Wednesday 11 January 2012

hardware store to high style... well, medium style at any rate

My buddy Lynn in Arizona sent me some copper washers. For some bizarro reason, no one working in any hardware store here in southern Ontario has even heard that there are things such as copper washers. I went everywhere. Hate to tell you, guys, but here they are: they really do exist.

Try not to squash your fingers making these. Do I listen to my own advice? Phht, surely you jest.

Step 1: Washer on right is out of the box. Whack all over with planishing hammer on a bench block, which will goosh it larger. Avoid gooshing your fingers. It hurts like stink. You can file edges if they get weird, like here on the right edge of the left washer.
Trying to show the faceting that occurs with the planishing hammer. I will also be investigating if there is a planishing hammer with a heavier weight to it. I had to whack and whack to get this far.
Planishing hammer, original washer, gooshed washer, bench block, ruler for scale.
Shows initial large facetting with planishing hammer and then the rounded end with the jeweller's hammer, the one with the flat business end, the rounded end being rounder than that of the planishing hammer. Don't you love my mastery of terminology?
Make second ring, clean with ketchup, drill holes. I added Argentium sterling and copper jump rings and handmade and hammered Argentium sterling earwires.
Start to finish.
Shock your SO tonight by suggesting a trip to the hardware store. Amazing what cool stuff there is there.

I use a ton of this particularly for the pendants I made before Christmas. I think it's about 12 gauge. It comes as shown off a large spool, sold by the foot, but because there are seven strands wound together, you get a lot.

Earring components made with ordinary 18 gauge wire.
I also used this gauge for the squiggle earrings.
They all shine up perfectly just with good ol' ketchup. Rinse with distilled water as there's a lot of crud and mineralisation in most tap water these days.
(Note: if you have a problem with sterling tarnishing really fast after you rinse off the dip cleaner with tap water, a lot of places put chlorine in the water and since chlorine will turn silver black almost immediately... get yourself a gallon of distilled water.) 
I think the fat wire is about 6 gauge. It came off a spool of three-strand electrical wire, two of these fat strands plus one of possibly 10-gauge, all covered individually in rubber or plastic coating and twisted together, the coatings I sliced with an Olfa knife and peeled off like a banana.
Of course, I've forgotten what the hardware guy told me what the different combos of wire are actually for. One of them (the 7-strand one, I think) is the type of wire you would use when wiring a stove or a dryer; the other one you'd use to run power from the house breaker box to the garage, for example, if you were adding some outlets. I think one of the wires acts as a ground or something like that.

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