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.

7 thoughts on “Tool Time Tuesday – 3 new videos

  1. Angie Simonsen

    Thanks so much for including Aluminum in your annealing video! I’ve worked with the wire before, but not sheet, so it is much appreciated!

  2. Melissa Muir

    Glad that worked for you. I have been playing with aluminum in the Hydraulic Press and it is interesting to say the least. It is kind of fun to melt it though. You should try it.


  3. Shelley

    As always, lots of good information and greatly appreciated. I would like to add my vote for the moving location: Southern California! I’d love to take some classes from you… 🙂

  4. Lois

    Hi Melissa,
    I blogged you again and shared one of your videos. I love them. Of the 3 torches if you could only buy one, which would you choose?
    Thanks and keep tooling. I love these posts.

  5. Daniel Milstein

    Good share,I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!

  6. Melissa Muir

    Thanks Daniel. I’m going to tell my husband that. Lol.

    Please feel free to share. I would appreciate it.

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