Archive | Tools

Day 21 Gemstone that take heat and Ultrasonic

Wow. today marks 3 weeks since I started this 90 day-in-a-row Blogging journey, I hope you are following along and having as much fun as I am. I am traveling today, so here is a little quick info for you to take with you:

Gemstone That Can Take Heat

Gemstones that can generally take heat from soldering and casting in place are: Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Garnet, Cubic Zirconia and Various lab grown colored gemstones.

Gemstones that can NOT take heat from soldering and casting in place are: Emerald, Opal, Jade, Amethyst, Topaz, Peridot, Coral, Aquamarine, Tourmaline, Topaz, Pearl, Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise and Onyx as these gemstones may burn, crack or discolor when exposed to high heat.

For soldering or casting in place, gemstones should be high quality, dimensions are accurate, free of flaws and inclusions that can turn milky, frosty or crack when heated.

Ultrasonics and Stones

Ultrasonics and Stones

Thanks for stopping by and coming on this journey with me.

Now go have a Great Day!


Day 15 Silver Tarnish Remover

Silver Tarnish Remover

 Rings 01

Happy Father’s Day!!

Today being Father’s Day and me being a father, I am going to not spend so much time in front of my computer or my bench today, So allow me to give a quick tip, to “Phone one in” so to say.

If you work in Sterling Silver, and have any pieces around that have been sitting for a while, you probably notice they get tarnished and dark, well here is a way to remove the tarnish without taking a polishing wheel or polishing cloth to them.

Take an Aluminum pie pan, add hot water, approximately 2 cups hot water or enough to fill pie the pan. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon Water Softener Powder, You can use Baking Soda as well. (to use a larger aluminum pan, increase the salt, water softener/baking soda, and hot water accordingly) Place pieces (touching) in the water and watch the magic happen.
Be careful with antiqued pieces and pieces with stones! This should only be used with just metal pieces.
Dry off and enjoy!

Thanks again for following along on this journey of mine, I hope you are having as much fun as I



Day 14 Files (Metalsmithing)

Files 1

Day 14, let me “Geek-out” a little on tools today. I might have mentioned before, but I am a modelmaker by trade, hence, I pay particular attention to minute detail. I never touch a piece of jewelry without my Optivisor with a #7 lens, and am constantly aware that if I leave a flaw in a piece of jewelry, it will be duplicated over and over again due to the molding process. I will use a Foredom when I have to, but prefer to take a little more time and “massage” the piece by hand, it is my “happy place”. So today, let me show you my arsenal of files:

Large Files:

#2 and #4 Flat Hand File are a must

#2 and #4 Half Round Ring Files for inside ring shanks

Needle Files:

#2 & #4 Barrette File (my all time favorite)

#2 & #4 Crossing File (inside radius stuff)

#4 Equaling File (sizing)

#4 3 Square File

#4 Square File

#4 Round File

Escapement Files:  (smaller than needle files)

#6 Barrette File

#6 Half-Round File

#6 Equalling File

#6 Round File

#6 Three Square File

#6 Square File

There you have it, my Geeked-out list of Top 18 Files I can’t live without.

Now go do something Great!


Day 11 Tool Modification (Pits and Porosity)


Ready for another quick lesson? Today I get to address one of my favorite-est (not a word) subjects in the world….. Tool Modification. I mentioned before that I seldom throw away tools, bits, burs, etc. I am always trying to find a way to modify them into new uses. For one reason, I can make tools for the exact job I am doing, and 2, it is a free way of expanding my tool arsenal. (you should see my garage…..)

Here is a quick way to make a tool that works wonders cleaning those hard to get into areas. If you have a small used up bur, snap/break off the end and grind of sand with a sanding disc with between 3 and 6 different angles or “facets”.

Bit4 Bit3

These edges when spun in a Foredom work as a powerful burnisher that will grind and smooth rough areas that ordinary tools and burs can’t reach.


If you work with casted pieces, then you are no stranger to pits and porosity. This little tool also takes care of small pits and porosity, where trying to polish these away usually just reveals more pits and porosity. Use this little rotary burnisher to rough up and “smear” the metal over the bad areas, then when you sand and polish, unless the porosity is extreme, you should be able to remove or repair these areas.

Porosity1 Porosity2

Burnished2 Burnished1

I have a huge selection of burs, burnishers, grinders, texture-makers, and pit-beaters to select from that I have made over the years.

Tools Reused

Now, put on that creative cap and make some fun tools to experiment and play with.


Day 6 Fixtures (Details)

Being a jewelry model maker for years, the majority of the pieces I work on are pieces that are going to be molded and reproduced many times over, so if there is a pit, mark, scratch, etc. that flaw will be visible in every piece that comes out of the mold. So extra time and patience is needed to make sure that the model is as flaw-free as possible, which will save time over and over from cleaning waxes or castings on reproduced pieces. When working on small pieces, sometimes it is difficult to hold onto the piece to get the scratches and marks out. So today, here is a quick tip to hold onto small pieces for cleanup.


One of the things I have always done is kept a large portion of my old used up burs and mandrels from wheels. I have a pile of them and am constantly grinding them into tools, shapes, burnishers, etc. In the future I will show some of the ways I make cutters, burnishers, grinders, and pit-beaters, but today I will show you a quick jewelry holding fixture.

If you have ever used mounted rubber cratex wheels, when you are done, instead of tossing it in the garbage, remove the last bits of rubber or abrasive cratex and you will find in most cases an end that is perfect for holding a small bit of Dop Wax.

Pic1 Pic2

There are many types of materials that will hold a piece of jewelry, JETT-set, pine tar, loading wax, but I prefer Dop Wax. Dop Wax is used for holding stones for grinding and faceting, but I find it works best for holding small and large pieces. It melts about 160 degrees, and cleans away after a soaking in alcohol. (Faster in a container in an ultrasonic).  Just heat the piece up, not too much, (you will get the hang of it) and hold it in place with tweezers for a few seconds until it is cool enough to set firm. this also works good for setting stones in small pieces. Sometimes you might have to load the wax on a larger fixture. I have many different sizes of wooden dowels and fixtures with Dop Wax on them for different sizes of jewelry. I even use it on one of my fixtures on my GRS BENCHMATE .

Pic3 Pic4

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 1j Locket Earrings 08

Now go make it a Great Day!