Sunday, April 24, 2016

Four Rivenstar Badges

A bit of a secret project! Malie bean MhicAoidh commissioned four suncatchers of the Rivenstar badge. Two for Moonwulf and Takaya, retiring as Baron and Baroness Rivenstar after 40 years (!!) of service, and two for their successors, then-unnamed.

Irony being what it is, Malie and Adhamh were selected. They still wanted their two, however!

The first two were made out of a dark cobalt blue glass. Very pretty. Unfortunately I didn't have enough for all four from that glass, and realized it after the first was done. I checked with Malie and she was ok with them being in sets of two. The other set (pictured above, being held by her then-almost Excellency) are made from Spectrum Dark Blue cathedral. The clear on all four is a seedy Kokomo. I have a thing for seedy glass! All four are wrapped with 1/8" zinc u-channel came and have ~1' chains.

They seemed pleased with the suncatchers, and I'm quite glad for it.

Lessons Learned:

Black Patina for Zinc does actually work... As in the past, I was getting fairly irritating results, weak and blotchy. I read the directions (...) and realized it implies you should apply it fairly heavily. It also says to leave it at least 15 seconds. Being patient with it, the patina does eventually work fairly well.

The two diagonal points, 8 and 11 in the picture above, are tricky because of the flanged base I put on them. Initially I tried cutting them out as "S-curves" and at that tiny size, It worked much better to do it as two C-curves.

Man, Zinc... there's gotta be a better way. The problem is the initial soldering to join the ends. The best solution I could find was to squeeze the ends tight from a few inches to the side, and press the piece against the wood edge of my soldering board, freeing one hand to pick up my soldering iron, grab a daub of solder, and seal it. Then I held it until the solder was colder than a Pennsic shower to be sure it wouldn't spring apart on me. That happened...

And cutting it! I usually use my lead dykes on it, but it deforms the end terribly. Makes it hard to get a clean joint on the other end of the circle. This time I cut the "leaves" individually, and then flexed it to snap the heart via metal fatigue. That gave me a much cleaner end to work with.

Chain. Always buy more than you think you'll need. And mounting them on a 180-degree arc (straight horizontal line) was not a fantastic idea, as the suncatcher wants to tip a bit. 

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