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soldering

While living in Houston I had the good fortune to meet and become friends with dozens of super talented metalsmiths. While basking in the glow of their cumulative knowledge one afternoon I shared my problems and hesitations with my work. My friend suggested mesh andΒ I pretty much dropped everything else I was working on… and never picked it back up.

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You know what doesn’t work? Soldering.Β IMG_0142

What does? Fusing!

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And so began my journey into a brave new world with almost no steel in it. I do not miss the super toxic flux, the odd pickle acid situations, or the endless grinding and filing.Β IMG_0179

 

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Before and after.

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It’s been a bit of a ride. I started these first pieces in July. Six months seems like kind of a short time to have completely changed my materials, style, and production. I’m still working out the kinks, but damn am I enjoying it. Fusing is the FUNNEST.

If you’re interested, the best way to see what I’m up to is instagram. I post process and inspiration shots almost every day!

I bought my torch from an old retired jeweler here in Montana, and I’m now wondering how long I’m going to get on it before I need to replace it. It’s an old Smith mini-torch, and everything’s a little worn. The hoses are stiff, and I’m a little scared of them being brittle. The hand piece gets hot while I’m using it, too. It’s never gotten so hot that it hurts, but I’ve never used it for extended periods or at high temps, either. The most irritating thing, though, is that it won’t keep its levels. I think the oxygen nozzle is worn out. It won’t keep at the level I want, it keeps backing off till my cone is gone, and when I back it off to turn off the torch it increases and pops out the flame-every single time! The noise doesn’t surprise me anymore, but it’s starting to hurt my ears! I’m going to try going to a smaller tip, since I’m using a very low flame, and maybe it will want to work with me at a lower take of oxygen.

In other news, I’m going to be participating in an arts, crafts, and consulting show in Great Falls, about an hour south of here. I talked to the organizer and it’s a long running show, with other high-end jewelers, and it will be inside the mall, so I will definitely have some customers. I’m a little nervous about getting stuff together for a show that’s only 2 months away (May 1st-3rd) but it seemed like too good of an opportunity to miss! The booth is cheap, and I need something to work towards. The woman I work for at the flower shop said I can borrow any furniture she has, so tables and chair are covered, and another guy I work with that decorates all the weddings around here has lots of displays and decorations I can use. Now I’m designing, which I am having SO MUCH FUN doing, and where the torch troubles come in. Next after that are displays and packaging.

I sold an order on ETSY.com, and that money is just begging to be spent on a tumbler, so I’m off to call Rio!

Thanks if you’re reading!