Fresh Baked Designs

Adventures in jewelry making

Taking care of business… February 1, 2016

Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 3:01 pm

In my last post I went public about some things that needed attending to.  In particular, two bezel set pieces that needed more finishing work. So at last Tuesday’s evening class, I introduced myself to the flex shaft and some polishing bits.  I was pretty much playing around with some of the cones and wheels to see what effect they had on the silver. The bezel edges also got a bit more attention with the burnisher to see if they would sit flatter against the coral and glass cabochons. Much better, I think.




I was trying to achieve more of a ‘mirror shine’ on the bezel backs…Take a close look at the one on the right.  When I went was photo editing, imagine my surprise to see the edge of my camera and two of my fingers reflected in the silver!  Now that’s a shine!




Now to that pesky prong setting from the last post…also worked like crazy in class to get the joins soldered.  That’s 12 joins on the piece. And desperately trying not to melt the ones I’d finished while soldering others.  Thought I had it once.  But when I went to set the stone, one of the prongs popped off…so back to pickling, soldering, pickling, cleaning and polishing all over again. But, necessary.

The good news is that I got lots and lots of practice with pick soldering…I used to set the tiny pallions of solder on the join before using the torch.  Pick solder has you heat the pallion until it balls up. Then scoop it up on the tip of your pick…then you go in with the torch to heat up your bezel. When the metal’s all warmed up, then you set the solder down on the join.  What I liked about this method is you didn’t accidentally ‘blow’ the solder bit off its join while you were heating up the piece.

Blue Nile 4


Blue Nile 3


I decided this necklace needed some largish sterling silver links wrapped around some colorful Tibetan beads.


Blue Nile 5


Blue Nile 6


Here’s the youtube video from Beaducation that demonstrates freeform prong setting and pick soldering.

 I’ll definitely give this another try !



11 Responses to “Taking care of business…”

  1. Kathy Zee Says:

    Very beautiful pendants Linda. You do such beautiful work. Love your creative ideas. And.. I love the colored beads that you used in this piece. I enjoy your blog and all of the new jewelry you are creating. Thanks for sharing. You truly are an artist.

    • Aw…thanks so much, Kathy. Those Tibetan beads were a chance purchase last year at the Gem and Bead Show. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but they seemed perfect for this necklace.

      • Kathy Zee Says:

        They are perfect. I admire your work and look forward to getting these emails. You have a great eye for design and not afraid to try something new and exciting. Keep up the good work.

  2. Congratulations! Everything looks beautiful! I truly don’t know how I survived before the flex shaft! The only problem in getting a mirror finish (for me) is getting a good picture of the silver WITHOUT a reflection! LOL! Your prong setting looks PERFECT! 🙂

    • Thank you, Patti! I thought those prongs were going to be the end of me for a minute…so glad I stayed in the fight. Don’t have a flex shaft at home, but my sweet husband presented me with an old Dremel tool from the garage the other day. Thinking I’ll buy some polishing bits and get acquainted with it.

  3. I have those reflection problems too! I always end up wondering if the only solution is that professional studio, with lots of white sheets everywhere, and an indirect light source, and what not, to avoid seeing ones face behind the camera in the silver! 😛
    …I had to ponder this for a while, and went over and had a look at my teacher’s webpage:!insekter/cjg9
    He uses a pro photographer, and you see reflected lamps mostly, but not much else, so a stand for the camera, and some good lamps, maybe… I should work on this…
    I tried our old Dremel at first (very old), but it was so incredibly clumsy, I went out and bought a Proxxon (I’m very happy with it). Somewhere I saw a flex shaft attachment you could put on either of those, or maybe they both have that option. And I’ve seen some bargain offers for flex shafts in Art Jewelry, in shops over your side the Atlantic, so — try the Dremel first, and if that’s too cumbersome, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something reasonably priced.
    Very good work on those settings! That last one ended up just right, and I love those large loops in the chain — such a neat idea! They compliment the prong setting too!
    I’ve tried pick soldering occasionally, but not gotten very comfortable with it (I’ve partly worked round that “flying pallion” problem by “gluing” it with flux — works sometimes!). I know I should get more used to it, because in some situations it simply is the best, and nearly only, alternative.

    • Morning, Monica! Thanks for your leads on photographing jewelry. I’ll definitely check it out!. I do like the smaller flex shaft at class, but the Dremel felt fine in the hand too. I do need to investigate better jewelry polishing bits however. And some white diamond perhaps. Do you have bits that you like?

      • I do have bits that I like! And even more that I don’t… I had to dig around a bit to find any information that would be of any use whatsoever to you. And I have to admit, I’m not a 100% sure that this is the right one:
        but I think so: a red Artifex polisher. My all-round fave. It takes off fairly deep scratches, and leaves the surface just about polished enough to just throw in the tumbler. Not sure where you would find that brand in the US, tried looking around Rio Grande to no avail. They did seem to have a lot of similar stuff, though, you’d just have to try:
        The really cheap ones can be quite useless, but they probably don’t have those at Rio Grande.

        Then I have a whole set of 3M bristle discs, these:
        They were fairly inexpensive where I got them (at that same above Rasmussen shop, which is the worst web shop ever, they don’t even have pictures for a lot of the stuff — like those 3M bristles!!! And it’s really Norwegian, not even Finnish… I went to the real-life shop to see the stuff), so I bought six different colors, but just one of each (not twelve like in that Rio Grande set!). They are quite amazing with small detail, like my iron bangles. Do get screw mandrels for all colors, you don’t want to fiddle about changing bristles on the mandrel all the time!

        I do have polishing paste (several…), and a big polishing wheel in the basement, but that’s messy, and best for slightly bigger pieces. I’ve tried the same paste and some small buffs with the proxxon, but it’s somehow even more messy, and you risk scratches from the screw mandrel.

        Of course, our Dremel is fairly antique, and looks fit for drilling holes in brick walls… there might be better ones!

      • This will be so very helpful in my decision about what to purchase…it’s all so confusing with I look on line or in the Rio Grande catalog! I really appreciate the time you took to help me out with this next step in my studio set up. Thanks so much, Monica!

      • Well, I helped myself by clarifying what to order next time — the Artifex is getting a wee bit worn! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s