Monthly Archives: October 2011

Tool Time Tuesday – Center Finder

Well hello there. I cannot wait for the day that I get back into a normal routine. Teething babies tend to throw EVERYTHING off. Last week my baby got a new tooth. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! You would have thought the world was ending with the way she was acting. My heart just broke for her as nothing I did seemed to help. There were several nights of sleeplessness. My husband should be glad he was working the night shift. Due to all of that, I didn’t even make it down stairs, let alone into my studio. Soooooooo, there haven’t been any posts for a while. I really am trying to enjoy the stages that Kiari is going through, but she is by far the MOST difficult baby I have ever had. It is a good thing she wasn’t first, there wouldn’t have been any others.

Next week I will be in Vancouver, Washington (anyone want to get together?) as my husband interviews, so I won’t have any posts for next week either. So I really wanted to have something to show for today, er, yesterday. Again, I haven’t really made it down to my studio for a while so I was trying to come up with something simple and quick. As I looked around I saw a really simple tool that I had wanted for a long time and just never bought. So today the focus is on a handy little tool called a Center Finder.

It does exactly what the name suggests, it finds the center of an item. There are so many times when I want to drill something exactly in the center, particularly some of my domed shapes. I eyeball it, make my little divot with my center punch and find out that I am just “that” much off. UGH! I have known about this little tool for a long time, and interestingly, none of the hardware stores in my are carry them. So I did a search on AMAZON and found them easily. They are only about $3, but of course shipping is like $5. Figures.

It really is a handy little tool. I like to use it to get things set up right for when I want to make my own washers. Just put your piece in, follow the line with your pencil, rotate and repeat, rotate and repeat once more and Voila, you have the center. I created a short little video demonstrating how to use it. (Of course I did.)

Upcoming classes

I don’t have everything set up yet for November and December, but I am working on it.
I will also be teaching my wire angel class as we near the holidays. They make such pretty little ornaments and necklaces. They are a perfect gift for the season as well.

November 9 at 10:00 am – Riveted Pendant formed using the hydraulic press
November 12 at 10:00 am – Fold formed Anticlastic/synclastic bracelet using the hydraulic press.

December is kind of up in the air as we may be moving, but we will have to see how we feel about the areas where the interviews are happening. Wish us luck!

Tool Time Tuesday – Tube Setting Tutorial

I am often asked to do this particular tutorial. I have to admit I didn’t really want to do it as it is one of my more popular classes. But I really enjoy helping others out, so hopefully this will be just what you are looking for.

This video was being loaded last night, er, early this morning and at 2:00 am, the server failed and disconnected me. I was so ticked. I had been rendering and loading the video for nearly an hour and a half at that point. So I just turned off the computer and went to bed. 6:00 am comes awfully early when you don’t get to sleep until 2:30 or so. I am dead tired right now. I figured I would try this one more time and then take a nap. Let’s hope that works.

One thing I think I neglected to say in the video is that when you are creating your seat for the stone, you are supposed to use a bur just slightly smaller than the stone you are wanting to set. The rest of the information should be correct.

In addition to this video, you may want to review my tutorials on how to use the Miter Cutting Vise, Tube Cutting Jig, and the Bezel setting punches.

In other news, my husband has been talking with several groups out west. We are still hoping someone will buy our beautiful home with fabulous studio here in Ohio soon. I have already found several homes in the areas where we are looking to interview that have wonderful spaces for the new and improved studio. My family is still really excited about the prospects of where we are looking now. It is just a matter of time until we figure out where we are supposed to be. I hope it is soon and I would really like it to turn out the way we desire. That would be the best, of course.

If anyone is in the Vancouver, Washington area would like to get together when we come out for a visit, let me know and I will keep you posted as to when we think we will be there.

Potter USA Sale
You only have 3 days left of the Potter USA sale. Kevin has listed multiple pancake and silhouette dies as well as some of his fantastic stakes for sale. Be sure to visit his site and take advantage of the sale while you can. I can’t wait to show you my steaks when they finally arrive.

Tool Time Tuesday – 3 new videos

Well, It is Wednesday. But I have had the videos done since Sunday night. I was going to get every posted yesterday, but life sometimes gets in the way. Yesterday, Kate (my 5-year-old) was Queen for the day at her school. So I went in and spent the lunch hour with her. I love that she wanted me to come and have lunch with her. She wanted me to stay longer, but I had only had about 2 hours of sleep the previous night. Then after taking a much needed nap, I got word from my realtor that someone wanted to come and look at our home. Well, it was a disaster. So I spent the rest of the evening cleaning. The lady that looked at our home has just left and I am now ready to get things posted.


Annealing Your Metal

Annealing metal is a term we use in metalsmithing to indicate that it is softened. There are times when you want your metal hard and there are times where it needs to be soft and mailable for us to work with and shape it. All metals have a crystalline structure. When the metal is annealed the structure has space and can move easily. Every time you work with the metal, whether running your fingers over it, bending it, hammering it, straightening it, etc. is going to compact that structure. As the structure is compacted, the metal becomes stiff and harder to move. If you push that compaction too far, the metal will split. Thinking about taking a paperclip and bending it back and forth until it finally breaks. This is an example of compressing that crystalline structure.

In metals, we can restore that softened state by using a torch or other means of high temperature to relax the structure back to an open state. In the first video I demonstrate how to use a butane torch to anneal pieces of copper and aluminum.

Using a Butane Torch

I use three different types of butane torches in my studio. People sometimes have a difficult time getting them started and adjusting their flames. So this is a very quick video on how to start and use a butane torch, at least the types found in my studio. 



Using a Silhouette Die with the Potter USA Hydraulic Press

This last video is one that I have been meaning to make for a long time. Here I demonstrate how to use the 2″ silhouette dies made by Kevin Potter and Potter USA. Potter USA has a lot of different shapes to choose from and the possibilities are endless. You will see what happens when you apply too much pressure without stopping to anneal your metal and I also demonstrate how to use different types of metal.

Personal News and Moving Update

Well, this past Thursday we found out that our plans to move to Dallas have fallen through. We are all very sad about not moving to Dallas. I was really looking forward to it. The girls were looking forward to having a pool and we would have been close to my sister.

The interesting thing about all of this, we aren’t devastated. My husband and I both still feel really good about things and we are moving forward with the interviewing process once again. At this time he really wants to be out west where we can be close to family members. I will keep you all updated as we go through this process once again and certainly once we have a decision made. I must say, this is very exciting and I am not pregnant this time. So perhaps I will be able to enjoy things a bit more this time around. It will be fun to see where we are “supposed” to be. I hope our spirits and hearts are open enough to hear the guidance this time around and we find the perfect job for him and the perfect location for our family.