2022-12-25: Secret Mission
We recently threw a 50th anniversary bash for my parents and boy was it WILD! After I was told to stop dancing on the table, we met up with a lot of family friends and what better place to show off my rocks. Long story short, I was asked if I could complete one of the most challenging tasks I've had to date - no, not finding a pair of jeans that actually fits - still working on that. I was asked to make 4 wire wrapped pendants from the same rock. I gladly accepted, and the rest is history. Let's get started.
We chose a great piece of Noreena Jasper for the occasion. This is really some of the best that I've cut. Unfortunately, you can see what it does to my saw! Can you spot the rock??
Here it is all cleaned off.
Next step was to decide on some nice patterns trying to avoid cracks.
Then to cut them out.
Here they are all roughed out.
Off to the shaping on the 80 grit hard wheel.
These are looking so good.
Here's where it's going to get a little crazy...
Wire wrapping is not The Agate Whisperer's forte. What I do in these cases is cut a .9mm groove in the outside of the rock that will fit some 20 gauge square wire. Above is a little jig I've made for the saw to help with this. It's some risky business but worth it.
Here's a side view. No room for error!
I should have mentioned... Noreena Jasper is notorious for having some fracturing. Unfortunately the back of this one fell off and I'll need to make another. I made a donation to the swear jar at this point.
Another one chipped off. Swear jar donation number 2. This one can be ground down a little further and hopefully saved. Overall, it's better to find these problems at this point before it's being worn, so it's a blessing in disguise.
Now for that replacement rock... uhh remember what I said about fracturing :D Didn't take pictures but I promptly cut the 7th preform and it held together...
Let's get grinding!! I've never actually tried this with the groove already cut in to the rock so this will be interesting.
First cut complete. These are fairly large so the dome needs to be somewhat shallow.
Dome complete. This is what it looks like after the 220 hard wheel.
280 grit soft wheel
600 grit soft wheel
1200 Grit soft wheel
3000 Grit soft wheel!!
Time for some aluminum oxide polish on a leather wheel
Now that is looking fiiiiiine
Fast forward, I did this 3 more times. Well technically 4 more but I don't want to talk about that.
Remember those grooves? Here they are!
Time to wire wrap. I'm starting with 20ga square copper.
Now fasten the top
Wrap this thingy around there
A little pinchy pinch and bend that part forward
And make the bail
Another little squeeze
And finish off with some 20 gauge round wire
These are looking GOOD
Side shot of the groove
Now most people don't usually wear raw copper, so here's how to give it an antiqued look. They take a little dippy dip it in some liver of sulfer until it tarnishes and then neutralize it in some baking soda. Fun fact, this smells like rotten eggs!
Get ready for it...
Takes about 10 seconds to turn completely black.
Here they are neutralizing
After they're tarnished, I wipe them with some steel wool and a brush to get that antiqued look. Here they all all finished!
I really think these are some of the best I've made.
That was a great time and I really appreciated the challenge. I've also been receiving a TON of fan mail asking for more NFT's and custom art. I don't disappoint. I took a selfie while making these pendants, as you can see I was in the Christmas spirit!