Monday, April 6, 2009

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

So the other day I was so proud of myself. I had finished a lovely ring, my favorite thus far (see previous post), I wore it out to dinner to universal praise (exaggerating is my forte).

But then of course, the next work day (yesterday) went horribly. Everything, everything, everything went wrong. I worked ALL DAY LONG on two rings. Two. Let me give you a guided tour of my no good, very bad day.

1) Thinking I was smart and wanting to save time and money, I bought two draw plates in order to make make whatever gauge of wire might be needed for a particular project. One draw plate is awesome, the other one (for smaller gauges) is not. See below.

POS drawplate:

Good drawplate (also the more expensive drawplate):

2) So around 10 in the morning I started work on this set of 14kt raw circle rings. The customer wanted the bands to be thinner than the settings, so I had to draw down some 12 gauge wire to 14 gauge. It all started out badly. My vise isn't fixed to anything sturdy. It's on a small stump that isn't bolted to the floor. It normally works ok for most things, but to use the draw plate you have to be able to pull against the vise (the plate is clamped in the vise). So, no dice. I eventually got it to work by sitting on the ground and putting my feet up against the vise. Imagine it. Nice, I know. You should have seen me. It was silly.

3) So the difficulty with the draw plate was compounded by the by the fact that I didn't have a larger charcoal block to anneal my metal. So, if you know anything about metal working you can guess what happened. Uneven annealing is never pretty.

Fruits of my idiocy:

The wire became brittle and broke. See above. That's a ring I was trying to make and it became too brittle to bend up in the little "prong" that the setting sits on. That's gold. It just wasn't my day. I spilled water all over my filing cabinet, the small draw plate sucks, I missed lunch, and I ruined some expensive material. Oh well, it was a good learning experience I suppose. It was all my own fault for not being more careful. It's not a total loss though. I'm planning on some small gold pebble rings.

Anneal, anneal, anneal.

I did finally finish the rings, after it was too late to go grocery shopping or make it to the gym.

So now I'm off to finally go grocery shopping. I can't eat mac and cheese out of a box two days in a row.


Grammatically Delicious Designs said...

Sorry for your woes. I just wish I understood any of what you were saying. I want to make jewelry, but the only classes around here are for chemical application on crops and wheat weaving. Neither will teach me a thing about annealing! I know I could find someone on the local reservation who would teach me to make jewelry, but it wouldn't be the same. :(


Bean Collins said...

Hi Danielle!

I tried to comment on your blog the other day, but for some reason my browser wouldn't let me. I wanted to tell you to use sandpaper on those silver rings (220, 400, and 600 grit) that you made, and that I really liked the wood necklaces. I think you should pursue that idea some more.

This is a good book for a general working knowledge of metal smithing:

"The complete book of jewelry making" by Carles Codina

And I would totally go to the reservation and find someone to teach you. Classes are overrated!

Cheers and good luck!