Making Silver Earrings

Today I’ve been working on a pair of silver hoop style earrings. I could lie and say they are for a customer but the truth is I’ve decided to give myself a little Friday treat!  This isn’t a regular occurrence…honestly!

I begin this job just like I would for any customer with sketching. I had a few ideas of what I wanted but there’s nothing like seeing it on paper to help me make my mind up.

Sketching Silver Earrings

I’ve decided to go with the middle design and alter the curve as I’m making them if necessary.

I begin by getting the silver wire the correct thickness. This just requires a few runs through my roller.

Reducing size of silver wire using rolling mill

Then I cut the lengths of wire and begin curving. I have my lovely glittery pink half round pliers for this job. I usually wouldn’t use a pliers for this job but the silver has been well annealed this pliers has extra special soft curves so it won’t mark my pretty earrings.

Making Silver Earrings

Adjusting the curve of silver earrings

Then I need to decide how much of a curve I want before I begin soldering. I just tape the wires together and see what looks best on me!

Checking curve of silver earrings

Once I’ve decided on the depth of the curve I can start soldering the wires together.

Soldering Silver Earrings

Well I had better get back to ‘real’ customers jobs…will post the finished product next week.

Have a good weekend.

Photos from the Workshop

You might have notice I took last week off from the blog. It wasn’t an intentional break, it was just that the making side of the business took over! There were lots of lovely jobs coming in to the workshop but here are some photos of just one to better explain my absence.

Silver Brooch Stage 1 Soldering
Silver Brooch Stage 1 Soldering

 

Silver brooch After Cleaning
Silver brooch After Cleaning
Silver brooch Adding Detail
Silver brooch Adding Detail
Silver Brooch Detail Variations
Silver Brooch Detail Variations
Silver Brooch Detail Variations
Silver Brooch Detail Variations

I’ll post photos of the finished product soon…

 

 

Emery Sticks

Polishing
Polishing

The one area of silversmithing I don’t enjoy is polishing!. I’ve tried a number of ways to avoid  or cut down the amount of time I spend on the polishing lathe. After many years of experimenting I’ve found the best way to reduce your polishing time is to have a prefectly prepared surface before you go near the polishing lathe.

The way I do this is by making my own emery sticks so I have a variety of shapes, sizes and grades. The initial reason I made my own was because I couldn’t get the shapes I was looking for to get into tight angles and curves. I started with a length of wooden dowel and adapted it to fit into awkward shapes.

Here’s how I did it…

So I start with the wooden dowel cut into lengths. I then cut my emery paper to size. I usually cut around three squares from each grade so I can have each shape stick in a variety of grades eg. 600, 800, 1000, 1200.

Then it’s just a matter of taping the paper in place with some really strong tape ( I use Gorilla tape). If you want a sharp edge it might be better to glue the paper but I think tape is quick and easy to remove if you want to change your paper.

Then I just mark the sticks with the grade number so I can pick it up quickly on the bench. I also colour code them, the brighter the colour the finer the paper. I know this sounds a bit crazy but I started doing this with my solder and it has saved me so much time.  If I want a fine emery stick I’ll just have to scan the bench to look for the one with the red mark!

 

So there you have it, proof that making your own tools can often be better than buying them!