Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Here are pics of the stump. The legs, or posts, whichever you prefer, are not fastened down. It is in place for testing working height. Much remains to be done. I'm going to try putting a piece of scrap carpet on the bottom to make it easier to move around, as it will not be very useful tucked away behind the door.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Pictured is the Pepe Tube Cutting Jig with a piece of copper tubing in place. The photo is deceiving in that my thumb is missing from holding down the thumb clamp. That's the gray colored thingy in the center of the jig. I didn't have a good way to hold the camera and include my thumb at the same time. Sorry about that.
Anyway, the jig is adjustable for length, up to 13 cm, and for stock up to 6 mm in diameter. The wood handle is obviously for hand held operation. I found this to be rather difficult for me to do, even bracing the jig against a bench pin.
A couple other things to know about the jig. By removing two screws on the saw guide ,and by using thin brass sheets (shim stock), the width of the saw slot can be adjusted for larger or smaller width saw blades.
The other thing is that everybody says you can't use the jig in a vise. Phooey! The photo proves this contention as wrong. But, there is the fact that you may have to remove the jig from the vise in order to change the setting for a different length. Only a minor inconvenience.
As you can see, the jig is firmly and safely secured in a vise, albeit a small, one inch jaw width, machinists vise. I won't say that is the only vise that will work. A small vise like that is always handy to have around. So are C-clamps! Very handy.
If there is a drawback to the tube cutting jig, it's that it can be a tad difficult with the way I've set it up to retrieve very short lengths of cut off tubing from the jig. But, a pair of sharp point tweezers or a fine point awl (aka bodkin), will do the trick. I suggest that you also have something under the jig to catch the cut off as it falls from the jig. I'm still searching for one that got away.
Now, a cautionary reminder. Very thin tubing may require some sort of support inside the tubing, or the tubing could collapse from the pressure of sawing. So a wood dowel, bamboo skewer, or a round toothpick inserted inside the tube should do the trick.
The saw cuts will produce some burring, so you can remove these with a fine file and sand paper as you cut, or do it later, whichever is easiest for you. Tumbling with stainless steel shot will remove some, but maybe not all of the burs. Remember to lube your saw blade and have the blade tensioned properly. I really didn't need to remind you of that, did I? I use bees wax. You can see a lump of it in back by the saw. It's only about 70 years old and is like the Energizer Bunny. It keeps going and going. I lube the back of the blade, not the teeth. I find it's better that way.
Why would you need one? Dunno. What can you make with one? Same length spacer beads. Any length metal beads. Within reason, of course. Danglely things for necklaces and earrings. Decorative add-ins on metal pieces. Tube rivets. Tube settings for stones. Cups for enameling on metal backing. Et cetera, and so on.
The Pepe Tube Cutting Jig is available from several on-line jewelry making supply companies. Mine was purchased from The Contenti Company. I have no affiliation with Contenti other than as a customer.
Thank you and good luck sawing whatever you saw.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
For quite some time now, I have been wondering why so many wire artist gurus have advocated the use of a chasing hammer to flatten wire in their various books, articles, and tutorials. My guess is, and I most certainly could be wrong, is that some wire artist somewhere, somehow, obtained a chasing hammer, used it, found that it would flatten wire and wrote about it, and everybody, or almost everybody, picked up on it and followed suit. So now, the chasing hammer is in vogue, as "the" hammer to use. When you get right down to it, the chasing hammer is really being misused. Flattening wire is not it's intended use. You are supposed to use it to hit chasing tools and ding it up. Oh, there is no doubt about it, the chasing hammer does flatten wire, and it does a pretty fair job of it.
If you subscribe to ART JEWELRY magazine, or pick it up in the magazine section at the bookstore, you probably noted articles by Michael David Sturlin on metalsmithing. Mr. Sturlin is a well known jewelry designer and teacher. His articles are well written and instructive.
In the September, 2010 issue, in his article "Metal Forming 101: Forging", Mr. Sturlin takes you through the basics of forging. For the exercises shown, forming wire into various shapes, he uses a goldsmith's hammer.
Anyway, I was intrigued by Mr. Sturlin's article and subsequently purchased a goldsmith's hammer. Following Mr. Sturlin's instructions, I put it through its paces. Now, I am wondering why I ever got trapped into using a chasing hammer to flatten or form wire! Blindly following the leader! The goldsmiths hammer is so, so much easier to use and control. Because of the smaller head it is so much more accurate, so much better to use than the chasing hammer. And, should you decide to go further in metal work, you have the perfect hammer to start.
