Sunday, October 17, 2010

Count Down Fun! 3! Part 3 ~ Picture Heavy Sorta Word Light

It was so cool this morning that I couldn't invest until 2 PM.  That meant the flask went into the kiln, for an 8 hour burnout cycle, at 3:15 this afternoon . . .  I poured at 12:30 tonight.  The trees are devesting in a sealed jar of plain water in the ultrasound right now.  I'll switch them into pickle before I go to bed.  So far they look good, we'll know for sure when they come out of the pickle tomorrow.

So here's some more of what we did today . . .  Besides the major pendants that Pat finished, she also worked on our new Seasonal Botanical Earrings!

Jump rings soldered on, textured freshly patinated.

 Detail texturing the ends after patinating.
Pat:  "You know, if we do these the way we want to we're not charging enough."
Tom:  "Yeah, I know."

I wonder what we'll do with this newly cast Bronze Fern . . . ? 

While I was minding the kiln I was shooting waxes for our production earrings.
This is what the wax injector looks like after a couple of days of hard work! 

I talked about making and cutting molds way back here if you're curious.

When I'm doing production work I like to shoot six molds at a time.  That way the first will be cooled enough to "pull" the wax by the time I've shot the last.  I hold the mold between two sheets of thick aluminum and press them against the injectors nozzle.  For this wax, MagnaJect Pink, the wax pot is running a little over 150 F.  With the pressure gauge generally at 3 to 3.5 psi most molds take a count of ten to fill well.  Some molds take a bit longer ~ you learn how your molds shot and adjust accordingly.

Here's how you pull a wax . . .

Every mold has a top and a bottom, lift the top off. 
Use a long thumbnail to cut the sprue free. 

Flex the mold to free the wax and lift it out.

Check for air bubbles and any incomplete details. 
Shot the now empty mold again.

Repeat until you're done!  Make some extras just to be sure.

I'm always working with my master shooting list beside me, so I can keep track of what I'm working on:  how many we'd like to have of what designs, variations and combinations.  (At last count I've come up with 72 different variations of our production Ridgelines earrings already, and we have more shapes still to come!)

Last weekend I talked about how and why I make wax jump rings back here.
Now it's time to use more of them!

For me the key to production work is to be efficient, fast and always do it right.
Working on the same step of multiple pieces helps.
4 pairs of small oval Ridgelines ready to go

The jump ring is glued in place with the cut at the bottom,
checked for centering and balance

from both sides and from above. 
I know it looks a little cockeyed.  It isn't, the sprue isn't centered.
Repeat until done.

When the jump rings are glued it's time to lute them ~ to seal them in place with wax.

I use my Dual Therm wax pen's finest tip to apply low melting point red sprue wax to both sides of the jump ring, making sure to get inside the lower area to ensure where the coil was originally cut is completely closed. 
Repeat until done.

Tonight I stopped at 7, turned the kiln to High and made a quick and easy dinner.  It took a little longer than I had expected, but it was good.  We spent a little time relaxing together.  Then I got back to work.  I want to get two more trees of waxes sprued for tomorrow!

But as soon as I sat down in the office I got mugged by Inky!!!

"Daaad.  You haven't really cuddled me allll day . . ."

"Are we reaally going to work, right nooow???"

"I didn't think so!"

"Oh that's good."

"Watdaya mean enough?!"

"Oh, oh, oh.  Right there, right there!"

After we both had a good cuddle love session I was able to sprue up the first tree of waxes for tomorrow.  Someday some very lucky person is going to fall in love with a pair of our Ridgelines earrings and they'll never know that Inky helped make them!

By the time I got the second batch glued and ready to lute it was time to turn all of my attention to the kiln and weigh out my metal (Flask #1 82 g., Flask #2 92 g.) and get ready to cast.

I have one tree ready for tomorrow.  At this point the other waxes won't take me too long to sprue up.  I could have kept going for a little while, but posting this has been a nice way to wind down and end the evening.

Our chains are supposed to be in from Italy Monday.  As long as they're here by Wednesday we'll be very happy!

And I just know there's something I've forgotten that I really should remember to write down.  I wonder what  .  .  . ?


I need to take a shower!  And I should do some laundry when I have a chance . . .