Brooch with Wirework
Lengths of wire are formed and soldered into a woven pattern that resembles a snowflake.
-- Designer --
Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®To learn more about Tammy Honaman, read her jewelry artist success story here
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Set up a soldering area:
- Heat-proof surface
- Steel tripod with mesh screen
- Charcoal block
- Solder pick
- Fiber grip steel tweezers
- Flux-filled flux dispenser
- Butane-filled torch
- Crock Pot® with pickle solution (kept warm while you are soldering)
- Copper tongs
- Solder sheets in medium and easy
- Steel bench block
- Ball peen hammer
- Needle files
- Dapping blocks with punches and mallet
- Steel wool
- Third Hand
- Fiber grip steel tweezers
Using flush-cutters, cut enough 3-inch lengths of 16-gauge wire for your pattern. Place the wire onto a steel bench block then strike both ends of each length of wire with a hammer to flatten and widen them into a pleasing shape.
While holding the wire or while stabilizing in a ring clamp, use needle files to file any sharp ends. If needed, straighten the wires with your fingers.
Using steel wool, rub down each length of wire to clean the surface. Place two lengths of wire on the charcoal block. Cross the ends then make sure the surfaces are touching.
Note: Solder will not fill any gaps.
Apply flux to the area where the wires cross. Using wire cutters or shears, cut snippets of medium solder. Ignite the torch and begin to heat a snippet of solder until it balls up.
Note: The snippet is about 2x2mm. The torch does not need to be too close to the solder; the solder will ball up quickly. As soon as it does, pull the torch away.
Quickly apply the tip of a solder pick to the ball of solder, picking it up.
Begin to heat the fluxed area on the wires then apply the ball of solder. Continue to heat the area, heating evenly yet concentrating more heat in the area the solder should flow toward. The flux will turn glassy. The solder will flow. As soon as you see the flash of the solder, pull the flame away and allow the wires to cool.
Using the copper tongs, move the wires into the Crock Pot. Allow the warm pickle to clean the wires for 1-2 minutes, then rinse with clean water.
Repeat Steps 2 - 4 until you have assembled all pairs of wires. Then using easy solder, assemble the pairs into your pattern.
Place the form upside down onto the charcoal block. Position the Third Hand with tweezers so one half of the pin closure finding is held in place where the base of the finding and the wire are touching. Solder doesn’t fill gaps so there needs to be contact.
Apply flux and then solder in place.
Repeat for the other half of the finding.
Clean the snowflake in warm pickle.
Note: The longer you leave in the pickle, the cleaner it will be.
Remove from pickle and then use files, polishing papers, micro-mesh polishing pads and the Moonshine cloth to clean and polish the surface in all areas.
Place the pin into the pin closure finding to test the length. If needed, trim the end of the pin, then refile a point using needle files and polishing papers. Put the pin back into the pin closure finding then use chain-nose pliers to close the tabs down to capture the end of the pin.
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