Here is where it starts. Well, almost.
Really it starts with an idea, from me or from a customer. That idea gets worked up into a design, and then into a template.
Then it is time for the cold metal.
Sheet silver is a lovely thing. I buy mainly what is called 'dead soft'. It's not really all that soft, but it isn't very hard, either. I can get silver as 'half hard', and I get wire that way for jump rings- it is more 'springy'- it resists change more than the dead soft. But for the sheets, which will be soldered anyway, dead soft is better to work with.
It's sold by gauge. I use 18ga (for the backs or 2 layer pieces, and the fronts of 3 layer pieces), 16ga for the fronts of 2 layer pieces, and 20ga for the back and middle layer of 3 layer pieces. It's sold in sheets that are 6" wide by x_ long. I seem to mostly but is 3 3/4 inches long. This is a nice working size for most of my designs.
I prep the silver by 'washing it' with alcohol, to get any oils (like from fingers) off of it. Then I stick down my template, which is vector art laser printed, to the sheet. I have become a fan of double stick tape for this.
Once I have my template stuck down, it's time for the drill and the saws.
Every piece gets cut out of the sheet with an old Dixon saw frame that belonged to my Grandfather. The rough work gets the Ancestor treatment that way. So far Grandpa hasn't had anything to say about any of this, he's fairly quiet. I expect he would like the quality of work, but maybe not the subject matter. Again, he doesn't say much, so I am just guessing.
After the pieces have been roughed out of the Mother sheet, I start on the interior cuts.
I'll post more on the later stages, well...later!