Tips and Information about making jewelry

With this blog, I hope to share my knowledge, successes, trials and errors, student's work, tips, and information about making jewelry.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bench Tips: Filing Wire, and Cutting Wire Lengths

Many times as we work with metal hammering, texturing, or bending it, it becomes work-hardened. Some metal is sold in this hardened state. Too much work-hardening can make the metal crack! Texturing the metal can not only make it hardened but miss-shaped. It must be annealed or softened making it bendable.

Wire cut with flush cutters still have slightly pointed ends. Easily file them flat without bending the wire by placing the wire inside flat-nose pliers with just the tip hanging out the other side. This holds the wire while filing it flat.

Additionally, place the wire into the very point of the “V” shape in the bench pin with the end pointing upward. This holds the wire so it can be filed flat.

If you’d like to saw the wire instead of cutting it with pliers, make a channel across the top of the bench pin using a wood saw.

Now place the wire into the channel hanging it out the distance needed and saw it off against the side of the bench pin. Additionally, if cutting the same length wire (less than the width of the bench pin), mark the distance from the edge of the bench pin to the length of the wire on top of the bench pin. After cutting the wire, slide the next length out to the correct distance and then cut it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bench Tips Straightening Wire & Picking up Small Stones

I’d like to pass on some tips I use when working with metal or setting stones. Have you ever had a small piece of wire you wanted to use but it was all bent out of shape? Well here is a tip on how to make it straight again!
Bend it as straight as you can using flat-nose pliers. Place the wire on a smooth anvil or steel block with another anvil or smooth steel block over the wire. Slide the top block back and forth across the bottom one keeping the wire between the blocks. The wire rolls along straightening out as it rolls! Also, this is a great way to work-harden the wire!

Have you had a hard time picking up tiny stones while placing them into a setting? Roll some bee’s wax between your fingers into a point. Now use the point to pick up the small stone. To remove the stone from the wax, place it into the setting and roll the tip of the wax away from the stone. To clean the wax off the stone wipe it with a towel after setting it. If you plan to fire the stone in place, the wax burns off cleanly in the kiln.

Found on the model isle
Additionally, there is a product I found at Hobby Lobby called Pic- n- Stic. It works the same way for holding stones.

Holds without leaving residue

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fixing a Common Problem with Butane Torches

Problem Torches

Have you ever had a problem with the small butane torch acting like its empty even though you just filled it? That's because over time compressed air from the butane can fills the fuel container. The torch is full of air.

Easily remove this excess air by unscrewing the valve on the bottom of the torch allowing the compressed air to escape. Then re-tighten the screw and re-fill the torch with butane.

Tell me about some problems you are having and I will post the answers in a blog!
Janet Alexander