Sunday, January 20

Studio A Safety

Getting A Shine On - Safely
Since the hot studio rules were mentioned, it's good to also discuss the other area. Jewelry tools do require care.

Buffer Safety Rules
  • No sleeves longer than elbow
  • No jewelry, rings, bracelets or dangly items on hands or wrists
  • No necklaces around neck - choking danger
  • No long tailed shirts or strings on clothing necklines or pants waistbands
  • Safety glasses required
  • Empty box located behind the buffer to catch flying objects
  • Good lighting in buffing area
  • Turn buffer wheel off when turning away or bending down to pick up dropped items
  • Hold onto items with both hands very tightly to prevent flyaways and flingings
  • Get up every hour and stretch and walk around the studio for five minutes
  • Never walk away from a running buffer wheel, always turn off
  • When fatigued, do something else for a while
  • Take time, don't rush
  • ENJOY the process, seeing the results is the payoff of all the work that went before

The buffer used on front, back and sides gives a beautiful flawless finish. Very graphic and striking.

Monday, January 14

Studio Safety

Playing Safely with Fire
A few rules reign supreme in the hot studio, Studio B (Basement).

  • Safety glasses required
  • Pull back hair and bangs
  • No sleeves below the elbow
  • No long dangly necklaces or other jewelry to get caught on something
  • Fire extinguisher nearby and ready to go
  • No food or drink in the hot studio ever (no one ever died of hunger or thirst while working)
  • If the kiln or hot pot are turned on, the small lamp is also on, as a reminder to turn them off
  • Keep the heavy gloves near the kiln, as a reminder to put them on before venting the kiln
  • Never leave the room with the soldering iron turned on
  • Always use both hands when venting the kiln and opening the kiln door
  • Turn on the exhaust fans when creating fumes with solder or burnout in the kiln
  • Keep bowls of cold clean ice water nearby. In case of small burns, stick affected part in cold water immediately. Reduces the pain and likelihood of blisters
  • Pay attention to locations of anatomy when holding a hot soldering iron
  • Don't bend over to pick up dropped items without checking that head clears the table with hot items on it
  • Use brush to remove glass shards from cutting table frequently
  • Wear latex gloves when working with patina chemicals and pickle solution
  • Wear leather or vinyl apron and protective layers to minimize skin exposure to heat and chemicals
  • Practice active awareness when handling or working with hot tools
  • #1 Rule - ENJOY the time and the process. Don't rush.

Rules aren't written down or posted anywhere. Run through them internally each time, to reinforce the habits.

Saturday, January 12

Heat and Toast

Webcamera glances into Studio B in the Basement

Activities that generate fumes, shards, chemicals and wet or messy activities are set up in the basement, far away from the living area, the kiln, just popped in some cabochons of glass for pairs of earrings. Best place is in the basement for it. The kiln is firing, takes about an hour to gently bring the temperature up for the fusing and flash vent after firing, to bring the temperature down to 900 degrees F, then allow them to anneal and cool slowly down from there. There is a lot of time preparing the glass to go into the kiln on the prepared shelf, then time spent firing and waiting for cooling.

That time was spent using the torch. getting the new firing station set up. Ceramic tiles under the torch and under the hot wire balled ends. The copper and bamboo tongs are to pull things out of the pickle. Don't use anything with iron or other metal besides copper in the acidic pickle pot. Glass cutters, chasing hammer, rawhide hammer. Bench block, brass brush. Tools all lined up.

The round hammered links on the black rubber cube were fused closed using the torch also.

Pickled and polished, and shined with the brass brush. Going to use in a chain necklace, planned for tomorrow.

Like tools. Good tools make things go better. Glass cutting tools.
Toyo cutter (without oil, to use for cutting glass for fusing for jewelry) and grozing pliers. The red handled breaking pliers.
Keeping all these tools away from the soldering station, with the flux.
Flux is hard on tools. These are the good tools, keeping them oiled and wiped very clean.

Sunday, January 6

Heat Is On The Front Burner

Playing with Fire

Making a wire that has a balled end, with lengths of 20 gauge sterling silver wire, four cut 1 1/2 inches long and four at 2 1/2 inches long. Had mixed up the pickle solution first, hadn't done that before. Used a coffee warmer burner to keep the cup or so of pickle hot, testing with a photography solution thermometer. Then read and re-read all the butane torch instructions, had the fire extinguisher available. Pulled up the sleeves, put ceramic tiles down on the table top to protect it. Fired up the torch. Used hemostats to hold the wire in the flame, just past the small point of conical blue stream from the butane torch.

