I have been waiting to post this for a while because I wanted it to be closer to the time that I went to take the class but….. class is canceled.
What am I talking about? Earlier this year I repair a sterling silver antique brooch. It was pave set with pearls and a very beautiful, old, piece of jewelry. The woman did not have a lot of money for the repair and I made the brooch into a necklace. I was sad about this because it should have/could have been restored to it’s original state. So, I started reading about the new Micro TIG Welders that have recently advanced to have precision settings to repair things like this antique brooch… with all the stones intact. In the past theses tiny welders did not preform well with sterling silver and large laser welders are $15,000 and up… usually $25,000, ouch! Not realistic for a jewelry shop but these new smaller welders are $3500-$7000 – expensive but more realistic. You can repair prongs right over the stone, even an opal or emerald. You fabricate with the stone in place… this is just unbelievable (for me.)
I got to thinking about this antique pearl brooch…what a beauty and what a shame…. I want to be able to fix things like this. I want other people to be able use this technology as well in their art as you can weld almost any dissimilar metals together… costume jewelry, aluminium, brass, pewter, steel, stainless steel…. whatever… There is such localized heat you can hold the objects in your fingertips while you do it. One jeweler I spoke with was welding near paper and welding jump rings together around plastic!
Sooooo…. I wrote up a grant proposal to my local Art group: ArtBeet. ArtBeet is for the development of Kewaunee County Artists. They have helped all kinds of artists in my county with all kinds of things, like travel to a class, etc…. Next I saw a class offered by SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) for these welders. I thought, ‘Well if I can get some help…maybe????’
ARTBEET THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! Artbeet approved my grant proposal. They are amazing. It’s going to cover about 1/3 of my costs and I just can not believe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In my proposal I have to share with others how to use the machine. Peninsula School of Art is on board for that for next summer already.
I was not going to purchase a machine until I took the class offered by SNAG. The class is canceled. There are two machines: Orion and PUK4. They are both for jewelers and both neck and neck in price. Without the class I have a decision to make.
I have spoken with both companies and jewelers who own one or the other…. I still have no solid ground to stand on to make a choice but I am not going to wait much longer…..
Thank you ArtBeet. I wouldn’t have been brave enough to tackle this without your faith and support. I can’t wait to get started! If you would like a professional view of this technology at work please visit this website: http://www.silversmithing.com/puk.htm