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Metalsmithing

 


Mini Bench Vise | Copper and Brass Sheet | Oxidizing Solution | Metal Mesh | Mini Blow Torch | Miniature Hardware | Metal Punch Sets | Saw Frame

Copper and Brass Sheet


Christine Cox
Distressed Bird of Paradise
Nickel Silver, Acrylic, Patina Solution


Jody Maple
Maple Leaf Pendant
Patinated Copper Sheet and Copper Mesh, Copper Eyelets
Jody made this in an Art Parts class taught by Christine Cox
Find out how to achieve the color on this brooch in our new booklet Coloring Base Metals: A Practical Guide by Christine Cox.


Pam Hewitt
Etched Book Cover
nickel, copper, paper
Pam made this in one of my
5-day Metalsmithing Intensives


Carolyn Disher
Fabricated Book Cover
nickel, copper, leather, paper
Carolyn made this in one of my
5-day Metalsmithing Intensives


Christine Cox
See close-up photos of this bracelet and others here


Bambi Stalder
Butterfly Book
Bambi made this in my Art Parts: Etched and Fabricated Metal class. Learn to etch from our Metal Etching How-To and Idea Book.


Artist: Christine Cox
Brass Bezel Box
22 and 26 ga. Brass Sheet, brass wire, stone, silver solder, Oxidizing Solution


Artist: Christine Cox
Vincent's Pet Tag
(In the collection of Vincent Cox)
20 ga. Copper, 22 ga. Nickel Silver and 26 ga. Brass
Learn to make pet tags in my article in The Muse


Artist: Christine Cox
Butterfly Stick Pin (in the collection of Sandy Brien). 22 gauge Brass Sheet, Brass Wire, Torched for Color


Artist: Christine Cox
Good Luck Box
22 gauge Brass Sheet, silver solder, Oxidizing Solution. Learn to etch from our Metal Etching How-To and Idea Book


Artist: Jerra Banwarth
Jerra made this très élégant toothpick holder from 26 Gauge Copper and patterned silver wire.


Virginia Dunstan (hardware)
Made from our
Original Traveler Journal Kit
and Brass Sheet and wire


Christine Cox
Find out how to achieve the color on this clock in our new booklet Coloring Base Metals: A Practical Guide by Christine Cox.


Christine Cox
Erté Dancer
In the collection of Glenny Densem-Moir
This clock is etched. Learn to etch from our Metal Etching How-To and Idea Book.


Christine Cox
Find out how to achieve the color on this book cover in our booklet Coloring Base Metals: A Practical Guide by Christine Cox.


Artist: Christine Cox
Jules' Collar and Slide
(In the collection of Jules Cox)
Collar is leather with Rivets and Snaps
Tag is 20 ga. Copper Sheet
Learn to make pet tags in my article in The Muse


Artist: Christine Cox
Alabama's Pet Tag
22 ga. Brass
Learn to make pet tags in my article in The Muse


Artist: Christine Cox
Dinosaur Egg Box
22 Brass Sheet, silver solder, Oxidizing Solution. Learn to etch from our Metal Etching How-To and Idea Book


Artist: Christine Cox
Etched Tinkly Necklace
22 ga. Nickel Silver Sheet, sterling chain, Sterling Jump Rings. Make a necklace like this in Christine's Art Parts class! Learn to etch from our Metal Etching How-To and Idea Book


Artist: Christine Cox
'Elektra' (detail)
Body is made from 20 ga. Copper Sheet
Fibers are attached to a round piece of 22 gauge Brass Sheet


Artist: Carole Lamb
Carole made these 2 buttons from 26 gauge copper and brass sheet. The letters were punched using our Metal Punch Stamps.


Christine Cox
Li'l Traveler Journal Kit: Khaki/Black
22 gauge brass, copper wire


Christine Cox

In the collection of Karen Ritter
Click on the photo and check out the Copper Mesh in the background.
Find out how to achieve the color on this clock in our new booklet Coloring Base Metals: A Practical Guide by Christine Cox.


Artist: Christine Cox
Mask was made for Art & Soul 2004 Challenge
Published in "Somerset Studio Gallery IV"


Gayle? Art & Soul 2004 class - The student started with an old Masonite clipboard and just look at the results! She also used our Extra Long Eyelets and our Copper Mesh.

 

 

Saw Frame

Cutting Music Albums
I just love cutting up albums and using them in my metal work. Check your local thrift stores as they sometimes have albums in colors other than black. I have a great brown one and some red ones that are destined to be cut up soon. I find that a 5/0 Blade is perfect for vinyl.

