The Gasoline Blowtorch Soldering Period

During this period the soldering ol Jewelry on the reservation was done by using the gasoline blowtorch.

Carved tufa mold ' for casting a buckle ling frame drawing-

half round

of imported tools to make silversmithtng a lot easier but still a lot of hard work. Ingot molds were available lor casting ' ■*■'.

bars of silver and hand powered ^-'^¡¿■■¡j^fli mills to roll it into sheet and '^^fiLli»

dies to pull it into wire. There were ^^^^ffjfC'y also now available many new tools, some of which were soldering frames, tin snips, hacksaws, jewelers saw■, and sharp nose pliers that made fancy wire decoration on jewelry ea:

Navajo Indians Tools

navajo indian jewelry k-of the 1920 to ^ period

V giv^n. full ampWy availability ofi and materia

FHf^The background it ^ a Navajo Indian ruo woven near the Ganado Trading Post in Arizona in about 1925. The deep red color was Introduced by Juan Lorenzo Hubbell and ia popularly known as Ganado Red.

Medieval Silversmith Workbench

Since Juan Lorenzo Hubbell furnished cut turquoise Id (he Navajo silversmith, almost all the stones were cut in shop» oft 1

the reservation and not L r by the Indian who made the piece of Jewelry, Th* Zuni Indians however ctit all their turquoise stones, k Until 1950 almost all the turquoise stones used were symmetrically cut. As demand increased Ihe turquoise was cut mostly to get the greatest weight in a so called "tree form1' cut and unfortunately many times by cutters who had never set a stone and knew nothing of the technical aspects of jewelry making.

The acetyler^ or Prent-O-Lit a soldering torch became available at thfe time end made sliver working much easier.but a skilied Craftsmen could do alt the: sobering techniques with a gasoline blowtorch thai he could do with an acetylene torch. Better tools, pliers, scissors, fluxes, mandrels, hammers, anvils, and saw blades made the work easier and quicker.

The most important improvement other than the acetylene torch was the availability of sheet silver in almost any thickness and sliver wire of every gauge.

Striker or lighter

Silversmiths combo bench pin, ring and bracelet mandrel. Courtesy Coffey's Lapidary, Spring Valley, California.

Jewelers work bench. Courtesy Starr Gem Inc Tucson. Arizona.

Preat-O-LHe or acetylene tank and torch

Bracelet Mandrel

The prolific Aj s p. o has given way to surfaces of.lijfed.,1 designs witirlittle stamping. ; 1

Many Indian »rtists excffil i Jf inlay techniques in which lorn only ihe Zuni excelled. !

Much turquoise and alïo a great amount of red coral li being used The use Of applique leaf designs have bei very popular.

ahtl Indian Arts, Tucson, Ariiona

How Making Indian Jewelry

button making

A wad cutter using 24 gauge or heavier sheet sliver and a heavy piece of sheet brass lor an anvil so as not to damage the culler.

Lead Block

Cone Punch

A wad culler Is an old fashioned tool used to cut cork or paper wads for muzzle loading shot guns. This toot is still available in several sizes.

Alter stamping, the blank can be domed or punched with a cone punch on a lead block. If sunk too far in Ihe lead block the button may be extracled by using a sharp pointed tool or awl.

Button blanks can either be cut by hand wilh curved shears, stamped out with dies or cut out with wad cutters.

The edges are tiled round

A loop ol copper wife is mad« by winding some wire around a convenient size nail. —

The center and guide lines are made on the blank-

Stamping Dies

Snip the loops with a pair of cutters.

Unlimited attractive designs can be stamped on them by using a little imagination.

Solder a loop in each button wllh silver solder and tlux.

The design may be darkened with antiquing solution, then bufled and polished.

Gas Blowtorch Silversoder


Kachina Masks

kachina mask button

The designs tor these buttons are taken from the Kachina masks of the Hopi and Zuni Indians. A few were made at Hopi during the 1930 s.

After pickling in acid the bails are flattened oil an anvil with a bannner, These form the knobs on the mash and the eyes and mouth. A piece of 1/2 round wire is bent and cut to fit around the base to look like a rulf.

The mudhead button Is formed from a circular blank of 24 gauge silver which Is first darned.

Several scraps of sliver are melted into round balls on the asbestos pad.

A disk of about one inch in diameter of 24 gauge silver is cut.

Two of the flattened silver pieces are punched for eyes and one is stamped to lorm a mouth. All ar« soldered into position on the domed disc and the copper loop soldered on the bach.

A complete circle _ j of feathers is stamped ^^ ■— _

around the center leaving V

A room lor a face made of pieces of silver wire V soldered on alter doming the stamped butlon. ^^^^ A copper ring is soldered onto the back, to complete the button ^^^B before il is polished.

button mask of the Choshurhurwa O

Kachina. The hair, eyes and face paint are stamped

«and the lube mouth and a small i piece of V-shaped silver scrap ^^^ soldered on for a • nose. .

Buttons are easy 1o make and require a minimum number of tools. They are formed or domed by using a rounded sleel or wood die and a depression in a wood btock.

The designs m need not be | 3 limited lo MI Kachina masks. *** Caricatures of one's self or friends can easily be made.

Tawa Kachina mask moccasin buttons.

kaibab moccasins

Moccasins and butlona courtesy ol (fit {aibab Shop, Tucson. Ariiona.

Kaibab Jewelry

^ w die stamped buttons that are pomed or punched after stamping

All Ihe buttons on this page were stamped with a rosette stamp surface or anvil and later shaped, domed or cone punched.

The rosette is outlined by stamping-; with a small die. The button is trimmed with tin snips jM or jewelers saw and Jpr tiled, outlining ^r the desiqn. >.<jr z

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