Jul. 25th, 2009

mellicious: pink manicure (wildflowers)
Regarding those copper pendants I posted pictures of last night, I got to thinking about the process and how that works, and I looked up annealing in wikipedia, which turned out to be pretty interesting - although it's mostly talking about annealing on a bigger scale than I am, I think! (You also hear glassworkers talk about annealing, and that has a separate wiki entry but it sounds like it's sort of similar in concept.) What we did in the class was that we heated the metal up with a torch - the teacher had brought a creme bruleé torch, actually, which has the advantage of being small and slightly less intimidating - and I even managed not to burn myself, amazingly. Then we dunked it in water to cool it, and after that it's relatively soft and you can shape it, so that's when you do the folding part. Then you hammer on it to harden it again. I thought all this was so fun that I have been thinking about getting the materials to do more of this on my own - except that as previously alluded to, I tend to burn myself often enough without owning my own torch. (I currently have two cooking-acquired burns on my hand, to give you an idea of the problem. From separate incidents, too.)

Actually I already bought two hammers (a rubbery one and a chasing hammer, which is sorta like a lightweight ball-peen hammer) and a steel bench-block thingamajig, so it's dissembling a little to say I'm only thinking about buying metalworking equipment, isn't it? I just haven't gotten around to the torch part yet. And all of that stuff is usable without getting into the torch-and-annealing bit of it - that is, for wirework and such - so I haven't quite committed myself. We'll see how this goes. (I am also dying to try something like these "microfold" earrings, which don't require a torch but do require some other specialized equipment. I suspect the torch would be a more useful purchase.)

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