Or, at least, a dragon.
This little dude is a pendant that I just finished up for my sister-in-law. She had shown me a picture of something similar a few months ago, asking if I could make it, and I agreed to try my hand. I changed it up a bit, though, because I didn’t want to steal the design and because I thought, frankly, I should do the mountain a bit smaller (it was more prominent in the original, needlessly so.) For the most part, I’m very happy with how it turned out.
Here’s my original sketch:
And here are the pieces after I cut them out and did a bit of filing. Note the angle of the bail lying there next to the dragon’s head; this is an idea I picked up from Bob. Solder that onto the back and you have a bail that is small and unobtrusive, but you can fit the damn clasp through there. Neat trick.
I did most of the work on this at home, though I had to texture the mountain in the studio (nice forming hammers are still a bit beyond my budget) and get the pieces sweat soldered together. I was nervous about that, but it actually went really well. Even if you end up with solder blorps, if you’re careful, you can melt them and sort of drag the solder where you want it to go with your flame, because it will want to flow where the heat is. I got the main parts done in two shots, and then the bail in one–I thought; a very small bit of it didn’t anchor down. I could’ve left it, but chose to add a smidge of easy solder and do it again. Now it’s fine.
I struggled with the surface a lot, though. The tumbler left it with a very shiny surface, kind of flashy in a way I can’t imagine my SIL liking. Plus, I had trouble getting a nice, uniform darkness on the mountain with silver black (I also tried liver-of-sulfur, which didn’t quite get me a uniform blue.) In the end I gave the whole thing a satiny finish with my radial bristle wheels and called it a day. I think the residual silver black around the tail sets it off from the mountain quite nicely . . . although I do see one spot I should fix up a bit. I never can stop fussing.
Anyway, since I mentioned Bob, he came by the studio last week, not exactly out the woods, but feeling better, which is good. I spent most of the evening at the soldering table, doing the tedious work of getting my very first chain together. It’s not quite done, so I’ll go on about that later.