Thursday, 18 August 2016

Making A Synclastic Bangle

I wrote a blog post a while ago where I practised making a mini synclastic bangle using a pair of synclastic pliers and dapping punches. I thought it was about time I made a proper sized bangle!

If you're wondering what on earth a "synclastic" shape is it's where the surface curves towards the same side in all directions or in the case of my bangle rather than having a flat profile when viewed in cross-section it's domed. Or if you still don't understand it...just look at the photo :D

I started with a strip of copper that I'd added a stripe pattern to...

Once it was soldered and the join tidied up I rounded it on the bracelet mandrel and sanded both sides to get them flat. I cut the strips of copper sheet myself so they are inevitably a bit wonky to start with but it's easy to sort out once the bangle is soldered.

I decided to make a medium size bangle and cut the length longer than normal to allow for the decrease in the inside diameter of the bangle as the sides will be curved inwards as the synclastic shape is formed.

I then used my synclastic pliers to start off the curved shape. I went round the bangle once then flipped it and did the other side.

The result is a little bit wonky and not as curved as I want it. The marks left on the inside of the bangle by the pliers are surface marks and disappear with a rub with some wire wool.

After annealing the bangle I started to shape the curve a bit more using dapping punches fixed in a vice and a nylon mallet. The nylon mallet won't flatten the metal just move it so the striped texture will be preserved.

It took a bit of hammering and a few annealings but I managed to even out the bumps and the wavy edges and get the curve pretty smooth.

The next stage is to flatten the bangle so it sits flat and to smooth the edges.

I use a file and sanding sticks to take the edges off the metal so it's comfortable to wear then pickle the copper to clean it up.

The bangle ready for oxidizing.

The finished bangle.

Using the dapping punches as a stake to make these synclastic shapes is ok but does make the process a bit fiddly as they tend to move a bit in the vice.
Which is why I treated myself to one of these!!

It's a Bonny Doon Anticlastic/Synclastic Forming Stake available from Rio Grande and Bonny Doon.
It's the perfect size for the narrower anticlastic and synclastic bangles and earrings I want to make. 

My parcel of goodies from Rio Grande arrived today and I've literally just opened the box and got the stake out to have a look at it as I write this post. I haven't had chance to try it yet {that will be another post!} but it looks like it's going to make life a lot easier.

Copyright © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 12 August 2016

New Copper Bangles With Silver Wrap Bead

I had a break recently and took the opportunity, once I'd caught up with lots of other things, to make some new stuff.

I wrote a post a while ago about making metal wrap beads in copper with the thought of doing a sterling silver version and that's one of the things I did in my break.

I had the idea of having a set of three bangles with three beads on just one of the bangles and the other two plain with a hammered finish. Then I decided it would look a bit more contemporary {to me anyway!} to have just one bead on each of the three bangles.

I started with some silver sheet I put through the rolling mill until it was about 0.25mm thick. I used the wrap bead template I made myself......

...and cut three lengths for the beads. I used the smaller size this time. I made three bangles using 3.25mm copper wire that I textured with a hammer. I then flowed some solder onto the the silver sheet on the side that would later become the inside of the bead.
Then I soldered the wide end of it to the bangle.

Once I'd attached the end of the silver sheet to the bangle I used pliers to fold the end down so it sat close to the copper.

I then started to wrap the silver sheet around the copper bangle and form the bead.

Despite the silver sheet being very thin at 0.25mm there was still a fair amount of tension in it meaning there were gaps between the layers as the silver sprung back when I let the end go.

 I annealed the silver and pulled and squeezed the silver wraps to get them a bit closer together before I soldered the bead wraps together using the solder I'd flowed along the inside length earlier.

Bit of a blurred picture but you get the idea :D

I needed to sand the edges of the silver beads as they were a bit sharp in places due to the gap thing going on.

 I'll need to find a better way to wrap the silver bead so the layers sit close together. Maybe I need to be a bit more forceful and use my pliers or mallet to force the silver sheet into a tighter wrap. Or maybe I just need to anneal the silver a bit more before I wrap them - it needs some experimentation and knowing what I'm like, will bug me until I get it right!

