Friday, March 7, 2008

Titanium from Saskatoon

With the typical pre-spring/spring weather, I needed a good indoor activity. While the shop is enclosed, heated, and dust/chip friendly (unlike my living room) it is after all work. And after being at work all day, staying after to play doesn't have much draw.

Coming home and sitting for even a half an hour revitalizes me, and I'm ready for more. So, while I wait for the weather to stabilize, and the daylight to lengthen, I decided to revert back to my chain maille jewelry days.

A little background, for those of you who don't have every facet of my life memorized yet. I started my chain maille back in California with two friends for elaborate Halloween costumes one year. We made one shirt for me, one for Joe, and fashioned some plate/chain combo for Shawn. I think we borrowed a coif from another friend.

They were spectacular costumes, but that was pretty much it. By the time I had moved to Virginia, it was just piece of me that once was. I think I renewed my maille when trying to make a coif to add to my shirt for renn faire wear.

I never finished, but I did start to use finer wire and smaller rings, making some bracelets, and a hand flower. I used galvanized steel, which was cheap and easy to get. While figuring out how to loop around one finger for the hand flower, I started using 20ga wire.

At some point, I decided that steel wasn't very elegant for jewelry, and instead of going with the more mainstream aluminum, I found a titanium wire dealer who also dealt in niobium. Niobium anodizes well, like aluminum, but I wanted to be different. And titanium was different enough to be precious.

So, I made a few bracelets and necklaces, and pretty much left it alone after I ran out of material. I've always meant to get some more, and have discovered a new supplier that's 1/3 the price of my first supplier.

Since titanium anodizes fairly well, the colors won't be as bright as aluminum or niobium, so I ordered an assortment of anodized wire, as well as raw wire. Titanium will also heat oxidize and bring forth more muted colors, but you can get a more random rainbow effect, kind of like the sheen from an oil slick.

The only problem with the new supplier is that they are in Saskatoon. Does anyone want to guess how long it takes to get titanium shipped from Saskatoon? Or maybe how much 380 feet of 20ga titanium wire weighs?

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