I did it! I did it! I did it!! I took two ends of metal and joined them!! YOO HOO!! I have wanted to teach myself to solder for as long as I can remember. Last night I made my very first connections. I am in love with metalsmithing.
So, as I said yesterday afternoon, the UPS guy brought me a big box loaded with goodies. I opened it all up, checked it all out... was clueless as to what half of it was for. lol. I called my Dad and asked him how he solders stuff... don't know why I did that though, the only things he solders are copper pipes. Then I called Holly from Silver Lotus Studio. (She is my roomy for B&B in 3 weeks!) She gave a summary of what things were for, laughed when I tried fulling and already full torch, and basically reassured me that I just need to do it, and I would be fine.
I kept it really simple at first. I made a few small jumprings... brushed them with flux... and "pick" soldered them closed. I was hooked after the first ring. I made 5-6 rings.. then moved on to shapes. Those were fun. But I really wanted to make something I could wear. So I made a bunch of large 1/2in rings out of 14g sterling silver and started linking them together. The top photo is the results. My first handforged chain. And I have to say, now I know why artisan made chain costs an arm and a leg. A LOT goes into making chain! I had to cut all the rings, clean the ends, flux them all, solder them all, soak the whole piece in "pickle" (an acid that removed the tarnish that the torch soldering causes), then wash it, polish it, and tumble it. It is worth the work though... this is a great necklace!!
I have had these few glass rings on my desk waiting to be turned into a bracelet like "Rosy" and "Blueberries" for a while... now that I can solder... I was sucked into making something different with them. These are a bit of an optical illusion. The links are continous rings, so kinda like two rings that aren't cut apart and the ends are overlapped and soldered. Make sense? If not... don't worry about it, lol. Very fun design don't ya think? It needs a name if you have any suggestions!!
Tea this afternoon was a blast. And I'll have pics from that for you tomorrow!