Category Archives: Tool Reviews

Tool Time Tuesday – Intro to torches AND Use your scrap to create and roll out an ingot.

Yesterday I got you caught up to what I had been doing for the past couple of months. Of course there was a lot that I left out as the post was getting pretty long. So with all of that said however, I am going to start from here and do my best to keep up. Wish me luck.

I have two videos to share with you today. The first video was published last week. But there were some things I wanted to share with it. As you may know, I have been making videos for about 5 years now. I know most of you think that I receive all the tools I review for free. However, that can not be further from the truth. While I do occasionally receive a tool for free, I actually purchase the majority of them. Sometimes I am able to get them at a discount, but that isn’t always the case either. Why am I telling you this? Well, it is time I figure out a way to help cover the cost of the tools I review and use in the studio and share with you. I have signed up for the affiliate program through Amazon. This will allow me to share with you some of the tools I use in various projects and such and make a small (very small) commission if you should follow the link and purchase it. I will only be showing items that I would use myself and think  you may find useful. So if you find something you may like, please consider following my link to purchase. This will help me keep the blog and video posts coming. You will also see ads on my videos. I do not have any control over the content that is shown in those ads. I do get a small fee for the time the ad is displayed. I cannot tell you to click on them, but again, consider watching them or letting them play out. My next purchase goal is to get some good lighting for shooting the videos. Just this past week, I finally upgraded my camera and I am hoping it will have some good effects down the line. Thank you all for your support. I appreciate it.

Torches Torches Torches

So many torches, how do you choose which one is right for you?

So many torches, how do you choose which one is right for you?

With all of that said, Let’s get on to the videos. The first video is one that I get a lot of requests. People are wondering which torch is best to have in their home/studio/apartment, etc. So I take you though the six torches I routinely use in my home studio. First, you should always check with your insurance to make certain you will be covered in case of an accident. Second, always make certain you have some sort of ventilation system set up. I use a bench top fume extractor and it has worked great for me.

Some of the torches I use and like can be purchased through me. Others can be found on Amazon and other tool supply locations.

The Blazer Butane torch was the very first one I ever used. I am still using my original torch and it is my go to for small items such as when I am soldering bezels together and such.

This is the Acetylene/Air torch I use. I also use the #4 and #6 Tips.

The #4 tip is the one that is on my torch about 98% of the time.

I use the #6 Tip for annealing larger pieces and melting metal for casting.

Now that you know about some of the available torches, watch how I use them to melt down my scrap silver to create an ingot using an ingot and wire mold. Once I have an ingot, I forge it down and then roll it through a rolling mill to create a sheet in any thickness desired.

Long over due post – TONS of Videos

I could go on and on about how busy I have been, but that doesn’t really help anything at all. As you can see, I still haven’t figured out the balance between motherhood and work. There seems to be so much going on that every now and then something has to be dropped. Sometimes that is a video, or a blog post, or a piece of jewelry. I have tried very hard to make sure that I don’t drop the balls that involve my family, though sad to say, every now and then one of those gets dropped as well. Luckily, my girls have been very forgiving up to this point.

So what is going on? Well, all three girls are now in school. We still struggle with how to help Kate work through her learning disabilities. It sure makes things difficult when doing homework and trying to keep up with the other two. She just doesn’t seem to retain the information. And I am not sure how to help that. She is making great improvements in school, but we are still so far away, it feels. Riley has finally hit that maturity level where I finally feel like I can just let her take the reigns and do what she needs to without much oversight and prompting from me. That has been a relief. She is doing really well in school. She hates the “B” days when she has Gym and LOVES her “A” Days because she has calculus. I am not entirely sure she is my kid, LOL. Kiari is making huge improvements as well. It is so fun to watch her learn and grow. She is so sharp. I remember back to when she was born (10 1/2 weeks early and only just more than 3 pounds) and thinking what her future would be like. I am so blessed that she is sharp as a tack and picks up on things quickly. She sure has gotten fun.

