Wednesday, May 04, 2011

GS: The Polka Dot Process, Part 1

It all started with a picture of a vase by Kitamura Junko...



There is so much to say about this beautiful piece. The geometry, the pattern lay out, the layering of color and texture... just amazing! So we had plenty to work with.

We started simply with an 18K white gold ring and 18K red gold wire stock. I had to carefully drill each hole directly through the ring (to make each dot visible from the inside and outside) just a hair smaller than the wire to be inserted. The reason is because the tighter the fit, the better the solder joint.

Now, you're probably wondering how you make the wire fit into a hold with a smaller diameter. Simply put.. you taper the end and hammer the hell out of it till it fits.




I proceeded to drill all the holes in the ring and lay out the 3 sizes of red gold wire in preparation for soldering...



While it was technically soldering the pieces together, I would actually consider it more of welding. The reason being is because the flow point of the solder is very close to the melting points of the two metals.

I used 19K white gold solder which melts at 1670 degrees. 18K white gold melts at 1730, just over the solder flow temp, and 18K red gold melts BELOW the solder flow temp at 1655. This is why the end of the red gold are melted after soldering...



This is also why I had to leave an excess of gold wire for each dot. Seeing the melting temp of the red gold was below the flow point of the solder, I needed that little extra red gold material for melting. If I had each of those wires cut flush with the white gold ring and then attempted to solder the pieces together, there would be a very good chance that the dot would actually melt and leave a divot at the top surface. And if that did occur, I would be forced to remove quite a bit of the white gold band to meet with the lowest points of the divot... or even worse, have to flow red gold solder into each divot to attempt to fix any mistakes.

But thankfully, with taking a great deal of time preparing, the joints cleaned up beautifully...



I have to admit, I have always wanted to make polka dot rings...



But we aren't quite done yet! To be continued...

2 comments:

Theweddingbandcompany said...

I like this vase, there is a lot to say about this but can't explain. This is I mean amazing.
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Jennifer Turner said...

WOW !!!!!!!
This is gorgeous blog and thanks for sharing these information's , nice pictures ......
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