Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Making a Hand Stamped Disc Necklace-Part 1
For those of you who aren't jewelers, I thought I would document the process of making a hand stamped disc necklace. This will have to be done over several postings. In the photo above, you see my disc cutter and a sheet of sterling silver. I forgot to put my big ugly hammer in the picture, but it is a big heavy beast. It takes some muscle to get those discs cut!
This is what it looks like right before I go to hammering. I set the disc cutter on top of a wooden block on my bench and go to whacking!
And here we have the disc. If you look closely you can see the jagged edge on the disc (click on the photo and it will zoom in). The next step is removing the most jagged of the edges with a Dremel. One day I hope to be a big girl jeweler and have a flex shaft, but my Dremel does the trick for now.
I'm sure my customers wonder what takes so long to have their necklace made. I do it all assembly line style, except that I am the only one on the line! I cut all the discs first, sand them all, first with the Dremel and then by hand. My next post will cover sanding and the following stages.
So far, I am completely self taught. I'm taking a beginning metalsmithing class in January. I can't wait! So I will pass on to you the few tips I have learned concerning the disc cutter. Invest in a good one! This one was $50, and it is ok for now. The 5/8" disc cutter isn't quite machined straight, and I can't use it. I can already see a new disc cutter in my future. Hopefully this one will see me through for awhile.
Tip #2, always use it on a very stable surface. I started out using it on my kitchen counter because it is higher than my bench, and I could get better leverage with the hammer. There was too much bounce in the counter top though and I got my metal stuck in the disc cutter several times. I moved to the work bench, and it is so much better! Even if it hurts my back a little!
Coming up next, sanding and finishing the disc to prepare it for stamping!