Friday, January 11, 2013

on procrastination and stone-in soldering

I think every artist
has that project...
the one that just sits.
lingers over you.
It breeds contention.

and in this case, gathers dust.

This is a post about procrastination.
and starting the new year right.
Mopping up my messes, so to say...

Usually, there's good reason why I stall.
I pump the brakes on projects a little out of my comfort zone,
or where the outcome is a little iffy.  
I don't like iffy.

This ring was just such a project.
I admit I've had it for over a year.

I have known what's gotta be done.
I have the skills to do it too.
Seldom used, dusty...
but I've done it before.

The ring is too big.

Jewelers will jump for joy if the ring is too small,
simple fix, not usually a big deal.
Metal is stretchable (to a point)
and is easier to move up a size.

But Smaller.  ah crap.
Smaller means fire, 
means cutting out a little chunk of metal,
and soldering the thing back together.

and today,
that's just what I did.

Not without consulting my school notes,
or biting my nails.
It's been a bit since the repair class.
and the sizing exercise.

my chart of hopefully correct math,
every size has a corresponding chunk
that gets chopped out. 

My chopping.
2.54 mm.
down one size.
Amazing how tiny the size of my removed piece, 
and how drastic it changes the ring.

Here's the ring on my soldering block.
I decided to solder it with the stone in place.
A sweet little sapphire, both heat and acid tolerant corundum.
(Here's a great article on corundum from Ganoskin.
ALWAYS DO YOUR RESEARCH when taking heat to stones...
Make sure you know what you're about to torch!)

and don't forget the handy chill gel!

I squished this funny gel stuff all around the stone to protect it from the heat.
Front and back.
packed on thick.

Here's a shot of the ring after soldering,
(not a great pic) but you'll see the gel hasn't all burnt up.
It is still protecting the little sapphire.
I have heard of other products that do the same thing as Chill-gel,
a heat-sink really is all you're looking for...
I know a professional who uses damp sandbox sand, and swears by it.
I like the chill gel 'cuz it's squishy and you can pack as much on as you need.

it'll shatter into a ka-jillion pieces.

Be patient.
let it cool on the block.
and if the stone is tolerant to pickle acid,
toss 'er on in.

I use a mild citric acid bath. not sparex.
mostly because it's a much kinder acid,
to the earth and to me.
More on that here.

Finish your seam nicely, 
check your size,
and VOILA!

a year of waiting, of dust collection
 hand-wringing and worry.
All wrapped up in a 2 hour afternoon.

Procrastination.  Staring me right in the face.

with yesterday." -Don Marquis