Monthly Archives: May 2015

New Ring Mandrels from Pepetools

As you have seen, I have had the fun pleasure of working with Pepetools over the past year. This is very fun for me as I am often the first one to get to play with some of their new tools that they develop. Sometimes I even get to be a part of testing it out and helping to make a tool better. A while back I asked if they were going to make square ring mandrels. I don’t know if I had anything to do with it or not, but they finally came out with a  square ring mandrel. I am so excited.

In addition, they also came out with some improvements to their existing ring mandrels and added a couple in aluminum. I ventured onto a few of my jewelry boards and asked why people would need an aluminum mandrel, because it is certainly something that isn’t very useful in my studio. I have seen a lot of people purchase them and try to use them in the same way as a steel mandrel. I can understand using them with wire wrapped rings as you won’t need to forge on them and such. The consensus was along the lines of what I was thinking. The aluminum is meant for very light work and mainly for sizing a ring in settings such as a jewelers shop at the front counter. However, there were a few jewelers that said that they would take an aluminum mandrel when they traveled to do some light resizing. They preferred the lighter weight when traveling.

People ask me all the time why I don’t sell ring mandrels. I am a vendor for a couple of suppliers and they all carry ring mandrels. But I will say, this is one area where I am kind of a snob. I will only use Pepetools ring mandrels. And this is because all of the mandrels I have found that aren’t Pepetools, have deep grooves for the sizing marks. That is just dumb. The rings get caught into them, and when you hammer, it is really easy to hit in just the wrong spot and then you have a mark on the inside of your ring that now has to be filed, sanded and repolished. I do not have the buying power required by Pepetools to carry their products, so I am not able to sell their tools. In fact, I am not paid by Pepetools, other than I do get to keep the tools I test out and review. So my opinions are true and honest and not based on a monetary reward. However, if they were to pay me, I wouldn’t mind that either. LOL.

I made a short video introducing the new ring mandrels. I will also be doing some new projects with the square ring mandrel. The sizing and making of square ring shanks is a bit different than round shanks. I will be experimenting and will try to create a ring shank sizing chart, similar to those for round shanks, but it will take a while and a lot of experimenting. Anyone want to come over and play in the studio with me?

Tool Time Tuesday – Steady Stamp by Jeff Fulkerson

I had the great pleasure of meeting and dining with Jeff Fulkerson and his beautiful wife in Tucson this past February. It was so much fun to see his beautiful pieces. Jeff has written many articles, has multiple DVD’s and online workshops as well as a crazy loyal following at the various national shows where he teaches. Not only does Jeff work with silver and metals for his jewelry making, but he also cuts some of the most beautiful stones. I was able to see some of the pieces he made his wife, and those that he wears regularly and all I can say is WOW. Let me tell you, I was quite humbled in my own work once I had the opportunity to see his mastery of various techniques.

After seeing my review of Gwen Youngblood’s Riveting Essentials, he asked if I would be willing to do a review for a tool he has come up with. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as my sweet Kate has gotten into doing some stamping and this tool works really well for her. What tool is it, you ask? Well it is the the Steady Stamp. The Steady Stamp is a small block of Poplar with a groove cut into it so that you can hold your stamp steady while striking to make an impression in the metal. The image below shows the original Steady Stamp. The tool I was sent has beautifully beveled and finished edges for comfort and is sanded smooth with a soft finish.

Steady Stamp

The tool was developed while writing an article for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, where he was using the large flower stamps from Impress Art. He had a difficult time getting a good impression as he was not able to hold the stamp perfectly perpendicular with just his hands. This tool allows you to do just that. The other thing that is nice is that it keeps your hand clear of the striking range and decreases the chance of getting hit during a wayward blow of the hammer.

Is this a tool that is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY? Nope, probably not. Can you do the job without it? You sure can. Does it really make a difference when using it vs. not using it? YOU BET! At least it did for me. There was a clear difference in the depth and clarity of my stamped impressions when comparing using vs. not using it. Can you make your own? Yup, you sure can, but are you going to actually do it? Now that is the question. 🙂 In the end, I find this tool to be small, and quite helpful. A while back I even showed a video of using my swage block to do this same thing. However, my swage block, while it will work, is much larger and this tool is much easier to hold. My daughter is only 8 years old and she has no problem holding this tool.

stamped cuff by Jeff Fulkerson

And as a special treat for my viewers, Jeff has given me a coupon code for $2.00 off (essentially 10%.) This is only for my blog readers and viewers. Just enter the coupon code MUIR during check out. Jeff’s website is

Of course, Tool Time Tuesday just wouldn’t be complete without a video.

Video Link:


Winner for Sarah Thompson’s Wire Weaving Workshop

Congratulations to LORI T. I hope you enjoy the workshop as much as I did. I can’t wait to try my hand at other projects in the near future.

Sarah Thompson's Woven Wave Bracelet 5

I know I was supposed to post this last week, however Monday night I got really sick with some sort of alien that took over my body and rendered it useless. I think I have expelled the creature, however it has left me with a slight case of bronchitis. But at least I am human, out of bed and being productive once again. Due to my illness, Sarah has graciously extended the half off promotion.

Sarah Thompson's Woven Wave Bracelet 6-3

 Just use THIS LINK for 50% off her workshop.

It will expire next Tuesday, May 19th. This  link makes the workshop only $20. That is such a small amount of money for the education you get. It is more than worth the $40 that is the regular price. So be sure to take advantage of the promotion. The workshop won’t ever expire. You can watch it as many times as you would like.