Meet Tonya Patten of The Moon's Cache
Updated: Dec 15, 2018
I want to share a bit about my metal working process. The jewelry that I create is made up of different kinds of metals, copper, brass or sterling silver. The metals are in sheet or wire form when I receive them. I cut them with special shears or a jeweler's saw.
The pieces are then filed, textured or stamped, with steel stamps or various hammers.
I also have a grinder that helps with smoothing out any rough spots. Metals can be fused with a torch, I use a propane one. You have to make sure your pieces to fuse are clean, apply flux to help the solder flow, cut the desired solder, and apply heat with the torch. When the metal is evenly heated, the solder will flow where the flux has been applied to form a joint.
The hot metal items must be quenched in water to cool them and then placed in a pickle solution to clean them. Solder comes in extra easy, easy, medium and hard. When you are soldering multiple joints on a single piece you must use hard solder first so that successive joints do not come unsoldered as you repeat the heating process.
They can also be connected with cold connections such as rivets. This is done with a small brad and a special hammer that turns the smaller end of the rivet into a circular plate that is formed tight against the metal. Before a piece is finished, I often run it in a tumbler that is loaded with steel shot and water along with a few drops of dish detergent.
This will often be the final polish and it work hardens the metal so it will not bend out of the intended shape. Polishing is done by hand as well with varying grits of sandpaper and steel wool.
Here are some of my pieces available online and at The Lupine Cottage