Tuesday, December 18, 2007

18k Rose Gold...

Last year we encountered a problem with an 18k rose gold alloy. Before I go into the problem I give a little back ground: we make our rose golds from scratch using oxygen free copper, fine silver and always 1/2% pure zinc no matter what the % of copper used. The zinc as I understand makes the alloy workable and cohesive.
On to the "problem" we cast a 2 inch by 3 inch frame for a cameo and two days later we got the call "that casting was no good, it just started crumbling apart while working on it." I immediately took the sprue left over from the casting (we still had it untouched from the casting) and I bent it around a ring mandrel twice, not even a crack! I got the part back and I could crumble it into little pieces. So being a tech head I started researching the problem. I found out that they had to solder nine small wires to the piece for pearls... the part weighed around two and a half ounces in 18k, so while soldering they would solder one wire and allow it to cool off between soldering. Not on purpose but just the time it took to grab the next wire and heat it up again.
That is when the problem occurs... During my research I discovered a post on a news group by Peter Rowe that explained it very well. An inter-metallic compound forms in the alloy causing it to crack and break at the grain boundary.
The solution is from an other post is a faster read, but go read Peter's post first. The following steps should be taken in between each soldering operation when assembling in any 18k rose gold. This does not seem to affect 14k rose as much but might if it is a high copper alloy (RED Gold).

"Before any working is done, anneal by heating to a dark red (around 900F). Allow the red glow to just barely disappear and then quench. And here's the trick. If you quench in water, you run the risk of sometimes cracking the metal. (if you quench in pickle it will strip the copper from the surface and make your rose gold turn bright GREEN) So instead, quench it in alcohol. Be careful not to set the alcohol aflame with your annealing torch, and plunge the hot gold into the alcohol quickly, so it's immediately totally immersed. Done that way, the alcohol will not ignite."

quoted text comes from this URL http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Rec/rec.crafts.jewelry/2005-08/msg00080.html

So that's what I know about it, hope its a help to anyone who might find some cast rose gold on their bench that needs some solder work.

Definition of Cast

It falls way down in the list of nouns, number nine to be exact...
a. The act of pouring molten material into a mold.
b. The amount of molten material poured into a mold at a single operation.
c. Something formed by this means: The sculpture was a bronze cast.

Ironically the number nine is the number of completion... so when your done casting your finished.

What is really funny are the first two transitive verbs:
1. To throw
2. To throw with force

...no matter how hard we try we cannot force metal to do things it doesn't want to.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Time for a change...

This early December I sat and pondered the name of this Blog I have created...

It reminded me of a story; Long ago in New Mexico I got a job in a small but big jewelry company named Desert Star. It was my second job in the jewelry industry of Albuquerque. Ironically it was a casting shop that produced jewelry by lost wax process. I stood in Harry Sappington and Pam Cody's casting shop/ jewelry company late one afternoon and was overwhelmed with emotion. For the first time in my 20 some years, I knew exactly what I wanted...

Their place was an old school casting shop, with a large foundry style natural gas blast furnace and a couple of large gas fired ovens. The main metal we cast there was silicon bronze (biker jewelry) we made thousands of bronze rings, bracelets and earrings.

Now some 20 years later and 3000 miles away, I have a smaller version of the same shop. I am "living the dream" we don't make bronze rings, but we sure make allot of gold, platinum and silver ones. It's been a long tough road to get here and I lost a close friend and mentor along the way.

So why the story? Because it's time for metamorphose and change. This blog will become it's name sake and be a vicarious look at "The Casting Shop"...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fashion week 2007

My wife and I, and our friend Jeanie had front row seats at a runway show in Seattle.....and I got to meet Summer Ryne Oakes that night.

Another view...

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Just some photo memories of a well spent summer

and my favorite photo of an olive tree and an Italian cypress

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


My friend Cliff from high school days in Santa Fe was working on a movie set in the glass building in the post below, its the old repair yard for the Santa Fe rail road in Albuquerque.

This is Glen, Cliff and Dale..... Cliff was working we were visiting. Cliff and I haven't seen each other in 20 some years, Glen and I just met that day and I'm sure we will know each other for another 20 some years....Dale and I were traveling together through the land of Enchantment....

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Mexico

Well drifting through New Mexico now... I have traveled almost the whole southern half of the state and now this post is coming from a coffee shop named Satelite at the corner of Carlisle & Central ave ...

This is the largest inclosed glass and steel building in North America

This is sunrise at Lavender Spring Ranch.....

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Traveler

So much has happened since my last post. This time I am writing from a cafe in Arcosanti.
Last week I was in Casa Grande, next week New Mexico.

It's nice to be home (in the desert) once you have it in your blood it never leaves. I could tell when I was standing in 110 degree weather and was enjoying it. Don't know if I could live down here again but I do love the desert climate.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Report from the beach....

