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Old 08-04-2008, 07:45 PM
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Location: Tennessee
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Default Re: Multi-Dimensional Sterling Bracelet

Hi folks ... not a whole lot to see yet since the silver came late today.

I'll get into the details of this project.

I'm using two pieces of 22 gauge sterling silver sheet. One is Argentium and the other is standard sterling.

This bracelet will be an "open-work" double layer bracelet.

Definition of "open-work": A piece of jewelry that has open areas, see-through, similar to filigree cut.

The top piece will be vine scroll cut using Ron Smith's tutorial on transition cut scroll. (I'll post a link when I get to cutting). The scroll will be outlined with a square, sculpted using a flat graver and also a large round heeled graver. The background will then be completely cut out thus creating the "open-work" filigree part of this bracelet. Edges will be filed and sanded smooth creating the 3D effect. I would have preferred 20 gauge for the top piece but when you go thicker on a cut out, you run the risk of the filigree not forming well around the mandrel and "popping" up in areas of its' weakest connect points. 20g would probably work fine.

The bottom piece (Argentium) will be engraved using Western style bright cut for maximum light refection out of the design.

The two pieces will be soldered together, one on top of the other, when completed.....hence, "multi-dimensional"

Why am I using Argentium on the bottom ... because I want the bottom peice to always retain its reflectiveness. The top will be antiqued.

There are a few other finishing details I will include when I arrive at each of the major steps. As we move forward, this stuff will begin to make sense. I have a tendency to "over-engineer" things to minimize the possibility of failure. Rather ironic since everything I try that I haven't done before is a risk in itself!!!!!

This tutorial is intended for the intermediate (or even relatively new) engraver with only basic tools in the shop. You don't need to be a jeweler or silversmith .... just a "jack of all trades". This is a low investment, high output project. It takes time and pressure to make a diamond and that's all you need here is just a little time and a little (cutting) pressure.

I may take the long way around the barn on some of these steps and there may be a more efficient method that the "gurus" use but being a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, intermediate engraver kinda guy .... that's just the way I do it.

You will need this stuff ..........
1. Power assist engraver
2. A jewelers saw and work holding clamp
3. belt sander
4. small files and fine sand paper
5. liver of sulfur or black max

.............also stuff I will show you (there are really no pre-requisites here in this tutorial ... just the desire to take a risk and a steady hand)

1. basic Western bright cut engraving and the tools (as well how to sharpen) this will be the nickel tour to get you going.
2. The challenging task of cutting out the background with a jeweler's saw
3. Transition scroll (which is just vine scroll with western bright cuts) and the tools .... this we'll be learning together.

The below photo are the two peices of silver cut to 1.5 inches width. Standard length is 6" as seen here. The sheet was purchased from Rio Grande. Normally I use because they are much more reasonable but they don't carry Argentium.

The pieces were scribed at 1.5" and run through the scroll saw (or cut with a jeweler's hand saw if you don't have one of those) Also marked the Argentium with an "A" ... because I WILL mix these up if I don't.

Here I have rounded the edges and squared up the sides on a belt sander. I'll also lightly sand with 1500 or 2000 grit paper (wrapped around a small block) to get out minor scratches.

Oh yeah .... over the weekend, I flipped through this book for brain food on an "art nuoveau" idea for the "open-work" filigree .....

Treasury of Ironwork Designs: 469 Examples from Historical Sources (Dover Pictorial Archive Series)