Friday, February 27, 2015

Jewellery Maker's Basic Tool Kit

If you're new to jewellery making, it's easy to feel intimidated by the array of tools available. It can be a daunting feeling trying to work out which tools you need and what are they all used for. After all, you've never made jewellery before! But there's no need to buy every tool available - you only need to make a small investment to get started and then you can add to it as you go along. Here's my selection of basic tools you'll need as you start out on your jewellery making journey. Chain nose pliers This is my number one "must have" pair of pliers in your tool kit. They have a flat surface on the inner side of each jaw giving you good purchase when you grip things with them. Look for pliers that have a fine tapered point so that you can get into tight spots easily. They should also have a spring mechanism to minimise the amount of effort you need to exert when you use them and they should fit your hand size - i.e. not too large and ...
Friday, February 6, 2015

Tool Review - Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper Tool

I've been teaching jewellery-making techniques for many years now and one of the things students find most difficult to accomplish is well-formed, secure crimps. The crimping technique takes practice to perfect but once you've got the knack, your jewellery will be strong and will be able to withstand the tug test. Whilst at CHA in January, I came across Xuron who manufacturer jewellery-making tools and they were were kind enough to give me a pair of their crimping pliers to test out. Now this is not just an ordinary crimping tool: Xuron 4 In 1 Crimper Tool crimps 1mm, 2mm and 3mm crimp tubes and in addition, it is also has a chain nose tip to get into very tight spaces. So let's test it out and see how well it performs. The first thing you'll notice is that the crimping station (the notch closest to the handle) is shaped like a "V". This "V" is the feature that sets the 4 in 1 Crimper Tool apart from standard crimping pliers. To use t...
Monday, February 2, 2015

Resin and Bezels with Uneven Backs

If you've ever poured resin in bezels before, you're sure to have come across bezels that don't sit flat. Perhaps they have a pendant bail that protrudes past the bezel, or perhaps it has a snap on the back like the popular "Klik" bezels . Or maybe it's even slightly warped. No matter what the issue, you need to find a way of keeping the bezel level whilst you're working on it and also whilst it's curing. Here's a couple of my favourite tricks to make things just a little bit easier. Place the bezel on a bed of rice or sand so that it sits level. The bezel will easily press into the grains surrounding it for support. Place the bezel over a cavity. Here I'm using a plastic mould tray with deep cavities. Make sure the bezel is supported on the flat surface. This one will slide around a little bit but it's still a good solution if you have nothing else around. But I've kept the best until last - my favourite tip for working w...