Technical Articles

Technical Article: “Mary Lee Hu’s Cookie Project, Made by Wei Zeng”

Welcome to SNAG’s new Collaborative Technical Articles Program. This inaugural article features a forming and soldering project made by Wei Zeng, following Mary Lee Hu’s “Cookie Project.” Learn and enjoy!

Technical Article: “Art, History, and Processes of Guilloché Engraving, part 2″ by G. Phil Poirier

SNAG has a strong commitment to preserving and sharing technical information such as this article by G. Phil Poirier of Bonny Doon Engineering. Guilloche, also known as engine turning, is an exquisitely beautiful, highly technical, historical process that has unlimited applications in contemporary metalwork.

Technical Article: “Art, History, and Processes of Guilloché Engraving, part 1” by G. Phil Poirier

SNAG has a strong commitment to preserving and sharing technical information such as this article by G. Phil Poirier of Bonny Doon Engineering. Guilloche, also known as engine turning, is an exquisitely beautiful, highly technical, historical process that has unlimited applications in contemporary metalwork.

Technical Article: “Electrolytic Etching Copper and Silver Using Copper Nitrate” by Ben Dory

The term ‘salt-etching’ or ‘salt water etching’ is often synonymous with ‘electrolytic etching’ (e-etching). This has led to the use of sodium chloride as the salt, which can be problematic and counterproductive. With this article, copper nitrate will be presented as a replacement for sodium chloride.

Technical Article: “Digital Fabrication 101” by Dani Manning

What is Digital Fabrication? Simply speaking, Digital Fabrication is the use of technology to create. Using computers, software, and strange machines may seem intimidating at first, but it does get easier the more you practice.

Technical Article: “Micro TIG: Art Welding” by Sessin Durgham

This article serves as just the tip of the iceberg of the enormous possibilities created by the newest micro welding machines. Lower and lower price points are definitely making this technology available to the individual as well as educational programs.

Technical Article: “Laser Engraved Enamel” by Erin Turner

Erin Turner, a current metalsmithing & jewelry graduate student at the University of North Texas, has been using laser cutting and etching in a variety of ways in her studio work. When she noticed significant variations in the quality of the etching on different enamels, she began an in-depth testing of them to determine why.

Technical Article: “Small-Scale Metal Spinning” by James Thurman

James Thurman first became aware of metal spinning almost twenty years ago, and has been transfixed by its rapid demonstration of the plasticity of metal. This article is based on small-scale metal spinning pieces that Thurman created for the Pin Swap at the 2010 SNAG Conference in Houston, Texas.

Technical Article: “Small Scale Carving” by Janel Jacobson

Tools! They are very essential partners on my carving journey. With them I can change flat surfaces into dimensional imagery, carving to bring the light and shadow of the form and detail to a point where the piece begins to sing visually.

Technical Article: “A Laser in your Studio” by Ross Kowalski

Digital fabrication techniques are increasingly becoming a part of educational and individuals’ studio practices. Although it can be daunting to incorporate new technologies into our established ways of working, Ross has written an article that is accessible and inspirational.

Technical Article: “Embossing Photographs onto Leather” by Andrew Kuebeck

With just a little patience and a lot of pressure it is possible to get incredible results embossing etched imagery and text onto chamois leather for use in any project. Begin by selecting a sealed etched plate whose imagery or text you would like to have embossed onto a sheet of chamois leather.

Technical Article: “Kitchensmithing” by Rachel Shimpock

Get your groceries together, put on your apron, and prepare yourself for some great times Kitchensmithing with these fun and dynamic handouts from Rachel Shimpock. Try your hand at Condiment Patina and Toaster Powder Coat!

Technical Article: “Alternative One- Sided Molds for Pewter Casting” by Deanna Ooley

Recently, I was asked to conduct a workshop for 8-10 year olds. In order to illustrate the process of casting, I felt pewter was a good choice for simple pendants. I thought about what other materials could be used that were kid friendly, inexpensive, easily obtained, and quickly formed.

Technical Article: “Ice Cream Series” by Alison Pack

In this article, I would like to share with you the creation of my Ice Cream series…. It was an exciting and at times an arduous two year journey that posed many technical questions. This is due to the fact that I combined medium scale castings with fabrication after solely using raising, forming and fabrication techniques in my work for the past 13 years.

Technical Article: “Swaging” by Boris Bally

Swaging is a forging process in which the dimensions of an item are altered using a die or dies, into which the item is forced. Swaging is usually a cold working process. However, it may be done as a hot working process. The term “swage” can apply to the process of swaging (verb), or to a die or tool used for swaging (noun). In 2000, I developed this method specifically for attaching pin findings to re-purposed traffic signs, enabling me to use the colorful, reflective fragments as brooches. My technique works best on the soft, thick (usually 2.5mm +) aluminum traffic sign sheet.

Technical Article: “Trabson Kazazlik Jewelry” by Umut Demirgüç Thurman

Kazazlık, (also known as “Kazaziye” or “Kazaz”), is one of the rare and rapidly disappearing handcrafts of Turkey. Trabzon, a city in the Black Sea region of Turkey, is the only place in Turkey which produces kazazlık. The word, “kazaz” means, the person who produces and/or sells silk yarns. Kazazlık is a weaving technique that uses 0.08 or 0.09 millimeter (approximately the thickness of a hair) pure gold or pure silver wire wrapped around either silk or nylon threads. This silver or gold wire becomes very strong and flexible so that it can be woven without breaking. Generally, three different thicknesses are used to make jewelry: Thin for making chains, medium thickness for earrings, and thick for pendants and bracelets. The overall thickness of these wrapped wires are between 0.3mm to 0.5mm.

Technical Article: “A Large Scale Torch-Fired Enameling Kiln” by Ana Lopez

This article is about how a non-enamelist came to design and build (and fail and build and fail and build and then build again) a large, torch-fired enameling kiln. First I would like to add a point of clarification: this is about building a torch-fired enameling kiln, not about torch-firing enamels. This is to say that I was attempting to create a kiln environment heated by a torch in which to fuse enamels to metals without the torch flame making direct contact with the object being fired. Although a metallic surround is sometimes used to help manage and contain the heat during a torch firing, most torch-firing of enamels involve applying the torch flame directly to the surface of the metal being enameled.

“The Advantages of TIG Welding Forms for Enameling” By Sean Macmillan

Last summer, I was awarded a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Faculty Professional Development Grant to experiment with enamelling on complex fabricated forms. This grant allowed me to experiment on large scale, hammer formed and welded objects.

“Firescale: The Chameleon Effect on Sterling Silver”

Martin Ebbers, alias Martinus, began his formal apprenticeship to become a goldsmith at the age of 15. He achieved his Master Goldsmith Degree and Teaching Certification through studies at the Institute of Goldsmith Arts in Hanau, Germany in 1980. To date Martinus has spent 38 years at the work bench. Martinus always carried some unresolved questions on metallurgy. His curiosity has recently led to fascinating new discoveries.

“Thurmanite®: What is it and Why Should You Care?”

More than ten years ago, I began experimenting with the combination of paper and resin, which would ultimately become the material I have somewhat humorously named “Thurmanite®.” (Previously, I had referred to the material as “mokume-kami” but after numerous misunderstandings about the origin of the process/material, I decided to change it. In May 2012, the trademark of the material was finally approved!)

“Mitsuro-hikime: A Casting Wax”

Several years ago I became interested in jewelry pieces with a distinctive grooved design. At first glance they appear to be engraved or constructed of multiple wires, but on closer examination, they are cast. The grooves are actually achieved in the wax, not the metal. I set out to research waxes and develop a formula.

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