Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Want to learn how to Solder and do Metalsmithing Techniques?

I am beyond thrilled to share one of my newest endeavors. I had the pleasure to team up with Interweave Press (F+W Media) and the Step By Step Wire Jewelry team to film a DVD on soldering jewelry by just using a micro torch. 

I am so excited with how the video turned out. There are over 3 hours of in depth instruction that covers exactly how to create awesome soldered projects including bezels, earrings, toggles, fused silver rings, and head pins. My goal when figuring out which projects to make during the video was to cover a wide variety of different soldering scenarios that would build upon each other. By the end of the video, the viewer will be able to walk away and know everything needed to make their own soldered projects. No assumptions are made. I even go as far to demonstrate how to mix the pickling solution. 

Sorry for the chatty post, but if you are interested in soldering then I think the next few paragraphs will be helpful. 

A micro torch has certainly created a great niche in the metalsmithing industry. I have both a jewelers torch and a micro torch. My first choice is to always reach for the micro torch if possible. I love how fast and easy it is to use. It is a fact that the micro torch does not produce the same amount of heat as a jeweler's torch. quickly learn to work within its boundaries (which stretch pretty wide) of what can and cannot be done with the micro torch. There will be instances of when there just isn't enough heat to be able to make a large soldered piece. I have found for silver bezels that a 1" silver disc is about the largest that I can effectively solder using a micro torch. But.... rarely do I personally make bezels that are much larger than this. As an introduction to soldering and making projects that are not on a grand scale, a micro torch is a great option that opens up doors that were previously believed to be closed to the majority of us that don't have the set up, space, or funds to operate a full fledged jeweler's torch. 

If you are like me, you will get your feet wet with simple fusing (which is covered in the DVD) and then eagerly move onto soldering. As time went on and I saw how much I enjoyed soldering and that it wasn't as intimidating as I initially believed, I wanted to invest in the tools and equipment for a more in depth soldering station. Yes, this meant that I did purchase a jeweler's torch so that I could have the option to make projects that required higher temperatures. But....I owe my joy of soldering to the micro torch. For if I had never been introduced to it, then I am pretty certain that I would have never expanded my jewelry making techniques to include soldering. It opened up an entirely new world for jewelry design and brings fresh sources of inspiration that I would have never had the opportunity to pursue. This personal background information is the fuel that drove my excitement for being able to share all the possibilities that a micro torch has to offer. It isn't a complete replacement to a jewelers torch, but it certainly fills a lot of my soldering needs that in turn leaves my jeweler's torch sitting on the side collecting dust. 

Below is the front cover of the DVD. I love how it turned out. The actual DVD hard copy has a release date of June 14 and costs $39.99. It is a 2 disc set and has 3 hours and 20 minutes of instruction. It is available from the Interweave Store directly OR I am selling them for preorder on my Cassie Donlen Etsy Store with FREE SHIPPING. 

If that date is just too far away, it can also be purchased as a digital download at a lesser cost over at the Interweave Store.

Here is a closer look of some of the projects that are covered in the video. The necklace at the bottom center with the green bezel is what I wore that day. I don't cover exactly how to make this necklace but the way the video is set up, you will learn soldering enough to be able to go out on your own and make the same thing. It is basically a bezel (which is covered in the video) and instead of soldering on jump rings, I just soldered the edge of the bezel to 12g silver wire that was shaped into a circle and wire wrapped together using a fine silver head pin (which is covered in the video). Just an example of how to take the techniques learned to be able to branch out in other directions.

Bezels are covered in detail. Even though I used my lampwork cabs in the video (which can be purchased on my Etsy store), any type of cab, button etc. will work perfectly in it's place. The instruction is set up to make the bezel setting that can be filled with any thing that you personally desire.

I'm also so excited to cover two different styles of silver toggles. These are so much fun to make and honestly, with the cost of silver being so expensive it makes cool retail large silver toggles almost cost prohibitive. Now you can make your own to save money and have cool unique designs all at the same time. 

The video also covers how to make head pins in different gauges. The thicker the wire, the more difficult it is to make a ball at the tip with a micro torch due to lack of heat. I also share my tip I learned on how to help make the flame hot enough to ball up 16g silver wire for head pins. 

And.... wait, there is more:-). I wanted to make sure to cover how to make earrings by soldering on a silver post. 

At the end of the video, I quickly take all of the components that were made and turn them into a bracelet. I thought it would be nice to have a final completed piece of jewelry that incorporated most of the techniques that were covered. 

Interweave has a 3 minute preview of the video. If you are interested in viewing it, just click here. I think that covers most of it. Thanks for sharing in my excitement!