Friday, 14 March 2014

Thank Flux For That ...

By Jove, I think I've cracked it!  If you follow me on Facebook, you probably know that I've been trying for months to make ball ended brass headpins with my torch.  I've mastered bronze and copper and I'm happy to buy proprietary silver ones, but I so wanted to make brass ones!  Unfortunately, every attempt I made involved spitting and smoking and charred remains - and let's not even talk about what happened to the wire ... ;)  It didn't seem to matter how I treated the wire or where I held it in the flame - same result.  Burnt offerings and a nasty smell.


However, after some time spent Googling the problem (again) and generally doing a lot of whingeing about it, I saw someone mention way down one of the pages I was poring over for help, that they used flux on their wire.  I can't remember where I saw it, nor can I find it again (naturally) or I'd put the link here.  But 'Aha' I thought - flux.  So I looked up flux on some of my supplier sites, only to realise there are lots of different types, and I couldn't find one that suggested it could be used on brass.  I asked on my Facebook page, and a very kind follower advised that although she used it for silver, her preferred flux was borax.

I figured it was worth a try - at the very least, if it didn't work, I could try it on my sterling wire.  So, one borax cone and a dish later, I sat down this morning to experiment.  Painting the wire with the flux paste is fiddly and time-consuming, but when I put my brass wire in the flame, expecting a mini fire again, it was not so!  A teeny tiny ball formed on the end of the wire and did its fascinating spinning around and crawling up the wire thing.  It's going to take some practise to get the balls a bit more central, and it's not as easy as bronze - but yay!  Result!  :)


4 comments:

Tanzanite Jewellery said...

your time and effort really paid off! Fabulous work, as always. x

LostnThought said...

They look great!I've been watching a class on Craftsy with Lisa Niven Kelly on making my own wire hooks and clasps, the torch part is one I haven't tried yet!

Emma Elliott said...

Awesome job you.must feel.pleased with.yourself! :)

Louise said...

Thank you! It's the only thing I make with a torch, LostnThought, and it took me a looong time to pluck up the courage! ;)