making metal jewelry? lost wax? what?
So, for the longest time, I've wanted to learn how to make metal jewelry--as in, not just stick premade charms, etc., together, but actually make the charms and rings and so on.
I know a few of you know how to do this; how would I start?? I guess it's probably "lost wax method" or something?
Here are a few links to some random things I found on Etsy as an example. I hope I'm not breaking any CO&K laws by posting them:
Also, yes; I do love birdies. ;)
Hi, It's a method of casting metal. The lost wax method is quite an expensive thing to set up. It's called a lost wax method as you lose the wax model in the process, although you can get galvanised rubber molds for making repeated wax models and use a wax dispenser rather than carving wax.
You make models of your jewellery in wax and weigh it accurately. The model is then attached to sprues (long thin wax sticks). Using what looks like a tin can you suspend your model in it and pour fine plaster into it. You have to knock it down a little to make sure you have no air bubbles.
You leave it to set then have to burn out the wax in an oven which leaves the hollow pattern.
Then comes the maths. You have to know the specific gravity of the metal that you are going to melt to make your cast. You times the weight of your wax model by the specific gravity and that is the weight of metal that you need to melt.
The cast in the tin goes into a centrafugal spinner on one arm and the molten metal goes on the other arm (must be properly balanced) and the molten metal is forced into the cast. The cast is then submerged in a deep bucket of cold water so that the plaster comes away.
The sprues are then cut off and then it's a case of filing and filing and filing and polishing.
Hope this helps
Ps I would start with piercing projects. It's cutting out flat shapes. Drawing a design on where bits can be cut out. Drill in the spaces to thread blade through. Then cut out pattern and file. Much simpler to start with
Why not try PMC ( precious metal clay)
you mould it to shape, using your hands, moulds or cutters, and fire small items with a mini blowtorch. It scinters into almost pure silver, You can make absolutely anything you like with it.
thanks for the responses!!!!
i knew that lost wax is expensive to start out with; i think id be best off finding a class or something with a teacher who already has the large and expensive items--you know, the way a ceramics class would have a kiln available. once you said math, though, i almost blacked out. xD math isnt for me... but other than that, the way you described it makes a lot more sense than how i read it online. :-D
it also sounds like a lot of work, but im up for that! i love a crafty challenge, so it still sounds like i could have a lot of fun with it. i do think it would be best for me to not embark upon this adventure without a master by my side, lol! wanna come to israel??? ;)
how exactly would you go about piercing projects? i have the general idea in my mind, but i have a feeling you can explain it better. it sounds less expensive, too. :-P
precious metal clay sounds interesting, but how on earth does it work?? how can clay be transformed into silver... or is it just silver color? ive read a little about it on here before, and im fascinated with the details of this whole thing. im not sure where i can find such a thing in israel, though--where can i find it online? is it expensive? i suppose id have to use a mini blowtorch and not an oven, though, right?
sorry for all the questions, but at least you know you're helping me out. ;) thanks again for the responses!!!
Check this out. It's a cheaper easier way of casting. It's a modelling clay. http://www.metalcastingzone.com/casting-jewelry/create-your-own-jewelry-with-precious-metal-clays
Piercing is where you use sheet metal. Using a scriber (metal spike pencil) to draw with make a shape. I started with circle. Leaving a edge I made holes in the metal to cut out pieces. It's like working in reverse as you cut away the negative shapes leaving the design. Celtic designs are brilliant for this method.
I know it's a long link but it's worth it. Talking of links, it's got a brilliant section on chain making......teee heee
It's what we jewellers call our 'bible'. It's got everything in it and it as another use. If you can't reach the top shelf.......stand on it. I have a copy from the 1980's. It's very comprehensive and well worth the money This one has 44% off too....that's really cheap
OMG, ill have to check this out just for the top-shelf-reaching properties!!! ;)
checking out the link now. :-D
Sheila - I agree, the Oppi book is the definitive Jewellers resource! I love my copy!
Rachie, I would highly recommend getting yourself enrolled in a basic silver jewellery course. While teaching yourself how to do/make something is challenging and fun, having someone with loads of experience SHOW you how to do it makes it soooo much easier! they will also provide invaluable tips and tricks, which you would otherwise not know or understand without the explanation. It also means you can try the techniques out without having to foot the expense of purchasing all the equipment!
A basic course will teach you the elements such as: saw-piercing; filing and polishing; soldering etc before moving onto more advanced techniques like casting, raising, enamelling (the list goes on!!)
With casting you can also get a specialist casting company do the complicated stuff for you, all you need to supply is your wax model. I'm sorry I don't know who that will be in the US though.
Nora's suggestion of PMC is a good one, many artisans using this technique are self taught, or did a short course in the methodology. You work the material like clay, then you fire it in a small kiln, and it is transformed into Silver!! It really is amazing stuff, and it is the real deal! The firing process burns out the 'binding' material and you are left with a solid metal piece. You can get Silver, Copper and Bronze metal clays. The equipment and tools needed for PMC are relatively affordable, you can buy mini kilns that won't break the bank and are small enough to keep on your work bench. It will also suit quite well if you want to make little birdies!
Try these sites and info sheets for more:
Hi Glassgirl. I wouldn't be without my Oppi. I did a three year design, history and construction course for jewellery so I think your idea about doing a basic course is a good one. It's not easy to explain some of the stuff in writing. Particularly stuff like angles to polish at so it doesn't get ripped out of your hands or best places to put solder, or my old favourite how NOT to solder a box so you end up with no eyelashes! Tee hee (my mate did that one)
I do agree that a course would be best--I'm pretty sure I'd also end up without eyelashes! lol! I'm actually located in Israel, though, and don't speak the language well at all, yet, so I really don't know where I'd find the course! It's okay, though; I need to earn more money before I can really invest in anything even slightly more expensive than what I'm doing now, lol. The clay sounds great, though.
I'm trying out the clay just now....from my projects you'll see that I do quite a bit of polymer clay items, so I'm using the same techniques with the precious metal clay. Because I'm just doing small stuff, I haven't got a kiln, I'm using a mini butane gas torch....cheap and easy to find. You can also use one of those little blowtorches they sell in cook ware shops for caramellising the tops of deserts. I've spent about £50 on equipment and a small amount of clay so far......
I really want to try the copper, actually--theres only one form of the copper that id be able to use a blowtorch with.... so we will see. i put it on my wishlist, as i have no business buying anything over $20 USD for myself right now! :-P ;)
Copper is quite soft. Guilding metal or a nickle alloy are good to work with. Copper can be good if you want to heat it to create patenation on it and does shape nicely, but it's a bit akward to clean after heating. All depends what you use as a cleaning bath.
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