We've been enjoying the sun and the beach for two days now. Our little blue house on the beach seemed to be waiting for us this year.
My little one is in the doorway.

We have chosen the right weekend to be here. It has been great, not too many people around. Things are moving a little slow for Cannon Beach and we have been enjoying it.

There is a GOOD coffee hangout here now called Bella Espresso and they have FREE WIFI . It seems like part of a Portland chain I think the have three stores. Coffee is good....Beach is good...Family is good...

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Solstice is upon us once again. We enjoy the dark as much as the light here in the domain of Cascadia. Summer means sun rise at 4am and sunset at 9pm. This time of year we tend to enjoy the long lingering of the sun and the reason most who visit want to stay.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Still Hear....

Yes I meant to spell it that way.
Be still and hear, be here now.....no matter how many time I say it it is still like the first time I heard the phrase. I still have trouble with being here now. Living in the moment is as hard as it is easy.
Talking to an engineer friend of mine the other night over an IPA, he came to an understanding of the wave/particle essence of light. The realization of light moving so slowly that it becomes solid was ground breaking. We learn through teaching, our self about our self.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Full and Empty
the parody of life's drama, it plays out unexpectedly for the players. The waking dream, if you pay attention to the details you might just see the reality.

I'm not even sure why I am writing this now. I impulsively looked at my blog and realized that I need to post.... I don't even think anyone is reading this except me. Its become my ya ya, or something to that effect. Compulsory writings, the rambles of an impostor hiding out in his life that he thinks is so important. One minute I brag about my station the next I want to run away from it. Late nights hiding from the world in front of one of my many computers. Hoping to find what is missing in my scope of reality. What is it I am hiding from? Me? My life? You? The world?

Everyone has some kind of expectation about the who and the what.

I just finished watching a movie "Smoking Aces" that was such a social commentary on the political pop media culture. Right down to the kid on Ritalin, the redneck punks from New York and the 50 caliber assault rifle shooting people from more than 200 yards away. It was like real life HALO or some other first person shooter crime video game. It felt like the Sycophant trying to explain Plato to a kindergarten class.

Now I type blindly to the net hoping someone is reading this.....if you are let me know with a comment or two.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

this american life

I just finished listening to a radio program Ira Glass has an amazing tone of knowing in his voice, he always has the right questions and it seems that for the most part he gets them answered...

Thank Nancy Updike for the great photo of Ira.

I have questions again; most of the unanswered. What does it mean to be an adult? Why do we have to act a certain way? When do we officially grow up. What if we don't? What if we do sometimes?
Our children grow up acting like a mixture of them and us and every thing that came before us. At some point they become the adult and we become the child. We pretend to be adults and they try to act like what they think an adult is.
I really would like to know what being an adult is; is it related to the accumulation of knowledge; or is it the accumulation of experience that shapes our reality? How does perception come into play? Can we use our perception as an excuse for our behavior? When do we really know what it means to be "adult"?

(ə-dŭlt', ăd'ŭlt)
  1. One who has attained maturity or legal age.
  2. Biology. A fully grown, mature organism.
  1. Fully developed and mature.
  2. Relating to, intended for, or befitting adults: adult education.
  3. Containing or dealing in explicitly sexual material; pornographic: adult movies; adult bookstores.
that is what Webster tells me but it says nothing about the me within the Self.

How many generations would it take to truly heal the afflictions that we carry with us that are not truly our affliction, but the ones we where handed by our parents parents parents, by society and the narrow world view we have from our TVs and our own back yard.

If life is truly experiential then we must experience to really live....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Soft What

It never has amazed me more how we can have an OS and an APP that works fine together until we NEED them to work. I just spent 2 hours trying to get my accounting software to recognize the Internet connection that I'm listening to streaming audio and looking at a web page through... finally after trying and fighting with Windows 2000 professional and Quick books 2005 on a computer that I have been using for 2 years...I get up go to my laptop rewrite the invoice because there is no way to transfer the data without a big hassle. and send it via email in 2 minutes like I tried to do for 2 hours.

Why am I ranting about this? I don't know? Maybe because I waisted the last 2 hours when I could have finished the waxes I was supposed to have done tomorrow! But I also needed to send that quote too. AND look at the time its 3:00am...............I did manage to not break either computer.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

...Children of Men

A Must See Movie !!!
It is not a happily ever after movie by far. After watching this film, you must watch the extra features... Bravo ! Truth be told !

At many places in this movie I could not tell if I was watching the news or a movie.

I have no more words to describe what I have seen....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

the mirror

It is a defining moment when you stand and look at the mirrors around you and you discover that it is you that you see...

...all of them attracted to you like a magnet to steel.

