Tag Archives: sawing

What’s Going On

button3It’s my first shank button!

But before we get to that, well, this round of classes has been canceled because Bob is having some serious health issues I won’t get into here, and he’s going into surgery soon. (Hope he’ll be OK!)

Apparently, though, there’s going to be an open studio situation, so I’ll have to figure out what I want to do. Actually, there is one thing I have to do: my sister-in-law requested a dragon pendant, something like this sketch I made that’s a bit like something she showed me (but not too much):


This is going to require a lot of sawing, with a few interior cuts I’m not sure I’m good enough to handle. So last night I worked on some scrap silver, just trying to make different squiggles and shapes:

button1This disc was going to be something else entirely, but I never got around to it (you can see I made seven cuts along the edge; it wasn’t as interesting as I thought it might be.)

So, after cutting that up, drilling some holes, cleaning and polishing, I had a weird bit of silver I didn’t know what to do with. As I also have a ton of base metal discs I also don’t know what to do with . . . hey, why not put them together?


I kind of liked it with a brass disc I once textured with a very coarse grinding wheel, and a big copper piece with some random hammering around the edges. I realized two of the holes in the silver disc were close enough to make a sort of slightly-off centered button. I drilled everything carefully to accommodate a piece of 14-gauge scrap copper wire (U-shaped, to look like rivets on the front and a shank on the back) and sandwiched it all together. Wedged a bunch of rods in the shank for support, and clamped it in a vise to do the riveting. That went a bit easier than I thought it would. The only thing I wish I had thought to do was to maybe hammer the shank a little flat, so there would be absolutely no give, no layers slipping down (the copper one moves just enough to annoy me.) Also, I’m tempted to put a brass tubing rivet in the remaining hole, because on the big screen it just looks empty and dumb.

Eventually I’m going to make a cowl or something with some green/blue yarn handspun by my friend Kristi, but until then, the button has no home.

And speaking of sawing:

lotus1The lotus is a holdover from my sandpaper-copper-rolling mill days, a faint impression in the protective brass sheet that I wanted to do something with. Unfortunately, the lotus impression was just a bit too faint to make sense, so I cut out the shapes and did my best to sand and polish without losing the sandpaper texture. It’s going to be a pendant soon.

And of course, the other thing up there is daruma. I cut him from the backing and now I need to make the oval a bit better, as well as a lot more grinding and polishing to make everything smooth and shiny. It’s like that never ends, and I never get it right in the end anyway. Suppose I’ll learn.

Edit: Now I’m sure I’ll learn! I found this video from beaducation.com that’s a pretty thorough explanation of different polishing bits and how to use them properly. Let’s put it this way: any time the narrator says “I see my students do this all the time,” well, that’s me.




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Blade Breaker

I love frogs, and my trusty old 1974 Jewelry Craft for Beginners has a template for a “big gold frog” with a stone set in its back.  The piece is a bit bigger than I’d like, but I would like to learn prong setting, so I came up with my own version.  I also poked around Pinterest trying to get ideas for more frog jewelry.  So, I came up with a template for a simple, stylized frog that I can put this old acrylic “cats eye” cab into:

brassfrog1I’d like to be able to say that I’m getting good with the saw, because I did get it to go where I wanted, and took all the twists and turns rather well . . . but I did break a few blades on this one.  The better-quality, more expensive ones, too.  (I’ll need more experience before I can say whether they were worth buying.  I suspect they might have been, despite my amateur sawing.)

brassfrog2I’m at the filing stage now, and my skinny diamond-coated needle file is getting a good workout.  Seems to be going well, but needs a bit more work.  And, frankly, I’m scared to pull up the prongs and see if they’ll even hold my cab.  Keep you posted.



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Filed under pendant, practice