The wire balled at the end, got good sized nice round balls. Then dropped the wire in the hot pickle. Did the same to all eight pieces of wire. Didn't have any fine silver, so the pickle was necessary to remove the firescale and return the shiny finish. After five minutes in the pickle, the remaining soot was polished off by hand.

It worked beautifully! Love the organic look of the balled wire end. Did the longer wires first, re-did them afterward to get a larger sized ball to form. Getting brave. Couldn't wait to make something with them. Made two pair of earrings. Shaped the ear wires with the balled wire, hammered points to strengthen and enhance the look.


Aren't they quaint? Very simple and so pretty. This pair used the longer wires. The bead dangles come off and can be changed. The bend at the top is hammered gently, and the ends of the wires filed to a round smooth point. Very light and delicate.

These dangles are silver beads and crystal beads on sterling wire wrap. Don't the balls at the end of the wires give just that finished touch? Very pleased with the results.

Can use the same method to make ball ends on wire for headpins. Want to try some 24 gauge and some 18 gauge wire, to see the difference. The 24 gauge will be good with pearls and stones with very small bead holes. Have two more pairs, one long and one short length, to try out also.

FUN!

Friday, January 4

Ribbons and Pins

Working out the Ruts

Good light and a firm hand is required on the buffer. This side is the stitched muslin wheel. The trick is not to be in a hurry, and to pay close attention. The wheel turns quickly and can take a quick bite out of a piece.

Focusing on the pressure is key. Usually use both hands, but one hand has the camera.


The buffer is both the best friend and sometimes the worst enemy of getting a good finish on a piece. If too much pressure is applied it causes deep ruts that send the piece back to the sanding bowl to smooth them out.

Not fun to start over.

This piece has been sanded with 400, 600, 1500 and 2000 grit wet-dry paper. Then polished on the stitched wheel and finished on the unstitched muslin wheel.

The oval is 2 inches wide at the widest point and 1 3/4 inches tall across the mid-point.

These shiny pieces are very difficult to photograph, they reflect the light. The image is exceptionally clear.

The lettering says 'Fine French Grograin Ribbon' - could hang from a fine satin cord. Or have a pin back put on, to wear on a silk scarf.

Looks remarkably like an enameled glass surface.

Wednesday, January 2

Starts and Fits

Color Wheels Turning
Color images transferring. After a lot of false starts and re-starts, have seemingly found a consistent way to get a clear transfer of images. Trying to be regulated in the type of clay (Kato translucent) and temperatures, baking times, thicknesses. Repetition to ensure repeatable results.

This piece is 2 inches by 2 1/2 inches long. Pretty large for a brooch. It's easier to try new things on an oversized piece than to be messing with something tiny while you learn a new method.

This piece 'Fruit Wine Cherries' has been partially sanded and polished. It takes many stages of sanding and polishing to get a mirror finish.

This piece 'Vermont Boiled Cider' has not yet been sanded. It's still in a very rough finish stage. It's 2 1/4 inches by 1 1/2 inches. Getting slightly smaller in size.

The image comes through much clearer after sanding with 400, 600, 1500 and 2000 grit wet-dry sandpapers.

Then buffing on a stitched buffing wheel and final polishing on an unstitched buffing wheel. It takes a lot of sanding and polishing to get the shine that has no scratch marks or high/low spots in the finish.It's the first transfer that was satisfactory.

After trying about four other methods that didn't work as well.

Learned a lot about baking times and temperatures. A dedicated toaster oven and oven thermometer is very important.

Have an exhaust fan in the window, helping to draw out the smell of the baking clay. Even though it's very cold outside, it's good to keep the fresh air coming in and the clay fumes going out.

The pieces are apparently not water tight. Using cold water to shock the translucent clay to its clearest has to be done carefully to keep it out of the layers of the piece.

These are possibilities for the four pieces for the summer article. Tried to find images that have a summer theme. Baseball, apples, butterflies and fruit drinks.

If all the rejections were lined up and photographed it would seem to be a much bigger thing to have these pieces coming out as successes. Maybe photos of the no-go pieces will come later.

Still more to learn. Any thoughts?

Next steps, making the settings for these inserts.