Category Archives: Tool Time Tuesday

Tool Time Tuesday – Workshop Review And Giveaway – Wire Weaving with Sarah Thompson

It isn’t often that I get to learn new techniques in a class setting. I don’t have the time or money to travel to workshops, there aren’t many taught here in Utah, and I have been so busy working on my book and videos that I rarely have time. Can I just say how much I love the day and age we live in? I can now sit in bed before I go to sleep and watch amazing people with amazing talent teach me all sorts of new things. And I do it on this ultra thin, ultra light “television” that I hold in my hands with tiny speakers with amazing sound quality plugged into my ears,  and the blankets pulled over my head so I don’t keep my husband awake. Did you ever imagine we would have this ability when you were a kid? If you were born after 1990, DON’T ANSWER!

It reminds me of when I got my first iPod Touch. We were thrilled that we could connect wirelessly to the internet and watch videos on YouTube, or even better, download a full length movie to entertain the kids. I am still waiting for the holographic set ups we used to see in “Vision of the Future” types of set ups at Disney land. We have 3D televisions, who knows, perhaps that is next and nobody will ever have to miss out of an amazing workshop again and we will be able to have our favorite artist or teacher right there at our shoulder in the workshop. Ahhhh, the dreams of the future.

Okay, back to what we are really here for. I have just spent the last couple of weeks reviewing Sarah Thompson’s Craftsy workshop.

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When I started making jewelry, it wasn’t by stringing beads. I started with wire. I have always loved wire. To this day, you will find quite a bit of wire work in my metalwork. I love the movement that it adds. I have done a few wire weaving things, but it never really clicked for me before I get into doing more metal work. But I have always adored the style of Sarah. (See more of her amazing work on her website: http://www.sarah-n-dippity.com/, Her Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/sarahndippity or her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-n-dippity/240358204033?ref=hl You may want to have some tissues ready to wipe the drool, her work is that amazing.

I have always wanted to do this style of work, but was intimidated by the amount of work involved, the meticulous nature of the tight weave and, well, I just never thought I could actually do it. So I was thrilled when I was approached and given the opportunity to evaluate her workshop.

In addition to well thought out projects, she uses large props while she teaches the weave fundamentals. And she does it in such a way that you remember it. That doesn’t mean to say that I never ran into a problem…. but that isn’t Sarah’s fault.

The Craftsy format is great too. You can view the video in Full Screen mode, watch at several different speeds, rewind when necessary, add notes and even ask the teacher questions as specific locations within the video. You can easily skip around the 7-part lesson for easy navigation and review.

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This is quite a detailed technique and the video is great to watch with TONS of close ups so you don’t get lost and can see exactly what Sarah is doing.

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Most of you know that I truly have ADD, I have since I was a child. I have a hard time sitting still while doing online workshops. One of the things I love about the Craftsy workshops is that I can change the speed. So most of the time, the first time I watch a workshop, I will put it on double speed. Then I can move to a slower speed if I need to see something more clearly or get a better understanding. Even though I did this with a good portion of this workshop, I found that even when I was watching at normal speed, Sarah was very engaging and easy to follow. She was very clear, well spoken and made certain every little detail was covered.

Want to see what I came up with? This is what I started with. I know, it is a bad cell phone photo…. I started with 18 gauge sterling silver for the base and wrapped with 28 gauge fine silver. I added a few 2 mm crystals for a bit of sparkle. The focal bead was made by my good Ohio friend Laura Critchfield.

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After finally getting everything attached and the clasp connected, I added a bit of LOS (Liver of Sulfur) patina, removing from the highlights with a bit of #0000 steel wool.

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I would highly recommend this workshop if you have ever wanted to try this technique. I just look at Sarah’s work and i get so inspired. I can’t wait to try more.

GIVEAWAY!!!!

Now for the exciting part. I have one free workshop to giveaway to one of my fabulous blog readers. I will make it really simple. Take a look at Sarah’s work and just leave a comment on the blog telling me your favorite piece, a link back to the page would be great too.

I will draw and announce the winner next Tuesday, May 5th.

If you don’t want to take your chance on not winning and would like to get started learning with Sarah, she has given my readers 50% off for the next two weeks (until midnight, Tuesday, May 12th.) Just use THIS LINK for 50% off her workshop.

