used it to succesfully repair motorbike fairings as well though never used it myself.

    The wood will be a structural part of the ring either side by side with silver, or as a sandwich structure with the silver ring in the middle.

    Thanks for this, gonna search for and order some of the glue as I am currently repairing a set of bike fairings as well so it will go tp good use!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Bristol
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    The pandemic got me into jewellery making too.

    I never got on with the borax cone and switched to Auflux almost immediately which greatly improved my soldering skills in one fell swoop. When I started classes a few months later it was also the choice of my teacher.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    Well first of all, welcome Matt.
    Obviously you're not as green as you make out. All you have to do is to scale down your work, and use assay quality silver solder, which comes in hard, medium, easy, and x easy, and is used with flux as mentioned above.

    Whatever sterling silver you buy, it will soften when heated, for instance when soldering, and harden when deformed by bending and hammering.

    Alternatively you can use paste solder, which incorporates flux, but can lead to disasters when starting.

    You also need a torch for heating the piece as a whole, not just the joint, and a pot for warm pickle to quench and clean.

    Rather than go on and on here, I recommend that you get a used copy of this two in one manual, which is long out of print.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jewellery-T.../dp/1840921978

    It shows all the relevant tools and techniques in a simple way for beginners, and even suggests some elementary projects. Dennis

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddball Matt View Post
    Ah, araldite, I've heard of that and know of people having used it to succesfully repair motorbike fairings as well though never used it myself.

    The wood will be a structural part of the ring either side by side with silver, or as a sandwich structure with the silver ring in the middle.

    Thanks for this, gonna search for and order some of the glue as I am currently repairing a set of bike fairings as well so it will go tp good use!
    Dennis as usual has given the best advice. On the wood adjoining silver there is no way I would trust a glue to join the ends together. You would either have to solder a pin onto the silver and drill into the wood and glue or set the wood into the ends of the silver with a bezel which is quite advanced. I’m assuming that you’ll be turning the wood on a lathe for the sandwich version with sheet silver in between? That could either be glued or glued and riveted. I’m a fan of rivets!
    Last edited by CJ57; 27-08-2021 at 05:25 PM.

  7. #7
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    Ha, I forgot about the wood part, but then with so much said, wooden you? As Caroline has already pointed out, wood glued on is bound to fail, so you need wooden prongs or glued wires pushed right through.
    Even then, wood must be made water resistant by a long soak in resin, or it will warp in the rain. Dennis.

  8. #8
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    What is going on in here? Constructive criticism on a web forum, what sorcery is this?! LOL just kidding, I'm just a bit of a forum-a-holic and some of the niche ones can be a little.... elitistic to put it nicely. I'll see if I can get my idea drawn on paper or sth so we can all laugh about it (or even find a way to make it work?) Just be warned I SUCK at drawing.

  9. #9
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    Scotland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddball Matt View Post
    What is going on in here? Constructive criticism on a web forum, what sorcery is this?! LOL just kidding, I'm just a bit of a forum-a-holic and some of the niche ones can be a little.... elitistic to put it nicely. I'll see if I can get my idea drawn on paper or sth so we can all laugh about it (or even find a way to make it work?) Just be warned I SUCK at drawing.
    The one wood that will work is lignum vitae which I’ve used forever. Very hard, very waxy and used to be used for the ball bearings in ships most inaccessible areas. It’s what bowling balls( grass not 10 pin) used to be made of but maybe not a Finnish pastime. I bought mine at auction but I think the wood is easily bought elsewhere

  10. #10
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    Aug 2021
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    Vääksy, Finland
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    I was hoping to use a scrap piece leftover from the previously mentioned bow project, it's a three part piece with rosegum and jatoba with a black veneer in between. Truth be told I don't rightly care if the outcome will last forever I just want to see if I can combine different materials (but of course taking advice and criticism as most of the time you don't learn by talking but when you shut up and listen)

    I also have a few planks of Jarrah tree which is super duper dense and heavy like heck, and has a beautiful red color but haven't used it much for anything as it weighs a TON. On sth as small as jewellery I don't think the weight will be much of an issue.

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