Thursday 31 July 2008

A new project

My friend Katie came round to help me take some photos for my tutorials on Saturday. They look really good, and I should have the tutorials up and running very soon. Thank you Katie!

Anyway, she brought with her an old silver (so we thought) chainmaille purse that her parents had given her with the idea that we might like to repair it. As you can see from the photo, it does need a little bit of TLC! The side edges of the purse have come away from the frame, but as far as we can work out the problem is that the rings have come loose, not that lots of rings are missing. There are also a couple of sections towards the bottom on one side where one ring is missing or where a ring has opened up slightly and joined itself onto the ring in the row below, rather like when a knitter drops a stitch. I think that it's European 4-in-1 weave - I'm hoping that someone out there will tell me if I'm right or wrong!

The first thing we did was to clean it in my lovely new ultrasonic cleaner and it does look alot better already. The next job is to cut some new rings. I managed to work out what diameter wire we needed and took a ring off the edge of the purse to check the inner diameter and I've coiled up the wire, just need to cut the rings now - we'll have to do that by hand as the 'koil kutter' cradle that the coils sit inside for my dremel to be able to cut them safely is too big. We're going to have to oxidise the rings slightly for them to match the original rings in colour. We were certain that the purse wasn't sterling silver - the colour, even for tarnished sterling, was wrong and anyway a sterling silver purse of that size would have been very expensive! The purse has got the name 'Alpaca' stamped onto the frame, so I did a bit of hunting via google and came up with the following:

"Alpaca silver is a common name for a metal alloy, a combination of metals, of copper, nickel and occasionally other metals such as zinc, tin, lead or cadmium. The alloy also can be called nickel silver, German silver, new silver and paktong."

If you want to find out more about it, have a look here. I'll let you know how we get on with the repairs!

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