This week's "makin' it" is a behind the scenes look at the production of my aster dangle earrings.
Most people think of castings as easier to work with than items completely fabricated by hand. But there's the whole cleaning of castings step before you can work with these pieces. It can leave you covered in silver dust, which sounds more glamorous than it is. Sometimes flashing [excess material found on the edges of the casting] occurs which I use my jewelers saw to clean up. They I use my trusty 3M wheels to make all of the edges nice and smooth. Luckily I found myself a good casting company and don't need to worry about parts breaking or the alloy being 'off' and difficult to solder.
Next comes the fun part. I pull out the dapping tools to make these the precise shape I want. All petals are made even and they are given the concave form I prefer. I use wooden dapping tools on these so I don't mar the texture I adore so much.
I cut out a bunch of ear wires [seen in the upper left corner of my soldering board] and set up to solder. I precut pieces of solder, get the flux, third arm and striker within reach and spark up the torch.
This is just a close up of my setup. Nothing fancy.
Once they are all soldered and pickled I get out my 3M wheels again and clean up the solder and fire scale then polish them to a shine. The next step is to put them in the tumbler. This hardens the ear wires, just a little and adds some more shine. Of course, some of them get oxidized too. But tumbling and oxidized make for really boring photographs.
I use the nylon flat nose pliers to straighten the freshly tumbled ear wires. Then I bend them around a fairly think dowel.
This is terribly sophisticated, isn't it?
I do some tweaking to get the exact shape I want. It isn't easy to see but these are flat/half round pliers. They are great at not marring ear wires and they give that perfect bend to the end which allows the earrings to slide easily into your piercing.
And here they are, one happy aster family!
ps: this is a post meant to connect with my customers and readers. it is not a DIY post. please read this post if you think otherwise.