Thursday, May 19, 2011

RAW 52/17, 18 & 19 - Moonstone Rings

While working on a custom ring, I just thought I would make a few more.  Each of the rings have an inner bearing, open back, and a U shaped band.  Each bezel is treated slightly differently.
Pinstriped Moonstone Ring with a simple bezel.
Teardrop Moonstone Ring with a textured outer bezel.
Round Moonstone Ring with stamped squares.
Each moonstone has wonderful ice blue schiller, and they were fun to make.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quick Tip on Separating Discs

Separating discs are very useful in scoring metal for bending and when cutting tool steel like graver blanks.  The discs are very hard but brittle.  I use to get really nervous when using these discs to cut because I keep wanting to see if I'm cutting at my marked line or not.  Here's a quick tip to make the task easier.

1.  Here I mark a line for cutting.
2.  As you can see, you can't see through the disc.  It's like trying to drive in thick fog.

3.   I use my pliers to make a notch on the disc.  How much to break off?  If the notch goes all the way to the screw edge of the mandrel, then it's too deep.  Even with the notch, it will still cut like a new round one.
4.  Now I mount the disc back on the flex shaft after the "enhancement."
5.  See how I can see through the notched disc?  Now I can cut or score with more confidence.
6.  Another look at the modified disc at high speed.

And of course, ALWAYS wear eye protection when using separating discs.  A dust mask is highly recommended as that disc can kick up a lot of dust.

(This post also appears on the EtsyMetal Blog.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

RAW 52/16 - Amethyst Crystal Cluster

Amethyst Crystal Clusters
Amethyst Crystal Cluster Ring
Trying my hands on setting crystal specimens.  This is a small cluster of amethyst where the crystals are left in their natural state.  Amethyst is a purple quartz and the birthstone of February.

Friday, May 6, 2011

RAW 52/15 - Dovetail Ring

Dovetail Ring

The dovetail joint is one of the oldest and yet most common joinery in carpentry.  Examples can be found in tombs of ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Japanese civilizations.  The concept is to rely on a series of trapezoidal shapes to interlock two pieces of wood boards.  When fitted properly, it requires no glue or fasteners like nails or screws.

Since the dovetail joint and hundreds of others joinery techniques are not rigid connections, the wood (being a material that flexes a bit) can expand and contract in different humidity and temperatures, allowing some lateral movements from winds and earthquakes.

For the May 1 Ring A Week challenge, I wanted to spotlight the dovetail joint as found in many traditional Japanese structures.  Had it not been for the tsunami, I believe many buildings would have survived the magnitude 9.0 earthquake in March earlier this year.  This ring, together with many other artisan created rings as featured on flickr, is donated and the proceeds will go toward relief for Japan.

My ring was cut from one sheet of heavy gauge sterling silver.  No solder was used to join the trapezoidal ends together.  It is free to flex a little.  Only a small disc of silver was soldered to provide enough thickness for setting the garnet.  Fits like a US size 5.5.

1.  I drew a template first for cutting.
2.  The sheet was bent into a ring shape.
3.  Dovetails are locked in and pilot hole drilled for the stone.
4.  Finished ring, garnet is set with the pavilion facing out.