Sarah, Thank you so much for the wonderful workshop. I learned quite a bit and I cannot wait to add more of this style into my work. And I am quite proud to say, I never broke a wire. 🙂 You are an excellent teacher and very talented artist.

Tool Time Tuesday – Hydraulic Press Essential Setup

Hi Everyone. I know the title reads Tool Time Tuesday, and that is because that is what this was supposed to be. However, I updated my Final Cut Pro – the video editing software I use for my videos – and it wouldn’t let me import my videos. I worked on it for three days. Finally had to load it on to my old computer with an older version of the program. UGH. Otherwise this would have been done on Monday. I did get the video up last night though, and even that was a miracle considering I am not feeling well right now. My productivity has gone right out the window. Even once I get done here, I am going to go back to bed.

A while back I did a blog post about the tools I consider essential when getting a hydraulic press set up. Well, this is a companion video to that post.

As you all know, I totally love the Hydraulic press. It has completely changed my body of work. The book I am currently writing is how to use the hydraulic press to make jewelry and is nearly finished. So of course, you will see a LOT of pieces by me made with the press.

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There are a number of presses available out there, and they will all pretty much do the same thing. I happen to have purchased a press by Potter USA and that is what will be featured in my book and videos. However, the information and suggestions will work for any number of the presses.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/gvy2MG1NUnc

Tool Time Tuesday – Tool Review: Gwen Youngblood’s Riveting Essentials

Well, they still aren’t done with the roof. Darn spring weather. However, today it was very windy and snowing at this very moment. So I finally had a day to work in the studio and film really quickly. I was going to try to knock out three videos, however, I only got one completed. But hey, it is Tuesday and I have an Actual Tool Time Tuesday to post.

I had the opportunity to meet Gwen Youngblood while down in Tucson for the gem show in February. She is an absolute doll. I spoke to her at that time about doing a review of the riveting tool she had developed. I then got to spend a week with her in Texas a month later at the retreat I taught at in March. Gwen teaches at a lot of the large bead shows, so I am sure that many of you may be familiar with her already. She also has a fantastic studio located in San Antonio, Texas. You can find her and class listings on her website at www.metalartlab.com.

Gwen Youngblood Riveting Essentials

Gwen Youngblood Riveting Essentials

If you have seen my work, you will know how much I love riveting. I would like to think that I have rivets down to a science. So when I heard about this tool, I have to admit, I kind of thought,  “Well, I am sure it will be helpful for some, but perhaps just another tool for tool junkies and not necessary.” Well let me tell you, I have changed my tune. I have used it for the past three weeks in my studio, mostly on projects for my book, and I am pretty sure it will be rare for me to not use them to make my rivets from here on out. I love this tool that much! Well, just check it out for yourself.

Tool Time Tuesday – Top Ten Metalsmithing Tools

Well, I know it is Wednesday, but the roofers are still at it. Luckily, they are almost done. The weather has set them back a little bit. I have not been able to get in to film yet. And then to add to everything, I am the featured artist this month at a local studio and have had to concentrate on actually making something to put into the gallery of the studio. I have determined that I need three more of me.

So for this edition of Tool Time Tuesday, I am re-sharing a post that I did for iCreateFlix.com a while back.

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As a jewelry artist, and more especially as a teacher, I am often asked which tools I feel are necessary to be successful in metalsmithing or jewelry making. The answer to this really depends on the techniques you are using. I also thought it would be interesting to see what other metalsmiths felt were their top 10 tools. Obviously there is a lot of overlap and their answers reflected their expertise level as well.

When I was coming up with “My Top Ten” I created the list based on someone who is just beginning and does not have any tools yet but would like to get started. I will give you my Top Ten and then I will also share with you the “big hitters” from my colleagues.

