Archive | Tools

Snap-on Discs 3 Reasons to Love Them

Let me play my “tool-geekery” card today. I like tools, especially ones that are easily modified and do good quick work. One of my favorite tools in my foredom arsenal is the Snap-on Disc.

Snap-on Discs Header

Let me give you my top 3 reasons I like them so much:

The first reason I like them is that they come in a large variety of sizes and grits, but I pretty much gravitate towards 4 different kinds.


The second reason I like the snap-on discs is that they are easy to trim. I have mentioned before that I like to reuse many or most of my tools and I have a huge pile of #12 Curved Surgical Blades that I have used to cut rubber molds. These blades are not sharp enough to cut molds anymore, but have many other uses.

Snap-on Discs (1) Snap-on Discs (2)

Snap-on Discs (3) Snap-on Discs (4)

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To trim these discs once the edge gets dull, I mount these on a snap-on mandrel, back side out, and run the foredom at a pretty fast speed and trim off just a small amount of the disc. This enables a fresh cutting surface. Sometimes when the disc edge is a little out of round, I run the disc at a high rate of speed and rub it up against my bench pin. This wears the edge down and gives it a true running edge. I can now run this with confidence, very close to polished surfaces and stones. Once the “wobble” is out of the disc, I can do this easily.

Snap-on Discs (6) Snap-on Discs (8)

The third reason I can’t live without these amazing tools is the fact that you can use them with the grit on either the inside or outside of the Snap-on Mandrel, depending on what type of piece you are working on. I have a number of these mounted in different grits and different sizes and positions. They are quick to change out and quick to change sizes.

Snap-on Discs (9) Snap-on Discs (10)

Well, there ya have it, a little tool-time today.

Thanks for being patient with me as I share. I have said it before, The daily information on this site will be all over the spectrum of jewelry making. It won’t be for everyone, but it will be for someone Every Day! …..And you might just get hooked!

So, sit back, browse around the site, and come with us on this journey of jewelry and life, let’s do them both together.

If you like what you see, subscribe to the blog.

Thanks for stopping by,

Now go do something great and make someone’s day!


Day 53 Jewelry Cleaning Tools

Howdy again! Well, after all the hard work of getting your pieces just the way you like them, you have polished them to a glistening thing of beauty……now what? How do you get the polishing compound off of the pieces of jewelry? There are a couple of ways to do this.

Identity Hand

We will be focusing on cleaning with an Ultrasonic Cleaner and a Steam Cleaning Machine, but if you have no equipment like this yet, there is still a way to clean off the polishing compound, using a Extra Soft Toothbrush and some liquid soap mixed with water. (I like Simple Green, it is not harmful to you or the environment) After cleaning with a toothbrush and soap, use a Polishing Cloth to remove any blemishes.

It is important, however, that while you final polish your piece, that you do not use a lot of Rouge because the more rouge you use, the harder it is to get out of the cracks and crevasses.

Now if you do have an Ultrasonic Cleaner and a Steam Cleaning Machine, here are a couple of tips to use. First, use some Coated Copper Wire that you can pick up at a hardware store and cut and bend them into a bunch of “S” shapes (I have many of these) and hang them from another coated wire that rests on top of the ultrasonic. I have also used Vinyl Coated Paperclips for smaller pieces.

Final Polish (1) Final Polish (2)

After cleaning them in your ultrasonic cleaner, rinse with clean water and steam clean. I hold the pieces with a pair of Spring Tweezers with Clear Vinyl Tubing to protect the pieces from scratching.

Final Polish (5) Final Polish (6)

There have a finished clean piece of jewelry you can be proud of. Time to sell that one and start on the next project.

Thanks again for stopping by and coming on this jewelry making journey with us. If you haven’t yet, “Subscribe to this Blog via Email” in the upper right area of this webpage and you will get all these nuggets of goodness delivered to your email box.

Now go enjoy your shiny day!


