Start of New Atlas Moth Enamel Project

mdengraver

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Jim gordon

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I was thrilled to see your work! I couldn't have achieved my present project without my GRS gravers, I Graved the tail feathers casting,then used it as a master die, the impressions are 'oomoo' ,i'ts a wonderful imp.material,however it will shrink an additional 2% or so, so when you engrave, be sure to leave a schosh more silver at borders. Copper holds colors far better than silver. Can't enamel Bronze, Sterling or Argentium, 925 Sterling can be,with additional steps.
Fine silver will not hold colors like purple or lavender, however copper does beautifly . Halve to stay with certain colors on silver, I'm still so new to it,a
Battleship would sink with what I don't know about enamels and engraving.
Sam's tutorials have been awesome! My script is improving! I have 16'HORUS'
Madallions in progress, have made 50 'TRUMP' madallions, Decided to keep those for now, guess I got sentimental about them.
Ha 20220403_152822.jpg 20220403_144404.jpg 20220403_222839.jpg ve two GRS GraverMach machines and have really improved in the last 3 yrs.
Jim
 

Jim gordon

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Phil Barnes is extremely talented artist with an intimate understanding of Sterlings property's, and the ancient art of enamaling,, your source material is outstanding,authoritative, and without question a great contribution to fine arts.
And Mr. Barnes also employs gravers as his primary preparation of Sterling to receive enamale.
 

farmer57

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Jim,
Your Egyptian themed pieces look very interesting, congrats.

You can use any colours on silver or copper but there are things that one must consider with both metals. The "colour holding" is really irrelevant but some will look better than others on silver or gold or on copper. That is most important with transparents and opaques are generally a bit more 'forgiving' if you will. If doing transparents on copper - coat of flux is an absolute must. Again, not all transparents will look well or even show up on copper over flux. Base coat of white with transparent over that can give you interesting and repeatable results. If you want brilliant transparents over copper - you can do this over foil (either silver or gold). You fire flux and then layer of foil and then your transparents. The limitation here is that no patterns can be engraved to the metal (as in champleve technique) - I mean you can engrave or otherwise texture patterns but nothing will show through foil.

With some transparent reds and pinks (oranges and some purples) - on fine silver you might have to fire base of flux first and then the colour. I found some beautiful reds from Ninomiya (Japanese enamel maker) that are not (or very mildly) silver reactive and a pink and a purple from Hirosawa (another Japanese brand) - thus can be fired directly over fine silver with excellent results.
Generally, transparent greens and blues are very forgiving and the easiest to work with.

Opaque whites and light yellows can be troublesome on silver but normally work well on copper. Thompson enamel has nice selection of whites but not all will fire to your liking and can differ significantly in both opaqueness and the firing times.

Yes, the lead bearing enamels have significantly more choices in terms of warm colour transparents (as in: reds, pinks, yellows, oranges and purples). There are still manufacturers who make it: Schauer/Milton Bridge, Soyer and the Japanese (although Ninomiya's owner recently passed away and factory was purportedly shut down. Some of the old lead bearing Thompson's stock is still around but dwindling.

Yes, you can enamel on bronze (some of World's oldest enamelled works were done on bronze) but there are limitations and you have to experiment with your particular alloy. I've had very good results with 16gauge sheet Bronze (from Rio Grande) but the same bronze in 14 Gauge will not hold enamel - regardless of what I do (counter, thickness etc). The so called 'gilding metal' is another copper alloy that enamels very well but the availability is hit and miss. Thompson does carry it from time to time but you have to ask for it. You can also enamel on steel (prepped in particular way).
Brass can be enamelled but it can be fickle. I think it has to do with expansion levels of each particular colour.
Sterling is no problem, just keep it clean and pickle away firescale in between each firing.
Most enamels can take the pickle cleaning well and some will pit but in my experience most lead bearing are fine. Thompson has tables listing if enamel is acid (pickle) resistant or not.

There are many different fluxes which will give different results. Some will fire very clear on silver and others will have yellow tinge to them. Thompson's hard fusing 2040 is an excellent and reliable flux, especially if you're firing other colours in many layers. Some soft or medium fusing fluxes can bubble through the layers of colours and make a mess. Testing different colours and combinations is necessery in the enameling - fire it on whatever metal you think you will work with and see the results, experiment and take notes. I attach small pieces of fired samples to my jars and write whatever made it to my satisfaction (as in number of coats, what flux if any, wet packed or dusted and if needed longer or less firing or hotter etc).

Oh, and always wash your transparent enamels prior to application (if wet packing).

Good luck!
 

Jim gordon

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THANK YOU!
The loss of Phil Barnes is a loss for all of us,such talent is rare.
Thank you so much for sharing some of your experience.
My failure in lavender and purple has been a blow to me,
My project is inspired by Howard Carters breast plate discovered in 1922 (one of them) in Tut's tomb. My HORUS is a straight wing version, as it was inside my skill level! It has been a very exciting project, I have overcome many hurdles,and
Learned a great deal about silver. Your assistance is very generous, and I am very grateful!
I will certainly investigate the Japanese purples, the artifact displayed a purple hue, I wanted to capture that look, I will however know a better approach on future projects. I am considering a swept wing version in keeping with the original, now that I have had success thus far.
The legs are cast in ancient Bronze #706051, do you think it might be worth a try
With enamel?
It's a RIO product.
Thank You, very sincerely, Jim
Haven't had any replies from Ricky Frank, your advice is very welcome and of great help to me.
 