The shiny finished version before oxidizing.

Being cleaned up with wire wool before going into the tumbler for a polish.


These will appear in my Etsy shop and on my website very soon.

Copyright © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 5 August 2016

I Won Something! An Ultrasonic Cleaner.

Back in May this year the jewellery supply website Cooksongold ran a month long "lucky dip" competition where they had a prize draw for each day of the month. I entered quite a few of them as there were some lovely prizes on offer. 

I had bookmarked the competition results page so I could check if I'd won anything when they listed the winners on June 16 but completely forgot about it until the beginning of July. So I checked and was thrilled to see I'd won an Ultrasonic cleaner! Then I noticed I'd missed the claim date by two days and read that if prizes weren't claimed they would do a re-draw and send it to someone else. Oh noooo! I emailed Cooksongold anyway and they said it wasn't too late and that they'd get it in the post in the next few day. Yay!

So it arrived and I unpacked it...

The contents of the box can be seen on the side of the box in the top photo - the cleaner, two plastic trays, a plastic stand for two CDs plus a polishing cloth and the instruction booklet.
 This photo shows my cat Eddie in the box - if it's there he'll sit in it........

I was aware of ultrasonic cleaners but didn't really know how they worked, just that people used them to clean jewellery. I thought they were a bit of super high tech equipment and sounded very complicated but the cleaner I won costs about £48 and is a basic model. There are much more expensive, larger versions available too.

They work with water using tiny bubbles produced by high frequency sound waves that agitate the water and dislodge any dirt on a wide variety of objects - metal, plastic, glass, rubber and ceramics. Basically anything that can be safely put in water for a few minutes can be cleaned. There is a special cleaner you can use with it too for more grubby items which you would need to buy separately but normal washing up liquid is fine for most items.

I had a go with a pair of glasses and sunglasses...

I didn't need to use the plastic basket that comes with it so I just filled up the stainless steel tank with tap water to the max level mark, added a drop of washing up liquid, put the glasses in and switched it on.

I took this photo with the lid up to show the vibration in the water.

It's very simple to use - On, Off and Set. There are three settings - I used the middle one which is 3 minutes to clean my glasses. The digital display screen counts down the time as it's working. The glasses and sunglasses came out super clean and those bits of dirt that get trapped between the frame and the lenses came off too. You can use it to clean CDs and DVDs {that surprised me} and if you have a metal watch strap you can clean that too using the special plastic stand which keeps the watch out of the water.
When you've finished with it you just tip the water down the sink and dry the inside.

You do get a polishing cloth with the ultrasonic cleaner and it does recommend using it on tarnished jewellery before putting it in the cleaner as the cleaning process will remove dirt but it doesn't polish so your tarnished silver jewellery is not going to come out super shiny unless it was like that when it went in! 
That's useful to know if I ever want to clean a piece of jewellery I've oxidized with LOS - it shouldn't have any effect on the oxidized finish.

I'm not sure I'll use it much on jewellery but it is nice to have for cleaning other items and it was lovely to win something for a change!

Copyright © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Metal Wrap Beads

I'm always on the lookout for variations I can give my bangles and I came across some paper wrap beads recently and thought a metal version might work well on a bangle. I've never made paper beads but they start off as a long thin triangle shaped piece of paper that is then wrapped onto a thin rod and glued to create a bead.

Here's my attempt at a metal version. It's a bit long-winded and clumsy as I was making it up as I went along! {I've since worked out a much simpler way of doing it too :D}

I started with some 24g/0.5mm copper sheet that I rolled through the rolling mill to approx 0.35mm thickness. I cut out three different shapes for the beads and annealed them to soften the metal.

Using my fingers and a mallet I started to curl the end of the copper strip around a scrap piece of copper wire. I decided that the end needed to be fixed to the copper wire to make it easier to wrap the rest of the strip tightly around the wire.