Cut the album with a Saw Frame rather than trying to cut it on a paper cutter -- a mistake I made (the album shattered). To make the vinyl pieces smaller and more manageable, score them deeply (3 or 4 cuts) with a utility knife and ruler. Snap the record in half as you would glass.


This drawing will show you the correct way to string blades in your saw frame


Christine Cox
Milton
Purpleheart wood, Copper, paper, Thread

Color is gesso, colored pencils, StazOn Ink


Milton Open

How to String a Blade in a Saw Frame
To install a Blade in your jeweler’s Saw Frame, first observe the orientation of the blade’s teeth. When properly installed, the teeth will face out (in the cutting direction of the frame) and down toward the handle (see drawing). A great trick for finding the direction of the teeth (those little guys can be very hard to see) is to run the blade across your sleeve. The teeth will hang up on the fabric in one direction and not in the other. The direction in which it hangs is the direction the teeth are facing.

Now open the key closest to the handle of the saw frame. Insert the blade, double checking the orientation. Tighten the key.

Flex the saw frame by placing the handle against your breastbone (or stand up and use your hip) and resting the screw or nub at the top of the frame on a table. When you push the handle with your chest (or hip), the frame will flex so that the blade can reach to the top key. Note: when the frame is at rest, the blade should not quite touch the top key. You should have to flex the frame to get the blade into the right position. If the frame is too short for the blade, the blade will be loose and will not cut correctly.

Use the “ping” test to ensure that the blade is tight enough. After stringing and tightening the blade, hold it up close to your ear and “ping” it with a fingernail. The resulting sound should be high and sharp. If it’s dull, the blade is loose. Try again.

Metal Punch Sets

When you receive our Metal Punch Sets (the ones made for stamping letters in metal) you will see that they are coated with an oil. They are shipped from China on ships and if they aren't oiled they will rust. The oil is really easy to remove by just running a sink full of hot, soapy water (dish soap works fine) and then rubbing the stamps a little with your fingers. Simply dry them off on a paper towel and you are done!
When stamping with our Metal Punch Sets it can be a challenge to get the letters all lined up in a straight line. One method for making it easier is to turn the metal sideways so that you are looking down the line of text. It seems natural to turn the piece so that you can read it but looking down the text helps you keep the letters aligned top and bottom. Click the image for a larger view.
Another great trick for lining up letters when using our Metal Punch Sets is to build yourself a little jig. Mine is a piece of wood with one very squared up corner. To that corner I glued 2 pieces of book board (one on each side of the 'L' of the corner). I then lay my Bench Block on the wood on the inside of the corner and use the piece of book board as a guide for the letter punches. Click the image for a larger view.

I used an alpha/numeric punch set to spell out the title and author's name on 20 gauge copper, which I then colored with our antiquing solution. The copper is riveted onto the curly maple burl cover. The book is sewn with a Coptic stitch.

I made this sterling necklace for my friend Megan Watts. The front says
"We're having a baby." The
reverse says "What's your super power?
Christine Cox

Miniature Hardware


Christine Cox
A Brief Moment in Time
Click image for larger view

I made this pin at Art & Soul in a class taught by Thomas Mann. The layers are brass on the back, then the photo, then a Acrylic Sheet and on top is a piece of brass that I had etched ahead of time. The pin is held together with Tiny Brass Hex-Head Bolts. A personal note about the pin: To the best of my knowledge, this is the only existing picture of both my parents and me. I recently scanned over a hundred photos for my grandmother and this picture was among them. It was unexpected to find it and I just had to use it for this piece. The photo, and therefore the pin, is very special to me.

Sealing


Butterfly Brooch

Christine Cox
 I stamped a butterfly shape with StazOn Ink onto Nickel Silver Sheet. I then cut it out (Jeweler's Saw Frame), colored it with colored pencils and sealed it with wax.
Find out how to achieve the color on this brooch in our booklet Coloring Base Metals: A Practical Guide by Christine Cox.

Oxidizing Solution

  • Our oxidizing solution works on sterling silver, white brass (nickel silver), copper and brass.

  • Use stick-on letters on your metal and then oxidize it. When you pull the letters off you'll have a great 2-color effect!

  • Our oxidizer is low-odor.

  • Also, while you should always wear gloves when using it, our oxidizer is fairly benign. If you get any on your hands simply wash them in soap and water. 

  • Make sure you don't trap any bubbles underneath your metal or you'll get a spot with no color. 

  • If you just leave copper, brass or nickel in the oxidizer for a few seconds you'll get a warm, yellow/brown color. More time means darker colors ranging from brown to blue/gray to black.

