I recently finished my first sterling silver hollow form pendant. In my last post I said how much I love the look of hollow form pieces - the 3D solidness of them despite being hollow. Anyway I still love them after making my first version in silver!
I didn't take any photos this time but I promise to do so next time when I'm planning to make another one with a bezel set cab on the front. I used 24g/0.5mm sheet that I etched using nail varnish as the resist to create a dot pattern. I used a small brush for the nail varnish and managed to get it all over my fingers (course I did). I discovered you get a neater, rounder dot (which is so important to me because I'm slightly weird!) if you load the brush so it's almost but not quite dripping, hence the messy fingers. I bought some 5mm 24g/0.5mm strip from Cookson Gold for the frame or walls of the hollow form which is a bit extravagant I suppose as I could cut it myself but it just makes it a bit quicker to do.
I found the soldering easier to do than on the copper version. I use steel T pins to hold the frames down firmly onto the sheet and I did sand the sheet this time as well as annealing and flattening it with a rawhide mallet. I also used a different flux than usual - Tenacity 5 instead of Auflux. I like Auflux but being a liquid it tends to run everywhere so you need to apply it several times to make sure everything is covered. The Tenacity flux is a powder you mix with water to a paste consistency so it stays put. Incidently I discovered there is a burlesque dancer called Tenacity Flux - good name!
The solder flowed well all round both frames so I didn't have to do any further soldering to fill gaps. One problem I did encounter was fire stain - that greyish/purple staining caused by oxidation within the silver because of too much heat in one spot for too long. I did struggle with the Tenacity flux to know if the solder had actually flowed - it behaves slightly differently to the Auflux and I didn't notice the solder flow so probably held the heat on the silver for too long causing the fire stain. I did manage to remove it with sanding discs and my Dremel so it wasn't a catastrophe plus using liver of sulphur would help cover it up too if you didn't want to sand it out.
I did my usual and started finishing the pendant before I'd finished soldering on the bail and heart so had to sand the edges twice to remove the fire stain. One day I will learn to leave the finishing till after I've finished soldering! The heart was made from a fine silver ball that I hammered then filed into a heart shape. I think it adds a touch of cuteness to the pendant. The final shape of the pendant kind of forms itself - I start off with a shape for the frames them tweak them once they're soldered until I'm happy. I prefer free-form but I do want to try more of a flower/wavy edge shape soon.
The pendant feels fairly substantial at 6.2g despite being made from a thin gauge of silver which is handy as it means I won't need to get it hallmarked. I made some simple silver hollow form disc earrings too....... slightly easier than the pendant!
I was busy helping to paint the living room and dining room last week so didn't get a chance to make anything so you can probably guess how much I'm itching to get my torch and some metal out and start playing again this week.
My next post will be about how I made a hollow form pendant with bezel set cab with the promised photos :D