Friday, April 18, 2014

The Flower.


I need a stylistic flower for my bird.



So I drew out a couple of petal forms and eventually I tried this shape.

A domed petal bottom thingy and  I thought about eight petals that I wanted to make an opaque sort of plique a jour.

I want the flower to be able to open and then inside is a piece of jewellery.

Anyway, it turned out looking like a dogs breakfast so I scrapped that road.



Instead of the brass bottom, I cut out six more of my petal shapes.

So I figured that maybe I can sort of make them open like one of those slo mo national geographic movies on flowers.



A trick I use when I saw from a printed design on paper.

I glue the paper down with contact adhesive and then when it’s dry I cover it with oil.

Then I wipe it dry.

The paper absorbs the oil and then it lubricates the blade permanently.

Makes a blade last until it’s blunt.




I wasn’t really happy.

It was to much Tulip-ish, and besides which, I didn't want to go the “ this looks like a flower” route.


So, against my better judgment,  I chose some colours for plique-a-jour .



Even there I though it looked kak.

Too cutsie and to costume jeweller-ish



I did three different colours and then I decided to scrap all of it and start again.

Don’t worry about the holes in the enamel, I simply fired it only once and then got gatvol.



First I made a paper model

I always make a paper model first because cutting paper is much easier than cutting metal.

Trust me, even I have worked this one out.

I make a brass frame work .



Like this.




So now it looks like this.

I like it so far.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Koln Art Show and Azure Tool.


Last week we climbed into Arnold, my Renault jalopy and took ourselves down to the Koln Art show of 2014.

Considering that we have been to Maastricht a couple of times, and knowing that German art in general resembles something a team of meth addled gorillas made in a scrap metal yard, I wasn’t expecting much.

I wasn’t disappointed.


These are old paint tubes stuck on a board.



A roll of canvas with paint squashed in between.



The twat that made this forgot the top left hand corner and no one noticed.



This stand had three pictures in various shades of white.

The sales man was not overworked.



They actually framed these and put them behind glass.



This, if anything, was original.

A dead Chaffinch and some dandelion fluffs all glued onto fishing lines.



These were animal skins that expanded and contracted like balloons.

It was powered by a compressor.

Seriously creepy.



This was the one piece I really enjoyed.

It i s made of one piece of stainless steel, perfectly balanced and a snip at 25,000 EU.



And then there is this.

One piece of flat brass and two pieces of brass wire.

Yours for the low, low price of -----  115,000 EU.

I kid you not.

And being German, the sales people actively hate you, but hey, that’s standard for Germany in general.

I was generous, so I gave the show a one out of ten rating.


The other day on Ganoksin a poster gave a link to a van Cleef and Arples video that had a cool little tool used for holding a small piece so that azure can be cut easier.

Here is the link.

So I decided to make one.

There and then.


Two pieces of 5mm square iron rod.


Then two pieces of wood glued on the inside.



There you go Sprite!

Now you can hold small pieces of gold without a pair of pliers making dings in your work.

And the wood can be filed to shape, and if you want, leather can also be substituted.

Why didn’t I think of this long ago?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Making Nest’s Catch


I had to make a catch for the nest part of nest.


So I scrounged a piece of old metal stock I had.

I first drew it out a couple of times on paper and then I glued the paper down and cut the rough shape out.



Actually, before I started on the shape I first made the bottom part of the hinge and I soldered it to the top of the box.

This then actually gives the start point for the catch.



Then I filed the basic shape out.

I had to file the neck down thin enough so that there would be an amount of ‘spring’ in it for the catch to work.

Then I was going to set two stones into each side for the eyes.

After I had drilled the holes and put the first stone in for setting

  ‘Uh Oh’ --- this metal will definitely not set.

It was totally brittle.

Using a piece of  “mystery metal” from your junk box is as dangerous as ordering a Russian bride from a Sears catalogue—you might get Putin’s sister.


No problem though.

I was certainly not going to throw a mornings of work away.

So I made a ball of silver and press fitted it into the already drilled hole and soldered it in on both sides of the head.



And then I set an emerald into either side.



Ol’ Woody Woodpecker being adjusted to hole the lid closed.



The catch works well.



Looks like a stylistic woodpecker too.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Titanium Feathers.


I wanted to experiment with making titanium feathers for my new project called Nest.

At first I thought of making them out of silver or copper but the problem is that whether you like it or not, they will always tarnish.

So I decided titanium, also because I like the blue that can be made iridescent , much like the Roller, Botswana’s national bird.



I rolled titanium down to 0.5 mm and cut it out with tinsnips.



I pre-polish the blanks.

Just bobbing compound on a 9 inch buff.

You got to wear leather finger tips because these things pick up some serious heat.



These are two wedge shaped punches that I used.



I bash them like this to raise a slight “spine” .

The one on the left still needs some more bashing, but you get the idea.

I just use some wood underneath instead o f wax because wax is to soft.



I ground some setting burrs down to make the cutting edge more visible.



Then I cut them into a feather texture.

Titanium cuts easy and it does not grab like copper or brass.

I tends to wear tools down a bit quicker than gold but it’s quite doable.

The one on the left was torch heated and I was not really happy with that—to difficult with such thin metal.


So I took a piece of iron flat bar and put them on that and then heated the flat bar from underneath and that was more controllable.

They shimmer in the light.


I made some longer ones as part of the experiment.


Rough cut.



This one I bent into a circle and heated it in my oven.

I used a dental vacuum oven but I later also used my standard kiln, so either one is good.

The dental oven goes from zero degrees to 600 C in five minutes so impatience was the only reason I used that one first.



Came out just like I wanted.

The temperature was 550C but that is a more or less, because I was constantly looking so there was some serious fluctuation in temperatures.



Here is picture of my bird’s naked uncoloured feathers.



A picture of the feathers being attached. The screws will still get gem nuts to hold then in.


All dressed up and blued.

The “wings” were blued in my big oven at 550 C – carefully.

I am not really happy with that colour so I am going to do them over.

And the reason I am using heat and not anodizing is because I blew my rectifier up.

I had the one from reactive metals and a very nice machine it was too.

Unfortunately ‘ol bright eyes plugged it into 220 volts instead of 110 and Boom, she was expired.

Now I got to figure how I am going to wangle one into Germany from the USA without going bankrupt paying the taxes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Today’s Nest work.


I made a mistake.

My lid of the nest was bigger than the space allowed by the front two flowers.

Sigh, this stuff happens.


So I took it apart and soldered two extensions on to the top.

As in some 1 mm plate.



And the bottom as well.



And I made it pretty again.

The next main thing is the catch for the lid.

I would like to make something sort of stylistic Kingfisher/Sunbird-ish.

A click thing.