Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Joining, joining, joining

I never thought of myself as a big joiner, but I am doing it now!

Yesterday, on 1000Markets (aka 1km) I joined the Jewelry Artisans Marketplace and the Metalcraft market. Coincidentally, on the same day my long standing application to join the SteamTeam on Etsy was approved!

It is easy to get isolated here in Northern Vermont, especially back in the woods where we live. I hope that joining these online groups will help put me in touch with like-minded folks and help me to develop my own designs and marketing.

Thanks to all who participated in inviting me to these groups.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring!

We are expecting a beautiful sunny, but chilly, day here for the first day of Spring.

I received an early spring present yesterday, my pre-model castings arrived! That was rocket speed turnaround from my casting company!

I will be hard at work today getting new designs made. I still need some parts (chain, etc) that I ordered to come in before I can finish things, but there is lots of work that I can do NOW and I am about to get to it.

Hope that you have a good beginning of the season.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A great day for the Irish

We are expecting a truly GRAND day here in North Central Vermont today!

Right now - 6:30 am, it is 28 F, high is expected to be well into the 50's with wall to wall sunshine. Purrfect weather for maple sap flow, Spring skiing and a celebration of ones Irish heritage. Yes, my Mother was Irish, and I do observe the day.

Speak of spring skiing, my good buddy Charlie and I had a great day of spring skiing at Sugarbush on Sunday. Thanks to Kim Harris for arranging a pass for me! Conditions could not have been better! Just a little problem with sun burn! If you are out spring skiing, don't forget the sun screen!
It is off to work for me. Even though my pre-model castings are not ready yet, I do have several pieces that I am working on - a Steamy Moose Time Traveler necklace, and a group of Star Trek based designs - NEW Star Trek movie coming out in May!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

pre-models finished

After weeks of work, I have finally completed the pre-models for my new group of designs.

What are pre-models you ask? When I make original works in pewter, some times a part is repeated within a piece, or used over and over again as a component of several pieces. Rather than make each of these parts over and over again, I make the part once, and have a casting company make a mold and a number of pre-model castings. Now I can use these castings, together with unique parts, to make unique pieces more efficiently.

The pre-models in this group include some Airship parts, a fabulous pair of bird wings that my Dad made (he gave me permission to use them) a number of bezel settings and some surprises! Among the new pieces that I will be making is a group of Steamy Art Deco pieces. These pieces will include genuine black onyx stones. The four different size and shape bezels that I made are for those stones.

I hope to get the castings back from my caster in a week or so, and have new work finished and into my store by the end of the month.

Keep an eye!

aka SteamSmith

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Counting is important. Counting how many pieces in inventory, counting how many days until Christmas and counting on a friend.
It is also important to count the number of people, in our neighborhood, in the area, in the country.

Lucky me, I get to do some of that, soon! Yes, I have accepted a temporary job with the US Census! I start next month. This means that my new shoulder will have to wait.

You can count on me to continue my creative work while at the Census, and I will be back in the studio full time this summer.

Mark aka SteamSmith

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

good morning

Crazy weather here, a big thaw over the weekend, then snow yesterday, rain expected today.

I have a free pass for ONE day of skiing at Sugarbush Resort, trying to pick a good day - it is tough!

Nancy and I went to her son Jason's "new" bar Saturday night. The bar has been around for years, but Jason just purchased it this Fall. It is a fun & friendly local tavern. If you find yourself in the Pittsfield Vermont area, stop in at the Clear River Tavern.

I am hard at work trying to get a big group of new designs together before my surgery on April 3.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Getting the Hang of it

I am starting to get the hang of blogging and the whole social aspect of the internet.

Today I started a blog on my 1000Markets store, and left a long (possibly too long!) message on the 1000Markets "Vermont ... a way of life" forum.


I am now looking into Tweeter and Facebook, and I know that I need to do more with my profile here. Wish me luck.

I have to make this short today as I need to run into town to ship a few things and I hope to get in a short ski on the Catamount Trail - looks like good corn snow conditions right now!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


www.SteamSmith.1000Markets.com is the newest place to find my SteamPunk jewelry on line.

I received a real nice invitation from elenamary www.emenamary.1000Markets.com to join the "SteamPunk Style" market over there. FIRST, I had to open a store! Which is now up and running. If you have a chance, stop by and visit; while you are there, click on the SteamPunk Style market and take a look at the great things that are being offered over there.

Aside from that, a pretty mundane day - got the car inspected (way past due), some groceries, you get the picture.

I spoke to Sally on the phone. She continues to struggle. I hope that things improve for her soon.

Not much snow on the ground - the last big storm left us with just a bit of new snow. We could use more; but then I would have to shovel the roof again!

I will stop by again soon, hopefully with something more substantive to say.

Mark aka SteamSmith

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sorry that I have been out of touch

No excuse, just got behind with my correspondence.

Marie, a month ago (how time flys!) you noted that there are 12 soldering different "techniques" on my submarine. Actually, what my listing says is that there are 12 different soldering operations. A soldering operation is when you head up two pieces of metal and then melt a third piece of metal (that has a lower meling point) in between the first two pieces, joining them together. Doing this more than once on the same piece of jewelry is tricky because, when you go to solder the second time, you heat up the whole piece of jewelry, and if you are not very careful, the solder from the first time will melt and the piece will fall apart. So soldering 12 different times on the same small piece is very tricky.

About techniques; I frequently use three soldering techniques. Hard soldering, tin soldering, and a combination of tin soldering and pewter welding.

Hard soldering involves high melting point metals. Like gold and silver; and in the case of the pieces I am making for SteamSmithWorks, brass, bronze and nickel silver. Unless you are working with gold, hard soldering usually uses silver solder. Silver solder has a high melting point, about 1700 degrees F and is great for joining higher melting point metals like brass, bronze and nickel silver (and, of course, silver).

Since pewter melts at about 600 degrees F, obviously silver solder is not going to work - the whole piece of pewter would melt into a puddle before the silver solder got hot enough to melt! So one uses tin solder (pewter is an alloy of mostly tin). The tin solder melts at a lower melting point than pewter, so you can use it to solder pieces of pewter together AND to solder pieces of other metals, like brass, to pieces of pewter.

The third technique that I use a lot is a combination of tin soldering and pewter welding. If I am joining two larger pieces of pewter together, first I will solder them with tin solder, then I will meld a little pewter (higher melting point than the solder) and force it into the joint. The result is a stronger joint.

Of course there is more to it than this brief summery; there is more to it.

To put all of this into the context of how I make my pieces; in a nut shell, I make the parts separately from each other, and then solder them all together! Just like my father taught me.

Marie, keep up your good work. I especially like your roses.

That is all for now.