Material Matters


I’ve had my first try at soldering in the DJCAD Jewellery Workshop. I ‘ve done a wee bit of soldering in the past but not for quite a while so I class myself as a beginner.  Teena Ramsay the Jewellery and Metalwork tutor took the class through the first stages of using a blow torch, using the “piercing saw”, how to use “Flux” and “Solder” to make a copper ring from copper wire. Teena made it look easy but when I came to make my copper ring It wasn’t so easy.  I first of all broke a saw blade then it took several attempts before I managed to use the torch and eventually solder the ring. I know I’ll get the hang of it soon as I’ll have plenty of opportunity to practise.

I’ve been finding out how to shape and create patterns on different metals using a variety of hammers, punches and a rolling mill machine. I thought using the rolling mill was an easy way to create interesting patterns on the metal samples.

Demonstration – Hammering Metal

My Copper and Brass Samples from hammering and Rolling Mill

Demonstration – Using the Rolling Mill

I’ve also been learning how to Patinate metal through watching demonstrations and trying out several of the methods myself. I had another chance to use the blow torch to heat up a copper sample painted with Copper Nitrate to create a turquoise colour and texture called Verdigris. On another sample I painted on Flux and heated it using a stong flame to create a lovely red/orange colour and texture on the copper.


Leigh (the technician) gave another demonstration on “Etching”. There are several ways to etch a design onto metal. I tried out the  “Rota Spray Machine ” and another method using Nitric Acid. Both methods require a mask to be applied to the metal. For the Rota Spray I used a permanent marker to draw a design and parcel tape applied to the reverse of the sample. The Rota Spray eats away the metal that hasn’t been covered by the mask  then marker can be wiped off with white spirit to leave the design on the sample.

The second method requires a mask called “Lawrence” to be painted on to both sides of  the metal and allowed to dry. I then used a scribe tool to draw a design by scratching off the mask.  The sample is then put into a bath of Nitric acid which is put into a bath of hot water and this speeds up the process. After a few hours my sample was ready, I removed the “Lawrence” from the sample with some white spirit and the design etched out by the acid was clear to see – Success!

I thought the etching workshop was really interesting and hopefully I’ll use these techniques again in my “Patterns in Nature” project.


One thought on “Material Matters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s