Defining is the moment when you understand why you attracted them in the first place.

and the comment becomes part of the blog

Roxy said... (as a comment to Time)

Ahhhhhh. Nice reflection my friend.
We should all take the time to reflect whether it be of Past or Future events, it's all the same that being Contemplation. I consider this to be an ART. I am beginning to understand that what I know is absolute, as in absolutely nothing. This gift allows me to remain teachable at all times and leave the end resolve up to this present moment where all is perfect and calm. If I am honest with my Self I see that I am in constant state of QUEST,hence to reflect is when I remember "ahhhh, what a waste of energy!". Reflection causes me to remember to live, here, now and forever.Remember. reflect + live.

April 7, 2007 12:41 PM

Thanks for insight, thought I'd share it...

Saturday, April 7, 2007


The great equalizer...we walk in this world oblivious to the the wake we leave in our path. A wise man once said "Mastery is to cross the surface of a lake without leaving a wake in your path" this is mastery.

If we stand against the wind, its force can push us in any direction it blows. If we change our stance instead of fighting the gust we can guide and channel the wind around us .

Friday, April 6, 2007

This took me a long time to complete, it was the birthday present that came a year late......

... frame

this frozen frame is a little something I made last year...

The silver parts where all made at different times and then mysteriously they all came together. Now they are one.

the freeze frame

a moment frozen in time...
some people are predictable, some are not...
it's the Not that will always surprise you. The predictable will surprise you by becoming a Not if the lesson you are to learn from the not isn't learned at the moment you first experience it...the experience becomes frozen in time, or stuck right where you left it.
You then get to pick up right where you left off...over and over again.
If you are content to not learn then the lesson will replay it's Self by use of a new or different medium.
So... given the opportunity, deal with the issues as they arrive not after they return again......

N.O.T. neology on the
N.O.T. next opportunity to
N.O.T. now ostentatiously talk

enough rambling about the predictable N.O.T............

Thursday, April 5, 2007


...an old friend of mine once said that I was the catalyst that ignited the fire within her and got her motivated into action. Where is I when I need me most. I have become the opposite of what I truly am or maybe I've become what I fear most.

I'm not really sure... I think its time to mend a few broken fences and tend to the flock. Time to give back and make a mends for past behavior.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Life through a filter

Been playing with a water color filter that has a cool effect....
It seems to work better than the PS version, its MS...

you be the judge......both pics are done in MS photo editor.

...the charcoal filter is cool too I used it on the picture of me.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

2 am

Sitting in the studio at home, listening to the Drone Zone on SomaFm
longing for a prolonged stretch of time to call my own. Stealing a few hours while the world around me sleeps. I can think of 2 people I know that are up right now 1. Kim working the graveyard shift at Big Foot Espresso and 2. Gordon in his studio on Vashon Island. Each of them joining me silently in their own solitude.
The morning will come too quickly for me and the day ahead. So off to sleep I go.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

11 years

Today is the eleventh year of my self employment, It all started on April Fools Day.....This was our first casting, that's Larry on the right and me assisting. the flask we cast in that picture blew out while pouring it. It sucked the silver down into the plastic vacuum line in the off the shelf casting machine. From that day forward we never used another off the shelf casting machine. They always had to be modified to suit the what we were doing. We ended up building our own vacuum casting table, it has been used almost every day for the last eleven years. That's about 2700 lbs of metal. Larry built that machine and many others we still use today.....

Larry passed away December 1st 2005, the first photo is the very first casting we did together at his house, the next is the very last photo ever taken. He is deeply missed, I hope that somehow he is reading this.........

Saturday, March 31, 2007


I love my new torch, just bought a Victor 100fc with a #6 mfa tip. I got two tips, a #4 and a #6. The #4 is good but just a little too small for what I'm doing. The #6 is perfect for the job even on palladium white gold. The new hose set is a little stiff but long over due. The old torch was a Smith AW10, been using it for all most 10 years...it all most blew up in my hand Friday at 5 o'clock. Someone is looking out for my dumb ass cause nobody got hurt. My recommendation is CLEAN YOUR TORCH TIPS and use a good flash back suppressor.


Another late late night in the shop...I'm starting to get use to working late and alone.
Not such a good Idea if you are prone to hermetic tendencies.....

...and that 11:11 number comes up again as a reminder to "BE HERE NOW" or, you know, live in the right now.

A Ring...

...for the queen


...with the right information we can do just about anything, AND with the wrong or bad information expect to FAIL or failure. Is it complacency that causes neglect? Maybe it's not (($)) important enough......

day one....

Midnight and I can hear the furnace running still.
It almost has a calming effect, a sound that once you are familiar you will never forget.....making parts for 50Th anniversary Stiletto knifes and allot of scrolls for Tom.