Monthly Archives: August 2013

Tube Setting – What to buy?

I have had a lot of questions about which burs and sizes to buy when it comes to tube setting stones. Here are the tools I use every time I create my tube settings from scratch (or at least from a premade length of tube.)





Choosing the Right Bur

So how do you know which bur to use? You want to use a bur that is just slightly smaller than the diameter of your stone. For instance, if I have a 6mm stone that I am going to set, I would start with a 5.9mm round/ball bur to get the depth of the tube close to where I want it to be. Then I would switch to a 5.9mm setting bur to complete the setting. 

The stones I tube set are typically 3, 4, 5 & 6mm. So here is what I use:

  • 3mm  stone
    • 3.5mm outer diameter heavy walled tube (Rio 100452)
    • 2.9mm Round ball bur ($3.40)
    • 2.9mm Setting bur ($4.05)
  • 4mm Stone
    • 4.5mm outer diameter heavy walled tube (Rio 400427)
    • 3.8mm Round ball bur (4.05)
    • 3.8 Setting bur ($4.85)
  • 5mm Stone
    • 5.5mm outer diameter heavy walled tube (Rio 100429)
    • 4.70mm Round Ball Bur ($4.75)
    • 4.70mm Setting Bur ($5.35)
  • 6mm Stone
    • 6.5 mm outer diameter heavy walled tube (Rio 400431)
    • 5.90mm Round Ball Bur ($4.75)
    • 5.9mm Setting Bur ($5.35)



    Of course, here is the video that I did that shows how I do some of my tube settings. 

I hope that helps answer the questions regarding the size of burs and tubing. I know that rio also sells tubing for stones 1.5mm – 6.5mm every 1/2 size. If you need help figuring out which tubing and/or bur to buy, just let me know. Again, the email is at the top of the navigation bar for the blog. 

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Tool Time Tuesday – Super Ring Bender by Pepe Tools

School started for all three of my girls yesterday. That is a pretty big thing. Of course I had a lot on my schedule, and of course, hardly any of it got done. I guess I had more on my list than I realized. All of the girls had a great time and it is going to be nice to get back into a routine. I do wish I could figure out the magic of getting my kids to bed at an early hour though.

I just received my shipment of “Bench Tips for Jewelry Making” by Brad Smith. So if you were waiting, I now have 10 copies in stock. Thank you to all who have purchased up to this point. Both Brad and I appreciate the support.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Pepe Tools asking if I would be willing to make a demonstration/tutorial video on how to make a spoon ring with their newly improved Superior Ring Bending Tool. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I will jump at the opportunity to try out new tools, especially when it involves me doing a video, demo or review. I love doing them. If you are familiar with my jewelry, you will note that I do not typically make spoon rings, or the flatware jewelry, so this was an added benefit to me as I got to try out something new. I spoke with my friend Danielle at Bent & Twisted Creations about what materials I should be looking for and where to find them. I also thought it would be fun to demonstrate a couple of types of materials…. that was, until I tried it out with HARD material. LOL.

Danielle was gracious and sent me a couple of handles to play with. I bought one sterling silver spoon from an auction and another that was silver plate. Did you know that if you are going to work with silver plated material, it is best to buy those that are made prior to 1913? The alloy used before that time is much easier to work with than that made later.
I was anxious to play and didn’t have anything to play with. So I went to my local discount store and picked up a box of flatware for only $6. I chose a set that had thin handles and figured I would be able to bend it. Naturally it was stainless steel. I highly suggest you avoid stainless steel. Just turn the other way. Don’t even let it tempt you. Just run away. It is THE HARDEST stuff to bend. Was I able to do it? Yes. Surprisingly the Super Bender did a great job on forming the metal, but it was not easy. I was totally discouraged, but quickly found out that it was just the material being used. Once I got my hands on some pre-1910 plated flatware and sterling it was an entirely different story. That stuff moves, not quite like butter, more like stiff taffy. But hey, it moved and I didn’t have to apply a lot of effort to get it to do it.
The Super Bender comes with 7 different dies, 5 round ranging from 12mm to 22mm, and there is a 45 and 60 degree squared set. Each die has a matching pusher. You simply place your metal between the two pieces, move the handle on bender and voila, you now have a curve in your piece.
Do you want to see it in action? Well, naturally I am happy to oblige. I created this video tutorial so you could see how I make two different spoon rings. Enjoy.

