The Making of Brass Wrist Cuffs
Today I made two cuffs for a customer so I wanted to show you the process.
I first start out with sheet brass and cut the shapes out.
Then I hand finish all of the edges and round the corners using files and increasing grits of sand paper, so that there are no sharp edges.
I always stamp my maker's mark on all of my metal jewelry.
Nest I shape the metal blanks of an oval bracelet mandrel. I like oval mandrels because our wrists are not round.
Here are the two blanks after the first stage of forming. The cuff on the mandrel has a chevron shape and the one on the workbench is a tall 3 inch cuff.
This is a picture of the tall cuff getting a hammered finish. I am using a Fretz hammer :)
Here is a picture of the finished tall cuff. I have turned up the edges to go away from the arm and to give it a better shape.
And here is what the cuff looks like on the inside. It has been hand finished and hand polished and is ready for shipping. These two cuffs are for a small wrist, but I can make all sizes, all the way up to extra large. Each one is made for you.
I was commissioned by by LA singer/songwriter, Emad Alaeddin, to make 10 commemorative rings for his most loyal European fans, as a gift on his upcoming European Tour. The tour will be held in Germany, Norway and London. He will be presenting his new CD, Love, Loss and the In-Between, as well as performing songs from his previous CD's. Emad wanted adjustable rings and asked me to stamp the rings with LOVE on one side, and LOSS on the other.
This is how the project started, STEP 1 and 2
I traced the pattern of the ring on the silver sheet and cut them out. I had two sizes, small/medium and medium/large.
Here they are all cut out:
STEP 4, I then cleaned up the edges by filing and polishing.
STEP 5, I always stamp my logo, pzm, before anything else.
STEP 5, more hand finishing before I form them over the ring mandrel and stakes and then I stamp the logo of the new CD....LOVE on one side and LOSS on the other:
STEP 6, forming over the ring mandrel, forming on anti clastic stakes and hand finishing after tumbling the ring in stainless steel shot for 4 hours....
Here is the finished product. A beautiful hand made bypass ring with anticlastic edges for comfort.
You can Google Emad Alaeddin and check out his new CD, Love, Loss and the In-Between. He is a very talented singer who needs no auto tune, to make his voice sound better. He is one in a million.
When the price of silver went through the roof, several years ago, many of us, metal smiths, began using German silver, or nickel silver as a more affordable substitute for sterling silver.
German silver (or nickel silver) has many wonderful qualities but it actually contains NO silver at all. It is actually an alloy made, primarily of 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc. Nickel silver has existed for over 2000 years in China where it was first known and used.
The Germans began producing this metal from 1750 on, hence the name. In the 19th century, the American Plains Indians began to acquire nickel silver and began using it in belt buckles, earrings, pendants, and other jewelry. Nickel silver can be hammered, folded, soldered and formed just like silver.
I love making cuffs and bangle. Here are some examples of hammered cuffs, bangles and earrings that I made.
Tall nickel silver cuff
Hammered Bangle Set of 7
Long nickel silver dangle earrings
Wide nickel silver thumb ring
German silver is also very hard and can take a high polish. This metal is a little more difficult to work with than copper or brass so it needs to be annealed more frequently to soften it up.
In the Middle East, some of the most beautiful Bedouin jewelry are made using nickel silver, and even some furniture was made from this beautiful and versatile Here are a couple of examples.
Today, besides being used in jewelry, many musical instruments including french horns, trumpets and flutes are made from 100% nickel silver.
I do love working in sterling silver and gold but more of my customers can wear and enjoy my designs when they are made from German silver.
The Making of a Tattoo Cover
I recently made a tattoo cover for one of my customers. She wanted a cuff to fit on her upper arm to cover the tattoo in a cool way. She needed it to be over 1 inch wide and it needed to stay in place.
After many trials and errors I was able to create just what she wanted. I did several test runs on myself to see if it actually stayed in place. And when I was satisfied, I created this one for her. It is done in bronze which is a beautiful copper alloy and can work easily with any metal color that you already have.
Here is how I did it, in a pictoral.
This is what sheet bronze looks like. I am about to measure it.
I have now measured it and will take it to my huge bench shear.
These are pictures of the bench shear with the sheet ready to be cut,
This is after cutting the bronze sheet.
At the workbench, now and the cuff has gone through the first pass on the bracelet mandrel.
Now the cuff is ready to go on some forming mandrels, from Bonney Doone, to create an anticlastic edge to the cuff, so that it doesn't dig in to the skin. I will be using the special hammer seen next to the cuff to form and work harden the cuff without marring the bronze.
I now have the cuff on a large bench block where I will hammer the edges to work harden them further and to thicken the walls.
And here is the finished product after filing and polishing. A beautiful tattoo cover for my customer.
You can check it out onpzmdesigns.com
See a bangle stack here: http://pzmdesigns.com/collections/wrist-cuffs-and-bangles/products/thin-open-bangle-set-of-5-hand-hammered-tribal-cuff-bracelets-modern-tribal-bangles
I am feeling blessed on this beautiful day in California. The sun is shining and the clouds are clearing. I spent the morning at my workbench making a pair of custom earring for a customer in Germany. So I was in my happy place.
I am the mother/survivor of three boys and now have a 3 year old granddaughter who loves what I do and is fascinated by all of my tools :) She is already stringing beads and has been for a few months now. I really don't know why she likes to do it.....I don't. I much prefer working with metal.
I got a bouquet of flowers from my wonderful hubby, for mother's day and here is a picture of our cat, Bradley, sitting next to them.
Hope everyone has a joyful, fun filled Mother's Day.