Thursday, 16 April 2015

April 16

Round and Round

I made a linked circle brooch for myself some years ago. It garners lots of attention so I decided to make one or two for my etsy shop <>. It's an interesting project, so I thought I'd share it here.

Prototype and Beginnings 

Here is the first step showing the two circles for the new pin along with the version I made for me.  In this photo, I have arranged the overlapping circles and used a felt marker to number them and mark the areas I will forge to accept the wire that links and holds them.

The new one will have a slightly heavier gauge of wire so I will have to do some serious forging here. If you are wondering about that black object under the pieces, it's a hockey puck :-). The hard rubber provides the right amount of support plus enough give to let me shape those circles without too much heavy pounding! I don't remember what I worked on years ago but I do remember shaping it took ages!

Next Step — Grab That Hammer 

In this photo, I have shaped the circles. I used a steel rod (close to the diameter of the sterling wire) with that brass hammer and slowly stretched the metal until the wire could be fed, under-over, through the circles.

When you are forging (hammering) metal, it becomes hard and brittle so you have to stop from time to time and re-anneal (heat) the pieces. You sure don't want to get this almost shaped and then see it split!

The pattern on that hockey puck shows that I've been beating on those circles for quite some time to achieve the fit needed.

Putting It Together

The next step in this process was to thoroughly clean all the parts, flux the contact points, then solder it all together.

I decided to decorate the surface with those silver balls. I soldered them on after the main parts were assembled. I had to make a couple of runs at that as the darned things, being round, kept rolling off the brooch as soon as I brought the torch close! Patience, Dix, patience. Wait until the flux dries and it will hold them in position.

Oh, Yeah, Findings

Of course a brooch needs a pin and clasp so you can wear it. The final shot shows the hinge and clasp in place. Next up, position the pin, close the hinge to hold it and polish the piece.

In a day or two, I will get the photos taken and list this in my shop. I'm thinking of making another version with sterling plus copper or brass. Opinions welcome.