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Tool Prep and Maintenance Today

How to Modify Your Tweezers

I have heard it said, and attributed to Abe Lincoln, “If I had 4 hours to cut down a tree, I would use the first 2 hours sharpening the axe”. That must be one big tree…. But I get the idea.

Tool Preparation is very important!

HERE is a Quick Video

Today we will talk about refining the edges on our tools, namely our Tweezers. Most people don’t think about it, but many of our tools are an extension of our hands, and the better we prepare out tools, the easier our tasks will be. Heck, I even prep my nails with a #2 Flat Hand File once a week, but that is for another day…..

In soldering, setting, filigree work, and many of the intricate tasks in jewelry making, nothing is more frustrating than picking up a small piece of solder, or a stone, and having it “flick” out of your tweezers into the great unknown. There is nothing that will stop this from ever happening again, but today I will show you how to keep it to a minimum.

Tweezers Header

When we buy a new set of tweezers, even a quality pair, the tips will look somewhat good and clean, but if you look close, they look something like this:

Tweezers New

When you think of tweezers, you think that you want the tips to come to a point at an angle to be able to pick stuff up, like fingers. Well in my experience, I have found that if the tips come together more parallel, the “flick-rate” is much less and they seem to pick up stuff easier. Also if the inside edge is flat and the very tip is flat, they work much better as well.

Tweezers (2) Tweezers (3)

Tweezers (4)

I usually file the edges with a used up #4 Flat Hand File to get the edges close, then I will run a Snap-on Sanding Disc over the filed surface to get rid of the deeper scratches. Last, I rub the edges of a piece of 400 Grit Sandpaper , flat on my desk to finish the edges flat. I also place a piece of sandpaper inside the tweezers, close them, and pull the sandpaper out a few times to make sure the two surfaces are parallel to one another.

Tweezers (5) Tweezers (6)

Tweezers (7) Tweezers (8)

I hope this helps you reduce your “Flick-rate” (my made up word of the day) and you can spend less time on the floor with a flashlight, and more time admiring your beautiful handiwork!

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Now, go Make something Shiny!



JewelryMonk Design Contest #2 is in the Books

Have you ever had a great idea and thought “This will be cool, I can have this knocked out in a few weeks?”  Yeah, that was my idea BACK IN MARCH!  Well, with 2 month long trips out of the country and a LOT of video coverage, the 2nd JewelryMonk Design Contest piece is in the mail and off to Jen Popolis, the winner of the contest.

It is FINALLY going out in the mail today. (she is so patient) I am still editing the video series, but it should be done within the month. This project was all done by metal fabrication and soldering with sterling silver sheet and wire. Then I made a model, a mold, and cast the piece in sterling silver, set the 6x6mm Citrine, and polished it. Jen won her design as a finished piece of jewelry, and she gets the model and mold to do whatever she wishes with, as well as a video series that covers the whole process.

When I am done editing the videos, I will make them available to everyone! There will be about 15 videos covering every step I did from sketch to finished piece, as well as a bonus video to go along with each lesson. So actually over 30 videos that will cover this whole process in HD. Like I said, I get excited doing this.
So, stay tuned here at, or better yet, subscribe by clicking -> HERE <- and never miss out on any JewelryMonk goodness.

Here is a quick little video Montage of some of the fun I had:

I have so much fun doing these contests, so stay tuned for the next JewelryMonk Design Contest.

As always, thanks for following me along on this JewelryMonk journey I am on. I try to stay focused, but there are so many facets of jewelry making, it’s like a cornucopia of goodness, and I can get sidetracked. Between this page, the JewelryMonk Podcast, the FaceBook page, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat……. I can sometimes lose focus, but I will be here throwing out stuff for anyone to pick up…… Like Johnny Appleseed of jewelry. haha

Take care,

Now, Go Make Something Shiny!


JewelryMonk’s Design Contest Winning Piece Finished

I know it has been a while, with traveling, and summer, and more traveling….. but the 2nd JewelryMonk Design Contest winning piece is finally finished.

Jen Popolis from Illinois is the winner of the contest with a fantastic design that lends itself very well to project which was all fabricated from silver, using sheet and wire.

Jen will receive her design as a finished Sterling Silver Pendant set with a 6x6mm Square Citrine, as well as a Model and Mold of the design as well. She will also receive a video series documenting the whole process from creation to finished piece.

The good news for you though, is that If you would like to know the what went into the process of creating this piece, you are in luck. Soon I will make available the video series that covers the whole process from fabricating and soldering the piece together, to polishing, texturing and stone setting. It will also touch on molding and casting, but the focus is on the creation of the design. The video series will be comprehensive and take you step by step, and I explain everything I am doing in “real-time”. I am guessing there will be around 15 videos, with some bonus material added as well, so stay tuned to the website for details.

Again, Coming Soon

I will be releasing a Complex Video Series that will cover all that went into creating this design and more. Stay Tuned and Be on the lookout for this release. It will come QUICK, and be GONE QUICKER.

Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to this page so you don’t miss out on this exciting program!

