Solving Problems in Class

by coralnut on October 22, 2008

My life is tied up in teaching!  I teach four – 3 hour classes a week at the Boca Museum Art School in Boca Raton, FL.  One is a cabochon cutting class and three are metal fabrication classes.  My favorite is an advanced fabrication class in which most students have been doing metal work for at least a year and some for 3 or more years.  With 10 students in a class, they challange me in some way every week!  And I love the challanges because solving them ususally results in group discussions, multiple inputs, innovation, and in many cases, it takes me back to my earlier years of learning and development. 

I have decided to begin a journal blog in which I will choose one or two of the more interesting problems – outlining the project, describing the challange and how we solved it.

This week, the challange came from student A, who is from New York (my students come from all over the globe and parts of the U.S.) where she was a setter for many years.  As is common in the trade, her speciality was quite narrow and she never had an opportunity to open her horizons into other interesting disciplines.   She is a self starter, talanted and willing to do what is necessary to learn new things. That is what we are going to do.

A’s current project is a hollow ring of simple but unique design.  She started with a shank of size and about 5mm wide of 20 ga silver.  She added a larger 22ga shaped ring of the same width  with an undulating top, soldering them where they met at the bottom.  This she covered on both sides with 20ga sheet so the whole ring is approx. 7mm thick and the top has a  wave effect sticking up about 4 to 10 mm above the finger opening. She drilled and soldered a 4mm IDx13mm tube widthwise through one wave on the top into which she will set two faceted amethysts.  In a larger wave area she drilled and cold connected (flared) a 7mm ID tube so the flare sticks out from the flat surface on each side about 1mm. 

The challange was how to set a 6mm pearl into this tube so it seemingly floated!  Her initial plan was to solder in a pin, bend it out 90 deg, set the pearl and bend it back in. I pointed out that the angle would prohibit the pearl from entering the tube properly and would probably never fully seat itself onto the pin. It just wouldn’t look finished even if she could get it into the tube.

I suggested instead, that she drill a 1mm hole from the outside of the ring through the tube and countersink it to create a ‘shallow dish’.  Then make a post with a small ball on it and cold connect it by inserting the pearl into the tube and set the post through the hole into the pearl, securing it with epoxy.  With a beading tool shape the ball into the ‘dish’, file it flush to the surface so it will not show. This will hide the setting and the pearl will appear to ‘float’ in the tube.  Hopefully I can post a picture of the finished product next week.

Check this blog for the next unique student challange of their ‘old’ teacher!!  Cheers Don in SOFL.




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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Bellissimo October 25, 2008 at 8:41 am

Hi, teacher! Glad to see that you are writing and communicating some
of the problems and solutions you’ve faced over the years. Maybe a self-published/Lark type pamphlet or book is in the works? I’ll bring a few samples to class next week…Anne

carrie October 24, 2008 at 7:25 am

Very interesting Don! Please do post some photos when you can. Is there information available about your classes? Thanks-Carrie

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