One of the reasons, I believe, for the goldsmith's hammer not being used more, or mentioned by the wire artist gurus, is that it is the hammer's very name that may tend to make people shy away from buying and using one. One might say, "Oh, that is for goldsmith's to use and I'm not a goldsmith. I don't work with gold. Why should I buy a goldsmith's hammer?" Well, as Mr. Sturlin has pointed out in another article, if you work with metal in making jewelry, you are actually goldsmithing, not silversmithing. Silversmiths make utilitarian objects; tableware, tea service items, urns, trays and the like. And, of course, silversmiths use chasing hammers with chasing tools, so perhaps the odd connection is made, silver wire/silversmithing/chasing hammer. Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, both smithings would fall under a general catchall heading of metalsmithing.
Granted, the goldsmith's hammer is not the end all of hammers, Various hammers have specific uses and it's better to use them for the purpose for which they are intended.
Goldsmith's hammers are not all that expensive depending on what brand you buy.
I went with the Fretz goldsmith's hammer for two reasons. I got it at a discount and it comes ready to use, already polished. With other brands, you may have to do some prep work, polishing the head and cross peen.
I'm just sorry I didn't try and use the goldsmith's hammer earlier.
And the chasing hammer? Retired from wirework, and now it's properly dinged and dented.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
First, though, I must make a correction to a previous blog entry concerning the Circle Dividing Template. I had posted this tool on JewelryLessons.com site and I gave proper credit to the person who originated the tool, Pauline Warg, from her book, "Making Metal Beads." I omitted that credit from the posting here. So, apologies to Ms Warg.
Second, the bench improvement went on hold due to the lack of suitable small dimension lumber. Apparently, students from the university had projects to make requiring the same stuff. And, who knows when the material will be restocked?
Third, the wife's mother, going on 91, fell. Fortunately no broken bones. But it's meant trips to hospital, doctor, drug store and unfortunately, some incontinence. Every time, it seems, that I want to get started on a project, I have to leave it to do laundry, go to the drug store, cook, or something else. So, nothing gets done in the jewelry making department. There is improvement in sight, keeping all fingers and toes crossed.
All for awhile, John
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Two views of how I arranged tools in the top drawer of the bench. The trays are all removable, if needed. The tray with the vernier caliper slides from side to side. The trays are constructed with small dimensional lumber purchased at the hobby store. Unfortunately, none of the drawers are self supporting, so in order to reach tools in the back, the drawer must be removed entirely. Not too much of a concern as I try to put the least used tools in the back.
Meanwhile, the work goes on, on the other drawers.
"Til next time, John
Thursday, September 2, 2010
All for now, John
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Well, here it is, warts and all. I apologize for the poor quality photo, but I think you can get the idea. Place a metal disc, or a metal dome in the center of the template to find the center of the piece and to help layout designs.
The scrap aluminum turned out to be a little too soft, and even with light pressure, the scriber had a tendency to dig it. Also, I did not use a pair of sharp pointed dividers as recommended, using a plastic circle template instead. Why? Well, I've never been very good at using dividers as circle makers. Just plain klutzy. The circle template worked out pretty well, not perfect, but it will do the job.
The little square you see in one of the photos below, was purchased from Micro-Mark. (I have no affiliation with that company other than as a customer. They do have a few tools of interest to a hobby jewelry maker.) The square is very handy and could be worth a look, if you're into metal work.
I'm going to take a break from posting for awhile. I need to get some jewelry put together.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Two photos showing other uses for the beading board. One as a layout/design usage, the other where I am beginning to make a Circle Dividing Template as described in Pauline Warg's book. "Making Metal Beads." My template will not be quite the same as hers because I'm using salvaged aluminum in place of the brass or nickel silver she recommends.I'll show my results later in another post.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Well, here it is, just as about as complete as possible. It's pretty rough, but that's o.k. All scrap and salvage. I am thinking of an addition of another shallow tray in back to hold cut pieces of wire. Ran out of wood, again. As you can see, the gizmo fits into the bench catch tray. Feet underneath. The whole thing is supposed to be level. Come to find out, the catch tray bottom isn't exactly square with the world! The cups were salvaged from grocery store product demos. Stores sometimes are promoting some kind of snack food, so there's hardly ever any need to clean them. Just knock out the crumbs. Beading pad located in the center of the board. In the back left corner of the tray is a top off of a spray can that holds a piece scrubbie pad to polish up the wire. It stays in place by a small magnet. Also stored in the catch tray, good old empty (well, partially empty), Altoids mint tins, one each for scraps of fine silver, sterling silver, copper, and two kinds of brass.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Yesterday went pretty well. The cabinet door knobs used on the bench drawers were added to the plier rack. A little easier to move around that way.
Relocated the lamp from right side to left. It was mistake to place it on the right side because it did not reach far enough over the primary work area.