Jim gordon

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Bronze #706051 is casting grain from RIO,have had superb results with it.
Excellent detail, High luster, only bad thing is it craps the crucible quick!
(Only get 6 castings or so,then I have to start a new crucible)
Using a KERR dental casting machine.
 

Jim gordon

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Jim, Phil Barnes unfortunately died a few months after publishing his book.
This news is horrible.
We will all miss him dearly,the loss of a great artist is always sad and tragic for all whom love the fine arts.
Talent like Phil Barnes can't be replaced.
Sincerely , Jim
 

Jim gordon

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I graved master dies in silver for the tail feathers, then made impressions with ' 'oomoo'. Anks are the curious looking looped cross items, those were also blank cast like the tail feathers, then graved in a pitch cup, then used as master dies ,then re-impressed then poured in acrylic, and cast. (Then enameled)
The round carteuses were graved in a pitch cup individualy, then enameled
The wings were cast separately ,graved extensively in my A300, then polished/welded together on the assembly board.
The assembly board is dental plaster called stone,(harder than plaster), it's
Poured in an oomoo impression,( they are all identical with calibration lines
To maintain accuracy during assembly) the wing anchors are solid 18k gold,are welded in place on back of wings, (wing anchors and legs are the only parts not graved) the heads graved on A300,then enameled,they are 2nd generation patterns like tail feathers, however after casting they require attention at the graver before enameling.
Final assembly will be mostly welded, enameled parts can be welded
However it is risky, I don't recommend it,I will cement them.
These Egyptian madallions are designed to be worn as a necklace, I have finished three In that manner. However the remaining 13 will be placed in display cases chainless with stained glass panels on front with graved 2" enameled copper disc depiction of Tutankamun's throne seal , 'Horus' feathered body is 2nd some 3rd generation patterns cast in Fine silver ,each body has hours at the graver defining feathers wheeeeewwww!, then polished very lightly with 'tin oxide' paste
Seriously lightly. The body's start as wax, then cast in die stone,then carved,
Then re-impressed then cast again, then you have a master die,then you can make millions of bodys(however I only need 16) you still have to grave them after casting ,,,,,(again).the wings are Sterling 925 ,they are stamped on back with date
Serial # and USA BEFORE they are welded together. I index them with stone,then dry them out in a 'Hotlogic' cooker. (The welder is electricly operated,so it's healthier if they are dry). 20220411_214711.jpg 20220411_214649.jpg 20220411_214631.jpg
 

farmer57

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Jim,
That is quite the process.
I don't know about the casting bronze (my work has only been limited to sheet bronze) - only one way to find out how and if enamel will work with it. Do some tests with flux and colour and especially white base and colour and just straight opaques.
For the sake of being very thorough (in case your tests show poor results) might want to play with different enamels in terms of the coefficient of expansion (COE).

Here is a link that you might find interesting as it examines many different metals in their suitability for enameling.

I've had excellent results with Ninomiya violets and purples on fine silver without flux, Schauer 26 Violet was very good too.

Good luck.
 

Jim gordon

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Thank you !
I will investigate the mfg.
The throne seal for king Tut was Scarab Rolling the sun across the sky, shown here.
For those curious about 'master dies' , 'transfer dies' are items that are early versions of what you are attempting to make. Several versions of the same thing are made in succession via impression until
You come up with a design that you are pleased with, Voila!
Anougher word is Matrix. Transfer die= matrix.
2nd generation matrix, 3rd generation matrix, ect.,ect. 20220412_112947.jpg 20220412_112905.jpg
I like to use Sterling for master dies ,as it is easy to grave and polish. The master die is a 'Master' only when
You choose to it to be.
Most people can obtain a master die by the 3rd or 4th 'transfer die' just depends on the item details.
Thank you so much for your reference!
 

mdengraver

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Atlas moth setbacks will need to reboot! As Mr. Pilington said, "The master has failed more times than you've even tried!"
 
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Jim gordon

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Elon Musk builds his success on failures!
Elon considers it all as just a trail of success, follow that trail!
 

Jim gordon

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It's your thread now Jim! I will start a new one when I have something to show!
What? I can't even engrave my own name, thread? I haven't had enough time on this site to even know how it works,let alone any site.
This is my 5th day in a public site.
What happened to your project?
 

Jim gordon

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What GA. Was the copper, seems to me I heard on a tutorial that the silver should not touch the copper, I can't recall the circumstance. I think it was a Ricky Frank tutorial . Was the piece fluxed on both sides prior to silver app?
 

Jim gordon

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Well,, let's run some test fires on some smaller pieces, I would enjoy learning how this is done,if your OK with that.
I'm quite sure the silver can't touch the copper. I used 12ga 2" dia. Copper disc (formed) enamel one side.
Your moth looks formed, 14ga sounds right, if fluxed both sides 2" tip to tip, formed.
Thinking a test fire on 1inch Square, find out when the silver melts or is stable, what's your thinking?
Flat piece would be fine for a test.
Yep, I checked, I used 12ga, formed, single side enamel 2" disc, so a14ga. Fluxed both sides wold be about right. (If yer 2" span)
 

Jim gordon

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Here are some castings that didn't make the team! As it turns out Sterling was a learning curve for me.
the chart shows recommend temp. For silver in general, as it turns out, it's fairly accurate!
It only applies to a manual casting machine, mine is a KERR with the stiff spring (two wind max) 20220412_232333.jpg 20220412_232522.jpg
 

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