Small and ugly yet a big step for me

I'm not a friend of fire. Fire makes me nervous, always has, which is why some people think it's funny I have a gas stove. I've also had a torch for a long time, but I was simply too wimpy to try it - until my friend Dawn challenged me by making headpins on her gas stove which didn't work on mine as our gas is different from the one in the USA.
Finally my pal came along with his burner, sat me down and gave me a lesson, and voilà, I could make headpins.

Then I took a beginner's class in silversmithing, and while I didn't get to solder myself because it would have taken too long to let each one do it, I had a good look and got determined to try it myself. Which I haven't done yet because I'm too wimpy to do the first step. I can't help it, it's just the way I am with some things, and tools are among those things. I do have the solder, though, and silver and some tools, so I could get started with a snap of my fingers. Excuse me for a moment while I go and have a good laugh at myself.

I couldn't get soldering out of my head, however, so I finally sat down at my computer during my Christmas vacation and ordered some solder for copper, thanks to Oksana from Ursula Jewelry, a blog post and a video of hers, to be more precise. I also needed a bigger wire cutter because wow, this solder is some tough stuff! I thought I'd break my wrist to get the tiniest bit off. That was also the part that took me the longest, I hadn't expected that.

This doesn't look exciting, just a small ring from copper wire, not polished, with a nick. I know I used too big a piece of solder, but I had lost a few already during cutting, and as this ring didn't need to be pretty, I didn't care. Important was only if I could do it. It may seem nothing to you, but it's a big step for me, my very first own soldered copper jump ring! :-D


3chicchix said...

Hi Cat, I can totally sympathize with your soldering 'wimpiness' & trials & tribulations. For me though, it's making sure I have an hour or two carved out so I can concentrate ONLY on that. BRAVO for getting your copper ring soldered!
I tried once with copper solder & couldn't get it to work with my Blazer. I had a heck of a time just trying to solder silver 20 gauge together! I persevered 8 or 9 times (yes, I do have a stubborn streak) and the rings wouldn't hold!
I did take a Beginning Silversmithing class last year (& blogged about it) but she uses acetylene torches, it was easy peasy ...
I did buy a propane torch and a larger Blazer butane . I suppose it's just a matter of practice, practice, practice until we're PERFECT :)

Cat said...

I just used the torch my pal gave me, so it was trial and error. I don't like to spend money on all kinds of tools if I don't know I'm actually going to use them more than once. I already have some that keep staring at me reproachfully for not being used ;-)

I'll take the same class again, and maybe I can go a little further this time if I practice beforehand. Again it will only be a weekend, it's difficult for me to take a longer class elsewhere as I don't have a car, so it's perfect that this class is not far from me.

JewelryArtByDawn said...

Cat, it's a wonderful ring! Be sure to keep it, not only because it's your first, but also because you'll want to look back on your progress as you continue to learn to solder.

I mentioned a while back that I recently bought a torch. It's a little workhorse when it comes to balling wire; sometime this year I also hope to try my hand at soldering. I'll look to you for tips and tricks when the time comes!

Cat said...

Thank you, Dawn!
That's exactly what I have planned, to keep it as a reminder that I AM able to get out of my comfort zone every, now and then if I really push myself - even if I still blame you, in a good way!

Now I still have to get myself to get acquainted with my Dremel ......