Fun Family Trip to Las Vegas - M&M world

Fun Family Trip to Las Vegas – M&M world

 

I have finally been able to work a little in the studio. I try to get everything done during the day while the girls are at school so I can spend all my time with them when they are home. That gives us the opportunity to work on homework and our new family VLOG on YouTube. We even already have four videos out there. Our channel is called MUIR MANIA. It is still a work in progress, but the girls are thrilled to have a channel they can be a part of. If you would like to follow some of our crazy antics and just know about what is going on in life, please subscribe. They are thrilled with each new subscriber. And once we hit 100, we get a personalized channel name.

Link to subscribe to our Channel: http://bit.ly/2eD3itt

And be sure to check out our first four videos. We will have lots more crafts, treats and just family updates. It is a family video blog, so there will probably be a little of everything.

5 Fun Halloween Treats:

4 More Fun Halloween Treats:

Kelsi – Our story of Preeclampsia and Infant Loss:

Muir Mania – Vegas style:

Tool Time Tuesday RECAP

Well, I have been severely lacking in posting my Tool Time Tuesday Posts. So let me catch you up. Because while I am behind there too, I have at least made a few videos. Here is what you may have missed.

Fun tip: Removing a pancake die tab quickly with the hydraulic press:

Sand Casting: From Start to Finish

Using the JoolTool:




There are so many files. What is the difference?

You know I love Tube Setting:

See you all tomorrow for an actual Tool Time Tuesday Post. 🙂

Giveaway #2 – BulletProof Silhouette Dies

The last giveaway was so much fun and It was just the first of many that are going to be happening over the next month or so. I recently did a video showing how to use the BulletProof Silhouette dies from the ToolCottage.com. I will admit right now, I was somewhat skeptical when I saw the three little thin sheets of rubber they use for the forming. But I tried it as they instructed and was so pleased with the results. The dies themselves are made of the same material used in banks and other high security institutions for their bullet proof “glass,” hence the name “BulletProof Dies.” I love that they are clear and you can easily see through them to line your pieces up. That comes in really handy when working with an etched or roll printed design. They have quite a few designs to choose from and they are  VERY affordable, individually under $10US. And to make the deal even sweeter, they can custom make dies based on your specifications. Renee Davis of The Tool Cottage has graciously donated Four sets of dies. Each set includes 3 dies of the same shape, but in graduated sizes, and three sheets of rubber for forming your metal. These dies can be used with a hammer, vise, or most commonly, the hydraulic press.

TC-Silhouette-Giveaway

Speaking of the Hydraulic Press. Have you had a chance to check out my workshop on craftsy yet? I have seen some great results from students that have taken the online class. If you have been considering taking it, you can use this 50% off code, good until the end of the month. That makes the class only $15 for a 2 hour class.

10612_Hydraulic_Press-010_10612_retouched_10612

To see how to use the BulletProof dies, check out this video:

Video Link: https://youtu.be/rfaQCXfijyQ

ENTER NOW

I have FOUR sets to giveaway. If you would like to enter for a chance to win, just follow this link and sign up. http://eepurl.com/ccOR7v

You must sign up for each giveaway I am offering to be eligible. It was the easiest way for me to keep track of things. Winner agrees to pay shipping and to be added to my email list. Don’t worry, I don’t get spammy or send out too many emails and you can always unsubscribe if you decide you don’t want to hear from me. 🙂

Winners will be drawn on Saturday, August 27, 2016. Good luck.

IT IS GIVEAWAY TIME!!!! New video

Summer is quickly coming to a close. My kids are headed back to school this week and next. I can’t believe that we are already finished with the summer break. How did that happen so quickly? We have had such a busy summer, and yet, we don’t really seem to have done much. Although, Riley did finally get her driver’s license (WHAT!?!?!?!) and the two little ones got to go on a trip to Mt. Rushmore (or Mountain Rushmore, as Kiari calls it.) There was plenty of tutoring, swim lessons, nights out at the fire pit, oh, and I turned the big 4-0. I didn’t get the chance to do much in the studio video wise…. do you know how hard it is to film a video with three to four girls running around screaming and picking on each other? I did find some time to come up with some new workshops for next year.