I will check in soon,…… now I have some editing to do…..

Take Care


Now Go Make Something Shiny!

Pendant Project Part 3

Pendant Project Part 3

Part 3 of the V-Bezel pendant. Today we will finish soldering the pendant I started a couple of days ago, and I have a couple of clean-up tips for you before I get it ready to set the stone.

First I take the setting base and scribe a center line in the back of the half round bezel with Steel Dividers. This is just a location line so I know where to solder the bail. I picked a bail in the last post that had a diamond setting on it, but decided to cut it off because of strength and aesthetic issues. I used Handy Flux, Medium Solder, and my Mini Torch to solder the bail on. I hold the bail with Soldering Spring Tweezers and secure it with a Third Hand Tweezers.

Pendant 1 Pendant 2

After I solder the bail onto the setting, I clean the back with a Snap on Sanding Disc, make it flush, and add a Sterling Stamp.

Pendant 3 Pendant 4 Pendant 5

I next clean up the edges, making them sharp and crisp. I used a Barrette File, then I wrapped a piece of 600 grit sand paper around the same file and take out the file scratches. I also used a Knife Edge Silicone Wheel and  JoolTool 3M Bristle Brushes. These little babies work amazing for taking out scratches.

Pendant 9 Pendant 10 Pendant 8

Pendant 11 Pendant 12

Now if you have ever wondered how to polish inside places like the inside of a bail, here is a neat trick to get into those hard to get into spots. Get yourself some cotton string, (in different thicknesses) and rub polishing compound on it, now run the string through the bail and tie the other end to your bench. Rub back and forth and it will polish nicely. I use Graystar Compound first, then Red Rouge.

Pendant 6 Pendant 7

I also polish the tip of a burnishing tool on a piece of paper rubbed with Yellow Rouge and use it to polish the inside of the setting, if the setting base is polished, this will help the stone reflect more brilliantly.

Pendant 13 Pendant 14

Now the pendant is ready to set and polish. Stay Tuned.

By the way, make sure you subscribe if you haven’t, so you don’t miss ANY JewelryMonk Goodness.

Pendant 15

Now go make something Spectacular!


Pendant Project Part 2

Pendant Project Part 2

Ok, ok, After the V-Bezel illustration from a few days ago, I had quite a few comments about how I would use the bezels and a good application for V-Bezels. Well, you ask, you get.

Over the next few days I will make a pendant and set a stone using the now “semi-famous” V-Bezel. I found a stone that I have had in my drawer for a while looking for a use for it, well now I have found a purpose for it, so let’s get going.

First, I find a piece of flat silver for the pendant base. In this instance, I use a piece that is 1.25mm thick. I place the stone I am using top down on the silver, (I slightly dull the surface of the silver with a piece of used 1200 grit sandpaper so it will show the tracing better) and hold it in place with a small piece of sticky wax, something that will hold it firm. Once the stone is held down, I use a scribe to trace a light line around the stone. I pull the stone off of the silver and use my Saw Frame with a Saw Blade to cut along the outside of the line. I hold the silver with a pair of Smooth Jawed Parallel Pliers. I file the outside up to the scribed line.

Photo 1 Photo 2

Photo 3 Photo 4

Once I have the base cut out, I scribe an offset line inside, approx. 1.5 mm thick, then I drill a hole in the center of the base and load it on my Saw Frame. I cut along the inside up to the line, as close as possible. I use a Barrette Needle File and a Half-Round Escapement File to clean the inside and make it smooth and crisp.

Photo 5 Photo 6

Photo 7 Photo 8

Now I have the base cleaned up, I roll a piece of silver approx. 4mm wide and 0.8mm thick with my Rolling Mill to use as a bezel for the back of the stone. After I roll it to the desired thickness, I anneal it and form it to match the shape of the back of the setting. (If you are unfamiliar with the annealing process, see THIS BLOG ENTRY) I now solder the bezel to the back of the base that I made. You can see I place the solder in between the bezel and the frame on my Soldering Block. I solder using my Smith Mini Torch with a fairly small flame from the #5 torch tip. (I have drilled out my tip, so it is a little larger than a #5, but a #5 is a good tip) I am using Oxygen (approx. 30 psi) and Propane (approx. 10 psi) as gas for my torch. (to see how I set up my torch and to safely check for leaks, See THIS Blog Post)

Photo 10

Photo 11 Photo 12

Next, I take the V-Bezel that I made last time, and saw off about 4.5mm of it to use as a bezel setting for the point of the stone. I solder it to the point of the setting base while holding it with my Soldering Spring Tweezers with heat protective handles.

Photo 13 Photo 14

Can you see it starting to take shape yet? A little more massaging and it will come alive….. I found a bail that I have been itchin’ to use as well, seems like the perfect project for it.

Photo 15 Photo 16

Stay Tuned and I will finish cleaning it up and set the stone in the next days.

By the way, make sure you subscribe if you haven’t, so you don’t miss ANY JewelryMonk Goodness.

Now go make Something Surprising!