First Metal Forming Project

Metal Disc Cutter

Metal Disc Cutter from Rio Grande

Yesterday was the metal forming class at Rio Grande.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but it turned out to be a great day.  I learned so much.   The tools they have to work with their are really top notch.  There were so many tools that I wanted to bring home.  My favorites were probably the disc cutter and the jump ring making setup they have.  I would love to have both of them, my penny bank just won’t cut it.  They are both a little pricy.

Copper Earrings

Copper Earring Project

The first class project we worked on was a couple pair of earrings.  The first pair were the copper earrings.  We started with a  piece of copper sheeting and cut out discs, 2 small discs and 2 large discs.  It was then up to the student how to make the earrings.  For the smal disc I decided on a smooth finish and used the doming block for it’s shape.  The larger discs I used a ballpen hammer to texture the disc.  I had never used a flex tool so that was a bit of a challenge in the beginning.  

The lesssons I learned on this project:

  • Always measure the location of the drill holes.  One of the larger domes had the drill hole too low and the the discs overlap.
  • Texture, drill and then shape a piece of metal.  On this pair I drilled first and after I textured, the drill holes were almost completely closed from stretching the metal.  I had to redrill the holes.
Sterling Silver Earrings

Sterling Silver Earring Project

The next pair of earrings were sterling silver earrings.  For this project the shapes were precut for everyone in the class.  We were given a round sterling disc and a somewhat rectangular shape sterling piece. 

On the disc I ran the disc through a metal corrugater.  This was kind of a cool tool too.  You place a piece of metal through two corrugated wheels and depending on the amount of tension  on the wheel will contol how deep the corrugated impressions are.  The disc was then placed in the domer for it’s shape.  On the relangular pieces  I used a goldsmith hammer to get the texture on the metal.

Both of these projects were great to get started with the metal forming.

The next project was a sterling silver petal choker, I’ll tell you all about it next time…..

A Look At My Studio

I thought I would share glimpse of my work shop this week.  I thought about cleaning it up first but decided against it.  I cleaned it up about two weeks ago, so it isn’t in too bad of shape yet.  It really isn’t much just a small corner in the garage that my husband was gracious enough to surrender.  I don’t think he ever thought he would have to give up any of his precious space in the garage.   The space I have works for now.

On the left side of the workbench I have my tool chest.  That is the invisible boundary between my space and his space.  The “Less Nessman tape” so to speak. Oh, look now I am dating myself.  My tool chest has a lot of my tools.  files, burnisher,  brushes, screw drivers, pipe benders, and punches.  A lot of the tools were handed down from my grandfather.  He did metalsmithing as a hobby.  I sure wish I would have been more interested in jewelry making when he was alive.

The center of the bench is where I keep my beading board, this is where I do most of my layout work and assembly of my pieces.   Everything is within hands reach from my board.  Beads on the left and finding on the right. 

On the right side I have a narrow bench where I do some of my metal forming and hammering.  On the end of this bend is my baby anvil.  I just love this anvil. It is great for working with small wire and pieces of silver or copper. 

Well, there’s a quick look of my studio.

Metal Forming Class

Rio Grande Jewlery Suply

I know it has been so long since I have posted.  First I was busy getting ready for the Artfire Christmas in July sale, then I have been doing daily maintenance for the sale for the past couple of weeks.  The sale runs until Friday, July 23.  Hope you get a chance to stop by.

Now onto today’s post.  For sometime now, I have been wanting to continue learning some new techniques with my jewelry making.  The metalsmithing and metal forging really intrique me .   I have read a lot of books but there is nothing like hands on instruction.  I found a one day workshop at one of the local jewelry supply businesses here in town. I just registered for their metal forming class in August and I am so excited.  Here is a brief synopsis of the class:

Make a sterling silver neckband, bracelet and domed earrings while learning to form wire and sheet into wearable jewelry. Students learn to use professional jeweler’s tools while working at a jeweler’s bench.

Here are the projects that we will work on.  I will post pictures of my actual projects once I have finished the class.  Until next time, have a great evening.

Class Projects

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