Friday, 20 May 2016

Final piece - The Street

Into the final week of making for the Street project... I realised that this was crunch time, and I had to pull it all together. 

My first task was to drill a stone setting in the cast piece - this was tricky - initially I tried using the pillar drill, but broke a drill bit which became embedded in the piece.  I decided to turn it over and use the other side, soldering the drill bit side down.  I tried bursting solder over the drill bit to cover it, but this didn't work.

I hand-drilled the other side, hoping that my hand was steady enough to create a good straight recess for the stone.  I then made my brooch pin housing and clasp from rectangular wire and tube.

Then I needed to solder it them on - easier said than done!  I had a bit of trouble with the solder paste - it looked as though they were fixed, but I hadn't heated it for long enough and the tube came off when I was trying to clean everything up.

Thankfully, it did work the second time, with help from Colin, our tutor - the cast piece had been soldered in place, and was drawing heat away from that area of the brooch.  With a fairly low flame he heated the cast element and flicked the flame to burst the solder under the pin housing... success.

After this I soldered on my prongs to hold the enamel piece.  This took more time than I had bargained for - I ended up trying four or five times, and ended the day on 19 May with only one prong in place.  However, I came in fresh the next day and soldered the other prong without too many problems. 

Now I needed to clean up.  Although I really love the white finish given by the pickle, it is hard to maintain, so I cleaned the piece in the magnetic polisher.  This gave it a very shiny finish, which I am not very keen on.  I took a small brass mop brush to give the whole piece a scratchy finish.

In short, my plans to start making the piece in the last two weeks did not allow enough time for last-minute changes.  If I were to re-do this project I would start making the brooch back two weeks earlier, to allow for plenty of finishing time.

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