I always tell my students to make models before diving in and cutting the metal. Many seem to believe that it is some obscure form of torture invented by professors to make their lives more difficult. It's not.
I am really glad I took my own advice today and made a model of my clasp before cutting up the silver. I am a bit of a pack-rat, so I grabbed some plastic I had pulled off of a day planner and cut out the first version (the plastic was handy because it was really close to the gauge of metal I would use, takes less time to cut, and was free). I wanted to check the scale and shape in relation to the overall piece. There was the added benefit of checking to see if the silk ribbon would fit through the hole.
So I made a drawing and cut out the first version of the clasp. The scale and shape were okay but the ribbon stuck in the hole too tightly and looked awful. I went back and made a new drawing and cut out another sample. Same problem. The scale looked wrong on the third piece, because I shifted the proportions. After five samples, I finally arrived at a good balance of proportion and hole size.
It would have been really expensive, if I had tried to cut it in silver first and encountered all these problems. Plus, I probably would have spent hours trying to file and adjust the size of the original before I gave up and cut a new one. And the moral of this story is... models, models, models!
Now it is time to cut some silver clasps. Woo-hoo!
P.S. The plastic dust is really itchy.
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