15 Feb 2016

Cleaning rusty files

One of my students over at Studio E174 discovered recently, after cleaning out her parents' garage, that her father had had quite a thing for files. He had an enormous stash of files in a corner of the garage - huge ones, small ones, one with handles, ones without.....but mostly all quite rusty by the time they were found! Kindly donated to the studio, I set about cleaning them.

So, after careful research (ie lots of Googling), I settled on a method to clean the files. I found a bunch of different approaches online to getting rid of the rust, but most approaches came down to four options:
1. vinegar
2. vinegar with salt added to increase its acidity
3. vinegar with baking soda to make a paste to apply to the files
4. commercial anti-rust products which were mostly on American sites (so I wasn't sure I could get them here in the UK)

After reading lots of blog posts and watching quite a few nerdy tool videos (this one is very interesting, useful information about how to easily remove residue in your files from softer metals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIZll_eqHY4), I went for the vinegar bath approach. I thought adding salt might make it too acidic and eat at the teeth of the files. I couldn't see how the paste would be strong enough, as I sometimes use that for domestic cleaning and it's pretty mild. And lastly, I didn't want to spend much money, so vinegar sounded cheaper than trying to hunt down commercial rust-removers. Happily, distilled white vinegar from Tesco is 39p for a 568ml bottle.

So, step one was to remove all the handles. Step two was to leave the files overnight in a bath of vinegar. Here they are in their bath:

Step three was to (with gloves!!) scrub the files with a steel brush (I got mine from Clas Ohlsson for £2.79, I'm sure most DIY shops will have them). By this time, the rust was loose, so some hard scrubbing with the steel brush was all that was required. Helpfully, the vinegar also loosened paint remnants that were on some of the files.
After this, I foolishly left it a bit long before I dried and oiled the files, so in the end I did a second vinegar bath and a second lot of scrubbing. I think it was useful anyway, as some of the files were very rusty, such as this one:
After the second lot of scrubbing, I dried the files thoroughly by putting them in the oven for 10 minutes at 100C.

After that, I covered them with a bit of oil. I used this oil:
And then I put the handles back on the ones that had handles. Now they look pretty good again and certainly usable.

update: I managed to find some more handles, so now they all have handles too!

5 Feb 2016

New class dates announced for Studio E174 in High Wycombe

Jewellery Making Classes in High Wycombe at Studio E174
Thursday 14 April - Thursday 16 June 2016
1:30pm - 4:00pm
£230 for 10 weeks

Thursday 23 June - Thursday 21 July 2016
1:30pm - 4:00pm
£115 for 5 weeks

Be guided through a series of projects progressing to designing and making your own individual jewellery.
No experience or artistic skills are necessary. Classes are for both beginners and those with experience.
Classes are small, up to 6 students. Due to small numbers you are guaranteed one-to-one tuition and all
the support you need to translate your ideas into finished pieces.
All our courses provide a range of hand tools and access to equipment. You will be introduced to the
workshop and given full instruction in the use of tools & equipment as the course progresses.Students
can choose to work either in silver or they can work in copper or brass. Silver is not included in the cost.

To book or for more information, please email machidewaard@gmail.com.

The studio is located here:
Studio E174
1st Floor, Block B
Commercial Square
Leigh Street
High Wycombe
Bucks HP11 2RH

2 Feb 2016

Missenden Abbey Summer School Course in Jewellery

I'm very happy to say I'll be teaching a two-day course at Missenden Abbey this summer! The course will be silver jewellery with an emphasis on tube setting.

You can click on the picture below for the full details. If you have any specific questions about the course, please feel free to contact me!

Date: 11 - 12 August 2016

Make your own silver jewellery with an emphasis on tube stone setting.
Beginners will be guided through a silver ring project, learning metalwork techniques such as piercing, filing, soldering, sanding, polishing and stone setting as you go. Instruction will be given in the use of tools, including those specific to tube setting. Intermediate students can choose from four set projects (two types of ring and pendant) involving tube setting or create their own design. More experienced students can make their own design or follow the projects and will be shown more advanced tube setting options.
Materials for the set projects will be available to purchase from the tutor (about £7 - £12 per project). Three sizes of tube and corresponding cubic zirconia stone will also be available to purchase from the tutor. If you wish to provide your own materials or have any you feel will benefit the project please feel free to bring them.

To book, call Missenden Abbey on
01296 383582 or visit http://www.missendenabbey-al.co.uk/arca/ for more information.

Click on the picture below for a clearer view: