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The Work Room is the Creative Journal of Wendy Sue where she shares her creative journey in all things handmade. The Work Room also offers an alternative to your typical jewelry making workshops. Scroll down to the end of the page to see how you can learn to make your unique piece of artisan jewelry online.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Beginner's Silversmithing : Part VI - Saw & Solder

This is just a simple pendant necklace that Shaunee wanted, designed by herself of course. It was inspired from a necklace that she saw in one of the 'idea book'. Okay, I gave it that name myself.:P What it basically is, is just a folder file thingy which holds cuttings of many many different designs of jewellery for us to get our inspiration from.

Just like how when we're stuck for ideas, we flip through magazines for inspiration. It's what most people who makes jewellery do, I guess. *shrugs*

On the day of arrival, right after dinner, Yvonne passed us a few 'idea book'. Two, I think. For us to look through, to get an idea what are the pieces we want to make. That was when I had the idea for the two ring (rings are my favourite piece of jewellery!) and Shaunee; the necklace. Sa Kor made a ring for herself too.

Like I mentioned earlier, Shaunee was too young to handle the tools and I, therefore ended up to be the craftsman to execute and materialize her design.

Let's take a closer look on the necklace.

As you can see from the pictures above, it's a pretty straightforward design. You have a big jump ring as the centrepiece of a sterling silver chain necklace. The focus is of course the centre piece. You have the two ends of the chain, a silver bead and small jump rings strung onto the big jump ring before it is being soldered together. Hanging from it is three small pendant of a moon, heart and star shape. and I really do mean that they are SMALL!

The pendants were so small that it was almost insane to actually saw it out from the metal sheet. I'm not saying that it can't be done but for a beginner, that's definitely some kind of challenge lor.

The prominant part of the design is the three pendants. So, it started with Shaunee sketching out the shapes of the pendants on a piece of paper. The paper was then taped onto the metal sheet as a guide to cut the shape out.

And then, the sawing began with a jeweller's saw!

Can you just see how insanely small it was?! o_O

Okay, the thing about the jeweller's saw is that it's not as daunting as those other types of saw because the 'teeth' of the saw is so small that you almost want to dismiss it. But then, you can't because if it can cut through metal sheet, it's not child's play. In other words, it's a very 'friendly' tool to use! LOL....

But, one major problem I had when using it is the blade kept breaking!

You see, the blade is so fine that it is so susceptible to breakage, especially when it is used for heavy duty work like sawing through metal. But then, it wasn't really a major problem after all because you can just easily replaced it. :P

Okay, fine. The more skillful ones will not break as much blade as I did. Hey, it was my first time handling a jeweller's saw and it was intensive labour work, I tell ya!

The end result.........

My fingers on the left felt like cramping after I was done sawing the three pendants. Although you have the bench pin to keep the metal sheet in place, you still need to hold the sheet down in place with the other hand for a better control when sawing.

And as you can see above, there was an added loop on top of each endant to act as the bail. I will of course not be sawing the hole in the loop. I would be an idiot to even bother to do so when there is the better option of drilling the hole through instead! :P

Remove the paper and the pendants are done!

I know the edges are a bit distorted but the shape was kinda distorted to begin with. :P

The next thing to do is to solder the small jump rings and then to put everything together in the order that the designer Shaunee wanted.

And so, I reckon this is the necklace that in a way cost me the stone setting lesson. You see, it's a rather straightforward design, one which doesn't really take a long time to make. Soldering itself is fast. The part which took up a good deal of the time is the sawing. It wouldn't have taken up the amount of time that I had for a skilled person though. Oh, well......

Oh, one more thing. You should also notice that the end necklace has this matte surface instead of the shiny smooth of the metal sheet that we see earlier on. That's because the necklace has been given a satin finish. It's one of the few finishes that you can give to sterling silver jewellery and this is done using the frosting wheel.

It gives the surface a frosted look, which I believe many called it the satin finish, although I don't know why they call it a satin finish when if you think about it, satin cloth has got a smooth and shiny surface. Hhhmmmm...., maybe a frosted finish a more aptly term?

Anyway, this is how a frosting wheel looks like.

This is a smaller version to be attached to a drill. There is also a bigger one that attaches to the grinder. The frosting wheel is actually made up of many steel bristles. What happens when you run the wheel is to have the steel bristles rotating and hitting onto the surface of the silver to give it that frosted look. Cool, huh?

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