Sunday, July 20, 2014

Expanding Titanium Range and Painting Enamels.


Still making more titanium stock.

Pearl with diamond and gold.


Anne has expanded the web site, and I think she has done a brilliant job.


Don’t kid yourself, the work on the website takes just as long as actually making the jewellery.

Especially the initial setting up.


Filed and carved.


Filed out of a solid piece.


Multi metal butterfly pendant.


This one I carved and filed out of a solid piece and I hung a gold fused pendant inside made of 18kt gold.


Oh my, the enameling that I am teaching myself did not go so well.


I start with a cleaned up photoshopped image as the basics.



First firing.

I am going to do a whole post on the transfer technique, which I am still learning and refining .

It is a whole art in itself.

Anyway, I decided to use a blue for the first design imprint, so that the darker later stuff would hide that.

In any painting, whether that is proper paint or enamels, one generally works from light to dark, so you lay your lighter colours down first and the add your darker colours as you go along.


Mistake no 1. --- Yellow is a fugitive colour, so the more you fire it , the more it fades to a dirty brown.


Adding blue and brown.


At this stage I was not too unhappy, which was good, because I am never happy with any work I have done—ever.

I could see that when I added the darks it would start to give more depth.


I skip some steps in the utterly exciting and superbly written adventure.

Notice how the yellow is pulling a duck.


Working towards the final darks and finer details.



Anyway, I did three more firings and then I decided I had taken it far enough in the learning curve  to flux the top.

The trick with any painting is not to under or overwork it.



The enamel pulled away during the last firing.


So I fired it again, just to see what would happen.


This was my original mistake.

When I fired the copper with the first two undercoats of white enamel, I did not fire the second coat at a high enough temperature.

Or maybe to short a time.

So the second coat fired on the top, but did not fuse with the top of the first coat.

A basic error, called school fees.


So I started again.

This time I know more.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Painting in Vitreous Enamels.


There’s a website called Grains of Glass that I joined.

Lots of very good enamel artists there but not so many enamel painters.

Carmen Lombardi

and Susan Davies

were my favorites.

Susan Davies mentioned that she bought her enamels from WG Ball, in the UK.

Right next door, so I ordered it from them.


This is the kit for about thirty pounds.

It’s  a bit limited in the colours but  there are enough to make a pretty picture, for sure.


This is my painting kit.

No.1 are two spatulas.

No. 2 is a milk top that is filled with clean turpentine.

No 3 are the paint medium and thinners bottles.

No 4  are the syringes with needles.

I have three, one with paint medium, one with paint thinner and one with pine oil.

No 5 are the colours.

I also have the same type of box for my Thompson enamels.

No 6 is my Hofner cigar box pallet mixing surface.

I made a glass plate on where I mix the paints on that is removable from the box.



So then it’s easier to mix and stuff.



So the first one I decided to try out the paints with was a Baobab.

I’m familiar with the subject because I used to make them out of gold in Botswana.


It eventually ended up like this.

I used a background of Thompson 1060 white  and Isle blue 1605

Learning curve.

There was quite a bit of colour fade after repeated firings, especially at five ‘o clock.

The brown colour sucks.

Also the top most branches suffered from a spread with repeated firings.

Ergo, put your finest detail last.

This one was made on a 1mm copper disk that was domed and counter enameled .

I decided that was as far as I was going to go with this one.

Diminishing returns and all that.


The thing is I want to do is eventually be able to paint (and make) watch dials.

Watch dials are flat, mostly.



A couple of posts back I showed how I made these copper faces.

The one on the right I test enameled with titanium white which is a high temperature colour, just to see what would happen if it was not countered enameled. ( It still went convex)

I drilled a hole also to see if enamel would run out. ( it doesn’t).


Anyway, this one was my second attempt with the new paints'.

I used Thompson 1060 white as a first two coats, then a

mix of Isle Blue 1605 and Sky Blue 1610 as the background.


I have a old dental vacuum oven which really works well for this kind of work.

It heats up from 0 to 850C in four minutes.

Heat on tap.


This is what it looks out when it comes out the oven.



And this is the finished piece.



I made this Azure tool a while ago and it works a treat holding a dial in place when both sides are enameled simultaneously.

You never know when you need an azure tool.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Expanding my Titanium Range.


Been working on expanding my titanium range.


All of them are made out of titanium, gold and diamonds.

IMG_8946 (2)

Sort of in the $200 to $400 range.


Titanium is difficult to work.

It takes twice as long to finish off as any other metal.


Also, everything is riveted.


Wears out your tools quickly too.


The blue is done by heat.


Here I inlayed gold into the titanium.


I like the matt finish.


This one has a cross set diamond.

I made the back ground out of silver, then I gold plated it and then set the diamond.

Then I rivet the whole contraption together.

I like the way the silver comes out through the gold plate.




Couple of Sundays ago there were these people from Greece, handing out fliers for their company.

They make mattresses out of cocco fiber-- and these bicycles out of wood.


I absolutely admire people who get off their backsides and do something about earning some money.

The little blue bags are the flier/samples.

Working on a Sunday in Germany is a no-no, what with the church and all.

Much more important to fall asleep in front of the TV.


On the day that Germany beat France in the world cup, it was also frog France day in Dusseldorf.


There is no truth in the rumor that the Frogs spat into the food ordered by the victorious Fritzes.

The French aren’t vindictive like that at all.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Making a Titanium Cup or Dish Thingy

Here’s how to make a seamless cup or dish thingy .

This could be used to make a locket or pendant or just a nice thing to waste your time on a Saturday afternoon, like I often do.


Basically you need two rods of steel the same diameter and in this picture I used some scrap brass.


Then the brass is aligned up like in the picture.


And clamped in the vice like this.


Then the outer lip is tapped over using a punch like this.


Here is a picture of the piece half formed.


Tapped all the way over.


Then I took a piece of 1 mm titanium and did the same thing.




So then I decided to see if a square would work.


Logic told me the corners would tear.


Weird thing is they didn’t, but formed little horns.


So after the brass was trimmed I did the same for titanium.

Naturally the titanium was a bit harder and I annealed it a couple of more times than the brass but it worked out OK.



One titanium dish, ready to serve a very small salad.

Now it stands to reason that one could make pretty much any form is steel and then make a seamless bowl, given enough taps with your punch.

So I am quite chuffed that it worked, because it’s another piece of useless information that I can store in my mind’s dusty attic.

Actually, I can see this method could be used to make gem stone collets or odd shaped tubes in difficult to solder metals like titanium.