Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Working with copper

So, after reading a magazine with a copper bracelet in it. I decided to try my hand at working with copper. It is a different animal than sterling silver or gold. Copper is so soft and malleable. It is difficult to work harden. This is a blessing and curse. It is able to be bent and straightened and bent and moved around so many times and not be brittle but it also moves and moves and moves so don't set your heart on one specific shape. It is cool that the copper I used was 100% recycled and because I have not mixed it with other metals or stones it can be recycled.  Here is the progression:
 In the photo is the copper tube that I measured out tubes 8 inches, 7 inches and 6 inches.  I cut the tubing using my jewelers saw.
Using a sharpie I was able to mark where to cut. That was helpful!
I then used a file to smooth out the edges and to straighten them up as they were a bit lopsided from the sawing.
Using my bench block and chasing hammer I pounded the tube flat.  I had to wear ear protection as that metal on metal is a harsh sound for me. 

Using the bowling pin as a bracelet mandrel I formed the curve of the copper and then gently tapped the top to create the oval shape. Pictured to the right is the 6 inch and the 8 inch.  The pattern calls for 8 inches but that is way too big for my wrist.  I used the Dremel tool to drill holes in the tubing and that looks cool but have not found the best way to do it yet. I really like being self taught and the experiments have been great fun albeit expensive.  Someday I will be able to take a class or two. That poor instructor will have their hands full!