Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant, Metalwork. Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder. This pendant and earring set all started with purple chalcedony nodules a relative sent me from Indonesia.
Sugared Grapes Pendant
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Metalwork
  • Technique(s): Butane Torch Techniques
  • Skill Level: Advanced
This pendant and earring set all started with purple chalcedony nodules a relative sent me from Indonesia. I stared at them on my workbench for over a year before I realized they looked like sugared grapes. The design took off from there.

Materials

28 Gauge 3/16" Fine Silver Bezel Wire
H9-28BZL
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $12.83
  • Gold Club Price: $9.62
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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: $61.68
  • Gold Club Price: $46.26
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24 Gauge Dead Soft Argentium Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H19-24SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $48.95
  • Gold Club Price: $36.71
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24 Gauge Half Hard Double Clad Gold Filled Sheet - 4 Inches
H4-24DCS4
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $71.78
  • Gold Club Price: $53.83
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20 Gauge Round Dead Soft 14/20 Gold Filled Wire
H4-20D
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $8.30
  • Gold Club Price: $6.22
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20 Gauge Round Dead Soft .925 Sterling Silver Wire
H8-20D
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $3.84
  • Gold Club Price: $2.88
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Tools

2-part epoxy
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
Silver Solder Paste Hard SS75 - 1/4 T.O.
SOL-822.20
  • SOL-822.20
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $19.95
  • Gold Club Price: $14.96
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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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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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Premium Steel Bench Block 2 1/2 X 2 1/2
G17-9
  • G17-9
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $15.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.98
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Basic Sawing Kit
G15-7
  • G15-7
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $34.95
  • Gold Club Price: $26.21
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Basic Soldering Kit
G15-4
  • G15-4
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $58.95
  • Gold Club Price: $44.21
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12 Inch Rotating Soldering Pan w/3rd hand
SOL-530.00
  • SOL-530.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $59.95
  • Gold Club Price: $44.96
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Small Disc Cutter, 7 Pieces
DAP-400.10
  • DAP-400.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $46.95
  • Gold Club Price: $35.21
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Round Nose Wire Pliers
G2-507
  • G2-507
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $32.95
  • Gold Club Price: $24.71
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5 1/2 Inch Nylon Flat Jaw Pliers with Replacement Jaws
G2-1
  • G2-1
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $9.97
  • Gold Club Price: $7.48
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Round Nose Nylon Tipped Pliers--Small
PLR-827.00
  • PLR-827.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $8.97
  • Gold Club Price: $6.73
Out of Stock
Daddy Dipper Pickle Pot, 24 Ounce Capacity
CLN-585.00
  • CLN-585.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $45.95
  • Gold Club Price: $34.46
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Instructions
Step 1
Read through the tutorial before starting the project. Follow all safety precautions pertaining to the tools and supplies being used and the space you are working in.

Assemble the beads into a "cabochon"

A sketch of the planned design can help when deciding on beads to use. The 3mm and 4mm amethyst beads look nice with the chalcedony but in the end, only the chalcedony was used. There were a few large nodules that were separated out for use as single "grapes" for the earrings.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, grape chalcedony
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, sketched design
Step 2
A variety of sizes of nodules with different color saturations were in the parcel of nodules. Place the design template under the Teflon sheet. Assemble some of the darker and medium colored nodules in larger and medium sizes on the Teflon sheet inside the design shape. When satisfied with the shape of the assembled modules, put a drop of epoxy cement between each nodule where touching another. Allow to set for several hours, even if the directions say there is a very short set up time. The piece will be very fragile, so do not disturb it during this time.

Set a few more nodules on top of the first layer, auditioning the placement. When satisfied, place a bit of epoxy on the base where the new nodule will be placed. Press the nodule in place. Repeat with a few more nodules. Allow to set for a few hours.

Repeat the process using the smallest nodules. When the whole piece is finished to your liking and the epoxy is set, turn it over and add a tiny bit of epoxy between the base nodules. Turn the piece over and place back on the Teflon sheet to set.

