Friday, 30 November 2012

Cuff-links..... Cuff-links....... Cuff-links.......

Back to the bench for a bit, and I mean a bit, reason being; I popped my back yet again and haven't really been able to sit for long periods hunched over my bench peg, it should also be noted that a healthy layer of dust had to be moved with a shovel before work could begin again.

So happy was I when I could again sit down and do some work..... this time in the form of not one but two pairs of cuff-links that had to be produced, the first pair being a pair of keyboard keys.

I started off with one of my usual "brilliant" ideas, those jewellers out there in the know will probably hold their collective heads and gasp in horror, but me myself and I at moment of inception thought this was an epic idea.... start off with a small mould made by embedding a genuine keyboard key into Plaster of Paris and leaving it for a couple of days to set thoroughly, keys are then removed from said mould, a bit of oil dropped in for lubrication and the mold heated up prior to the molten silver being poured in.

Silver is melted in my crucible and then poured into the mould...... and here everything turned sharp left in a direction marked "totally pear shaped"....... the silver now did a very passable and oddly dramatic impression of Mount Vesuvius, as the shock and horror of the eruption set in, stupidity immediately took over and I cupped my hands over the eruption to prevent loss of still molten pieces of silver.... ahhh yes you guessed it hand got a tad hot.... picture holding a near nuclear powered  Guy Faulkes sparkler in your cupped hands.

So back to the drawing board.... I measured up each of the sides, top and bottom, then made up a set of templates.
I re-melted all the silver poured an ingot and rolled out a sheet of plate - back into familiar territory.
Piece of rolled out plate

Templates are glued to the plate and tshrret tshreeeet tshreeet <--- sound of sawing, twooiing <--- sound of say blade breaking, tshrret tshreeeet tshreeet <--- sound of sawing,  finally all the required pieces where cut out.
Sections cut out
 All the pieces where then assembled not without their own various problems and a couple of restarts when side pieces fell apart but finally they began to become that which they were meant to resemble

Assembly complete

Following a couple a finishing glitches namely the engraver who didn't seem to know which way up a computer key faced and engraved one key the wrong way round, then blamed the fault on me saying "I put the cuff-links in the box the wrong way so he engraved them that way around".... riiigghhtttt!!!! - note to self don't send work there again......

Anyway all things being equal, they reached a successful completion

Keyboard key Cuff-links

The second pair are the "Round Square" cuff-links which by contrast came together with complete and almost boringly undramatic ease, don't get me wrong I'm not complaining, it's just I am usually so used to exciting disasters haunting me that it feels somewhat odd when a piece just pops together.

Round Square Cuff-links

As with all the pieces I make these two sets of cuff-links have a story of their own and a motive for their existence;  they are farewell gifts for the headmaster at the school where my wife Pam teaches, the keyboard keys being significant in that Pam is Head of I.T. studies in the high school of which he was very instrumental in the development of I.T. Studies.

Final Note:

Round Square is an association to which he belongs, so members from the school are giving him my interpretation of the Round Square in the form of cuff-links as a farewell gift.

"Round Square is a worldwide association of schools which share a commitment beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility"

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