Wanna see my etchings?


I’ve been working on a pair of custom cigar band rings. The picture below is a test of the design in copper. I wanted to see if the detail would show well. And it certainly does.


This one is just a test, the final work will be in silver. I want to use electrolytic etching to make sure that I get the level of detail that I want. I’ve used acid etching in the past, but it goes through the resist pretty fast and I don’t get the depth of etching that I want. I’m going to try a salt water etching system and see how that works. I’ve done it before, but it’s been a while so I’ll do another test run with a different design.



I’ve had this typewriter eraser since my dad passed away. I’ve almost thrown it away a dozen times. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had a typewriter.

I just noticed the other day that it belonged to my grandmother. There’s a little cut out of the wood near the brush with her initial on it. She had a penchant for marking things with her name or initials. Maybe if you grew up with two sisters in the depression it was a good idea to make sure your possessions stayed yours.

The other day I was using the little brush on the end when it occurred to me that the eraser could useful, too. I use liver of sulfur to oxidize silver pieces. It turns them flat black. Then I polish off most of the black, leaving only the oxidation in the low spots. Sometimes it can be difficult to get to some of the smaller spaces to polish them. The eraser is just perfect for reaching the spots I can’t get to with sandpaper.

Down the list

I’ve had this shop on Etsy for several years now. It’s done pretty well, although business fell off pretty dramatically when they changed their policy; I still make money doing it.

I keep an idea book, where I have pictures of things that I like and think I can make. I’ve been putting stuff in the book for years, but really making almost none of it. Finding the time and energy to make stuff has gotten scarcer over the last year due to increased work hours. Finally I put the shop on hold for a few weeks and to take some time to make some new things. I decided to go through the idea book and just start at the first page and work my way through, trying to make at least one of each of the projects in it.

This is the first project. I picked the simplest thing so that I could actually get it done. Finishing something would give me some encouragement to move on to the next item.


I’m actually pretty happy with the way these turned out. They’re made out of scrap silver that I end up with from other projects. Now you can collect your scrap and sell it back to jewelry manufacturers and metallurgical companies, but as you can imagine, you don’t your investment back. I melt down my scrap, then hammer it out into disks, then add texture to the disks to make these earrings. So item number one on the make new projects list is done. Let’s see what I can come up with next!

As good as it gets

The garden is about as good as it gets right now. Most of my time out there now is spent deadheading, collecting seed or sweeping. Or just being outside.


Most of the things that are going to bloom are blooming. I’m hoping enough of them last long enough for me to put together a bouquet for Mom for Mother’s day.

As you can see I’m a bit of an over-planter. When you have a garden as small as mine, you cram every corner as full as you can. I’m also a compulsive seed collector. And once I’ve collected it, I’ve got to use it.

I’ve started to do studies for the embroidered shirt I want to make. The more I work on it, the more ideas I have. I’m afraid it will be too heavy to wear in the end. Flowers and vines, birds and bees, lizards and tortoises and cat faces peering out from the nasturtium jungle.


When Dad passed away we did a partial go through of the garage. He used make electronic things so I found a lot of resistors and other electronic bits and pieces. Rather than sell it all at a yard sale I decided to keep them and see what I could do with. I’ve made a couple of pieces, but I like this best so far. I know it’s not the usual thing, but I like the colors and numbers. It’s been sealed so the paint and the label won’t come off easily. The shape of the band makes it so that it can be bent to fit different sizes.



Today’s technology

I’m having issues with technology. Specifically irons. Yeah, those irons. The ones you usually use for your clothes. I can honestly say that I haven’t ironed clothes in years. That’s what knits are for.

I’ve been working on a custom cigar band ring, (Hi Tam!). Got a message on my Etsy shop¬†asking whether I had a ring for a specific brand of cigar (in Portugese, no less). I didn’t. There have been thousands of brands of cigars and while I have hundreds of different cigar bands, I didn’t have the one she was looking for. But I told her that if she could send me a good scan of it, I could probably make one for her.

She sent me the scan and I modified the picture so I could use to make an etched copper ring. However, I’ve been having trouble transferring the design to the copper. Instructions say to use an iron at 325 degrees. That would be great, except I can’t find an iron that will reach that temperature. I’m guessing that today’s irons just don’t reach as high a temperature, probably to prevent burns or fires.

So, after four incomplete transfers and several hours of wasted time, I decided to go low tech an use the stove top griddle with the gas at its lowest setting. The temperature turned out to be surprisingly controllable. I was able to reach the temperature needed to make the transfer without melting the plastic transfer paper. I got the best transfer I’ve done so far. While it’s certainly a method you have to be very careful with, it’s much less time consuming and has a much better outcome. Hooray for the low tech solution.