  1. Pliers: Round Nose, Chain Nose, Flat nose. Okay, I know that is three, but I cannot make my jewelry without them.
  2. A really good pair of cutters. I actually have multiple pair that I use depending on the thickness of the wire I am cutting.
  3. A good pair of hand shears or my guillotine shear. You want to have a good way to cut bigger pieces of metal and sheet.
  4. Good files: Some files can get really pricey, but I believe they are worth every penny. Of course, I also have quite a few inexpensive files that i cannot live without.
  5. Flexshaft or drill press: These tools are indispensable in my studio. They will do everything from drilling a hole to buffing and polishing. If I had to pick just one, go with the flexshaft.
  6. Jewelers saw and LOTS of saw blades.
  7. Torch and basic soldering set up. Okay, again, this one is more than one tool and warrants its own list. But I cannot make the type of jewelry I do without it.
  8. Hammers: At a minimum I need my raw hide mallet, planishing hammer and riveting hammer. The rest are just icing on the cake.
  9. Bench pin/Anvil combo: Some people will have just a bench block they can hammer on. This tool combines a bench block with a bench pin. The bench pin is necessary for sawing and piercing for me.
  10. Sharpies: I gave this last one a lot of thought. I use sharpies for everything from marking cutting lines and designs, measurement lines, and even as a resist when etching.

I believe that with the items in my list I would be able to be very successful with jewelry making. So what other tools made the “Top Ten” for other metalsmiths?

  • Rolling Mill
  • Hydraulic Press
  • Polishing Machine
  • Mandrels (ring and bracelet)
  • Optivisor
  • Good set of lights
  • Calipers

And then, of course, there are those tools that go without saying:

  • My 10 fingers – Can’t do a thing with out them
  • My eyes
  • My creative brain
  • A good dose of caffeine
  • Good music

Do you use any of these tools? What are Your favorites?

Tool Time Tuesday – It’s coming…

Hi Everyone. I know that I have been rather quiet on my blog lately. I actually have some new tools that I cannot wait to review for you. However, for the past two weeks we have had roofers on the top of my house, and even though I am in the basement, it is not quiet in the least. So that has made it rather difficult to do any sort of good filming. It has given me the opportunity to concentrate on getting photos edited and chosen for my book. Want to take a peak at some of the projects that will be included?

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The projects range from very beginner to more advanced taking you step by step through the process. It is very image heavy. I am getting quite excited. I have two projects to finish up and I will move onto the layout and editing.

As it stands now, there are about 20 different projects and I have a list of others that have been moved to the second book.

My goal is still to have the book published in May. And I will keep you posted on the details as I have them.

I am excited to be hosting the giveaway with Pepetools for the Jump Ring Maker and will be announcing the winner of that this week. Good luck to all of you have entered. If you haven’t entered, be sure to do that here: http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj

Have you ever looked back at things you have done in the past and thought, “Geez, I am sure glad I got better.” Well, I do that with my jewelry for sure. I cringe when I see some of the pieces I first made and gave to my sister….. and she still wears. I am glad she loves them, and I am so glad I have made improvements. Well, this also goes for the videos I have made. I will never claim to know everything. Yes, I am quite knowledgeable in certain things, but there are always different ways to do the things I share. In addition, I am still learning. The videos I create are a way for me to share what I have learned. And as I have progressed in my knowledge, so has my video skills. People are often surprised to learn that I do everything on a video, including the recording. So sadly, sometimes my hands move out of the screen. And yes, I hear about it every time it happens. LOL. But hey, it’s free. 🙂 HAHA. So with that, how about we have a little “Best Of” Tool Time Tuesday as the conditions here aren’t conducive to recording just now.

Remember when I got my very first hydraulic press? Well, it is a good thing I learned about spacers. You should never fully extend your ram as I did in this video.

Speaking of spacers, Let’s see what materials can be used for spacers. It sure is an arm saver when you have to pump the jack a lot.

How about a quick tip for filing flat spots on a piece of metal that is difficult to hold?

Check out one of the ways I use dividers in my studio.

I have a few new tools to review for you soon. And I even have another online workshop review. First, I am going to make something with the techniques I have learned so I can share with you my own results. There certainly is a lot going on here in my studio and household. But there are a lot of really good things on the horizon and I can’t wait to share them all with you. In the meantime, if anyone figures out how to create a couple of clones of me, I would appreciate it as I could certainly use the help.

Tool Time Tuesday – Bench Anvil and Steel Plate Reviews

Remember when I said it was always fun to go to Tucson and hang out in Kevin Potter‘s shop? Well, that is also a dangerous place for me to be as I fall madly in love with the tools he makes, and of course, those tools find a way to follow me home. But my studio will welcome all the new tools with open arms and graciously finds places for everything. That is certainly the case with these two new additions to my studio. They are similar, but still quite different in their function.