<p< a=””>

Thank you to Pepe Tools for the opportunity to do this video.


All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

August Synchroblog

What a busy few days it has been for me. This is the last week of summer before school starts. Sorry that I missed this week’s Tool Time Tuesday. But I had a really good reason. My oldest is away at girls camp for the week. As many of you might recall, we moved into our home nearly 5 months ago now. We had all sorts of plans of jumping in and getting the studio set up and the girls bedrooms all done and ready. Then came reality. We moved in and right away Riley’s bedroom was flooded….. just after I put in brand new carpet. *Sigh* So we pulled out part of the wall, repaired the damage in her room, repaired the roof where the leak was happening and thought we were good to go. Then…. the AC went out. So for all this time, the girls have been living out of their boxes and unorganized rooms. Riley’s bed was in the middle of the room and you could barely walk into her room. So on Tuesday, I got it into my head that it would be  really fun to have her come home to a finished bedroom. I painted ALL Freaking day on Tuesday (hence, no tool time tuesday.) I still have a few touches to put into the room and it will be done. She comes home tomorrow afternoon. I can’t wait to see her face.





Monday all the girls start back to school on Monday. Even my baby will be starting full time preschool/daycare. This will allow me to have the days to work on things and then be a mom in the afternoons when they all get home from school.

Speaking of school…. For the month of August, the Synchroblog post was to be based on a pinterest pin that inspired us. Kate has really long hair and she is a total “princess.” She loves it when I do fancy things to her hair. I found this cute pin at: and she wanted me to try it immediately. Now, keep in mind, that I did this quickly this morning and it was the first time we had tried it. So it will be nice when we get to school. But still, Kate is in love with it and loves me for doing fun things to her hair.


The Artists Synchroblog (August) – The Artists Synchroblog is a group of
bloggers who post every other month on the same topic, sharing our
experience or perspective. On alternate months we undertake a Pinterest
Project where we each take inspiration from a pinterest picture, create
something (art, a meal, a DIY project, etc) and then post about it. Be sure to visit some of the other bloggers that are participating.

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Book Review: Bench Tips for Jewelry Making

I have had the great fortune of “meeting” and “knowing” some amazing people in the jewelry field. I love the internet. I have been able to learn from some of the greatest of the great. It has been an interesting process as I have made my own journey in learning to be artistic and creative. My beginnings were slightly different than most as I never really did consider myself creative. I tried, but was never able to really be what I would call successful. You know all those pictures you see of Pinterest Fails? Well, I usually fall into that category. HAHAHA It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered I could make jewelry, and even better than that, I could actually do it pretty well. It was a surprise to everyone! No, Seriously!

As many of you may have already experienced, there are people who won’t share a thing about their process of creating. And then there are people like me, who have no problem sharing pretty much everything. It is thanks to people like this that I have been able to learn what I have. Brad Smith, is also one such person. In addition to being a bench jeweler and lapidary artist, he has been teaching jewelry making for 17 years. Of course, in 17 years of experience, you can expect to learn a thing or two and he has no problem sharing what he has learned. He has a page on Facebook called Bench Tips where he constantly shares some of the helpful little tips he gives to his students.

With so many tips amassed, he decided it might make a good book. And you know what? It does make a good little book.  Not all of the tips are new, especially if you have been following my blog for a while. But there were quite a few that made me go, “huh, why did I never think of that?”

Not only does it have little tips to make your job or project easier, he also includes resources to where you might be able to purchase things like patina solutions, specialty materials or tools and other items not commonly found.

This book is a SUPER easy read and is a great reference book to keep near your bench. It is laid out nicely and has a great number of photos that go along with the items he is discussing.

Want to take a look at a sample? Just click on the link below to open a PDF with a few pages of the book.

