Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rolling Mill

I love tools! That's one of the reasons why I enjoy making jewelry- I can absolutely justify spending time browsing through my catalogs and spending money on new tools that will let me do really cool things. I recently bought this rolling mill when I found it at a local store at a price that did not make me faint. I had been coveting a mill listed in one of my catalogs, but between the listed price and the considerable shipping cost, I could not bring myself to get beyond the coveting stage. While this is not my DREAM rolling mill, it is doing a fine job for me. I drilled two holes through my work table, did some minimal assemblage and I was ready to roll.

I went to a yard sale last month and found a bin of fabric and trim scraps. There was a piece of lace that had a lovely pattern, and I bought it for 25 cents. The woman told me that the lace had been passed on to her from her mother and she was very fond of it (although being a 25 cent yard sale item suggests she wasn't TOO fond of it). I didn't have the heart to tell her what I was going to do with it since I knew it was destined for the mill. I sandwiched part of the lace between two equal sized pieces of brass and then cranked the 'sandwich' through the mill. The pressure of the two steel rollers compresses the three layers, leaving an imprint of the lace on both pieces of brass. The pressure also destroys the lace. Sorry, yard sale lady.

Years ago, I found an ugly old lamp that surprisingly had a base made out of sterling silver. I dismantled the lamp and cut the base into segments which were then flattened with a plastic mallet. The lower piece in the above photo is how the base looked after the flattening. Using a different type of lace, I ran a couple of the base pieces through the mill and now have a beautiful, imprinted floral pattern.

I had received a card decorated with a dimensional flower and thought it might make a good impression. I placed it between two pieces of brass and got an interesting ghost-like image of the flower. I hammered the brass pieces flat, annealed the metal and cut out discs.

The discs were drilled to create links and then domed in my dapping block. I lightly sanded the surface to get a soft, lustrous matte finish. Some of the discs were used to make the above bracelet. My tools are great!

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