So I flowed a small piece of solder in the curled part of the copper strip and another bit of solder at the end.

Ready for soldering to the wire.

After soldering the end to the wire I pickled the copper and wrapped the strip around the wire to form the bead.

The three different bead shapes after I soldered the end down and cleaned them up.
 I like the look of them and think the squared end I gave them makes a change from the normal pointed end you see on lots of these type of beads.

I think a bangle with three or four beads soldered in place around it is going to look nice especially using silver beads with copper and bronze bangles. I've since worked out a much less fiddly way to attach the end of the strip to the wire and also will need to add some solder along the length of the bead strip so the whole bead is soldered in place and doesn't wiggle sideways once the bead is wrapped around the wire and end soldered.

I'm keen to get cracking on making some bead bangles which I'll do once I clear my current orders so watch this space!

In the meantime I made myself a bead template to speed up the process and make things easier.

Copyright © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 13 May 2016

New Tool! Synclastic Pliers

Having recently become interested in anticlastic forms I was quite excited to come across a pair of synclastic pliers on ebay.

Synclastic is basically the opposite of anticlastic in that it is a shape that curves towards the same side in all directions or if you need a more simple explanation {I do!} think of a ring that has a domed profile - the convex shape of the dome and the curve of the ring both go in the same direction.

So I bought a pair of the synclastic pliers. They cost about £36.

You can see from the photos they are quite a hefty bit of metal.

They consist of a convex side and a domed side. The flat piece of metal sits in the convex curve and the handles are squeezed to press the the two sides together. The domed side pushes the metal down into the gap in the convex side resulting in the metal starting to take on that curve.

I decided I'd experiment with a soldered mini bangle to see what the pliers could do...

I started with a soldered strip that I rounded on a hoop mandrel.

Then I used the synclastic pliers to start forming the metal.

This is the curve after the first pass in the pliers. It's starting to curve.

This is after a second pass. It's getting a nice curve but the edges are still a bit flared.

Looking at the profile of the curve you can see it's uneven with bulges where the domed side of the pliers has pushed the metal. I annealed the copper again and passed the bangle through the pliers again, this time moving it a mm at a time to try and get a smoother shape.

It did end up a bit smoother but the edges were a little bit wavy but not that much that you'd notice {unless you're like me!}.

I think the shape is pretty good and makes a decent synclastic bangle. 
The pliers didn't leave too much of a mark on the bangle as you don't need to squeeze them very hard {providing you anneal your metal first} so they can be used with textured metal too without losing the design. You do need to take your time and move the metal around on the domed side so the curve is formed more evenly all round the bangle. For someone who doesn't have any other forming tools synclastic pliers are definitely worth investing in.

But I wanted more curve!
So out came the dapping punches and my nylon mallet.

I secured the dapping punch in my vice with a bit of leather to help stop it slipping and used the ball end of the dapping punch and my mallet to add more of a curve to the bangle. This also helped to straighten out the wavy edges.
Dapping punches are a great alternative to using domed stakes if like me you don't have any :D
I have lots of different sized dapping punches so could create a much more pronounced curve if I wanted to especially if I wanted to make something smaller in size like synclastic hoop earrings.

Using the dapping punches did give the bangle slightly more curve and helped to even out any bumps. It was just a quickly made practice mini bangle so obviously not finished but I do really love the shape and will be making some synclastic bangles very soon.

Another reason for making a practice bangle was to find out how forming the synclastic shape affects the inside diameter of a bangle. The mini bangle I made measured 44mm in it's flat state before any forming. After using the synclastic pliers the inside diameter was 43mm and after using the dapping punch to form the bangle the inside diameter had reduced another 2mm to 41mm.
 This is something you have to bear in mind when making bangles to sell and cut the metal length to account for the change in shape and inside diameter measurement.

Making a practice bangle in a normal size rather than a mini size probably would have been a bit more helpful to me but at least I know to allow a few extra mm in length for when I make my next proper sized synclastic bangle :D

Copyright © 2016 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.