ScrapHappy April 2022

Remember this? Reusing old nails and champagne corks for setting tools?

Well. I’ve found an even less effortful and scraphappy adapation*. This time I just sawed the end off an old toothbrsh – one of the flexible and soft plastic ones favoured by #MrG

I already reuse them for cleaning of awkward areas / scrubbing of veggies, but this made me ridiculously happy.

It has a bit of a grippy tip, so less slippage when pushing a bezel wall over, and on the occasion it did slip, there was no gouging or scratching or shattering of the stone (both this mookite and iolite, are risky stones in that they are reasonably soft or fragile) nor did I lose a chunk of flesh from my holding hand. Result in all ways

And it took me about 5 minutes. I simply sawed off the end, smoothed it with my cheap as chips and bitey file that I keep for non-jewellery related work, and gave it a spot of sanding using an old nail file.

No WiP pics this month as it’s such a basic adaptation, but you can see it in the left hand photo – the toothbrush is white and purple.

I used it on this mookite pendant and this prototype ring.

*No credit to me, I follow a number of fellow smiths over on Instagram, and this was on MetalSmithSociety’s page. If you are keen on jeweller tips, this is the place to hang out!

As you know, ScrapHappy is organised by the always awesome Kate and Gun.

There are a number of us posting at this time of the month, so if you like your scraps fabric, yarn, jewellery or electronic and junk based (Jon, I’m applauding you!) give the blogs below a visit

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Viv

Posted in cheeryuppy, DGDCheeryUppy, geek, Gems, Meet The Maker, Other Blogs, processes, ScrapHappy, Tech Tip, Uncategorized | 20 Comments

ScrapHappy March 2022

A very brief and simple #ScrapHappy this month.

I love my mitre vise beyond measure and I bought the best I could afford back in 2017, but it’s not the best there is.

As a result of my near constant use, and despite regular loving and careful maintenance, the threads on the bolts that allow the various jaws to open and close get a bit clogged with all the silver dust.

This means that they no longer stay anchored to the bottom jaw, and it started to open and close a bit wonkily (technical goldsmithing term there)

It really needed a grub* screw, (and it may well have had a couple originally) but we don’t have any of those, so #MrG retrieved a couple of old screws from the hinge of a kitchen cabinet.

You know the ones – we use them in modern kitchens to make sure the doors hang vertically. We had lots left over for some bizarre reason from when we put in the kitchen at the beginning of the century, so you’ll be pleased to learn that no cabinets were harmed in this process 🙂

We used these and although it would be better with grub screws these were free, and what’s best? #ReusingIsBetterThanRecycling that’s what’s best**

As you can see, the heads do impede the sitting it flat element, but as long as I carefully utilise the slot in my peg it’s a completely acceptable work around

*For the uninitiated, a grubscrew has no head to it. Basically teeny tiny 2mm allan key bolt fittings.

**That and getting something, however tiny out of the shed and into use.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join in on the 15th of each month?

Contact Kate via her Contact Me page, or leave a comment on her ScrapHappy post. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We all welcome new members.

You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month. Here are the links for the ScrapHappy gang, some of whom post every month, some of whom (like me!) are rather less prolific

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Claire, Jean, Jon, Dawn, Jule, Gwen,
Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue L, Vera,
Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol,
Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Viv

Posted in resources, ScrapHappy, Tech Tip | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

How did I do that? – making end caps for snake chain

Snake chain (so named because of the way it flexes) requires a wrapping at the end when it’s been cut, into which one would attach the components (known as findings) used to connect the clasp. These are commercially available, but usually only in a few sizes. This chain is 1.6mm wide, which is – of course! – not a standard commercial width.

So, I’ve made my own

I used sterling tube that’s commonly used for setting 2mm gemstones, with an an outside diameter of 2.4mm and internal of 1.6mm making it the perfect size to slip over the chain comfortably and snugly

After smoothing the sawn ends of the tube with a #4 file, I rounded each end with a cup burr and then using my beloved mitre vise I sawed a tiny 3mm length.

Using the mitre vise again, I was able to round the other end, effectively creating a tiny barrel bead. I made some jumprings with a 2.5mm internal diameter with 0.8 sterling wire and filed the edge where they meet flat.

