Monthly Archives: July 2011

Tool Time Tuesday – Tronex Cutters – Tool Review

I have been having a lot of fun with my video camera and editing software lately. I have a lot of ideas for new videos. Not only that, but it makes doing my Tool Time Tuesday posts so much easier. It is so much nicer to show you what I am talking about and Tell you what I am talking about, rather than trying to photograph it and explain it. Hopefully you like them as well.

Give Away

I have decided to have multiple give-a-ways. it is just my way of saying thank you to my readers and those in the industry that have encouraged me along the way as I figure out my own creative voice and skills. We are nearly to 300 subscribers and once I hit that number on my blog, I will do the first give away. I have a beautiful pair of Tronex Flat Nose Pliers that I will give away. This is a $45 pair of pliers. So spread the word and help me hit my goal and YOU could be the happy owner of this great tool.

Tool Review

Speaking of Tronex, a few weeks back they asked if I would try out one of their cutters. I had already bought 4 of their cutters and they wanted to see what I thought of another cutter that is great for jewelry work. There are so many things I really like about the Tronex tools. Yes, they are a bit more expensive, but I really feel that you get what you pay for and if you take care of these tools, they will last a lifetime.

Here is my review of the cutters:

In my past reviews of their hand tools, I had talked about their flat nose pliers. You can see my reviews here and here. I had loaned my friend, Katie Mullins, my flat nose and chain nose pliers to see if she liked them. Katie is a very talented Chainmaille artist and I was very interested in her opinion. She tried them and out and also fell in love with them. One thing she did ask was if they had a shorter nose for the flat nose pliers. She said she usually works a little closer to the tip of the jaws. Well, what do you know? Tronex has recently released a shorter nose version. So of course, I pulled out my handy camera and have come up with a video review of this tool as well.

Here is the video for the Pliers Review:

Also, I am really excited about a possible new partnership with Potter USA. They liked my review so much they asked if I would be willing to make some more videos for them and demonstrate a few other tools for them. Of course I was more than happy to do that. So I have started on those. Watch for others to follow in the VERY NEAR future. I am also looking at holding some workshops with the Potter USA hydraulic press. Let me know if you are interested in learning more about those.

Here are the two quick videos I did yesterday explaining the press and using pancake dies.

Introduction to the Potter USA Press

Using the Potter USA pancake Dies

Call For Artists

I am in need of more artists for my Featured Artist Friday posts. If you are interested, please let me know at I will send you the list of questions and requirements. It is a great way to get a little more exposure and it also helps other artists by giving ideas of how others work.


Tool Time Tuesday – Hydraulic Press – Tool Review and Demo

Hey Everyone. Sorry for the short absence. I decided at the last minute, a couple of weeks ago, to take my girls out to Utah. That was a crazy decision. I drove from Akron, OH to Salt Lake City, UT with just my three girls. I don’t think I will be doing that again any time soon. The baby doesn’t like driving all that much and I found out just how long she can scream without stopping. Lol. It was good to see family and we had a fabulous 4th of July with a Fireworks show put on by my little brother, the pyromaniac.

My birthday was July 2nd. And to make me feel better about becoming “Officially Middle Aged,” my fabulous husband bought me a hydraulic press, Yes, I know I am spoiled. I had researched several different brands including the Bonny Doon and Potter USA presses. I know that some people have made their own, but as I lack the skills and resources to weld my own frame, I was left to buy something. I had also checked out inexpensive options from places like Harbor Freight, but I wanted to make certain I had a good tool that was safe, well built and I knew would stand the test of time with my students and such.

The Bonny Doon is a great product and they have a lot of tools to go along with them, but DANG they are EXPENSIVE!!!! This is where I found Kevin Potter, of Potter USA. Not only was their press about 1/3 the cost of the Bonny Doon, but I really liked the way it was built. It has a larger platten (Base for your work) and I felt this was very desirable as it allowed for larger pieces and greater stability. The frame is 1/2″ Steel with only one critical weld point along the base. They were also very easy to work with. I contacted them and they spent a good amount of time on the phone with me explaining what I would need in terms of a bottle jack and accessories. Another thing I really liked about them is that they did not push me to buy the most expensive tools and helped me to save even more money where I could. Kevin Potter’s whole reason for getting into tool making was so that he could help artists get the high quality tools they need without breaking the bank. I was able to buy the press, jack and a whole lot of accessories for less than I would have spent on just the Bonny Doon press, and that included shipping. Shipping was about $115.

And if I had only known that they were going to have a 25% off EVERYTHING sale just weeks later, I would have waited to buy. But I am enjoying my press, so I won’t complain, however, I am going to buy some more accessories.  And YOU can get a FABULOUS deal. Potter USA is moving their shop into a larger one and needs the resources for moving expenses and such. So if you have ever thought about buying a press, now is the time to do it. It will literally save you a ton of money. Their sale ends on July 29, 2011. Just let them know you read it here and use the coupon code SUMMER at check out.

Another thing that I really liked about the Potter Press is that I can use the Bonny Doon tools with his press and you can use his tools in the Bonny Doon. So even if you can’t afford to buy the press now, you can always start stocking up on the tools and accessories.

Kevin’s Website is:

I created another video showing how to use the press. This one is a little bit more shaky with the video as I was trying to film this myself and walk through things. That is just one of the downsides of not having a regular helper. But hope that you enjoy it and find it useful all the same. I will have more video demonstrations with the various accessories coming up in the next few weeks, so be sure to subscribe to the blog or come back to visit.

Direct Link to the video

In the video I talk about having a gauge on the jack. A gauge is not required, but it sure is handy if you want repeatable results when doing a production type of set up. If you buy an inexpensive jack that doesn’t have the capability of a gauge, Potter USA has created another tool, that will allow you to get a similar effect of repeatability, called a torque handle.

The jack that I purchased is a top of the line 20-ton bottle jack and it was more expensive, but I wanted to have something that was reliable and durable for a longer period of time. However, Potter USA built this press to accept any number of jacks, including those that are only around $40 from Harbor Freight. So if you wanted to, you could get the press now with an inexpensive jack and upgrade that portion later. That was another big bonus for me in choosing the Potter Press.

See you all again soon!!