Saturday, September 28, 2013

Great book most metalsmiths probably don't know about

I have to preface this article with a BIG thanks to Teri Jo Kinnison who alerted me to this book.

"Tech Text" comprises a collection of technical articles which originally appeared in SNAG News and previous SNAG publications from 1975- 2010. It's available through Blurb:

and although the production value isn't superb (the articles are literally scanned pages of old newsletters) the information and nostalgia factor are off the charts. Table of Contents include:
  • Diffusion Lamination (i.e. mokume-gane) by Hiroko and Gene Pijanowski
  • Shell Structures by Heikki Seppa
  • Spray Etching by Linda Threadgill
  • Interior Dies by Lee Marshall
and many more techniques to read up on from people we know and love. Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

How to Make an Economical Rotating Soldering Surface

As you may be aware, traditional soldering pans are wonderful but quite pricey ($50-60.00 for a large pan). I own one and can't imagine working without it but as an instructor at a facility with limited resources (not the MAC!), we have them in short supply. So I decided to make some that would do the job just as well. You'll need a small lazy Susan (hardware included) which you can purchase at a well equipped Ace for around $5-6.00. You'll also need a hard 12 inch Solderite board which costs about $24.00. You could get away with a 6 inch board if that's all you have. It will work just as well and costs less than $10.00 (prices taken from the Rio Grande website).

Lazy Susan and 12 inch Solderite board

Take a ruler and pencil and mark lines from corner to corner.

Solderite board with corner marks

Here's the trick to centering your Lazy Susan under the board: line the screw holes up along the pencil lines so that each line bisects the holes. When all the lines bisect the holes, the Lazy Susan will be centered. No other measuring required!

Lazy Susan centered along lines

Once you have the Lazy Susan positioned, insert the screws (they should be fairly short- you only have 1/2 inch thickness on the board) and secure the Lazy Susan to the underside of the Solderite board. You can pre-drill if you like but I just started squirming them in until they caught since the board material is fairly soft.

Lazy Susan secured!

Put a second board on top of the first one to keep it clean so you don't have to replace it as often. This is optional. Alternately, work on top of the board with a kiln brick.

Second board on top

Although a second board is on top of the Lazy Susan, you could opt just for the kiln brick.

That's it! My students have been using them for a semester now and they are very happy.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Student Work from Phoenix College

Yeesh, I had no idea it had been this long since I posted! The spring semester at Phoenix College has started, I'm still working full time at the Heard and I just finished teaching a 6 week hammer setting class at the MAC. I'm still teaching enameling at MAC and I'm currently teaching casting at the Phoenix Center while John T. is on sabbatical this semester. Needless, to say, time has been tightly scheduled with practically no free time of late. And, starting in a couple of weeks I'm taking a short course in html5 and css3 at MCC through May! I haven't had a chance to make much of my own art for a while but my students at PC are going gangbusters! I am going to have to ask my MAC enamelists if they'll leave me their stuff to be photographed because they are doing some great work as well, but for now here is some of what my PC students are doing. The Jewelry I students had to make a bracelet with texture and rivets. My Jewelry II students had to make a neckpiece with enamel. My independent study student worked on enamel and colored pencil on metal. I'm very proud of all of them.

Jordan Abernathy- Jewelry I- rivets

Christina Soto- Jewelry I- rivets

Vicki Colter- Jewelry I- rivets

Lisa O'Rourke- Jewelry II- enamel

Margaret Murphy- Jewelry II- enamel detail

Margaret Murphy- Jewelry II- enamel
This was a neat piece. Margaret created a pendant
that one could slide different enamel plates into.

Vicki Gudger- Ind. Study- colored pencil/ enamel