Leather, Metal and Glass.

Leather, Metal and Glass.

One very exciting thing that has happened is that I reached my first goal of 10,000 subscribers on YouTube. WOOHOO!!! What? you aren’t a subscriber yet? Well, you should be. Just visit this link to take care of that: www.YouTube.com/kcjewelbox – just click that little subscribe button and you will be good to go. Now you will know when I put out new videos.

Kinetic Jewelry

Kinetic Jewelry

I have had the good fortune to work with so many different companies throughout the past couple of years. They have been very supportive and they have stepped it up once again. I have so much to giveaway. In fact, my giveaway is valued at nearly $4,000 for everything. There are far more items than I ever thought I would have, so I have decided to break it up and roll it out little by little. So be watching for opportunities to enter. Because I have had so many items donated to this giveaway, the winner agrees to pay for shipping as there is no way I could possibly pay for it all…. I would be broke. LOL.

So let’s get to it already shall we? YAY! The first giveaway for a Tube Setting Kit which includes:
10 – Sterling Tube Bezels with Seat, 5 mm hole.
10 – 5mm Round AAA CZ
1 – Tube Setting Punch/Burnisher

Thank you to Halstead Bead for the gift!

To enter the giveaway – Simply click on this link and fill in your information: http://eepurl.com/cbCCBD

Melissa Muir - Metalsmith GIVEAWAY

Melissa Muir – Metalsmith GIVEAWAY

To see how this kit is used check out this video: https://youtu.be/CET8bx-QqPE

Tool Time Tuesday – Multi-Shaped Disc Cutter and Another Giveaway

It is Tuesday and that means it must be time for another Tool Time Tuesday Post. Today I am reviewing a 9-piece multi-shaped disc cutter.

DP2449 DP2449a

This disc cutter features 9 shapes, each about 12 mm in size. I didn’t know if I would like this one because it has a fixed base, and I typically don’t care for those as I find that my metal bounces when trying to cut it using a hammer. That will probably be the case for this cutter if I use thicker metal, but as long as the metal was thinner, I didn’t have a problem.  Just check out the video to see it in action and my review.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/B3cqVM1FZt0

I will carry these, but only as a special order item as they are quite pricey to carry in my inventory. The cost is $240.00US plus shipping.


 

Another Giveaway

I have four more Square Aluminum Ring Mandrels by Pepetools to give away. And I have four of the Round Aluminum Ring Mandrels by Pepetools.

People have asked my thoughts about the aluminum mandrels. I think they are wonderful for wire wrapping, light shaping and sizing and great for finding out the size of an existing ring. When they first came out, I asked on several jewelry forums why people would want to use an aluminum mandrel. There were a couple of people that said that they would actually do quite a bit of hammering on theirs when they traveled. It is much lighter and more portable. A few answered that they would have it at the front counter for accurate sizing of customer rings. Wire wrapping rings was also a really good purpose. I have quite a few ring mandrels and 90% of them are steel, so I reserve the aluminum for lighter working situations as those stated above.

I do have steel mandrels if you prefer to purchase a steel mandrel. They are $27.00 plus shipping. They are shipped via UPS, so shipping is generally between $8 and $12 depending on where you live.

So how do you enter the giveaway? Well, I am running it through Amazon again. So  just follow this link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/cfc0fe41029352a5 and follow the directions. Again, I don’t receive any of your information and Amazon fulfills the order. You must be a resident in the US to be eligible, sorry. I will try to do another giveaway soon for my international readers.

I will do another giveaway for the remaining Round mandrels on Thursday at 6:00 pm Mountain Time. Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss it when it goes live. Just enter your email up there on the right where it says “Subscribe To Blog Via Email.” Good luck!

