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!

Doug

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 www.JewelryMonk.com, 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!

Doug

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 JewelryMonk.com 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

Doug

Now Go Make Something Shiny!

Pendant Project Part 4, The Finale

Pendant Project Part 4, The Finale!

Header Setting

This little “Bezel Pendant” project started a few days ago when I got the bright idea to show how to make a “V-Bezel” after I had the need for one. I thought I would show the process after I got a few comments and questions on application, so I said to myself, “well self, let’s just show how U would use one”.  Today I will show how I finished the setting and finishing on this pendant.

For holding the setting, I mount the pendant in Dop Wax to secure it during setting. I have some dop wax pre-loaded on different sizes of wooden dowels. I “slightly” heat the surface of the wax, as well as the pendant with my Mini Torch, not too hot or it will sink too deep into the wax. Play with this a bit to get used to it and how it reacts to heat. I also pre-heat the pendant a little to help it hold.  After the pendant is settled in the wax, I press or mold the inside of the wax with a metal awl to make room for the bottom of the stone.

Setting 01 Setting 02 Setting 03

After the piece has set into the wax and is cool enough to handle, I scribe a line with my Dividers, equal height on both the large bezel and the “V” bezel. I mark the line from the base of the setting on both, so the seats I cut will be the same height and the stone will sit level.

Setting 04 Setting 05

Now I carefully cut a “seat” into the bezel. You will want to check out the stone’s girdle and match the shape of the girdle with the cut. In this instance, the Amethyst has a very thick girdle, so I cut the stone seat with a 2.5mm Hart Bur, following the scribed line as best as possible. After the initial cut is made, I shaped the bottom of the seat with a 1.2mm Ball Bur to match the stone as best as I could.

Setting 08 Setting 07

Setting 05 Setting 06

The V-Bezel is cut a bit differently. Since the stone end that is going to be secured is pointed and therefore more fragile, you will want to drill a small hole or divot (not all the way through) into the bezel where the point will be so there is no pressure on that point of the stone. The rest of the seat can be cut with a ball bur, once again trying to match the shape of the stone’s girdle. As you are cutting the seats, you will want to constantly check the stone against the seat, to see how well they match. I hold the stone with a small piece of sticky red wax on the end of an old bur or a nail. (Click on the image to see it in more detail)

Setting 09 Setting 10

Setting 11

After the seats are cut, place the stone in the setting and press the bezel over the stone carefully with a Flat End Prong Pusher. Slowly push the corners first to secure the stone, then “fold” the rest of the bezel over the stone. Be careful not to add too much pressure and constantly check the stone for tightness.

Setting 12 Setting 13 Setting 14

Now that the stone is set secure, remove the pendant from the Dop Wax by adding as little heat as possible until the wax releases the pendant. Be especially careful with Amethyst stones, they are not fond of heat. Place the pendant in Alcohol to dissolve the wax, in an Ultrasonic Cleaner to speed up the process. Make sure the stone can tolerate the heat, alcohol, and ultrasonic waves beforehand. For a free downloadable guide for stones that can take heat, steam, and ultrasonics, CLICK HERE .

After the piece is cleaned from the wax, use rubber wheels and polishing wheels to finish the bezels. They look better the flatter you can get them. BE CAREFUL not to touch the stone with the wheels as you are finishing the bezels.

Setting 15 Setting 16 Setting 17

Finally finish polishing the pendant on a polishing wheel with Red Rouge. Clean with an Ultrasonic Cleaner and a Steam Cleaning Machine.

Setting 19 Setting 21

There you have it, an extended lesson on how to make a V-Bezel and how to use it in an application. I hope you enjoyed it and it has opened up some ideas for you. Feel free to comment or share.

By the way, if there are things you would like to see on JewelryMonk, let me know, and make sure to Subscribe, so you never miss any JewelryMonk Goodness.

Thanks for coming along this journey, now go make something brilliant!

Doug

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!

Doug