Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant, Contemporary Wire Jewelry. Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. Blaze your own path, one you would be proud to have others follow.
Blaze Your Own Path Pendant
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Beginner
Blaze your own path, one you would be proud to have others follow.

This is my take on the Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote "Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Materials

Silver Filled Jump Rings Closed (18ga) 6mm - Pack of 10
S11-20
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $2.97
  • Gold Club Price: $2.23
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22 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-22SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $29.06
  • Gold Club Price: $21.79
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Tools

Silver Solder Paste Soft SS65- 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.10
  • SOL-822.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $16.95
  • Gold Club Price: $12.71
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Silver Solder Paste Medium SS70 - 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.15
  • SOL-822.15
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.21
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Blazer Stingray Torch, Black
TRCH-4001
  • TRCH-4001
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $49.95
  • Gold Club Price: $37.46
Out of Stock
Magnesia Soldering Block
SOL-455.00
  • SOL-455.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $7.95
  • Gold Club Price: $5.96
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6 Step Barrel Plier - Pack of 1
G2-503
  • G2-503
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $18.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.21
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Euro Corner Punch Plier 1.50mm
PLR-133.80
  • PLR-133.80
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $22.95
  • Gold Club Price: $17.21
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Precision Round Nose Pliers - Pack of 1
G2-5
  • G2-5
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $6.97
  • Gold Club Price: $5.23
Out of Stock
Steel and Rubber Bench Block 4x4 Inches
G17-44
  • G17-44
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.95
  • Gold Club Price: $22.46
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C.H.P Milano Italian Flush Cutter, 5 1/2 Inches
PLR-487.00
  • PLR-487.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
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7 Holes Metal Punch Kit- 2.38mm to 7.14mm - Pack of 1 Kit
G15-8
  • G15-8
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $49.95
  • Gold Club Price: $37.46
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Instructions
Step 1:
Prepare the blank
Please read through the directions before starting the project.
Choose the thickness of metal desired. Scrap 22 gauge sheet metal was used for this project. Careful planning yielded four blank rectangles. Each piece shown here was cut with metal shears.
Pro Tip: Cutting with shears bends the edge of the metal, so use a small plastic or rubber mallet on a bench block to hammer the edge of the rectangle flat. It will not become perfectly flat, but that will be taken care of with filing and sanding later.
Step 2
Optional: Use a metal content stamp or makers mark on the back of the rectangle, about 1/8" up from the lower edge.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your path pendant
Step 3
File the edges of the rectangle, rounding the corners a bit. Refine the edges and the front and back of the pendant with a 400 grit and then 600 grit sandpaper or sanding pads. Smooth the surface of the rectangle first with the 600 grit sandpaper or sanding pad, then the 1200 grit.
Step 4
Since cutting and filing can cause the metal to bend, especially with such a small piece, use a small plastic or rubber mallet on a bench block to hammer the rectangle flat.
Step 5:
Prepare the path pebbles
My first thought when making this pendant was to use some of my saved gold filled wire hammered flat to create the pebble path. After I cut the wire into small bits, I hammered the pieces flat, and then looked at my expensive hammer. There were dents all over the face! Jewelers brass, the core metal in gold filled wire, is a very hard metal, so that was the most likely culprit. I had to spend over an hour sanding the face down smooth again. Note to self-Use an inexpensive hammer the next time I hammer gold wire again in this manner!
With that in mind, for the next pendant, I punched out little silver dots from scrap metal in these sizes instead: 2.38mm or 3/32", 3.18mm or 1/8", and 1.5mm. The 7 Holes Metal Punch Kit punches makes little points in the center of each disc, so gently hammer the disks flat on a bench block-any hammer will work on soft silver.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - Prepare the path pebbles, Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - Prepare the path pebbles, Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - Prepare the path pebbles, Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - Prepare the path pebbles, Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 6
