[The Midnight Gem] Experimenting With Enameling

Kelski tries new techniques to broaden her jewelcrafting box of tricks.

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[The Midnight Gem] Experimenting With Enameling

Postby Kelski on August 25th, 2018, 11:57 pm

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Timestamping: 58th of Summer, 518 A.V.


There was so much on her mind when she woke before the light that a flight couldn’t possibly cure it. She took one anyhow, as was her habit, circling the city and winging up and down the coastline as the sun rose. Then she was home again, checking in on her sleeping mate briefly, before grabbing a piece of fruit and heading down to the workshop. Kelski didn’t have any sort of particular project in mind. Instead, she just wanted to play. There was something she wanted to try, and that was the idea of making flowers from copper disks, and instead of setting them with gemstones as was her usual way, she was instead going to attempt to teach herself enameling.

Enameling was an upper level jewelcrafting technique that involved coating metal with enamel powders and then heating it until the enamel ran clear and smooth. Kelski had never done it though she’d watched Master Li do so many times. She had a basic idea about it, but she wasn’t sure what she could truly do with it until she experimented with the techniques on something simple until she knew them by heart. Once she knew them, her mind would expand and give her other ideas and then she could fully use enameling in her shop, possibly providing a lower cost alternative to people who wanted jewelry but couldn’t afford true stones.

The first thing she did was take 22 gauge sheets of copper, sheets she’d made herself, and cut blanks out of them. She had two options for cutting the blanks, first with sheers or with a steel disk cutter. The cutter made neat disks, but Kelski wasn’t worried about neatness and so she grabbed the sheers and cut triangles instead. She then took a fine rasp and ran it around the edge of the one inch triangles and smoothed the surface. Then, taking the metal to her polishing wheel, she cleaned and polished the triangles until she had gleaming copper pieces.

Then, using her hole punchers, Kelski punched holes at the top of each triangle and a hole at the bottom in the center of the bottom part of the triangle. That meant she could concave the metal, thread something through them like a pearl or bead, and draw the eye. Once the holes were punched, she gently sanded the holes and carefully made sure they were ready for the next step.

The next step was easier. She had a dappling block that was a large steel block with a large smooth indention in them, concave, that she could take doming tools and lay the triangles in them to form the metal into a perfectly shaped inner curve. The doming tools were almost like punches, but were thick and ended with domes that were convex. She could lay small pieces of metal in the dappling block and tap the doming tools into the concave dapple with their domed end and make absolutely smooth slightly convex or concave metal objects. That meant the triangles would bend in on themselves slightly, allowing Kelski to hang a decorative object between the punched holes… and for her she thought she’d do pearls.

WC: 531
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They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
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Kelski
Feral at heart.
 
Posts: 857
Words: 1100424
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Kelvic
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[The Midnight Gem] Experimenting With Enameling

Postby Kelski on August 25th, 2018, 11:59 pm

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Then, and only then did she carry them back to the desk where she had the enamel powder jars laid out. She decided to start easy and put white on the triangles. She laid out a piece of parchment, lined the triangles up on them, and carefully painted them with a tacky glue that would burn off with heat. The glue was the absolute thinnest layer she could manage. Then, taking a small sifter about the size of a thimble that was suspended on the end of a small stick, Kelski dipped into the white powder.

She carefully moved the sifter over the first triangle and tapped it against her opposite hand not holding the stick. An even coating of white powder fluttered out and created a thin coating of white enamel over the first triangle. Carefully, Kelski moved down the row, sifting on each triangle, trying to reach an even coating of white powder. She returned the excess powder to the white jar and capped it carefully. Then she moved each triangle to a piece of wire screen that she had clamped over her workbench.

Each triangle perched on the screen, evenly spaced apart by a few millimeters. Kelski lit her alcohol torch that served as her soldering iron, and moved into the mesh. Instead of hitting the enamel powder from the top, directly, which might scatter it. She held the torch underneath the mesh wire, heating up the wire AND the triangle evenly. The copper wouldn’t stick to the steel wire, but it did heat to a red hot temperature after a few minutes with the torch and the enamel powder melted across the triangles, one by one as she heated them, creating a thin coat of hard white enamel.

Pleased with her work, Kelski let the triangles cool, and then decided on which colors to add to the triangles. She paired them up and to some of them she would add more white. To others, she would start adding various colors in swirls of powder, creating tiny scenes like a painter would. Kelski pictured enameling preformed petals in the same way, adding gradient colors to them, and then at the end wiring them together to form roses and flowers, perhaps even orchids, that would make elaborate earrings, necklaces, and more. The possibilities were endless. She could even add tiny stones, drilled with holes and with wire running through them to arch out of the middle of the petals to resemble stamens on flowers.

Kelski paused a moment to make notes in a notebook she kept with ideas from things she learned from her experiments. Then she grabbed her sifter, added a second coat of white to the first set of what would become earrings, and set them aside. Then she used the thin glue to trace simple scrollwork on the second set of triangles and grabbed the red powder, dipping the sifter in and filling it. She sifted carefully then picked the first triangle up over the red powder jar and tapped off the excess leaving the thin glue holding red enamel only where the glue was traced. She did geometric patterns that she filled in on the third set of triangles. Blue and Green circles and squares on the white triangle. Then she moved all the triangles back to the screen and lit her torch again.

