This was my first more theoretically challenging piece that dad asked me to complete; making a cascade bracelet and necklace that required me to solder a silver hollow bead with a single hole in its base to a solid silver curved peg. He explained that when soldering you have to be aware of other parts of the item that can get heated and damaged by soldering without care. This means you need to understand where the heat can travel and try to reduce that risk as much as possible by positioning the items to take the tension out.
Therefore, the challenge to this task was to keep the heat on the peg and only touch the base of the hollow bead. This is because when putting the peg into the hole it traps air and creates some sort of vacuum. Getting the vacuum hot would cause the trapped air to expand and the ball to either shoot off or possibly explode.
I’d like to say I was successful throughout the soldering process, however, it’s rare for anyone to do everything right first time. Thankfully nothing exploded, neither did a burning ball of silver shoot off in the direction of dad’s bench, but I did have to add more solder or re-solder the pieces that I could see hadn’t gone completely around the circumference where the peg met the bead.
I’m yet to polish the completed bracelets and necklace, as I reckon I’ll need a bit more guidance for these pieces compared to the rings and other bracelets I’ve put on the polishing mop. Fingers crossed it goes to plan!
The polishing procedure was kindly demonstrated by dad and I timidly followed, because he explained that if I were to lose my grip on the bracelet or necklace then I need to move out the way quickly as the motor could rip the item from my hands and fling it around, leaving it needing to be discarded and perhaps a nice trip to A&E! Luckily, I didn't have to make an emergency exit from the polishing room. However, it was difficult to get all parts of the bracelet and necklace polished to a high standard whilst making sure that no additional parts touched the metal spindle of the polishing mop. As this would result in bracelet and necklace being scratched and needing further attention.
However, both pieces are now brightly shining in the workshop waiting to be put on our Etsy page for someone to love them as much as we do!
Megan, the middle daughter of Stephen Randall, who has joined him in the workshop to follow a career in Jewellery Making and Silversmithing