My, how life has changed since my last post. I can honestly say there is never a dull moment in my life. HA! This year continues to be full of surprises and changed plans. Perhaps I am in for another three year run of unexpected changes. I will say, I have certainly gotten better at just laughing and rolling with the flow.
Last month my husband and I bought a brand new vehicle. We have never bought a NEW one before, so we were very excited. We even ordered it from the factory so we could have it made just the way we wanted it. We waited, oh so patiently, for 4 weeks for it to be made and then delivered. I sold my beloved Jeep and became the happy owner of a 7-passenger GMC Acadia. Talk about a difference. WOW! It is such a nice vehicle. Well, as you may recall, we have an upcoming move to make to Dallas, Texas. My husband had a class down there in the past couple of weeks and we thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get to know the area and look for a house. So we loaded up our new vehicle (which came in just days before we left,) and headed on our way. Because of the flooding in Memphis, TN, we decided to go through St. Louis and then down and through Oklahoma City, OK. The first day was so long, but uneventful as far as weather goes.
The second day we drove to Tulsa, OK, where we stayed the night and had dinner with some friends. During the drive down however was full of storms and such heavy rain. We even drove through Joplin, MO. It looked quite different when we drove through it than it did the next day. The third day we continued our trip by driving through Oklahoma City, OK and finally arriving at our final destination in Irving, Tx (North Western Dallas area.) Now, if you watched the weather in the past two weeks, those names may all mean something. That’s right! They ALL got hit with tornadoes with substantial damage done in each area.
I have been in a hurricane before, but never a tornado. The tornado that hit Irving was right over our hotel. In fact, the funnel cloud formed over the hotel just across the street from ours. I hid in the bathroom with my little girls and cried as I watched my 11-day-old car get beat up with chunks of ice the size of my fist and larger. So sad. I had a broken windshield and thousands of dollars of damage on the vehicle I am supposed to drive for the next 10 years. Sigh. I guess it is God’s way of saying, “Don’t get vain, Melissa.” HAHAHA
So how did the house hunting go? Well…. not so well. The rental market there in the Dallas area (particularly where we are looking) is AWFUL! The prices are high for homes much smaller than my current home and they pop off the market as soon as they hit it, or in some cases, before they even go on the market. Needless to say, we are not moving this week as I had anticipated. That is both good and bad, Good because I don’t have to worry about packing and moving right now. Bad because that means it still has to be done in the near future. In the meantime I will stay here in Ohio and hopefully get some classes on the schedule for the summer and pray that my house sells. And now that my new vehicle needs to spend several weeks in the shop, I see the blessing of not finding a home in the Dallas area at this time. But I am so much more excited about our impending move and new home than ever. I think I am really going to like Dallas…. as long as it quits throwing chunks of ice at my new car.
Yesterday was a blessing filled day. I got a call out of the blue from a lady that asked if I made silver jewelry. I told her that I did indeed make silver jewelry. She then proceeded to tell me that her father used to make silver jewelry as well and that she had a bunch of his old tools that she would like to give me. Seriously?!?!?! I have never heard of this lady and she found me online. WOW! She brought over 6 boxes filled with various items from a brand new polisher, old drills, drill bits, casting supplies, files, pliers, hammers, a few gemstones, polishing supplies, pickle pot (A really good one) and a few other things. What a pleasant surprise. I am so grateful that I was the lucky person to benefit from her kindness.
Tool Time Tuesday – A revamped tool
So that is what has been happening over the past few weeks. Just before I left for Dallas, I got a nice item in the mail. You will recall my last Tool Time Tuesday where I reviewed some fabulous Tronex pliers. I had a qualm with only one pair of pliers, the flat nose pliers. They are built the same way and are wonderful, but the jaw has a step in it and was not solid to joint. I use the entire length of my flat nose jaws to strengthen, flatten and hold my pieces quite regularly. The owner of the company read my review and took my comments to heart. I had asked him before I did my initial review of the tools if they would consider redesigning the pliers with a solid jaw. Well, a couple of weeks later they did just that and that is what was delivered to me.
I am so IN LOVE with these pliers. Keep in mind, I am the one that always said you don’t have to have expensive tools. And I still believe that! But now that I have these, I find that I don’t want to use my $6 – $12 pliers.
So what has changed? Let’s take a look.
The top pair is their original design. You can see the step that I was talking about. The nice thing about the step is that you are able to put more force into the tips when you hold on to things. But I didn’t care for the flexibility/feel of it when I held onto my pieces. It almost felt like I didn’t have a secure grip on the item being held. Of course, I have already mentioned that I didn’t like that I couldn’t hold my items further back into the jaw.
The new model is perfect for me. The jaw is solid all the way back to the joint. It is made with the exact same measurements, materials and everything. The jaw is still slightly rounded at the edges to prevent marring your wires or materials with a sharp edge.
From this view, you can’t tell which is which. That is because they only thing they have changed with this new model is the fact that the jaws are no longer stepped.
Here is one thing that I did want to point out. Just as the other models, the new pliers (model #743) has a bit of an inner taper. All the other pliers I have worked with (with the exception of parallel pliers) meet all the way through the entire length of the jaw. So what is so great about this? Well, when you have a piece of wire or metal in a pair of pliers where the jaw starts out parallel you are not able to grip it anywhere other than on the first edge of the piece. With this design, I can place a piece of wire into the back of the jaw and still make contact further into the piece. This gives me much better control of my work as I am holding something for stability and I have less risk of flattening part of my material while trying to get contact with multiple areas or further into the surface.
Again, I love the weight and sturdiness of these pliers. They are solid. There is no short handle here, the handle is a solid piece that extends all the way through the jaw. I never worry about breaking the handle off by squeezing too hard or just due to normal wear and tear.
The pliers come in two models, #543 with a shorter handle and #743 with the full length ergonomic handle. If you are interested in ordering a pair, just let me know. They take about a week for them to get to me after I place an order.
Many thanks to Arne at Tronex for being open minded and responsive to my feedback. My students and I are very impressed that you would do this based on our feedback.