WC: 560
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They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
User avatar
Kelski
Feral at heart.
 
Posts: 857
Words: 1100424
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Trailblazer (1) Overlored (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)

[The Midnight Gem] Experimenting With Enameling

Postby Kelski on August 26th, 2018, 5:37 am

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She carried on with what she was doing, heating each triangle from the bottom through the screen until it was red hot and the enamel powder had turned into a liquid coating that would harden as it cooled. As she’d suspected, the red swirls remained separated and didn’t bleed into the undercoating. The geometric patterns retained their shape as well, and Kelski was pleased by the patterns they created.

Kelski grinned, cutting the alcohol to her torch and set it aside, tossing off her gloves to make quick notes. She left the triangles on the screen… which wouldn’t hurt them… and tried to decide where she was going to take the newly enameled triangles… and decided earrings immediately. If she put gleaming dark pearls suspended on head pins with tiny glass beads beneath and above before the earring loop, the earrings would be stunning and affordable.

Kelski was pleased with the thought because no matter how fancy her stock was, she still wanted easy beautiful things for commoners and people who only had a few silver to spend. And while these particular earrings were made of gold and enameled, they could easily be made of tin with cheap beads and still be equally as beautiful… yet affordable.

Kelski quickly headed to the vault, sorted through her less expensive pearls, and pulled out a set of four that were approximately matched that would take dye well. Then she set up glass vials with powdered dye, vinegar and water, corking the vials and shaking the dye to dissolve it into a quick absorbing stain. She decided on a deep blue, a bright red, a brassy yellow, and bleaching the final pair. So each tube was set up appropriately with the dye vinegar and water except for the last which was filled with potent bleach.

Then Kelski took her pearls to the drill press, partially wrapped them in felt, and clamped them into the vice. The vice was then slipped under the drill press, and she fitted the press with an incredibly small drill bit. Sitting at the press, Kelski put her foot on the foot peddle and began to pump it enough that the drill press began to spin. She gently held a vial of water to the pearl she drilled and gently squeezed water on it as she pressed down with the spinning drill. Soon enough the pearl was pierced and then penetrated by the drill bit until it was completely and utterly drilled clear through.

The Jeweler repeated this process seven more times before she strung the drilled pearls on thin string and suspended them in the vials of dye. She took a tap and made a hole in each cork and strung the string through it, knotting it at the top to suspend the string evenly down the center of the vials. Kelski could have just dropped the pearls into the vials, but without suspending them on a string, she was running the risk of the pearls touching each other or the sides of the vial and mucking up the dye job.

This way, every surface of the pearl got dyed evenly with the result looking stunning to a disconcerting eye. This was not so true of the bleach, which she simply dropped those two pearls into. They would be in the caustic mixture half the time the others were in the dye, and the bleach would seek out all their surfaces, even those leaning against glass or other pearls. Kelski set those vials up neatly in a vial rack on her work bench and started on the next step.


WC: 601
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They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
User avatar
Kelski
Feral at heart.
 
Posts: 857
Words: 1100424
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Trailblazer (1) Overlored (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)

[The Midnight Gem] Experimenting With Enameling

Postby Kelski on August 27th, 2018, 1:05 am

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For this step, Kelski was needed to work on the wiring for earrings. She could do all kinds of designs and styles, but for keeping the cost of the items down, Kelski loved fish-hook style. She had wire already pulled to the 22 gauge and laid out on large rolls. It was one of the things she did in her spare time with scrap, melting it down on the forge and pouring it in wire blanks then pulling it through precut dies that allowed the wire – after it had been thinned and stretched – to be pulled to the specific length. Then she rolled it up on wooden spools so she didn’t have to take the extra time to pull it when she needed it.

Creating earring hoops was easy. Kelski had often had problems doing it in the early years under Master Li’s tutelage, but with practice the step came easily. She simply used round nose pliers, some that which had a smaller and bigger loop as their nose. She’d hook the wire through the pliers, twisted it gently using more the pressure of the pliers than the pressure of her hand, to create a small loop going one direction. Then she’d twist the wire again, still using the pliers for pressure, and twist the wire around the bigger loop forming the fish hook. Measuring down the earring hanger, she used the bail pliers to kink the wire past the loop which would direct the fish hook away from the ear and keep it in place. Then, using her wire cutters, Kelski snipped off the hanger three inches from the loop.

Carefully she repeated this process, rapidly, until she had hangers for all the earrings. She was careful to match up the hangers into sets, making sure they were exactly the same length and then buffing the end of the wire where she snipped it off so the earring wire was blunt, rounded, and comfortable to slip through a pierced ear. She filed to blunt this end and ran a finger across it until it was smooth and perfect.