Decide on the placement of the cobblestone pebbles, leaving the top ¼" of the pendant free to later attach the bail. Hint 1: Cut a piece of cardstock the same size as the blank and place it beside the metal blank on the soldering block. Or use two metal pendant blanks as shown here. Place the pebbles on one blank in the desired pattern. Moving one pebble over at a time, place a bit of medium paste solder in the corresponding position on the other blank and press the pebble into it. Remember, these are small pieces so do not use too much solder. Hint 2: For ease of use and to not make a mistake using the wrong solder if making several pendants, place a small amount of paste solder on a piece of cardstock and label each for use in the different steps.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 7
Use a butane torch to solder the pebbles in place. Start by moving the flame around the pendant, ¼" away from the outside edge. When the binder had burned off and the solder no longer seems to "bubble", the flame can move over the pendant. Immediately remove the flame when the solder flows. Hint: Years ago I learned to never heat a whole gold filled piece, just the solder join. There is no way to avoid that with this piece and the gold pebbles turned black. This is because the copper in the thinned gold and possibly from the underlying brass came to the surface and ended up with fire scale.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 8
Pickle the piece. Note: Some of the darkness was still left on the gold filled pendant pebbles, so I lightly polished/sanded a few of the lower ones with 1200 grit sandpaper. It looked like bright copper so I left it, thinking the pebbles would patina nicely in a later step and be a pretty addition to the piece.
Step 9:
Make the bail
Make an 18 gauge 6mm interior diameter (ID) jump ring if using a thin chain where you will attach findings to the ends. That is what was done for the pendants seen here. If you want to use a removable chain, make an 8mm ID jump ring. Use medium paste solder to close the ring.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - Make the bail, Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 10
Pickle the jump ring. If necessary, smooth the seam with files or sanding pads.
Step 11
Place the ring on the tips of a pair of round nose pliers with the join just a bit off center on one of the jaws. Pull the handles apart, making the ring oval. Hint: The shinier the metal is on the plier jaws, the less "grip" there will be on the ring, so it can slip and pop off, going who knows where-kind of like a dryer eats socks-you won't find it until later when you no longer need it. So, use a pair of cheaper pliers that have a black finish as they are way less smooth.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 12
Make the jump ring into a flat oval by gently squeezing both ends with flat nose pliers. Hint: The ring may slip out of soft jaw pliers, and the better pliers are pretty smooth, so here again, use the cheaper ones with the less smooth jaws (peach handles in the first photo). Finish pressing the ring into a skinny oval.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 13
Bend the oval jump ring around the smallest jaw of the 6 step barrel pliers (second smallest for larger jump rings). Pressing against a soft surface can help with the bend. Hint: It is preferable to not use round nose pliers for this step. Because of the conical shape of their jaws, as shown in the last photo note how one side of the bail will be very narrow and the other side much wider.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 14
Bend the closed ends together. As in Step 12, the cheaper pliers with less smooth jaws will hold these little pieces better. The ends need to be close enough together to slip over the top end of the pendant tightly. Larger rings can be left on the 6step barrel pliers. The ends of the wire oval can be pinched together with soft jaw pliers. Adjust the finished pieces as needed.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 15
Slide the bail over the end of the blank, keeping it close to the top edge of the pendant. Place a small amount of easy paste solder where the ring meets the blank on the front and back of the pendant. Place the pendant on a solder block with the bail in a divot. Use a butane torch to heat the piece until the solder flows. Immediately remove the heat.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant
Step 16
Pickle the piece. Note: The gold filled pebbles were dark again, so I lightly polished the fire scale off with 1200 grit sandpaper. 0000 Steel wool would also work.
Pro Tip: The gold filled pebbles were dark again, so I lightly polished the fire scale off with 1200 grit sandpaper. 0000 Steel wool would also
Step 17
Use liver of sulfur to patina the pendant. Buff with 0000 steel wool to bring out the dimension of the texturing. Happy, happy, happy accident!: Copper darkens easily in liver of sulfur, but not gold. The polished/sanded gold pebbles did not take a patina, so I assume the yellow gold I used is now rose gold! Rose gold has a higher copper content than yellow gold so it is pinker in color.
Step 18
Buffing with steel wool creates a satin finish on the metal. If desired, tumble the pieces for about 30 minutes to bring up a shine. Tumbling will not affect the patina.
Step 19
Add a chain of your choosing.
Judy Larson's Blaze Your Own Path Pendant - , Contemporary Wire Jewelry, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, blaze your own path pendant