Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the process Fold Formed Tea Pot

 The following are process shots for a tea pot I'm currently working on.  It starts as a 12" disk of copper. Well really it starts with an idea then a paper pattern.

 The paper pattern..  Based on 12

The foot or base is worked into the 12" disk..There will never be a better time or another time to get the base.
The base is a concave you are looking at the outside of the teapot. anneal
First folds
Close up first folds.
second folds
exterior 2 nd folds close up
interior second folds
The form begins to come in  exterior from bottom
interior as the form closes in.
It's beginning to become a teapot.  I'm working on the lid more today. spouts and handles too. Basic form is there.  I'll post more as this piece gets completed...Much more metal work to come as we get back to metal and away from all of the writing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's Blog-o-sphere time again. It's a meeting of the blogs. The following are doing a little bit of blog sharing. Check them out. This months theme is a favorite quotation. Good people good stuff I look forward to reading them.
Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com/
Brad Severtson:     http://hammeringoutaliving.blogspot.com/
Kathleen Krucoff:  http://mysticalmythicalmetalwork.wordpress.com/
Wendy Kelly: http://www.wendykianakelly.com/
Mary Spencer:http://www.wattoonline.com/news
Stephanie Clark: http://thethinkingsofacoldweathergirl.blogspot.com/
Barbara Donovan: http://barbaradonovan.blogspot.com/
Laura Flavin: http://www.modernbirdjewelry.blogspot.com/
Beth Cyr: http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com/
Thomasin Durgin: http://metalriot.blogspot.com/
Shaun Young: http://shaunyoung.ca/
Kathryn Cole: http://www.kathryncolejewelry.blogspot.com/
Natsuko Hanks: http://jewelrybynatsuko.blogspot.com/

Andrea Bell:  http://feathersfreesiasandfishingtackle.blogspot.com/
I’m a member of the first generation to grow up with television. Consequently television has always been important to me. I remember seeing the Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show. I remember having a crush on Annette Funitcello of the Mickey Mouse Club. My heroes were Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. I can sing “Happy Trails to You” I can also sing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island. You should let me tell you all a story about a man names Jed, poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed. My addiction continued. I have the proof. My generation brought you the invention of the couch potato and the TV dinner, “Thank you, very much” Elvis said that if you didn’t know.  From my formative years,  the 1950’s, comes a quote that changed the lives of many a boy and girl. By that I mean it caused then to wear a cape and jump off the garage roof.
Favorite quote!!
"Faster than a speeding bullet.
More powerful than a locomotive.
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Look! Up in the sky!
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman!

Yes, it's Superman - strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman - who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights the never ending battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way."
    That's a long quote. I honestly know it by heart. I'm likely to break into it at a moments notice, I know it so well. I did not jump off the garage thinking I could fly. When I fell off the garage it was years later when I was trying to shingle the roof, that's another story. I do know many kids, then, that did think they could fly. I have no delusions about being Superman.  
    No, what always fascinated me were the possibilities. As a kid I'd wonder, today I ponder and have pie. I'd play the game of "what if" I think my generation did. What if we could change the course of rivers? What if we could leap buildings with a single bound? What if we could bend steel with our bare hands? Might those thoughts lead to other things like, What if we could go to the moon? I don't know if there really is a correlation. But that's not the reason I love the quote.
     Changing the course of rivers is a bad idea. The Army Corps of Engineers has discovered that. I've traveled up the sides of tall buildings with a hydraulic lift. I can bend steel with my bare hands when I'm at the forge. But I'm not Superman. I've heard the beat of a babies heart before it was born. I regularly communicate with people on the other side of the planet. But I'm not Superman. 
     Let's look at the quote a little closer, You'll see why it sticks with me. Though I'm sure some of the people I meet on a daily basis are "strange visitors from other planets" I can't prove it. But it is a convenient theory. There were times when I was growing up that I felt like a strange visitor from another planet. I can relate. 
     What still holds my attention to this very day is the phrase, "and who, disguised as Clark Kent mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, fights the never ending battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way."  Lois, Jimmy, Mr. White and all of the other people never figured out Superman's disguise!  That's amazing!  
     I'll leave truth, justice and the American way off my table for the moment. This blog is getting long enough. Clark Kent has them all fooled. Horn rimmed glasses, being mild mannered, wearing a suit 
and a tie concealed his identity. Perhaps because they never looked for greatness beside them. 
     Over the years I've come to notice something. The Clark Kents concealing Supermen and Super Women aren't that unusual. We just don't make such a big deal about it. We don't give out medals for the usual bravery around us.  Take this example for instance. Two cars traveling towards each other at speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour miss each other by a mere three feet. It happens at an astonishing rate on a daily basis. As a people we are really very good at it. We don't consider it heroic. We don't give medals for just arriving or surviving the journey to the grocery store. Perhaps we should.  What if we gave medals,  for common acts of personal bravery. What if we started accepting the possibility that Superman might be the guy or gal just over there? What if we discovered Clark Kent when he-she was younger?  I think we just might find Superman if we spent more time looking closer to home.
    When we find them we'll have to keep their secret. Heck they might not even know how super they are yet or  how super they will become. We can acknowledge their potential. We can award their efforts.
What if we gave an award for opening your eyes underwater? I'll bet Clark Kent would get one.
  Sterling silver from a long time ago.  "For Opening Your Eyes Under Water"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Should I light my torch with a disposable lighter?

