Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tool Time Tuesday – Texture Hammers

Yesterday I was working in the studio on several projects and thinking about what I could do for today’s Tool Time Tuesday. As I was working on the pieces, I happened to be texturing them with a couple of the hammers I own, and thought it would be a great post.

There are man many ways to add texture to your piece, so certainly, you do not NEED to buy a hammer for that purpose. However, the textured hammers will give you a consistent look to the patterns that they apply. There are a number of ready made hammers available. This video demonstrates 4 hammers that can be purchased through me on special order. There are also three that were loaned to me by an online friend. Those hammers can be purchased through Jewelry Tools by Miland.

Mr. Miland has passed away and his tools are no longer available. 🙁

Images for the textures available through Miland can be found on their website at: Hammers.htm
Prices run about $35 for each hammer.
The Miland tools gave a great texture, but they were very heavy and I got fatigued a bit easier than with the other hammers.
The other four hammers can be ordered through me and are as follows:
This hammer has thin stripes and squares. I love the squares pattern on it.
This hammer has thicker stripes and inverted dimples.


This hammer has a diamond cross hatch and star pattern. The diamond pattern is one of my favorites. I don’t care so much for the effort it takes for the star pattern, but it still works.Each of the above hammers run approximately $20 plus shipping.


This last hammer has 9 interchangeable heads. It features most of the patterns of the above 3 hammers. The patterns that are duplicated tend to be a little smaller in scale.
This hammer runs about $44, plus shipping.So how do they compare? Well check out my YouTube video:

My thanks to my friend Robyn Hawk for loaning me the Miland tools. Be sure to check out some of Robyn’s blogs. She is prolific when it comes to the jewelry industry.

For all of those that will be traveling to be with family and friends this week, safe travels. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.


Prong Setting Challenge Piece Finished

I belong to a new online community called Artisan Whimsy. I am on several groups over there, one of which is a metal group. They are doing a group challenge using prong setting as the theme. So this is a piece that I have been working on for a little while and the challenge was the perfect opportunity to finish it up.

The piece is made with sterling silver. The back plate is 24 gauge, though in hindsight, I should have bumped it up to 22 at least. There was a little too much warpage of the back plate when I soldered the prongs into place. The top piece is a 22 gauge and was formed with my hydraulic press then pierced with a freeform design. The stone set in the middle is a titanium coated druzy in royal purple/blue. The color changes depending on how the light hits it. The silver really makes it pop. The stone is set with wire prongs. Because of the irregular shape of the stone I had to use rivets with spacers to float the top piece over the stone. I need to get a picture of the piece from the side.
The bail is made from 3 pieces of 18 gauge wire. I soldered the three pieces together in the middle and then formed the bail by twisting the ends up and wrapping them through the rivet spacers to secure everything. I still need to make the chain for this piece. I guess that is the next step.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun to spend some time in the studio with my tools. It was a great exercise for my mind in trouble shooting and general creativity. It is something I feel I haven’t done for a long time. Hopefully this is just the start. My next piece is a real challenge for me. I was selected, along with 4 other people, to come up with a piece for Art Jewelry Magazine using acrylic. They sent me three pieces of acrylic and I need to use them in a piece. I have to have it sent to them within 2 more weeks. I have been thinking and thinking about what to make and I am still stumped, although, I have had a few ideas come to me. So please send me some good creative vibes.
If you would like, you really should take some time to visit some of the blogs of the other participants in the challenge.

The Beading Yogini,

Carolyn Dewison, Blue Berri Beads,

Pam Farren,

Mary Harding, Mary Harding Jewelry,

Dawn Horner, Northern Adornments,

Gina Hockett, Freestyle Elements,

Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy,

Lisa Laffend,

Laura Medeiros.

Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things,

Melissa Muir, Melissa Muir Jewelry,

Melinda Orr, Melinda Orr Designs,

Julie Panusis,

Mary Ellen Parker,

Staci Louise Smith, Staci Louise Originals,

Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame,

Jo Tinley, Daisy Chain Designs Jewellery, <a href=”” style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-top-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-bottom-style: none; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; font-size: 1em; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(212, 92, 12); “>

Francesca Watson, Francesca Watson Designs,

Jean Wells,

Linda Younkman, Lindy’s Designs,

Tool Time Tuesday – Guillotine Shear

Wow, what a couple of weeks it has been. Those of you that are Facebook friends know some of the saga. My father has Parkinson’s Disease. It is awful to watch. Well a couple of years ago he had a knee replacement. Out of the blue, he got an infection in the knee and back in September had to go in and have the knee removed and a temporary one placed. Well, one thing led to another and he ended up in the ICU. My mother thought for certain this was the end of him, but he pulled through, and came home after a month of being in the hospital. Well, he was home for about a week and within 4 days we saw a super acceleration of the Parkinson’s symptoms. It was frightening. He went from being relatively independent to complete dependence. Again, we thought we were making funeral plans for him. It was awful and so scary.

Miracles of miracles, my dad is recovering! In fact, they plan to have him return home by the end of this week. What a roller coaster. Thank you all so much that knew about this and sent up your prayers. He sure heard and answered them. Of course, we now realize how quickly this all can go. A simple infection can send him right back to where he was and it is not a pretty sight. I know all too well how quickly life can leave the body. I don’t take my mortality for granted and haven’t for a long time. I am just so grateful that I still have my dad.
So, now you know the reason for my absence. That, and we took the girls to Disneyland last week. It was a trip my whole family had planned for months. My Dad was supposed to be there, but we talked everyday.
On to Tool Time Tuesday.
One of my very favorite tools in my shop is my Guillotine Shear. I purchased it when we bought our house in Ohio. It was one of the tools that was at the top of my Wish List. I had been working on making a cuff that was about 1″ wide. The only metal I had that was large enough to cut out that type of blank was 12″ x 12″. So I grabbed my jewelers saw and began cutting…. or so I thought. I broke blade after blade after blade. It would happen because I was trying to hold the sheet and cut at the same time. Then the sheet would shift due to the weight of it and my blade would snap. It was so frustrating. At that moment, a shear became my top priority. I have loved having that tool so much.
A guillotine shear has a blade that comes down starting at one and cuts the material length wise as you bring the handle down. The nice thing about this shearing action is that it doesn’t distort the metal as it cuts, which means less work for me. Even when cutting with my jewelers saw, I had an uneven edge that needed to be filed and sanded, not an issue with the shear.
These shears are not inexpensive, so it isn’t a tool that you will find in a lot of small shops. I was able to justify mine because I teach classes and it made getting my materials ready so much more economical.
My Shear is a 12″ Pepe Guillotine Shear. I purchased it through Otto Frei, however, there are a number of other places that carry them as well. You can also get a 6″ or 4″ shear. They are slightly easier on the pocket book, but still not inexpensive. Most places won’t need a 12″ shear, but I like the ability I have to buy my sheet in 12″ squares and do what I need based on the pieces I am working on. You can also have most refiners or metal suppliers cut your metal for a small fee so that you won’t need to worry about having a shear.
I made a very short video on how I use my shear. It is pretty simple and you can see just why I like using the shear instead of trying to cut my piece out with a saw. If you are reading this in your email, you may need to visit this blog post to view the video.


Tomorrow I will post a piece that I have made as part of a prong challenge. So be sure to check back tomorrow afternoon. See you all then.