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New Beads


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I have been developing a line of cast beads for a while now to help bridge the way from jewelry to miniature carvings, as I have no market yet for one of a kind carvings. These two new ones are all rough castings still for the most part, but the design is evident. The "Sprite beads" are worked out of a mold pulled from my boxwood bead and remolded into a single piece hollow bead(sterling and bronze). The other bead is in three parts - will be joined and hinged to open - this was inspired by some of the knife and sword case carvings I've been seeing on the site. I'm finding that the boxwood is actually easier to carve than the wax in some ways as it is easier to see the actual carving taking place - but of course for reproducing a design wax is wonderful. I'd like to find some Japanese alloys for casting them in.

Magnus

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When you get the three part bead finished, please show it to us. I'm interested in the hinge mechanism and how it will function. Why have you chosen that method over having an inner collar on the central portion which will grip the top and bottom by friction.

I hope my explanation is clear- there's probably a jeweler's term for the 'collar' I'm taling about.

 

Also, what sort of sizes are you working with?

 

Thanks.

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Thanks for the positive feedback.

The 3 piece bead is 68mm tall ( I am going to vulcanize a rubber mold of this so it will shrink somewhat in size - it's a little heavy(62 grams) right now).

Doug,

The reason I will be putting a hinge on this, besides the fact that I like mechanisms, is that worn as a bead the weight of the bottom sections(lower section will be joined solidly to the center) might well overcome a friction fit. I will be using a catch mechanism similar to the type found in most covered pocket watches. I'll post some photos of the hinge and catch when they're finished.

Magnus

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  • 1 month later...

They look very nice! And I can well imagine the ivory/turquoise eyes!

About the cast: How do you do that? Go to a caster/founder with the mold? And can you say what alloy you prefer or do you have to bring the ingredients yourself? Might sound a bit naive but I just try to imagine when you go to the bell founder and ask him for 0,5g copper, 1g tin and 0,7g zinc etc to be mixed and then cast your bead.

Thx,

Dino

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Thanks Dino,

 

As to the casting - I am using a centrifuge for the casting - a setup I've used for gold and silver for years.

Casting bronze is something totally new to me and I suspect you know more than I do. I plan a trip to a nearby foundry soon for just the pupose of finding out what will work best for me. I did make some eyes - I had not planned to inlay eyes so there wasn't enough metal to shape the lids as I would want to ( she's looking a little intense) but this is just a practice run so to speak. So much to learn - Life is Good!

Magnus

P.S. The eyes are 1.6mm X 2.7mm and are ivory and turquoise with black ink pupilunder epoxy.

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If you can cast silver and gold,then there will be no problems with bronze. i believe it takes a different flask temperature and if the alloy has a high zinc content you need good ventilation or respirator for the zinc fumes.

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Hi Magnus,

Beautiful work. The eyes are amazing. They make her look alive. If you are doing your own casting use silicon bronze. It casts beautifully with no fumes. At one time I had a foundry and have cast hundreds of pieces but now I have all of my work cast by two different foundrys. One for big pieces and another foundry for small pieces. http://members.aol.com/browncasting/index.html

C. A. Brown Inc. will cast you beautiful small pieces at a very reasonable price. Many of my friends who are medalists have everything cast by him. I send him the finished waxes (I make my own molds and make waxes from the molds) and I get back a bead blasted casting. I do the final work and patina. He will cast in most metals but I mostly do bronze.

Dick

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Magnus,

 

those beads of yours are looking quite lovely, I imagine they are so much more in the hand though.

 

With regards to casting in bronze, you may find that most commercial foundries utilise lead free alloys in favour of silicon bronze. This casts beautifully ( as Dick said ) but is a bugger to patinate to a pleasing colour, in my opinion anyway. It can be coloured quite readily using various proprietary solutions but I've always found the results to be a little harsh, almost industrial looking. Dick may have a different take on them though, Dick?

 

I would suggest that if you are able to cast your own silver etc then I see no reason why you can't make up your own lead bronze alloys and thereby control the final colour. I'd be happy to provide alloy data and methods of colouring. Zinc should also not be a problem as it isn't usually a component of bronze. That would be brass;( copper and 15-30% zinc ). There is also a range of very beautiful ochre-golden alloys from the Japanese tradition which fall between bronze and brass, ( these do contain zinc ) called Sentoku. As long as you have adequate ventilation the risks from lead and zinc fumes are negligible and after all; it's for your art ;).

 

best regards, Ford

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Hi,

Ford is very correct about silicon bronze being hard to patinate. At least to patinate with beautiful colors. If you just need a brown or black it is easy but they are harsh colors. There is a difference between color for a sculpture which is usually brown, black or green with some variation and the very subtle patinas that Ford uses in his pieces. Ford creates beautiful paintings in metal with a large palette of colors for each alloy. Bronze with lead can be colored beautifully but is a bugger to cast. It has to be degassed and poured at an exact temperature. If not done exactly right you get porosity from the gas in the metal. Leaded bronze also carves like a dream ( I think the lead lubricates the chisel) while silicon is tough as nails but it is very forgiving to cast and does not have to be degassed. The foundry which casts my large pieces can create many different patinas on silicon bronze. They do all of the casting for Audrey Flack http://www.audreyflack.com/AF/. If you look at some of her bronzes you will see what can be done with silicon bronze but these colors are still not very subtle.

Dick

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