Monday, July 25, 2011

Still Working on the Soldering

I really enjoy etching. It's so satisfying to have a piece of metal that nobody else has. My pieces of etched brass, silver nickel and copper are so wonderfully unique that I often have a hard time cutting them up for use in actual projects. I can be that way with a lovely piece of fabric. There is something magical about looking at a prized material while imagining the many possibilities of how that material could be transformed. I sometimes have to force myself to let go of that magical moment and.....use the material already!!!
Such was the case with this piece of brass that I etched with vintage images of a rooster.
This etching was done several months ago, and I have only recently begun to use it in some projects. Last week I cut a small piece to use in a ring design that I was envisioning.
I started out with a piece of sterling flat wire that was measured to fit my finger. The two ends were filed to meet flush for soldering. After soldering and pickling, I formed the piece on a ring mandrel using a high density plastic mallet. Whoops...could have gotten a better join. You can make out the solder seam at around 8 o'clock.
Oh well, by the time this project was done, that solder seam was the least of my worries!
Once I had the circle formed, I textured the surface with a ball peen hammer. Rings are subject to a lot of abuse, and a textured surface can hide many of the inevitable scratches.
I then took a small rectangle that I had cut from my rooster brass, filed the edges and corners smooth and soldered a small, square brass 'window' onto the surface.
I prepared for soldering my brass rectangle onto the sterling base by using a third-hand clamp which is especially useful when soldering something flat to something round.
Everything was going just great until it wasn't going great.
Right around the time that I expected the solder to flow, the clamp unexpectedly shifted, leaving my pieces out of alignment.
Oh no!! I lost my soldering mojo.
I ended up applying too much heat as I made a futile effort to realign my pieces, and my sterling started to melt. Ooooh....not a successful soldering job.
At least nobody sees the back of the ring!

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