  • Sterling silver will turn from light gray to a deep blue/gray (notice the picture of the sterling ring I oxidized).

  • For the darkest color possible, a really nice charcoal gray (it never gets really solid black), you can soak the clean metal in the solution for about 2 minutes.

    Remove the metal (AWAY from the solution) and use a soft brass brush with a drop of soap on it to gently brush the entire piece of metal.

    Rinse the metal. You need to make sure there is no soap on it, otherwise when you put it back into the solution the soap will neutralize the solution and it will no longer oxidize. Also, be sure not to use the brass brush over the solution as you will be scraping off bits of oxidized metal and they will pollute the solution. As the solution can be used over and over again it's important to keep it as pure as possible.

    Put the metal back into the solution and let it sit another 2 minutes or so.

    Brass brush with soap and water again.

    Rinse and repeat several times. It will seem as though the solution is just coming back off every time you brush it but then, suddenly, the metal will stay nice and dark. At this point you are done. No more color can be achieved.

    Clean the metal gently (just with your gloved hands) with soap and water.
     

  • While the oxidizer is still wet you can move a paper towel or something else over it to 'variegate' the color. 

  • If you don't like how the oxidizing looks because you dipped it for too long, you can take it back off with Polishing Paper, Scotch Brite, steel wool, sand paper, a wire wheel on your flex shaft, etc.

  • Try torching the metal for maximum color and then quenching it in water. Then oxidize it just a little. You'll get cool variations in the colors caused by the torch (mostly shades of browns, you'll lose the brighter colors).



Doesn't the box look great after a bath in our Oxidizing Solution?
 

Learn to etch from our Metal Etching How-To and Idea Book

 


Artist: Christine Cox
Sterling Silver Ring darkened in our Oxidizing Solution after being formed on our Steel Ring Mandrel


Think out of the box! Clipiolas (those fantastic paperclips from Italy) are made of brass so they oxidize beautifully! Our Brass Eyelets also oxidize to beautiful colors.

  • Try this cool trick I discovered (wear gloves and goggles as the oxidizer splutters a lot), torch your metal to give it color then, while it's still hot, dip directly into the oxidizer (in a deep glass container). If you sort of in-out-in-out the metal you'll get a wave-y pattern. The bubbling makes a very cool pattern on the metal. I call this technique 'Torch Collage.' Caution, if your metal is too hot it may lose its temper when you put it into the oxidizing solution. Test this on a scrap of the same gauge and alloy. This and several other coloring techniques are featured in our booklet "Coloring Base Metals: A Practical Guide by Christine Cox." Be sure to wear goggles and gloves to protect yourself from the splattering solution.


This book by Vicki Potter was colored using the hot oxidizer trick


Artist: Christine Cox
22 Gauge Brass Sheet
I etched the letters onto the metal and then cut out, formed and soldered the pieces together. The lid has a ring on the under-side which holds it onto the box with friction.
In the collection of Francesca Fuller

Copper Mesh and Mini Blow Torch

Solid copper mesh colors beautifully using a low-heat torch like our Mini Blow Torch.

The mesh also oxidizes beautifully in our Oxidizing Solution

Don't our Eyelets look great flattened out like that? I did it by installing the eyelet normally, but I used a Bench Block rather than a plastic mat underneath the front of the eyelet.

Find out how to make this luminous picture frame!

Christine Cox
Pin made in Tim McCreight's class at OCAC, Portland, OR


Christine Cox
Pictures and Transparencies by ARTchix Studios
All charms are 1" X 1 1/4"

Christine Cox

You will need the following:


Christine Cox


Christine Cox

Charm Template
Print this on sticker paper 

Mini Bench Vise

 


Use a Mini Bench Vise to hold tools while you work. You'll want it right next to your seat as you'll find a million uses for it. Here's my set-up when I'm making bead or cupped rivets. The nail-set (available at hardware stores) gently prevents the front of the rivet  from being damaged or flattened while you hammer the back of the rivet.


Here I'm using my Mini Bench Vise to hold a wire while I form a rivet head. The hammer is a special Riveting Hammer. Note correct use of hammer.


Here I have a charm that I'm soft soldering (with a Soldering Iron) in my Mini Bench Vise. The piece of leather is to protect the charm from the vise jaws and the pencil acts as a little level. I just raise or lower one end of the pencil when I want to level the charm. It keeps me from burning my fingers and makes my Solder bead level.


Artist: Christine Cox
Vincent Cox with Good Luck box
The ornament on top of the box was etched using the instructions in our Etched Metal: How-To and Idea Book