My Not So Secret Recipe
If you want to have a go at this process, you will need:
• a piece of copper jewelry
• a plastic scrubbie
• scouring powder (I use Bar Keeper's Friend)
• a small lidded cooking pot (I got mine at a thrift store)
• some dry organic material: pine needles, bits of cedar, anything with high resin content
• a torch (jeweler's great but propane plumbers' torch will work for this)
• heat safe soldering tweezers
• archival wax or spray sealant
I photographed the tweezers (upper left in a third hand holder, which is handy but not essential) and my cooking pot at my soldering station but you really want to set up for this outdoors — it gets campfire smokey pretty quick. Obviously, it's not a task for a windy day.
Create Your Copper ItemOf course you need to create a piece first! In this case, I am working on a pierced pendant. I used 24 gauge copper but your design will determine your gauge.
This photo shows the paper pattern glued to the copper sheet for sawing (see part of my saw on right of frame). I drew in the bail for style and placement but, of course, it is not cut out as part of the circle.
Pierced & Punched
I used my saw to pierce out the large circle but was able to use my punch for the cutout (photo left).
I also created a pattern for the folded loop bail and cut it out with the saw.
Check the Fit, Remove the Pattern
Here, I am checking the fit for the bail (using its folded paper pattern) on the copper piece.
You can see that I have sanded the pendant to remove any scratches.
Once satisfied with the style and fit, I glued the bail pattern to another piece of copper and cut it out. You can remove the paper with soap and water or just use the torch to burn it off.
I put the bail on an old hockey puck (we jewelers can find a use for just about anything!) and forged it to the correct shape using shaping pliers and my rawhide mallet.
The next step was to finish all edges with files and sandpaper before closing the bail around the pendant and soldering it shut. At that stage, I took the piece to the sink and scrubbed all sides super clean with scouring powder and a scrubbie. When the water was sheeting off all the metal, I dried it very carefully with paper towel (touch edges only) and put it into the tweezers, positioning them to cover a minimal part of the back of the bail. Next step: torch it and cook it.
Painted and Protected
Once the piece cooled, I coated it with a spray sealer and hung it over the edge of our patio table to dry. All ready to list at SterlingByDix on ArtYah.
Go ahead; try this at home ;-)