The first of these is a Bench Anvil. The bench Anvil is a heat hardened steel that becomes abrasion RESISTANT. This means that while it is extremely hard, it is still possible to leave little dings in it, especially if you haven’t properly dressed and polished your hammers (a topic for an upcoming Tool Time Tuesday post.) However this tool is HARD and glorious to work with. The Anvil is 6″, round and the hard top is welded to a 2″ high mild steel base.

The next tool is a larger Steel Plate/Platen. This piece is glorious as it is a fairly large working surface measuring 10″ x 6″. This tool differs, not only in size, but also in material. The steel is actually a Mild Steel, which means it is NOT abrasion resistant. You would be best to use a rawhide or nylon mallet with this one to prevent surface marking. So why have it then? Well, for me, I use it to flatten out larger pieces of metal, scribe designs and measurements, layout designs, etc. It is such a useful LARGE, FLAT surface for me.

One other really great thing about these tools is that Kevin will resurface them for the first time for free, and for life after that, for a nominal fee and shipping. I have only been working in my studio for a week since returning from Tucson and both have been quite well used already.

So if you are looking at buying a larger working surface, you may want to consider these.

REMEMBER – GIVE AWAYS!!!!!

Don’t forget, there is still time to enter my giveaways. I have two of them going right now.

Debora Mauser’s workshop giveaway has only 2 1/2 days left. Be sure to enter at the end of the linked post. Even if you aren’t able to leave a comment, fill in your information and mark it complete and you will be entered. If you are having issues entering, just send me a message and I will be sure you are entered.

Pepetools Jump Ring Maker Giveaway. We are just past our 1/2 way point. Please help me spread the word on this. Just copy and paste the link where you want to share it.  http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj

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Tool Time Tuesday – Mini Hydraulic Press Review

I have been home from Tucson for just over a week now, but I think I am finally just now getting back on track. It is crazy how long it takes to get back into the swing of things when you have made a trip, let alone an 11-day trip. Sadly, the trip was rather difficult on my girls, especially my youngest. So I don’t think I will do much traveling for a while. I am leaving in just a week and a half to teach at the retreat in Texas and I will be gone for 9 days there. But that one has been in the works for almost a year, so I can’t exactly cancel, not that I even remotely want to. LOL. Speaking of the retreat, there are still a couple of spaces open if you think you might like to join us. 🙂 It will be a great time with great instructors in a beautiful location with gourmet food (which is included in the price of the retreat.)  http://www.roadhousearts.com/spring-2015-jewelry-retreat/

My Giveaway is still open for the Pepetools Jump Ring Maker. So if you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to enter. http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj We are about 1/2 way to the goal for entries. So please enter and share it.

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Tucson was so much fun this year. I was able to share a room with some good friends from when I lived back east in Ohio. It was so good to spend some time with them again. I also got to meet many new friends. It was the most fun to meet some of you, my blog readers. It is always fun to put a face with a name. So thanks for stopping by to meet me and introducing yourselves. I am looking forward to next year already. I will have some really fun things to show you in the very near future. I got myself some VERY beautiful rocks, so be on the lookout for some eye candy. I also bought some copper sheet (at a discount due to being scratched and dinged a bit) and was able to get it cut into 6×6″ squares and will be destashing some of that very soon. In fact, I need to destash quite a bit. We have to put a new roof on our house and the bids are CRAZY for this big house of mine.

While I was in Tucson, I got to play with a lot of the new tools that Kevin Potter of Potter USA has come out with. And of course, I brought quite a few of them home so I can review them for you. That reminds me, I also have an online workshop I am reviewing and will be able to give one lucky winner a free subscription to the workshop. More details to come soon. Sometimes it is so hard to be me. *snicker*

One of the tools that I brought home was the Mini Hydraulic Press. This press is an 8-ton press that is meant for cutting pancake dies only. It will not do any kind of forming, it just doesn’t have the strength. In fact, the opening is too small for the bracelet pancake dies. So this is going to be for any of the other pancake dies that are 4″ or smaller. The nice thing about this press is that it has such a small foot print.

