Bezels in Progress: Judy Freyer Thompson
Inspired by some of the lovely wearable art that seems to show up everywhere I look, I have had visions of bezels in my mind for a while now. I REALLY wanted to fill some bezels with stuff. Cool stuff, statement stuff, hoo-haas and doo-dads and blingy stuff. I perused them on line, but could not quite take that step to purchase.
I figured I could make some simple bezels. Why not? But how? I considered bezel wire. Hmmm, don’t have any of that, and my feeble attempt at making one from a piece of sheet was just that... feeble. But, I didn’t let that deter me. I was determined to make a bezel! Robert Dancik said a simple bezel could be made using pipe. Pipe! I just happened to have some old copper pipe that I rescued from my parents old barn before they cleaned it out. Couple that with a piece found on the street that must have fallen off a plumbers’ truck, and I was in business! I did have to make a small investment in a larger diameter pipe cutter, but that was it.
1 - Using the pipe cutter, slice some ½” copper tubing and some ¾” copper pipe.
2- De-burr the sliced ends. Laying a file flat on your bench works great; run the pieces over the file until smooth. If you wish to shape the slices, use a pair of ring shank bending pliers.
3 - Pickle your pieces, including the copper backing sheet you’ll be soldering the slices on to. I use salt-saturated distilled white vinegar for my pickle. It is inexpensive and I always have ingredients on hand if I need make a new batch.
4 - Solder the pipe slice onto the sheet stock. Yay! Success at bezel making, the easy way!
*One does not necessarily need a torch set up or even a charcoal soldering block. I use an old brick and my hand-held butane torch. I set them up on my stove directly under the exhaust hood.
5- Place the soldered pieces back into the pickle to clean them up after soldering. Rinse and dry.
6- Trim the base sheet stock. An isometric ellipses template comes in handy as a guide, but you can also eyeball it. Make sure you leave enough stock to punch a hanging hole or two. If you want to use the bezel as a chain link, leave enough for a hole on either end; or you can use the second hole to hang dangles in a vertical position.
7 - With a cross peen hammer, you can upset the top of the pipe to make it appear it was not pipe at all. This really adds an interesting texture.
8 - They are ready to fill. Fill them with resin, Faux Bone™, paper, concrete, glass or stone cabs…the sky is the limit!
I'm off to play around with different finishing details such as powder coating, etching, a salt and ammonia patina, using alcohol inks for subtle color, or even coating the exterior with a glitzy nail polish! Visit my blog to follow my explorations.
Thanks for stopping by,
Note from Melissa: Thanks Judy! I already have a project in mind using this technique!!