Bench Tips for Jewelry Making Sample Chapters

So where can you purchase this book? Well, I happen to have 4 copies currently in stock with a few more on order that should be here in a couple of weeks. Just visit Kelsi’s Closet Jewelbox to get your own copy.

In Other News

Thanks so much to my blog readers and Facebook friends, I have reached over 1,500 subscribers on my YouTube page and well over a quarter million views. WOW! So to celebrate, I am going to hold a give away. I will be posting more about that next week. So be sure to watch for it. In the meantime, why not visit some of my past Tool Time Tuesday posts. If you are new, you will find a wealth of information, tips and even tutorials. Be sure to subscribe my YouTube channel if you haven’t already. There are nearly 50 videos currently posted and more to come in short order.

Thank you again for all your support.

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Tool Time Tuesday – Polishing your piece with a flexshaft

Okay, I know it is Wednesday, but that is just how things are rolling at my house right now. My girls start back to school on the 19th of August. While that is really early, I am kind of excited. I am ready to get back into a routine and have my house stay clean for longer than 5 minutes. Even if it is only clean while they are at school. In addition, I am really looking forward to finishing up the book that I have been working on. If any of you have been working with the hydraulic press and would like to submit your photos for possible inclusion in the book, I would love to see it. Just shoot me an email at:

I am also getting really excited for the Metal Retreat I am hosting with my friend Francesca Watson in Washington. I cannot wait to get back up to the Columbia River Gorge area. I have really missed that place.  We are going to be working on so many fun things. There is etching, metal clay, hydraulic press, roll printing, enameling, glass fusing, resin, forging, fold forming and so much more. We still have two openings if anyone is interested. The cost is only $200 plus everyone chips in for food. If you would like to know more, please visit our retreat website: 

The past week has been an exciting one for me as I have gained a few sponsors for my Tool Time Tuesday posts. So watch in the next few weeks as I do a few different tool and materials reviews. And just wait until you see what Kevin Potter has in store. I can’t wait for that post. Of course I have to wait for his goodies to arrive. Darn it.

Well, today’s Tool Time Tuesday/Wednesday is no exception. Just before I moved from Washington, Lucy Brooks of Eternal Tools contacted me and asked if I would do a tool review for some of the tools she sells. She has been waiting patiently as we moved, then had to build a studio, then summer hit, and well, now it is 4 months later and I am finally getting this post done.

One of the questions I get asked most often is how to get a good finish and polish on a piece of jewelry. I wish I had the answer. I know that people spend a LOT of time at the polishing machine. But what if you don’t have one? There is another method, but it doesn’t take any less time, at least it doesn’t for me.

I wanted to create a piece that had lots of little spaces, you know, so I could show you how to get in there and polish them. Now, I certainly had second thoughts about that when I finally had to polish all those little spots. LOL. But I digress. So I created a sort of “filigree” piece that would allow me show you how to get into the nooks and crannies to shine them up.




Two different “tools” were used to polish the pieces. The first are silicone polishing wheels. I love these little wheels. They actually come in Wheels, Knife edge, and cylinders. All can be reshaped as needed with a file. I work through a progression of 4 “grits” if you will (coarse, medium, fine/high shine and very fine/ultra-high shine.) Because I am able to cover more area with these, it is my first tool of choice to go to. I am unable, however, to get inside the details of the pendant.


So the second tool used are called Polishing Pins. The pins used in this video were supplied by Eternal Tools. These come in a cylinder shape but can easily be “sharpened” with a file, as you will see in the video. There are six pins and again, they range in their coarseness to give you a nice fine mirror finish on your piece. I know the picture above isn’t fantastic (it was taken with my phone) but you can see how smooth things are. I didn’t get a before shot, but it was lumpy, bumpy and just plain over soldered, which was intentional for the purpose of the video.

I have a very small stash of the silicone polishing wheels for sale on my website (or at least they will be shortly.) And the polishing pins are available through Eternal Tools. I also just noticed that Eternal tools sells the silicone polishing wheels as well. So you have a few places where you can purchase them. Both tools will need a mandrel, so be sure you get that while you are at it.

So, are you ready to see how they work? Well, wait no longer.