Tool Time Tuesday – JoolTool Review

Today is a very exciting day. Less than an hour ago my contractor left with a final check in his hand. This means that the inside remodel is DONE! WOOT! If you recall, we were flooded way back in May. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have this all done. Tomorrow the tree guys will come and remove almost all of our trees. That is going to be sad. But it is necessary for a number of reasons. I am just trying to keep in mind how nice this is all going to look when it is finally done, and hopefully my house will be dry from here on out.

I have actually been having quite a bit of fun in the studio lately. It has still not been put back together, but that hasn’t stopped me from playing with some new tools. In the past two weeks I have put together two new videos featuring the JoolTool. The first is my review, why I finally bought one and then I show how to polish some of my tools. I have NEVER been able to get a good mirror polish on my tools. And with the JoolTool, I was able to do it in under 5 minutes. And some of my hammers were a MESS.

JoolTool Polished Hammers

JoolTool Polished Hammers

After playing with it for a couple of weeks, I am ready to endorse this tool. Yes, it has a nice price tag, but it is still less expensive than a good polishing arbor, and certainly less than a cabbing machine. It is quite versatile, portable (HUGELY important to me) and very quiet. And, I also like that you don’t have to jump in completely, meaning that you can buy a “starter” kit and then build up as you go and adding only the things you need when you need them. I started with the kit for polishing metal and then added accessories to cut and polish stones, glass and enamel.

So here is my review and demonstration on how to get that mirror shine on my hammers and stone setting tools.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/dq0H_ZVShfo

Once I saw what it could do for my tools, I was eager to try other things. A friend of mine had sent some fused glass cabochons and this tool was amazing on them also. I was able to reshape, smooth and polish the glass back to its previous glorious luster.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/LJ6RP84GugE 

For my blog readers, I am offering 5% off your entire purchase. You can either contact me or use the coupon code: MelissaM1 at the JoolTool Website.

New Ring Mandrels from Pepetools

As you have seen, I have had the fun pleasure of working with Pepetools over the past year. This is very fun for me as I am often the first one to get to play with some of their new tools that they develop. Sometimes I even get to be a part of testing it out and helping to make a tool better. A while back I asked if they were going to make square ring mandrels. I don’t know if I had anything to do with it or not, but they finally came out with a  square ring mandrel. I am so excited.

In addition, they also came out with some improvements to their existing ring mandrels and added a couple in aluminum. I ventured onto a few of my jewelry boards and asked why people would need an aluminum mandrel, because it is certainly something that isn’t very useful in my studio. I have seen a lot of people purchase them and try to use them in the same way as a steel mandrel. I can understand using them with wire wrapped rings as you won’t need to forge on them and such. The consensus was along the lines of what I was thinking. The aluminum is meant for very light work and mainly for sizing a ring in settings such as a jewelers shop at the front counter. However, there were a few jewelers that said that they would take an aluminum mandrel when they traveled to do some light resizing. They preferred the lighter weight when traveling.

People ask me all the time why I don’t sell ring mandrels. I am a vendor for a couple of suppliers and they all carry ring mandrels. But I will say, this is one area where I am kind of a snob. I will only use Pepetools ring mandrels. And this is because all of the mandrels I have found that aren’t Pepetools, have deep grooves for the sizing marks. That is just dumb. The rings get caught into them, and when you hammer, it is really easy to hit in just the wrong spot and then you have a mark on the inside of your ring that now has to be filed, sanded and repolished. I do not have the buying power required by Pepetools to carry their products, so I am not able to sell their tools. In fact, I am not paid by Pepetools, other than I do get to keep the tools I test out and review. So my opinions are true and honest and not based on a monetary reward. However, if they were to pay me, I wouldn’t mind that either. LOL.

I made a short video introducing the new ring mandrels. I will also be doing some new projects with the square ring mandrel. The sizing and making of square ring shanks is a bit different than round shanks. I will be experimenting and will try to create a ring shank sizing chart, similar to those for round shanks, but it will take a while and a lot of experimenting. Anyone want to come over and play in the studio with me?