Hi Orchid folks,
I’m writing to tell you about Karen Christians’ soldering tools that
have been the topic of many Orchid posts a short while ago.
I was one of the skeptics of her tools, not because of quality but
because of price and I think I was the first to say “hang on a
minute, you can buy a titanium soldering pick for much less money”.
However, Karen emailed me and explained the ethos behind her products
and made me an offer I’d have been daft to refuse. Karen said that
she had a pair of cross lock tweezers that had failed quality control
because they were rubbing and that she’d send them to me for no
charge. She also offered to let me try her personal solder pick
saying that if I liked it I could order my own and send hers back. I
agreed to try them out and so she duly sent the tweezers and her own
solder pick. I received them last week. The “reject” tweezers were
indeed rubbing where they cross over, but I used a pair of pliers to
hold them open and filed the edges where they were rubbing. They are
now as good as new and obviously any tweezers ordered that pass
quality control would not need to be “altered” in any way.
There have been many posts on Orchid about the huge difference
between cheap tools and more expensive, better quality tools, and
that nine times out of ten, one is better off investing in quality
tools as it’s worthwhile in the long term. Buy cheap, buy twice, etc,
Prior to having Karen’s tools in my possession, I was using an
inexpensive (read cheap) pair of steel cross lock tweezers and a
cheap titanium solder pick. After a year of use, my steel tweezers
are getting to the point of needing to be replaced - the fibre
insulating handles are falling apart due to being repeatedly burned
and the tips are really bendy and I’m forever having to realign them.
My cheap solder pick also bends for fun so that you can’t put any
pressure on it.
Karen’s tools are in a completely different league to what I was
using before. The solder pick is well-balanced and feels nice in the
hand, and if a piece of metal decides to be unruly (as they often
do), you can use the pick to hold something in place, confident in
the knowledge that it will NOT bend under pressure. Due to its shape,
it can’t roll off my soldering tray - something my old one used to do
virtually every time I put it down! There’s no worry about it
getting too hot to handle either. The cross lock tweezers are a joy
to use too. The ends meet in such a positive and precise manner that
I can pick up the tiniest of jump rings without it pinging across the
room - I’ve lost many jr’s that way with my old tweezers. The tools
are made of a thick gauge of titanium, which makes them really sturdy
but still lightweight at the same time because they are titanium.
However, although they are really substantial in thickness along
their whole length, the tweezer’s tips come to a really sharp point
in the other dimension, making picking tiny things up really easy. I
will definitely be ordering another pair of cross lock tweezers and
throwing away my steel pair. I’ll miss Karen’s soldering pick when I
return it to her and can’t wait to order my own asap.
Sorry for going on for so long but I have to express the difference
in performance of these tools. Remember I was using my husband’s
Dremel? Then I bought my Foredom flexshaft? Well the difference in
performance and feel of Karen’s tools compared to my cheap soldering
tools is as vast as the difference in performance and feel of my
Foredom and the Dremel. I have a cheap bench vice which I use for
stone setting (among other things), which I fully intend to replace
with some sort of engraver’s ball or GRS Magnablock (or whatever
it’s called) - because I have learned that it is worth the investment
to buy quality tools which save you both time and money in the long
run. Karen’s tools are definitely in the quality tools category and
if people try them they’ll be very happy with the experience - they
are well worth the price being asked for them.
I’ll shut up now - sorry - but well done Karen!