Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Stone Donut With Gem Set Bail

Another project from my old we site.. I'm going to find as many of these as I can (most vanished when my old PC went TU), but I'll post the ones I can find.

Stone Donut With Gem Set Bail

I love these stone donuts.  I wanted to make a bail that would enhance them without obscuring too much of the stone.  This is what I came up with.  This tutorial assumes a basic knowledge of metal clay technique.

  Materials Needed:
25 gm PMC3
 PMC 3 paste
shaping tools - roller, cards, tissue blade, paint brushes,       emery boards, needle tool, files, texture sheet or rubber stamp
circle template
oval template
8mm rod
polymer clay
40-50mm stone donut
8mm calibrated gemstone cab
8mm fine silver round bezel cup
5mm fine silver round bezel cup
1/4" 5mm sterling tubing
800 grit wet dry sandpaper
finishing tools -  wire brush, burnishers or tumbler
Stone setting tools - stone pusher and curved burnisher
particle mask

  Roll out some clay 2 cards thick.  Cut a 1" circle and a 1 5/8" oval.

 Roll out some more clay 2 cards thick and apply texture with a texture sheet or rubber stamp.  
Cut out a 1" circle and a 3/4" circle.  Cut an 8mm circle from the center of the 3/4" circle.

Roll the end of the oval over and 8mm rod (I use a glass lampworking rod).  Allow the clay to dry.

  Cut a piece of sterling tubing 1/4" long.  Make a polymer clay donut form with a 5mm hole that will fit in the hole of the stone donut and cure according to package directions.

 Using a curved file, adjust the hole in the 3/4" circle so the the 8mm bezel fits loosely.

 Apply paste to the back of the 3/4" circle and moisten the front of the 1" circle with water.

 Center the 3/4" circle on top of the 1" circle.

 Dip the 8mm bezel cup in the paste...

 ...and set in the hole in the 3/4" circle.  Allow to dry.

 Sand the 1" untextured circle and the oval bail piece smooth and apply paste to the back of the oval.  Moisten the front of the circle with water...

 ...and set the bail piece on the circle.  I have added quality marks (both 999 and 925 since I am using some sterling in my piece) and one of my signature rounds (see my signature tag tutorial for instructions).  Allow to dry and fire at 1650 degrees for 2 hours.  Tumble polish or burnish by hand.

 Apply a small dab of Solder Fast for Silver to the back of the bail piece...

 ..and center the silver tube on it.

 Set on the edge of a hot plate set on high and heat until the solder melts.*  Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area - the fumes from the solder can be toxic.  (Of course you can do this step with a torch if you prefer).

*Hint:  this is a great way to easily attach posts to earrings :)

 Now this is where you can finish in two different ways. 
Traditional method: drill a hole through the 8mm bezel and it's backplate.
Easy method:  Solder the 5mm bezel cup to the back of the textured circles using the method described above.  If you are using the easy method you could use a  piece of fired pmc tubing instead of the sterling - it just has to fit in the 5mm bezel cup and extend from the backplate through the stone donut.

 Place the polymer clay donut around the sterling tube.

 Traditional method: Place the stone donut on the sterling tube, set the textured circles on top with the tube coming up through the bezel and rivet the tube.  Set the stone in the cup over the rivet.

Easy method:  Set the stone in the cup...

 ...and mix up some two part epoxy according to manufacturers directions.   (Yes!  We're really going to use the dreaded "chemical bonding agent"!! ;)  Put some of the epoxy in the 5mm bezel cup and invert over the end of the sterling tube.

 Allow the epoxy to set up according to manufacturers directions.

Sit back and admire your work.

Quiz:  Now that you've seen this tutorial, can you figure out how I made the bail for this piece?

Of course you can ;)



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Color From Nature : Mordants and Modifiers

Understanding mordants and modifiers.

 I'd like us to to look at the first six pages of this excellent article  from Maiwa.  Let's get an understanding of mordants and how and why they work.

"Mordants are used in combination with natural dyes to make the colours lightfast and washfast. Some Mordants, like alum, prepare the cloth to receive the dye and do not add their own colour, others, like myrobalan, tannin and iron, will impart a colour to the cloth and can be used to significantly alter the colour of a dye. It is the combination of dyes and mordants that will yield a rich spectrum of colours."  Maiwa

Another great source for information about mordants is Griffin Dye Works.  There's a lot of information in this article.  I'd like you to read the first part and then in the section under specific mordants and modifiers click on and read the information on Alcohol, Alum, Ammonia,Citric acid,  Chrome, Copper, Cream of Tartar, Glauber's Salt, Iron, Soda Ash, Tin and Vinegar (we will be using or discussing all of these)

Logwood and Brazilwood with alum mordant

More to come soon!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Color From Nature : Supplies

And so my new adventure begins!

Here is a list of supplies we will need for our exploration of natural dyes.  We are going to start with purchased dyestuffs that are readily available and then in the spring and summer we will start planting and foraging our own.  Make sure you purchase the true dyestuff, not an extract; we'll be playing with those later.

My equipment closet

Mordants and Modifiers
Alum (Aluminum Sulfate)
Washing soda (soda ash)
Cream of Tartar
Alcohol (cheap gin, vodka or rubbing alcohol)

Start with:

Later we will be exploring:
Osage Orange

The dye "studio" ... yes, it used to be a bathroom :)

pH paper
pots (I use graniteware or stainless)
mason jars
source of heat
mesh bags
salad spinner
assorted spoons, tongs etc.
spray bottles

I'm sure I've forgotten something, but this should get us started ...

Yep!  I knew I forgot something!  How about the Dyeable Fibers
Tussah silk roving
Habotai and chiffon silk scarves
Wool roving
Wool fleece
Wool locks


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Chicken Coop Ideas

This post is for FitzGyver as we move the coop into the greenhouse ;)