Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What a journey.  Completely taken apart to remove dents and then back together.  Whew!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just about had it with this project.  It has taken so long....I did figure out what was holding in the bakelite.  Very old epoxy. I did not know that epoxy was made in the 1940's.  I think, I have learned more about bakelite than I really wanted to know.  One of the bracelets was very dented and I could not  go in with tools. I had to take it completely apart and put back together.

Today was a huge success. One is done. The other soon to follow.

 I made a few tools for the repair. This brass mandrel and a long thin steel burnisher  for pushing out from inside.  The secret to removing the bakelite from the silver, was a formula that the deYoung Museum, Objects Specialist, shared with me.  She saved me hours of tedious work.  Acetone plus Ethanol; put it on cotton balls,  then stuff the end holes of the bracelet with the cotton soaked in the mixture.
Cover with saran wrap.  I used plastic wrap. Waited half hour, (was afraid to wait longer, for fear the bakelite would be effected.) Then I was able to ease the pieces out, one by one. For extra measures of safety, I covered the surface of bakelite with a soft wax. Not sure this is necessary.

I know this all sounds so boring, but one day, this info may come in handy. And you will not need to do the research I had to do.  Next hours of steel burnishing to remove deep scratches and dents with a flat headed highly polished hammer, over shapes of steel or brass.
My website in QR Code. I love this new way of translating. A Smart phone can read this and you go directly to my website.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to solder cracks in antique pitcher

Sometimes when you align cracks, they pop into place. What a nice sound! Otherwise it is easing them inside and then going outside. On this Pitcher, I am going to use easy hard solder, for 2 reasons, it is coin silver, and will crack again easily if a low melting soft solder is used, and it is an important piece(important in the antique world means expensive)  If the metal is smooth, you can use hard wooden burnishers to ease into place. I make shaped wooden burnishers out of different sized dowels. Prepare for soldering. I am assuming that the readers, know how to solder. If not, let me know, and I will do a video on different ways to solder.
This kind of project is for an advanced Smith. I would suggest starting out with smaller pieces or even scrapped pieces for practice. You also must be certain of what material you are working with, is it really silver, is it coin, or something maddening; britainia.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Duck Tape is your friend

When I work on antique silver, I protect it with duck tape. I use leather on my bench pen to protect the surface of the antique. I have found over the years that no matter how steady or how sure I am of my hands, they will slip. So I keep my mistakes to a minimum. Did I say mistakes?

Sunday, January 02, 2011


I restored a sculpture for a family, who named it "guardian."   While it was in my studio, I understood why it was named guardian and why it was part of their family. 
I decided to make a sculpture with the same feel.
My guardian stands about 40 inches high and is about 8 inches wide made of Slate,Plexiglas, Brass, rutilated quartz.

Armor at Home

Armor finally at home.
Took months to arrange for the new floors, and the corner for the Steel Man. His final finish was Renaissance Wax.