Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mandrel Tools, Rio Grande Catalog, New Books

What's This All About?

I know this is going to set someone's teeth on edge but it does work.

The small ( 4 3/4 inch long), slip joint pliers along with a short (4 1/2 inch), modified screwdriver, shown with a mandrel, are essential tools for me when tightening the mandrel screw which holds various things such as sanding discs, 3M bristle brushes, cut-off wheels, etc.  Not shown, another essential item, a small tray.  (From a candy box.)  I work over this, so when I drop the screw, the tray will catch it.  It is almost certain that I will drop it. You can bet on it.  I lost one once when I didn't use the tray and I've yet to find it.

The tip of the screwdriver blade has been modified so it fits firmly into the screw slot.  The tips of ordinary screwdrivers are notorious for not fitting screw slots correctly.Most screwdrivers are mass produced ending up with blade ends tapered. Slots cut into screw heads are square sided. Only certain screwdrivers, particularly those used by gunsmiths, actually fit the slots.  And they are more expensive.  A few specialty woodworking screwdrivers are made to fit the slots.  Not even the better quality set of jeweler's screwdrivers I bought fit the slot correctly.

The pliers help to grip the slick mandrel shank firmly enough to keep it from turning when I tighten the screw. Amazingly, the plier jaw teeth don't cause any damage to the mandrel shank.

The GIANT Rio Grande Tool catalog has arrived and I'm going through the pages making out my wish list.  Then it will be time for second thoughts.  Do I really need this?  Will I use it once I have it?  The list gets narrowed down pretty quick!

Couple of new books out that some folks might be interested in consideration of adding to their library.  Both are published by Interweave.  If you don't solder and a bit scared of trying it, consider "Simple Soldering" by Kate Ferrant Richbourg.  Includes a DVD.  Using only relatively inexpensive small butane torches, she takes you through a number of basic methods to create soldered jewelry.

The second book, "Silversmithing for Jewelry Makers" by Elizabeth Bone, goes from basic to advanced  techniques. Covers a lot of different techniques.


  1. You always make my day and you didn't set my teeth on edge!

  2. That's nice to know, Christine.

  3. Another way to tighten mandrels is to put the mandrel in the chuck of your handpiece and secure it in the chuck with your chuck key. Then, leave the chuck key in the chuck hole, holding onto the chuck key and the handpiece simultaneously. Then grab that screwdriver and tighten the mandrel screw. Remove chuck key, and use your new cutoff wheel, rubber abrasive or whatever it is.

    Of course, I like the shabby pliers...I'm always a fan of whatever works.

  4. Thanks, John. You always have great solutions to vexing problems.