At this point the process got more complicated. She had to craft what was considered head pins to run through the enamel triangles and suspend the pearls on. She used the same wire she had for the earring hangers and then got out her soldering iron, flux and solder. Kelski cut eight wires exactly the same length and then fluxed the ends of them. Then, taking a dollop of solder, she hit the wires with the alcohol burner heading them up and then dipped the wires in the liquid solder, giving them a small shake to create a teardrop of solder on the end of the pin. They looked odd, but when one threaded the head pins with beads, the beads could not slip off the end.

Looking at the headpins, Kelski decided on high end versions of this same earing pattern, she could cut gems to hang from the headpins before she threaded them up through the convex triangle. But on these lower cost versions, she used pretty glass beads that matched the color of the enameling. Each head pin got a bead that matched its ‘set’ and its main enameled earring, then she laid them out knowing it was time for the pearls to be plucked from their dyes.

WC: 560
Image
They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
User avatar
Kelski
Feral at heart.
 
Posts: 857
Words: 1100424
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Trailblazer (1) Overlored (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)

[The Midnight Gem] Experimenting With Enameling

Postby Kelski on August 27th, 2018, 4:22 am

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Kelski took the pearls out of the bleach first. She carefully emptied the bleach back into its main container, not worried about contagions, fishing the pearls out as she did so with long tweezers and setting them aside. She washed them carefully with water to stop the bleaching action and admired their new whiter look. Setting them aside, she carefully discarded the vials of dye repeating the action of removing the pearls that were now tinted vivid colors of blue, green, red, yellow and violet. Kelski carefully rinsed them off, stopped the dying action with a quick dip in vinegar, and then rinsed again. These pearls were strung on thin string so she didn’t need to worry about using the tweezers to move them around.

She lined the pearls up looking them over carefully for flaws. Finding none, she then placed them in a tray, carried them back to her work bench, and matched sets of pearls up to the earrings she was going to display them in. The equilateral triangles had the points upwards with a small hole in the top next to the apex point and a small hole in the bottom in the center of the length of the base just inside the margin. Kelski had used her dapping block and taps to curve the triangles so they were convex. That gave a great space to display the pearls in between the apex and the base where the enameled metal of the curved triangles showed them off.

Having placed beads on the head pin, she threaded it from behind up through the bottom base punched out hole towards the front, threaded a pearl on the first earring, and then ran the head pin up and through the back of the top apex hole. The actual headpin was in a straight line displaying the pearl as if it were a simple pearl earring hanging from a wire, but the complex metal enameled triangle was also on the piece, gently curved around the pearl now… highlighting it. She strung a matching glossy glass bead at the top, then took her round nose pliers and curled the piece of wire there sideways into a loop.

Taking her earring hangers, she threaded the slightly open loop through the pre-made loop on the hanger, and used her flat pliers to gently close the opening. She repeated the process for the other seven earrings, crafting nice matchups of complimenting and matching colors until she had a nice little lineup of well crafted but inexpensive earrings. Then she lit her alcohol torch, fluxed the places where the rings had been pinched together on all eight earrings, and carefully soldered the openings closed. When she held the earrings up, the pearl hung straight and looked exceedingly nice sort of gently cradled in the triangle’s arms. She liked the effect. It almost looked like the colored pearls were displayed in stylized enameled shells.

Taking a moment to make notes, Kelski suggested to herself she use shell shapes next time and minimize the beads, to get just that effect. Then, taking the earrings over to the buffer, she carefully cleaned and polished, then buffed each individual earring until they gleamed. Figuring up the cost of the materials and then adding in her time involved, Kelski priced the pieces and carried them out of her workshop on a tray. She went out into the showroom, moved to the more inexpensive section of the shop, and hung the earrings out on display in a metal earring hanger with their cost carefully labeled.

Now that she had the principles of enameling down, she could certainly enamel bigger more elaborate things and even little metal animals. Kelski had all kinds of ideas for torques, bracelets, and even small rings with enamel to provide colorful yet inexpensive things for the more unfortunate members of Sunberths’ society.

Feeling like she had a well accomplished day, Kelski returned to her workroom after giving Ebon a quick hug, and cleaned up, intent on heading upstairs and starting dinner before the Denizens of The Midnight Gem wandered in after their various jobs, hungry and looking for food.

WC: 692
Image
They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
User avatar
Kelski
Feral at heart.
 
Posts: 857
Words: 1100424
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Trailblazer (1) Overlored (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)

[The Midnight Gem] Experimenting With Enameling

Postby Kelski on August 27th, 2018, 5:19 am

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Grading



Kelski

Experience: Jewelcrafting +5, Planning +4, Endurance +1, Body Building +1, Writing +2

Lores: JC: Steps in Enameling Metal, JC: Using A Dappling Block & Doming tools, JC: Dying and Bleaching Pearls, JC: Drilling Pearls, JC: Crafting Head Pins, JC: Crafting Earring Hangers

Notes: Job thread completed… Endurance and BB given for running foot cranking power tools.
Image
They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
User avatar
Kelski
Feral at heart.
 
Posts: 857
Words: 1100424
Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: Sunberth
Race: Kelvic
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Trailblazer (1) Overlored (1)
Sunberth Seasonal Challenge (1)


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