Use the torch without a tip to heat the pieces one at a time until the rim fuses to its base [PHOTO 12] (see “Fusing Wire to Sheet
”). Check that the seams are fused entirely around the rim. Air cool and pickle to remove residual flux.
Place jump rings and granules.
Place two jump rings on opposing sides of the rim on the pendant base. Brace each jump ring with two granules against the rim to provide a stronger attachment. Then line the inner rim with granules [PHOTO 13].
Use as little flux as possible when placing the jump rings and granules.
Dip the flower into the flux, drain the excess, and carefully place it in the center of the pendant. Add granules to the center dome. Let the flux dry completely.
Fuse the pendant.
Warm the pendant in a cone of heat, carefully watching for any movement of the granules as the flux expands. If necessary, use tweezers or a pick to push stray granules back into place. The fine silver will heat faster than the Argentium, so be careful not to overheat the flower. Keep the temperature below fusing until all the pieces are properly settled into place.
Once all the bits are in position, increase to fusing temperature [PHOTO 14]. Maintain the heat until all the pieces are adhered.
Cut the bail base.
Use handheld shears or a jeweler’s saw with a 3/0 blade to trim the excess metal from around the bail rim. File and sand the edges and back of the bail base using progressively finer grits of sandpaper from 320- to 600-grit.
Form the bail.
Set the midpoint of the bail base against a 5⁄32-in. (4 mm) mandrel. Bend the base around the mandrel.
Granulate the bail.
Using flux, your brush, and some patience, place granules around the entire inside circumference of the bail rim. There is a little fussiness to get the granules to fit evenly, but once in place, the surface tension from the flux will hold them there. To help avoid slumping, stand the bail on its edge while you fuse the granules [PHOTO 15].
FINISHING AND ASSEMBLY
Trim the pendant.
Use shears or the jeweler’s saw to trim the excess metal from around the pendant base. Cut around the perimeter of the pendant rim and the jump rings. File and use progressively finer grits of sandpaper from 320- to 600-grit to sand the edges and back of the pendant base.
Drill the holes.
Use the #60 (0.040-in./1.02 mm) drill bit to drill holes in the center of each fused jump ring on the pendant and in both ends of the bail [PHOTO 16]. When drilling the bail, support it with a dowel or other wooden tool through the opening, and drill alternately from both sides [PHOTO 17].
Connect the components.
Ball up one end of a 1-in. (25.5 mm) piece of 20-gauge (0.8 mm) wire. Insert the straight end of the balled-up wire through the front of the bail, the base, and the back of the bail. Place the components on the charcoal block, making sure the ball of the wire is snug against the front of the piece. Trim the wire if necessary, and use a tight, hot flame to ball up the straight end to complete the connection. Aim the torch flame across the narrowest part of the work to avoid heating the bail itself [PHOTO 18].
Ball up one end of a 1-in. (25.5 mm) piece of 20-gauge (0.8 mm) wire. Insert the straight end of the balled-up wire through the front of the pendant. Use roundnose pliers to create a shallow U bend extending past the bottom of the pendant. Insert the wire through the back of the leaf. Place the components on the charcoal block, making sure the ball of the wire is snug against the front of the pendant. Trim the wire if necessary, and use a tight, hot flame to ball up the straight wire end to complete the connection.
Apply a patina.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to patinate the pendant with liver of sulfur. Remove patina from raised areas with a polishing cloth, or a fine silicone polishing point in a flex shaft or rotary tool.