Then, using the cheat’s method of soldering, I found a divot in my soldering brick, and after putting some hard solder paste into the tube, poked that over the end of the chain, and stood the jump-ring up vertically, with the filed part against the cut end of the snake chain. I used a T-Pin below the snake chain to help keep it stable and another inside the jump-ring to act as a heat sink.

Then using tip #22 I soldered the three elements together, poking at the jump-ring with my pick to ensure it stayed vertical.

And presto! All ready to connect another jump-ring and the finding of my choice

In this instance it was an upgrade to the standard Bat’leth necklace I sell in my shops, for a particularly special customer, who likes to wear her jewellery in hazardous situations 😉 Kah’pla!!

Posted in Challenge, geek, Meet The Maker, processes, SciFi, Stuff I love, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

How did I do that? ScrapHappy February 2022 – Budleigh Pebbles

I’m always looking for ways to reuse my scrap / offcuts of silver, as you’ll know, there are invariably some pieces left when sawing out a shape, or trimming a wire, and there are only so many times I can squeeze another shape from the outer edge!

This is the latest addition to my regular family of pieces – the Budleigh Pebble

Budleigh is one of our favourite coastal towns to visit. Because it’s all pebbles, there are usually fewer children at the beach, allowing for a quieter and more peaceful visit. For a while I had some jewellery in a gallery, and it was a lovely excuse to pop over there for a brisk walk along the crunchy foreshore.

These pebbles are flush set with 3mm round and cushion cut gemstones. I’ve made small pendants, droppers for bracelets and bangles and rings, and am in the process of adding the range to my website and making more statement pieces. Keep an eye on my website and social media if you are interested to see them.

What I love to do is to offset the gems, so that there’s a bit of a wonk to the piece, in keeping with my general wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey aesthetic

Take a charcoal block, and if you are aiming for matching sizes, drill a divot into it to use to give a boundary to the circumference of each pebble

Weighing the scrap also helps to get an even match of sizes if you want matching pebbles or if you want to know what to use to repeat the results

Drop your scrap into borax for flux and then into the divot on the charcoal block, don your safety equipment and apply heat – I’m using #SmeltyMelty tip #18 for full eco-warrior status – and once the silver has all melted together and started spinning, remove the heat and move onto your next piece. Once the silver is no longer red hot, you can pick it out and quench it, then pickle to remove the oxides.

I only ever use clean scrap for my projects – any that has the possibility of solder contamination* ( for example if it’s been sawn from the inside of a bezel setting or the outer of a backplate ) goes into a special scrap pot I keep ready to send off for refinement.

After pickling, I file up any areas that look like they need it, and this is where #IreneTheForedom comes in particularly handy – I have a little silicone set of sanding discs and also some sandpaper discs, and I grip the pebble with parallel pliers, and run through the various grades of sanding discs until I get the desired finish. Then they go for a tumble in #BettyTheBarrel so I can quality assure them.

Once they are out of the tumbler, I’ll check them over, resand / file as necessary and repeat.

If I’m going to drill a hole through for a pendant / dropper I’ll anneal before drilling and insert the jumpring.

Repickling after soldering the jumpring / the pebble to a ring band. Then I drill the seat for the stone, setting the stone and careful polishing afterwards.

*If you choose to use contaminated scrap, you are likely to have an issue should you send it for Assay, or have significantly more filing and clean up to do, and of course if you are selling it, you’d need to advise your customers that the content of silver would be lower

Find more photos of these Budleigh Pebble rings in my online shop at www.DawnGillDesigns.com

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month?

Contact Kate via her Contact Me page, or leave a comment on her ScrapHappy post. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We all welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month,

Here are the links for the ScrapHappy gang, some of whom post every month, some of whom (like me!) are rather less prolific

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys, ClaireJeanJon, DawnJuleGwen, Bekki, Sunny, Kjerstin, Sue LVera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Bear, Carol, Preeti, EdithDebbierose

Posted in #SmeltyMelty, Aquaflame,, Gems, Meet The Maker, processes, ScrapHappy, silver, Stuff I love, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized | 18 Comments

Well, this is exciting

Last week as a result of one of those ‘ contact us’ questionnaires in The Guardian, I was interviewed, and today it was published.

Here’s the link :The Guardian Cost of Living Crisis 01/02/22

That’s it for today’s blog entry!! See you for ScrapHappy in a fortnight if not before 🙂

Posted in Crochet, geek, Meet The Maker, Press | Tagged | 16 Comments