Friday, May 3, 2013

Lady's Artisan Apron: Making the Cogs

Back in 2007, I wrote this blogpost about making the Lady Artisan Apron. Since then, my website has gone through several iterations, and the article was basically lost. So, a friend recently asked about it, so I thought to try and dig it out and repost it.

So, here is the 2nd installment in it's original text. I'll post the last entry next Friday.


This article is part two of making this apron. For the other parts, please see:

  • Making the Apron
  • Making the Cogs
  • The Finished Apron

June 27, 2007: Making the Cogs

I actually spent a few hours the past few days experimenting making cogs. After all, what's Steampunk without some cogs? :-)

I had trolled ebay for some clockwork mechanisms, but, they were 1) too small 2) overpriced. So I decided to make my own. I had recently made some clay versions of Lucius Malfoy's snake cloak-clasps. How hard could cogs be?
I didn't need them to look "perfect", but rather "good enough". And they were to be stylized versions of cogs.

To make my life easier, I went looking for small "round" things that I could use as templates, and I didn't need to go any farther than my own sewing kit -- thread spools! They were the perfect size to start, and with a little help from some clay scuplting tools and some other things found around the house, I managed to turn them into decent looking, stylized cogs.

This was *not* easy. It took me several attempts to get something with which I was happy.
  1. Roll out a piece of clay, then flatten it with your palm.
  2. Take your thread spool, and stamp out a cog.
    In some cases, I used two separate sizes to get the shape I wanted.
  3. Take some of your tools. I used both scuplting tools and an exacto knife to manipulate your basic shape. This is the part that takes time. Let your creativity flow from here.
  4. Let your clay harden. In my case, baked them until they were hard. With this type of clay, I could continue to play with the clay, and if I made a mistake, it was a simple matter of squishing the clay and starting over.

  5. After baking, I created a mold using Silicon RTV from Tap Plastics Why? Because once I got my basic shapes, I wanted to make multiples of them. And, I wasn't sure how "sturdy" the clay would be if I dropped it, accidently.
  6. After the mold had set, I casted the cogs using a polyeurothane casting resin (Tap Plastics Quik Cast). I also experimented also making a bronze-resin.
    Note: I originally wanted to use the bronze versions, but they were the same coloration as the apron fabric and would get very lost. So I decided to stick with the gold ones and use the bronze ones for something later.

    Left to Right: Stamped Clay, Baked Clay, Resin Cast, Bronze resin cast.
  7. After the cogs were casted, sanded them down and painted them gold. The paint started to peel off after WesterCon, so I repainted them, then used an acrylic seal. They were a bit shiney, so I sanded the acrylic a little bit, and added some black paint. I glued several of them together to form the main piece

  8. For the apron, I decided to sew the pieces onto the apron, and had made small "holes" during the casting process to allow for small needles to get through. I just as easily could have glued pin-backs onto them instead.

Other Cogs Made