Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In my last post, I showed you some pieces from my sea glass collection. See the bright blue one in the middle of the photo? That's the one I chose to work with.

Here are the supplies I would use to make a ring. Some 24 gauge silver sheet metal, silver bezel wire, and the piece of sea glass.

First thing I did is cut a piece of bezel wire to match the shape of the stone. Then I would need to solder the two ends together. So I cut a tiny piece of solder wire and, using tweezers, tried to carefully place it at the junction of the two ends.


After not being able to find the piece of solder that had fallen to the ground, I cut another piece. Using the tweezers I aimed for the junction. It was at this time that I realized that I probably shouldn't have had those 3 cups of coffee that morning. However, after many shaky attempts, I finally got the darn piece of solder to stay in place. (I even have a photo to prove it. See that tiny speck in the picture on the right. Yup, that's the recalcitrant solder.)

I hadn't soldered in a couple of months. (The soldering station is in the garage where it's been WAY TOO COLD.) And I think I was out of practice because I couldn't get the solder to melt. But I did get the bezel hot enough to melt it!

Sad. Isn't it.

I had to start again. And wouldn't you know, it happened again!

Yes, I used flux, cleaned the metals, and got everything hot, not just the solder. But it wouldn't melt for me.

I then gave up and used my paste solder, which melts at a low temp. Got it to work that time!

The next steps were to shape the bezel to the shape of the glass, cut some silver sheet slightly larger than the bezel, and solder them together. Here's what I had:
There's still a lot more to do.

The extra sheet needs to be cut and filed smooth. At this point I decided to add some decorative bits: little silver balls that I make from silver scrap. (And with all those ruined bezels, it looks like I'll have a lot of scrap for this purpose!) All this has to be done before attaching it to the ring.

The ring itself is made from heavy wire - cut to make a size 7 ring. (Which, oddly enough, just so happens to fit me!) It needs to be soldered together and made into a perfect circle.

After spending an afternoon doing all this, I was ready to solder everything together. It went without a glitch and I now had everything I needed to set the sea glass into:
Yes, I was dying to finish it, but there were still a few things to do. It had to be tumbled for a couple hours, then I had to make sure everything was filed smooth. AND I still had to make dinner. So I would have to put off finishing the ring till the next day.

Since I had to defer finishing the ring till the next day, I am going to defer showing you the final product till my next post tomorrow.

(Don't you hate seeing those 4 little words?!)

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  1. Anonymous said...
    It's going to be pretty! Boy don't you hate melting those bezels. I have melted so many I could probably make a 1000 silver balls.
    Molly said...
    So glad to see you back! I totally know what you are saying -- when I was in Indiana my soldering stations was also in the garage, which was too cold in the winter.
    Now I'm in South Carolina and it's warm all year long, but I don't have a garage here so I can't do much soldering :(
    Baroness Bijoutery said...
    I can't wait to see your finished ring...I love the color of the glass you are using..
    Julie B said...
    Your post made my day! After several frustrating days in a row of destroying pieces because of wayward solder, it is good to know I'm not the only one to which it happens! I can't wait to see the finished ring - it's going to be beautiful!
    Anonymous said...
    I took a silversmithing class and couldn't wait. So I gathered everything I needed which too a few weeks and set to my first ring! My blog post declared me an official member of the Bezel Burner Club! Now you can join me! Teri
    Anji Gallanos said...
    What a great tutorial..if I had a wish for every piece of bezel wire I ruined in the process..ohhhh

    here are some sea glass rings I made Tuesday...

    great blog..i am following you

    katie said...
    Wow, thank you for posting how you made your ring. I am so glad I found your blog!!! I love to make jewelry and I know how to solder. I have always wanted to make a rings and set them myself. I know there is much more to learn, but I would like to thank you for opening up another outlet for me.
    Melissa said...
    You are HILARIOUS! I absolutely LOVE your humor and HONESTY! Your comentary sounds like mine. It's nice to hear that there are other people out there with as many trial and errors as me. Thank you for adding this post. It taught me a few things and I'm "fired" up and ready to practice makine bezels. :)

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