Tricks of the Trade

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I often make several pieces at a time and go from the pickle pot, to the rinse sink, to the corn cob meal for a super quick way to dry pieces off in between steps. You can also use it right after applying a patina to avoid finger prints. I have also kept files in a bag of it during long moves and travel to keep moisture from creating rust spots.

To start, prep your metal by annealing and cleaning it with scotch bright and/or acetone. Make sure there is no finger grease on the metal. It helps to tape your design to the worktable so it won't slide around. Next, slide the sheet metal underneath and line up the metal with the design. Place the carbon paper between the metal and the design. Remember to make sure the carbon is paper is face down onto the metal. Use a sharp, hard pencil (No. 2 is great) and trace your design while pressing firmly down onto the paper. Try to rub the pencil into the design for a good transfer. After tracing the design, the carbon should show up on the surface of the metal.

Things aren’t always what they seem to be. So I am a big believer in destruction testing, especially with pearls. Secure test a pearl to a bench block with clear plastic tape so you can see it.
Place on a sturdy surface, such as a stump. Put on safety glasses and strike the pearl with a fairly light hammer.  Then examine the layers through a lens.