BAMS – Medal project – Welding and yet more filingPosted: May 28, 2015
While I was largely happy with my medals and their finish, there were areas on both the male and female medals where the bronze had left an obvious gap on the fingers, and holes on the bottom of the medals although this was not such a problem as it’s the area which they stand upon.
I was told this could be easily fixed by welding a thin rod of bronze, melting it into the gaps, and that it could be made to look completely invisible that there was ever a gap in the first place. However, after welding into these gaps, I was slightly horrified that I had done more harm than good.
My beautiful medals which I had spent so long getting near perfect and polished, were not only once again filthy, but had giant tumours which covered far more than the small areas which had gaps. With it being far too late to turn back, and my “back up medals” having so many problems in themselves with their malformed fingertips, all I could do was press forwards. Thankfully, after some very careful use of the dremel, I manage to remove the large lumps on the fingers, but this did still leave me with large areas which were completely lacking in the detail of the skin as it had been completely covered by the welding. As well as this, during the process of filing down the excess I also had a few slips of the hand (especially on the male medal), which left me once again horrified that I had effectively ruined my medals.
Again, with no choice but to press on, and using a smaller and more precise dremel, I managed to work in some skin detail into the smooth surfaces. While it is obviously far from the ideal of the cast skin, I think given the small sections, and especially once the fingers have been patinated it will be reasonably difficult to notice, and I think I’ve done a pretty accurate job at mimicking the skin pattern.
After having finally fixed up the issues with the fingers, it was now a matter of once again cleaning up the surfaces as they had become dirty and discoloured from the welding process. As well as on the fingers, there were also large lumps of bronze on the bottom of the medals to cover up the holes. After filing these down, it then gave me a good opportunity to work on the edge of the medals as they were both looking a bit rough after having to grind them down in order to make both medals the same size.
While I potentially could have tried welding in order to make the base of the male medal an even thickness as it should be, and matching the female hand medal, I am still very concerned with doing more harm than good, and potentially spoiling the medals beyond repair. While as it is, with the thinness of the edge towards the fingers isn’t ideal, I think it’s not so noticeable that it detracts from the medal itself.
These are how the medals are looking currently, not quite finished, but getting there!