Thursday, February 19, 2015

Riveted arrow open rings -- made to order, coming soon

Open arrow rings (copper, bronze, sterling)

The first of these rings was a special request from a customer looking for something very particular. It was a blend of a design currently in my shop and another design from elsewhere. The original ring design in my shop was a titanium rivet ring -- a minimalist design that is just a flat metal band with an open front and a single rivet on one side of the opening.

Original titanium rivet ring

 Though the original customer and I did not end up completing the deal (I didn't feel at the time that I could fully meet the request within the given budget). Eventually, I listed the rings created during those experiments in my shop, and of course, other potential customers asked about custom size versions of those rings.

Solid copper arrow rivet ring, distressed finish (the first one!)

Initially, I said no to these requests. Cutting the arrow shape (and getting it right) is a bit difficult, and I was never extremely happy with the result whether I used a saw or shears to do most of the cutting. Sizing these rings is also slightly difficult -- the rings require a template to make this part easier & allow me to create consistently-sized rings.

Sterling silver filled & copper arrow rivet ring, distressed finish

Originally, I created a template for a size 5 ring, only. It was almost pure luck that I got it right on the first attempt, but more recently, I decided to attempt to make a full set of templates for as many sizes as possible. I successfully created templates for sizes 4 through 10, including half sizes (except 9.5). These templates work so long as I'm working with the correct thickness of metal sheet to make the band. Going down a gauge or up a gauge results in a slight final size difference.

I really do like this ring design. It's striking. It's different. But it requires some precision in the cutting process, mostly on the arrow's tail portion. As you can see from the original 2 rings, I had a somewhat difficult time getting the cut clean, that is until recently, when I realized that I have a triangular-shaped file that can get into the point of the arrow tail and does a pretty good job of straightening the ugliest parts of the initial cut out.

Shiny bronze & copper arrow rivet ring

The above bronze & copper ring was made from my newly created set of templates. The arrow tail cut is clean, too. Overall, I was extremely pleased with this result!

I love making rivets by hand. I have a handy little tool that will set eyelets, but for some reason, I really enjoy hammering out a rivet head. I like the design possibilities I can achieve by using it as a decorative element and not just for cold-connecting two pieces of metal.

After successfully creating the bronze & copper ring shown above, I decided to test a couple of things:  1) see what happens if I use a thinner gauge metal sheet, and 2) see if my other size templates are as consistent.

Copper (patina) & sterling silver arrow rivet ring

Wow. The combination of the patina on the copper sheet and the sterling silver rivet is gorgeous! This made me start thinking... I need to apply this kind of patina (and others) to solid sterling, bronze, and play with both the rivet as a design element and the patterns I can create on the surface of the metal.

Look for a new line of rings based on this design to hit my shop in the next couple of months!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New for Spring: "Duality" chainmaille designs

I've spent some time lately thinking about what sets my chainmaille apart from the chainmaille made by others, and one of the things that came to mind is my ability to put different finishes on the metals, either pre or post-weaving. Over the past few years, I have spent an almost inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to refine the surface of the rather rough titanium I start with, so that I can achieve a higher quality polished look on the finished pieces, and in that process, I discovered how to do some other things. For one, I figured out how to put an absolutely amazing shine on almost any kind of metal (titanium is STILL difficult), but also I discovered how to get a very nice satin finish as well. It isn't quite sandblasting, but it's close enough!

In light of this little epiphany that I had, I have come up with a new set of chainmaille designs for this Spring. I call them "duality". These designs will feature not just multiple metals, but also multiple FINISHES on those metals.

The first piece I made like this was for a custom order for a customer who asked for a steel and titanium full persian chain (continuous). He wanted it with satin finished titanium and polished steel to help make the two similarly colored metals contrast more. The results were not bad, but with the color of steel & titanium so close, that was to be expected.

Steel & titanium continuous full persian

A closeup of the test chain shows the difference a little better:

Polished steel & satin titanium full persian, close up

I took this concept a little further with the first of my new Duality pieces. To start, I opted to work with some polished steel, polished copper and polished bronze along with satin titanium and satin brass.

Polished steel & satin finished brass full persian

The results have been excellent! There are 3 new designs thus far, and I intend to make more & offer more custom options for each.

Polished bronze & satin titanium 16 gauge byzantine

The possibilities are virtually endless...

Polished copper & satin titanium half persian

The first pieces are coming to my Etsy shop today, Feb 5, 2015, with more to come!