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Dirty Dozen Donation Derby: Stone Capped Containers

At Coronation, Konstantia sponsored a dirty dozen largesse competition. For my entry, I made a dozen small metal containers with cabochons on the lids.


The process began with cutting out a lot of rectangles out of sheet metal. They were then formed into ovals over a bracelet mandrel and bound with wire to hold the seam in place during soldering. When making any kind of circle like this, if you form the oval so the ends overlap then pull them back to form the seam, the ends of the metal will push against each other as they try to spring back into place and help you get a nice seam. The binding wire adds extra insurance that nothing springs out of place as the metal expands when it is heated.
After soldering, the cylinders are rounded back out over a round forming mandrel using a non-metal hammer (rawhide, rubber, nylon, delrin, and the like). Using a softer hammer like this ensures you don't leave marks on the metal.
Once the pieces were all rounded, they got cut about 2/3rds of the way up to form the lid and body of the container. Doing it from the same piece like this helps ensure the lid fits correctly and is not slightly too big or small.
At this point, the pieces get the tops and bottoms soldered on. I soldered squares on, trimmed the overlap with metal snips, then filed the edges flush. In theory, if you had a circle cutter the same diameter as your container, you could punch out the rounds and solder them directly. But I don't.
From here, the bottoms need flanges soldered in to hold the cap in place and the tops need bezels to hold the cabochons. The flange is just a thin, flat wire around the inside that forms a friction fit with the lid.
I skipped taking pictures of the bezels, since it is an annoying process trying to solder exactly on the edges of the caps. Needless to say, it got done, as well as some other lapidary work. To finish them off, the containers were all given a pass with a brass brush and pumice powder to create a satin finish. Four of the copper containers also got treated with liver of sulfur to darken them, making for four nickel silver containers, four bright copper, and four dark copper.

The stones used in the settings were hematite, rainforest jasper, tiger's eye, obsidian, lapis lazuli, petrified wood, and amythest, not in any particular order.


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