Let set overnight before constructing a bezel to fit around the bead cluster.
Pro Tip: If filling a bezel with nodules in an already finished piece, notice all the open spots. After the nodules are glued, epoxy resin can be carefully dropped in the voids. The next layer can be added and glued in place with tiny amounts of epoxy glue, as above.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, choosing stones
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, choosing stones
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, gluing stones
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, placing stones
Step 3
Use 28-gauge bezel wire to make bezels for the bead nodule cluster and each of the single beads. Use hard paste solder the connect the bezel wire ends. Manipulating the bezels to make the ends meet will misshapen the bezels before soldering. Reshape the bezels. Place 320 or 400 grit sandpaper on a bench block and sand the bottom of each bezel flat. Reshape the bezels again if needed. The bezel seams will be facing the leaf clusters, so cleaning up the seam is not necessary.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, size the bezel wire
Step 4
Cut and flatten a pieces of 24 gauge Argentium sheet that is a bit larger than the bezel for the pendant and two pieces of 24 gauge Argentium large enough for leaves and the bezels for the earrings. Stamp your Maker's Mark and metal content in the center on the back side of the pieces (I made a stamping goof, but Oh Well...Just go with the flow).
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, stamp the back plate
Step 5
Place medium paste solder inside the bezels on the lower edge. Place the bezel on the right side of the 24-gauge sheet, centering the Maker's Mark impressing ghost inside the bezel for the pendant, and toward the upper edge of the sheet metal for the earrings. With the pieces on the soldering surface, heat until the solder flows, pulling the solder under and to the outside of the bezels. Allow to cool before continuing.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, solder the bezel to the back plate
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, solder the bezel to the back plate
Step 6
Pickle, rinse, and dry the pieces.
Step 7
Use a Sharpie marker to draw a line 1/16" (scant 2mm) away from the bezel on the backplate. Cut the excess metal away with a saw. Clean and refine the edge with files and a variety of sanding sponges.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, mark around the back plate
Step 8
Cut a large piece of 22 gauge Argentium sheet that will allow for design placement of the leaves in later steps. Cut a hole in the 22 gauge sheet that is large enough for the Maker's Mark and the metal content stamp to show. The hole also needs to be positioned to allow for leaf placement.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cut out second back plate
Step 9
Butter the back of the bezel unit, except where the Maker's Mark and the metal content stamp will show in the circular window on the 22-gauge piece. Press the bezel unit solder side down onto the 22-gauge backing. Be mindful of the Maker's Mark/content stamp. If paste solder gets into that area, use a Q-tip to remove it. Place on a soldering surface and heat until the solder flows. Allow to cool before continuing.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, solder second back plate
Step 10
Pickle, rinse, and dry the piece.
Step 11:
Leaves
There are many varieties of leaf shapes that would work with a design similar to this one. Since the cabochon that was made resembled a grape cluster, grape leaves were used-three on the pendant and two on each earring. How many leaves are needed and what metals will be used is up to you, the designer. Use the template provided and shrink or enlarge as needed. Glue the templates to the 24-gauge sheet metal-a Xyron sticker maker was used here. Cut out each leaf.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - Leaves, Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, grape leaf template
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - Leaves, Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, trace and cut out leaves
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - Leaves, Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, cut out leaves
Step 12
Use an ultra fine point retractable Sharpie to draw a line down the center of each leaf, and to draw lines out from the center line as shown. Use line stamps (one of them is a chisel from the hardware store that I slightly rounded the cutting edge on) to make the center line and the side lines, as shown. Be careful if using a chisel as it can easily split the metal if hammered too hard.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, line the leaves
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, punch lines in the leaves
Step 13
Texture around the edge of each leaf with a riveting hammer.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, texture the edges of the leaves
Step 14
Use a dot or period stamp to make random divots in each leaf.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, make divots in the leaves
Step 15
Straighten and cut a 2½" (64mm) long piece of 20-gauge round wire that matches the metal for each leaf. Slightly flatten one tip of each wire. Place medium paste solder on the center vein of each leaf, not all the way to the end. Put the leaves on a soldering surface. Press the flattened end of the wire into the solder. Heat until the solder flows. Cool before continuing. Note: If gold filled wire and sheet is being used, flux must be sprayed on the pieces to prevent fire scale.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, solder wire onto the leaves
Step 16
Pickle, rinse, and dry the leaves.
Step 17
Shape the leaves to your liking using round nose soft jaw pliers.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, shape the leaves
Step 18
The leaves may be easier to audition placement if the wire tails are bent up out of the way. Once it is decided how many and where the leaves will be placed, some of the leaf wire tails may need to be trimmed off. These wire tails can be coiled and used somewhere else in the design, if desired. The wire coils on the earrings were made and attached separately with wires cut from the leaves. A jump ring was placed on the backplate for each earring drop to provide a hole to attach it to an earring finding.

Use easy paste solder to secure the leaves and wires in place. Heat until the solder flows. Cool the pieces before continuing.
Step 19
Pickle, rinse, and dry the pieces.
Step 20
Draw the outer edge of the design with a Sharpie and then cut with a saw. Clean and refine the edges with files and sanding sponges.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, trace the shape on a back plate
Step 21
Solder a hidden bail that will fit the chain being used to the back of the pendant using easy paste solder. By placing the pendant upside down in pumice, the items soldered to the front of the pendant with easy solder will be held in place by the pumice.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, solder on a hidden bail
Step 22
Pickle, rinse, and dry the pendant.
Step 23
Use epoxy to glue the assembled cabochon in the pendant bezel and the single nodules into the earring bezels. Use a wooden clothespin to push the tops of the bezel in toward the nodules. Be VERY careful as the "sugar" coating can be scraped, leaving a white gash. Attach the drops to earring findings.
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, grape chalcedony pendant
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, pendant
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, grape chalcedony earrings
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, grape chalcedony earrings
Judy Larson's Sugared Grapes Pendant - , Metalwork, Butane Torch, Soldering, Solder, grape chalcedonly pendant and earrings