This is a striker. It is the first tool people need to learn how to use before they can begin silver soldering. It's pretty basic. You squeeze the  wire handle and a flint is scraped across a file like metal surface causing sparks within the cup. It's possible to adjust the tensioning of the grip so that it reguires very litle hand strength to opperate it. It also has replaceable flints available for it. New ones of these are priced between $2.00 and $10.00. Every other garage sale will have at least one for sale. They are so available that rather than buying a package of flints, that I'll never be able to find. I collect strikers. I found four of them in my tool cabinet. I know there are a couple at the jewelers bench. There is another at the casting bench. Many welder will wear one from a clip on their belts. There is a hook to the left of my bench pin that holds my striker. I've used it every day for years. I don't have to look for it to find it. I don't have to look at it to use it. I don't have to look at it to put it back. It has become a tool of habit. It is an extreemly safe tool. Necessary.
This is a cigarette lighter!  In fact this is a very cheap lighter. You may feel free to take the meaning of cheap in the previous sentence to mean poorly and quickly manufactured. I am an old school jeweler. My instructors would wrap me upside the head if they caught me using this at the bench to light my torch. I follow this old established method of teaching. You signed the waver!
   There is an urban legend about these disposable lighters. It seems, the story goes, that railroad welders would carry these to light their torches. Sparks from the welding would ignite the lighters. As I heard the legond they explode with the force of a stick of dynamite. Workers were killed and or severely burned. I did a little bit of research on the legend. Seems that there is no proof this ever happened. There was proof that the lighter manufactures would settle out of court and require silence about the matter as part of the settlement.
I have dropped these and had them explode. I have seen them spontaneously ignite on the dashboard of a hot car. The ones I have had explode created a rather nice bang and a small fire ball. I suspect that the legend was created to scare the beginner into using the correct tool. This might be a better teaching method. My teachers did not however believe in this teaching method.
    There are better disposable lighters on the market...They are still cheap, still plastic. There are very expensive butane lighters on the market. There are other fuel lighters available. I don't want any unexpected fires at the bench. Use a striker.
   There are nice tabletop automatic igniters on the market. They are battery operated spark producers. They will run in cost from about $25.00 to $45.00. They are an alternative. Frankly I'd rather have an ounce of silver. But that's up to you. I don't want anything else that requires 2 AA batteries. I suspect I have some of them some where. Perhaps the replacement flints to my strikers are in the same drawer.Get a striker and get good at using it. Enjoy

Friday, May 6, 2011

Silver is driving me Crazy, not

“The exchange member raised the margin to 17% to discourage buyers. They want to obtain physical silver for themselves. I would suggest keep buying. Even if it keeps going down, consider it cost averaging. It will go back up.” Alan Zee   this statement was in my Facebook traffic this morning. Silver has just fallen from an all time high. It really doesn’t matter what the numbers are! I’ll explain this in a moment.

     First of all let me say this. A good many of the people I know that make jewelry from precious materials, silver and sometimes gold, do so as a hobby. They use the materials and their acquired skills as a release from their days stresses. They will tell you that making jewelry is their therapy. Rising metals costs do affect their production of jewelry. The effect is much the same as rising theater tickets or higher popcorn prices at the movie theater effecting how many movies they get to see annually. I suspect rising or falling metals prices affect the entertainment or therapy columns of their budgets. OK I’m cool with that. I’m not a therapist and I don’t consider myself to be in the entertainment industry.
     Now if you on the other hand have some desire to make these skills you’ve acquired and the use of  precious materials your occupation, your principle method if producing an income. Buying metal in a volatile metals market can drive you searching for a therapist. This blog is about hammering out a living not about driving yourself crazy.
     Alan’s statement contains the wisdom necessary to survive and prosper in a changing market.  First observation:  The market price is a measure of what investors are willing to pay for the commodity. You and I have little if anything to do with determining its value. This market price, in these times, has little if anything to do with the actual use of the commodity. But you and I want to produce a product from this material. It’s in our best interests to purchase it at the lowest price.  Here’s where we drive ourselves to distraction.  We can avoid the distraction by changing out goal. Suppose we intend to purchase our materials at the annual average price. We can do this by continually buying.
This might look something like this… We have an actual demand for 1000 ounces of silver. We could attempt to purchase that amount at the lowest market price.  It will never happen intentionally. We could however buy in this changing market at a rate of about 80 ounces each month throughout the year and have avoided the annual high. In a volatile market the method used to preserve sanity is to purchase smaller amounts more frequently. In other words buy going up buy coming down. There’s good news to this approach. You will never be stuck with over priced material.
    In previous blogs I’ve said don’t over buy. If you have a market for 1000 ounces don’t buy 2000 ounces.  I’m going to rephrase that statement with this analogy.  You are pretty much faced with this decision play roulette or play chess. I prefer chess. I prefer a game of strategy.  The commodities market player is a gambler armed with what he considers inside information. I don’t have a crystal ball. I doubt he does. We have the ability to take an ounce of silver or gold and through the application of our skills, time and abilities increase the value of that material by 2 to three times. The advantage, the likelihood we will prosper is ours.  We need to have the advantage of time on our side.  
    With a purchasing strategy the daily price of a commodity has a lesser impact on our emotions, as business men. Enjoy