Day 49 Jewelry Design Layout

The past few days we have been looking at polishing jewelry and different techniques of polishing. (Gloves are a BAD idea by the way)

Well, today let’s take a break from that and change gears. Today let’s talk about Design Layout and a few  easy tools to help you in that.

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The first tool I use is just a round disc that I have engraved lines to break it into quarters, and one line that separates one of the quarters in half. I use this to help me layout rings if I need to find the half way portion of the ring or a 45 degree mark from the top. This comes in handy in laying out stones, reshanking a ring, or just finding quadrants of a circle.

Design Layout (1)

The next layout tool I use is similar, but is broken into eighths, or 45 degree marks, and a series of circles from ring size 6 – 10. I just print these out and tape them to a piece of thin cardboard for ease. They work for rings or for anything round to find symmetrical points.

Design Layout (2) Design Layout (6)

Lastly I have a grid that I have made that is marked in 2mm increments. I have this printed and taped to a thin piece of cardboard as well. I use this to help line up pieces and mark pieces vertically and horizontally. I have one of these taped to the inside of my bench drawer as well for quick reference.

Design Layout (3) Design Layout (5)

Design Layout (4)

I did these designs on my CAD program and have made them downloadable and printable for all, just print them, cut them out and use them. I either have them laminated or do it myself with clear tape. I keep a few of them around.      Click on the link below.

JewelryMonk Layout Guide

Thanks for stopping by and have an Awesome day.

BTW, it is Summer and the Weekend, now go “Layout” haha


Day 44 Still Time to Unwind

Last day of Vacation!

Harney Peak 2014 5

Well I feel refreshed from a quick four day get away. I am away from my studio and my work still, so I apologize for not having much of a tip or anything today, but I did find a picture that I can use for somewhat of a tip. This is a tip most people already know, but we have all levels of jewelers visiting, so here is what I got:

photo (54)

A file only cuts on the forward stroke, not on the back stroke, and actually if you “drag” the file over the piece with pressure on the back stroke, it makes the file dull prematurely.

Well that’s all I got for today, I have always said “This site isn’t for everyone, but it is for someone Everyday!”

Have a great rest of the day!


Day 39 How to Make Mini Sandpaper Holders (Tool Modification)

OK, if you have been around for very long, you know I really enjoy making or modifying my own tools. I have touched on this tool before, but today I will show you how to make a little sandpaper holder to get into those tight spots.

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I always seem to have Brazing Rod around and fortunately, you can get brazing rod (or brass rod) in 3/32″ diameter, which just so happens to be the standard size shank for most burs, and my #10 Quick Change Foredom Handpiece. So I cut a few pieces off, about an inch long, I make one with a flat end and one with a tapered end. I use an old #4 Flat Hand File for this. I also clean the brass up by spinning it in my Foredom and holding a piece of 600 GritSandpaper to the brass.

Mini Sanders (1) Mini Sanders (2)

Mini Sanders (3)

Mini Sanders (4) Mini Sanders (5)

I next mount the brass piece in a Pin Vise and use a Saw Frame to cut the slit in the end. I use a 3/0 Saw Blade. This can be tricky, so I make my first mark carefully. I draw the blade about 3 times at about a 45 degree angle, then cut from the opposite side, taking about 3 cuts. I repeat this till I have cut a slit about 1/2 inch long.

Mini Sanders (6) Mini Sanders (7)

Mini Sanders (8) Mini Sanders (9)

Mini Sanders (10)

Now add a small strip of Sandpaper, I have a few of these around with 320, 400, and 600 grit sandpaper for different uses. If the sandpaper doesn’t stay firmly in the split end of the brass, you can squeeze the end together slightly to add a little “pinch” of the paper. These little tools can get into tight areas, sand small pieces, and clean up inside of settings like a dream.

Mini Sanders (11) Mini Sanders (12)

Thanks for following along on this journey with me and putting up with my “Tool Geekery”

Now go make today a good one!