Day 6: Paddles!

I really like the look of wire bits hammered flat and strung into a necklace with beads. There are many variations possible on this, and I plan to explore them over time (what a great use for clipped wire ends!) but for now, here’s my first piece incorporating the idea:

modprim

This is made from prefab chain, metal beads in a mix of color finishes, and 12 gauge copper wire. The wire is hammered in one direction at one end, and the opposite at the other. It’s good practice for hammer control, and I strive to get better at it (though I do like the random curving and imperfections in the pieces here.)

One reason I started this months ago and set it aside is because of some difficulty I’ve been having drilling metal at home. I don’t think I’ll be getting a Foredom flex shaft until Christmas (and maybe not even then), and my husband’s Dremel is really not designed for this kind of work. Every time I try to grind along with the smallest Dremel bits available, I have trouble. Maybe I’ll get a few uses out of each bit, but they wear out fast.

This is why I splurged on a pack of Irwin drill bits, size 61-80. I suspect I shouldn’t be using them in a Dremel, but here I am.  Kept the speed relatively low, used a little beeswax, and cut teeny tiny holes in these paddles like butter! You can’t imagine how happy this makes me. One of the reasons I’ve been dreading riveting practice is because of my troubles drilling holes.  Perhaps I can get on that now.

modprimprogressHere’s my setup for drilling. I took this picture right before I made center punch marks on the Sharpie dots. On this first attempt, I used basswood, which turned out to be a bad idea (too soft; wires sank into wood on punching and bent.) On the second try, I used oak scrap, and it worked like a dream.

I’m very happy this worked out, but not everything I try does. So maybe tomorrow I’ll talk about some trouble I’ve had in the metals lab recently (uh-oh!)

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