Those Spiral Concho's
Very Cool Concho Form
We have walked thru the formation of a 3D scroll form, and this next issue is an off -shoot of that same exercise, rendering one of the coolest forms of concho’s you have seen.
Lets begin with a circle and a series of how ever many leaflets or divisions that you choose. I think I laid out 8 here. I did the initial layout on E-Machine program and printed it out on a sheet of LABEL PAPER which is the coolest pattern transfer method around. You will see that I am leaving a circle in the center thru which I will pass a screw when the concho is applied later. You will need a circle of approx .200 larger to achieve the final size that you want.
I have used 16GA Sterling here, and feel that it gives the most form and lift to the final concho. I saw the perimeter out using a #2 blade. But once I start cutting the division lines I use a 6/0 or maybe a 4/0 if you are having trouble with excessive blade breakage. Saw each division line and move on to the next, ending each time up at the small center circle.
Once all of the divisions are cut we are ready to begin the primary shaping. Take a pair of small smooth jawed needle nose pliers and gently give each division a slight twist to its linear length. The twist will allow each of the compressed divisions to lay over the edge underneath of it.
Now we can commence pushing the divisions under the next until we have worked several times around the circle and pushed each division several times. As you do this the divisions will begin to force the central area of the concho up. Keep working until the concho is smooth and even in shape.
Next we can place the spiral concho into a large dapping die. Place the appropriate dapping punch on top of the spiral form and dome it gently so as to not crush the delicate edges of each separation. All we are doing here is raising the form or center of the Conch and adding some curve to each division before we move on.
They should be uniform and with a slight curve now to each division. We can move over to the jaw vise to tighten up the concho form now. I have tried quite a few methods of doing this next step but none seem to get me there as easily as a simple old squeeze with the vise.
So do what you have to to protect the surface of your silver conchos, and gently squeeze all around the concho until you have pushed one division under the other enough to solder in place. This step will distort the formed concho a little but the more important thing is to achieve the overlap from layer to layer.
This will give you some idea of what the ready to solder form looks like. Things will slow down just a tad here as we now have to solder each outer edge to one another before
We can move on with more shaping. So place the concho’s on the solder pad, and a little Handy Harmon paste flux, a little heat to get the flux just right and I have used EASY solder for this demo, but you could use MEDIUM or EASY45 if you choose. Carefully solder each overlap at the very outer edge unitl you have worked all the way around the concho. If you only solder a 1/16th section that is fine, in all likelihood it will hold thru the next steps just fine.
You do as you like, and what ever works is what we should end up doing. I have tried placing the conchos back into the dapping block but found it was to easy to crush the edges of each of the delicate overlaps, and once that happens it never looks the same again. So I now form mine using a Nylon hammer and a large dapping punch, with the hammer I gently keep tapping the divisions down onto each other to get them as close to one another as is possible. Keep tapping and tightening, until you get a nice tight crowned spiral form to the center of the concho.
You are ready to head back to the solder pad and walk thru all the same steps, with the fluxing the heating and the very same solder that you had previously used. If you have by chance applied a little excess solder in some places now is a good time to watch what you do and just use heat and skill to let it run and fill the entire joint for each division. BY all means be sure that each seam between divisions is completely soldered with as little or NO solder showing up on the top or front side of the finished concho. For this project you can and should do all the soldering from the back or bottom anyways.
If you played the heat just right and had just the right amount of solder on the concho it will come out of the pickle pot quite nice, something like these have. The clean up will be simple really, a little powered pumice and soap scrubbed around followed by the black emery and a stitched wheel then onto a green rouge on a stitched wheel and finish with rouge on a loose wheel, at that stage they are ready to engrave. You see here I have 3 different sizes and versions. I changed thickness and the number of divisions.
When you are done, I am quite sure you will be as happy with the results as I am here.
Hey, good night and God Bless