Press Size Comparisont

The Image above gives you an idea about the size of this little machine. It is so much fun to use though. This is a great tool for anyone that is wanting to get into a production mode and just punch out shapes. If you want to do anything other than that, you would be wise to move up to the next larger size.

Want to learn more? Check out this short little video.

Tool Time Tuesday – Rotary Tumblers & Another Giveaway

Hey everyone. Yes, I know it is Friday. But, the video was posted to my YouTube channel on Tuesday, so technically it is still Tool Time Tuesday, right?  Hey, when you are a mom to three busy girls, you just have to roll with it sometimes. That, and Sales Taxes caught me off guard. I looked at the due date wrong. D’oh! So glad I looked again.  And, I owe a whole whopping $2.46 in Sales Taxes. LOL. That is good and bad, as it is an indicator of my sales for this past year. However, I believe I squeaked out a tiny bit of profit. Like maybe a hundred dollars or so. WOOT! Last year was probably my worst year emotionally and everything, so that tiny bit of a profit made me smile all night long, even now. 😀 <== See? Big Smile.

When I asked about topics for Tool Time Tuesday, a couple of people asked about Rotary Tumblers. I have a couple of them here in my studio so I thought I would give a quick comparison between the two of them.

If you are interested in getting a 3A Lortone Tumbler (the one featured in the video) and Mixed Stainless Steel Shot, let me know. I do sell those, however I do not keep them in stock. They do meet my minimum purchase amount from my supplier, so I can have it sent directly to you. Just let me know.

GIVEAWAY – Pepetools Jump Ring Maker

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That is right, Pepetools has graciously offered a Jump Ring Maker (JMR2). Same deal as the last giveaways. You are just giving us (Pepetools and I) to add you to our email lists. You can always unsubscribe if you would like. Pepetools only sends out a few a year. There will be a few more than that from me, especially as I would like to just have my blog posts go out to my email list. That way I can have everything in one tidy little place.

** Oh, and no worries. You won’t be added to the list multiple times. I know it says you are, but you really aren’t. So you shouldn’t receive two emails and such. But I do still need you to actually enter the drawing through the link provided below.

When will the giveaway be done? Well, that depends. Pepetools has asked that we have a certain number of entries before we do the giveaway. We are currently about a 1/4 of the way there. So please share and share and share. I am dying to find out who is going to get the jump ring maker.

ENTER HERE: http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj

Here are a couple of videos for you to get you excited about winning it.

Tool Time Tuesday – Shears in the Studio

First off, let me tell you all THANK YOU for entering the giveaway for the mini hydraulic press from Potter USA. It was a great success, although, how can you not have a successful giveaway? Our winner was Lecia Woessner from Maryland. It is always so much fun to be able to  give away great tools. If you didn’t win, don’t worry, there are a few more in the queue that I am sure you will still want to check out.

In Addition, I still have room in my workshops in Tucson. Please check them out and consider hanging out with me for an evening or two at Potter USA. You won’t be sorry. You will leave with finished pieces and best of all, LOTS of inspiration. And, if you sign up for multiple workshops, I will take off $20 for each additional workshop.

You can register for workshops here: http://www.kcjewelbox.com/Workshops_c26.htm

I find it funny that questions from people seem to come in category waves. Lately, the questions are about shears in the studio, more specifically bench and guillotine shears and the difference between the two of them. I happen to have one of each in my studio. So I thought I would do a video showing the differences between them. I meant to make a really short one, but there was quite a bit of info, so it is just about 9 minutes long. But if you are considering purchasing one of these shears, you might just find this video helpful.

And yes, I know that this isn’t Tuesday. But sometimes when you are a mom, you just do what you can do when you can do it. And, I did do the filming and editing yesterday. It finished uploading this morning at about 1:00. Let me tell you, 6:00 came awfully early here at my house.

Tool Time Tuesday – Textures: Hydraulic Presses vs. Rolling Mill

Okay, I know today is Wednesday, but my friend Francesca Watson is here photographing steps for the upcoming hydraulic press book, so I didn’t get it done yesterday. Lately, I have had a LOT of questions about getting textures from the hydraulic press vs those from the rolling mill. I figured it would be easier to just show you. 🙂 Of course. So here is a quick little video explaining the difference and showing you some examples.

Enjoy