The post holding the flex shat motor was way too high, so that was shortened as much as possible. Much more convenient now.
There remains more work to be done. Future projects include fastening a backboard with a small shelf attached to the top of the bench. This will give some additional space for storage. Then I need to do something with the drawers. There is wasted space in them, and the tools rattled around, and that's not good as they could become damaged in some way.
A rack for some of the hammers needs to be developed, and a really don't like pegboard. although some folks seem to use it and like it.
Today, if time permits, I will do something about the bench pin, which doesn't seem to be very handy.
More coming later, John
Saturday, July 24, 2010
But, with some help from my wife, we managed to get it together. Then another problem appeared. Instability. No matter that the bolts were tightened down, the bench remained shaky. So, a short trip off to the scrap wood pile and cut four pieces to fit between the legs, inside and out, and a piece between the legs on the backside, and bolt them all in place. Gee, it worked! Stability achieved! The back piece does double duty. It also holds a multiple outlet strip for the electrical supply to the flex shaft, lamp, computer and anything else that might need to be plugged in.
The next item to work on was the drawers which didn't fit right, and I didn't like the built in drawer pulls. A little sanding and installing small cabinet drawer pulls I had saved for a few decades, made things more convenient. Another door pull was added to the catch tray.
The double shelf arrangement above the catch tray had a hidden hazard. Accidentally pull it out too far, and oops, it tips and anything on it spills. Another trip to the scrap pile and cut two strips like the ones already installed, screw them in place and now, no more tipping. Adding the door pulls to the double shelf made it much easier to pull it out and push it back.
The arm rests which came with the bench are horrible. They were thrown out as being useless. I really didn't need them, anyway.
The moral of the story is simple: Buy cheap, expect cheap. If any reader is contemplating the purchase of a jeweler"s bench, save up more cash and buy a bench that is, at least, a step up from an economy model. Make sure it's made from solid wood. You will be glad you did.
More later on the on going saga of bench improvements. Maybe my struggles will help someone else.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The Lindstrom RX pliers which I use for wire work have never fit satisfactorily on any commercial rack that I am aware of, so after years of fiddling with various means of storing them, I finally hit on the one shown in the photo. It's roughly made, but it works. That's the main point. Everything you see in the lower photo of the rack is from scrap wood and aluminum angle.
The rack is adequate to hold all the pliers I use in doing wire work, plus pearl tweezers and a crimper. The overall dimensions are approximately 13 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 4 3/4 inches. The aluminum angle is 1 x 1 inch.
I will probably add a couple of knobs on the outide of the two upright pieces to make it easier to transport.
Next time, bench improvements.
Friday, July 16, 2010
First, I have deleted all posts which I have made to this blog. Some needed to have been deleted some time back. Everything halfway worthwhile has been saved in a separate location.
I am taking a hiatus from posting for awhile. I badly need to take some time to simply reorganize my work spaces. I have been meaning to do this for sometime now. Some of you have seen a photo of what I euphemistically call the Metal Werks, which is located in the garage. Unfortunately, the garage also houses one of my wife's art tables which is now covered with junk, mine, plus some of her other art supplies and a couple tons of unsold artwork. Then there's more of my junk, plus a work bench which is piled to overflowing with tools and more junk. A machine table holding drill press, grinder, sander that needs a new belt, and a big vise. Then there's the table saw, the chop saw and the band saw, which needs a new blade. Then there's all my saved craft supplies from way back, paints, papers, and just miscellaneous junk. Well, some of it isn't exactly junk, it's stuff that may or may not be used in the future. Then there's the work bench with the rolling mill and shear, the little lathe, the other tools, dapping block and punches, disc cutter, the second flex shaft, etc., etc. Anyway all that take up a bunch of room and it's reached a point of no return unless I simply buckle down and go to work rearranging, and getting rid of some of the junk. But, that's not all.
I've been threatening to modify the cheapo jeweler's bench I bought last year. That's still on the to-do list. There's again the problem of space that has to be resolved. Being confined to the laundry room is problem enough, but there is the fact that we have to get a wheel chair in and out of the laundry room door, and in and out of the door that leads to the garage where there is a ramp for the wheel chair, so we can take it through the garage and out to the car. So space which might be utilized under other circumstances, can't be.
I have obtained some ideas from a fellow blogger, John De Rosier. He has the neatest, most organized jeweler's bench. If you want to see someone who is innovative, inventive, and organized, you should check out either his blog, The Jeweler's Files, or go to Flickr and search for Speetog. I am sure you will be amazed at what he has done.
O.K., I'm done for awhile. Check back in a couple of weeks. I just might have something to show. No promises.
Best to all. John