[Favorite tips] More Tips

Great Thread! Some of my favorite tips and gadgets aRe:

An old fingernail polish bottle to hold batterns flux. A quill
handle flux brush fits perfectly inside; sealing the flux from

An old sawdust shaker box used to separate filings from larger
metal scraps.

I like to use a fine steel wool pad for prepolishing carving wax
and then a section of a short nap paint roller (about 1/2" wide x
3" long) to polish the wax. The paint roller section fits well
under your finger while using it. Then a final polish with the
finger itself.

Speaking of wax, I use a small coil of copper wire wrapped
around the tip of my waxer tool; sharpened to a blunt point. This
makes a nice tool for applying texture to wax.

Denatured alcohol mixed with red rouge and applied with a
toothpick makes a good solder stop.

The needle part of a paste solder dispenser (that always seems
to clog up) makes a great torch tip. These seem to be the right
size to pressure fit on my meko torch and create a very fine
flame for getting into tight spots or for repairing extra fine

Binding wire…Ah, too many uses to mention.

Ken Sanders

Hi Yall! This thread is too much fun to miss.

  1. I use the cut off fingers of an old leather glove to protect
    my own when working on something that gets just a little too hot
    to hold.

  2. And when, you ask, is that? Well, to hold a heated
    acupuncture needle when using it for welding very, very small
    wax parts together. I heat the needle over an alcohol burner
    and have found that I must work quickly as the needle seems to
    cools in quite a hurry. If you know a patient or practitioner
    of accupuncture I expect he/she can get you a supply.

  3. Also for wax working, I use broken saw blades stuck in small
    corks. On one end of the cork I have the teeth facing one way,
    and ,on the other end, the teeth cut in the opposite direction.
    That is because some spots are easier to work with a pull and
    others with a push. The wax saw blade with cutting edges on all
    sides can also be used for working in tight and tiny places.

  4. Copper tubing can be made into rather nice table-top
    display stands. I like both 1/4 inch and the next size up,
    about 8mm. You can bend the tubing in interesting shapes being
    sure that you have a large length on the bottom for a good
    foundation. You can drill holes wherever you want for earrings
    on french hooks, etc., and you can use other holes for twigs,
    rods of metal, whatever and wherever you want them to hold
    and/or serve as a subtle backdrop for jewelry. The tubing’s
    configuration can be changed to best show off your current
    work. I like the tubing slightly oxidized. But if you don’t,
    hit it with a can of spray paint.

  5. And finally, I keep my solder wires in a lovely antique hat
    pin holder. It doesn’t do a thing to help with my work–just
    gives the joint a little class.

Cheers and Happy Trails,
In Phoenix but headin’ for the Colorado Rockies

Hi everybody, I haven’t posted anything for ages, but this thread
is inspiring - a good example of really productive pooling of
info. My tips are these:

  1. One of the most useful tools to have around is a sideclamp, a
    tube split in 4 with a threaded, tapered rod down the middle with
    a wing-nut on one end and a filed recess on the other end which
    can hold a ring. This is very useful for holding rings when
    performing heavy filing work on the sides, but is limited to
    being only able to hold ring-sized objects. My tip is how to make
    a miniature version which can hold small bezels, belcher-chain
    links etc. I use a builder’s bolt which in Oz we call a
    "dynabolt" - I don’t know if this is the name it is referred to
    overseas - it is a bolt with a threaded end and a bulge at the
    other - it fits inside a metal expandable shroud and is used as
    an anchor-bolt in concrete. If you file a ledge around the free
    end 1-2 mm. wide you will have a ready-made side-clamp able to
    hold very small items. What’s more, they come in a variety of
    sizes, so you can have a range to choose from. I found this
    invaluable when hand-making belcher-chain links which needed to
    be filed 1/2 round.

  2. If you have made a ring-shank with swept-up shoulders and an
    under-rail, and now need to find the exact centre of the
    under-rail so as to drill a dead-centre hole for the setting to
    locate in, here’s a foolproof way: polish the under-rail with
    tripoli, and then take an old drill (i.e. to fit flex-shaft) and
    lay it diagonally flat across the under-rail from one shoulder to
    the other, and gently rock back and forth. Then repeat this in
    the other diagonal direction - you will find you have made a
    lovely “X marks the spot” cross on the under-rail which
    accurately marks the exact centre of the under-rail, which can
    then be repolished after drilling.

  3. Finally, for those folk who use a horizontal ingot-mould or
    skillet for running ingots up in, here is a tip to enable you to
    control how long and thick the bar you run is. I have an old
    carbon rod which I used to use for stirring the molten metal
    until I dropped it and it busted into bits. I have taken 1"
    sections of this rod and filed them until they are a perfect snug
    fit in the channels of the ingot-mould. They have flat-filed
    ends on them, and you can put one of these into the groove of the
    wire side of the skillet and slide it along until it is where you
    want the ingot to end - it then forms an excellent stopper
    producing a clean flat-ended ingot which is uniform in thickness,
    not prone to tapering off smaller at one end. The same system
    works as well on the flat-bar side of the skillet, you just have
    to file the carbon rod to the fit you need.

I hope these are of some help, and that everybody keeps sharing
the knowledge about.

cheers, Alan

Great tips from everyone!

My tip for storage of small parts for a project in progress.
You can buy audio cassette tape boxes in the more flexible
plastic that doesn’t shatter very easily. Put all the parts for
any project in there to keep them together. Also you can use
those colorful floppy disk or zip disk cases.

To hold small drill bits, get a wooden toothpick holder from
Cracker Barrel restaurants. They have a snug fitting lid and
are great for carrying small bits.

Judith Marsh

This tip might be useful…when I change the wax from my
injector to a different kind of wax I pour the wax into a wok
lid. The lid for the wok is aluminum and dome shaped so it won’t
lock the wax into it like a saucepan will. If the wax tries to
stick you just bend the lid a little or put it in the freeezer
and the entire piece of wax pops right off and I store it in a
large zip storage bag…Dave

Crystalguy Jewelry, the first art jewelry site on the net
Art jewelry with a mystic touch / Now accepting credit cards
Paddle Jewelry for River Addicts

Love this thread…

When soldering a wire scroll or something similar onto a bezel
cup I have made, I tap the bezel cup upside down into a charcoal
block, flux the edges, then position the wire around the cup
(I’ve marked the back of the cup with a very fine permanent felt
tip pen for the vertical center) and stick a few straight pins
into the charcoal to hold the wire tight against the cup. flux
again and solder. no solder to clean up on the front of the
piece and less chance of melting.

I use small pieces of plastic tubing used for aquariums to put
over my small nosed pliers to keep from marring the metal.

Jan McClellan
The fruit trees are starting to bloom, even if we do get snow flurries
every other day.
Wonderful Gemstones set in unique handcrafted designs of silver or gold.

Here’s some more tips to shaRe:

I went to a stationary store and bought a box of "finger cots"
those little rubber finger tips used to handle papers. I wear
them whenever I’m peocessing metal that will get hot (while
sanding, polishing, etc). Got a box of 12 finger tips for just a
few dollars.

I use a small section on an old nylon or panty hose that I dip
in a little machine oil to smooth waxes.

Use masking tape to completely cover my metal before forming to
cut down on scratches.



This has been a very helpful thread for me, I thank everyone for
their great ideas. I thought I’d put in my 2 cents worth, sorry
if it’s a repeat. In my granulation classes at C. Bauer Studio,
we used a plastic filter used to brew coffee in the microwave to
hold minute granultes, etc for pickling. These work really well,
you just have to be careful when you open them up to retrieve
your granules. I found mine at a Food Emporium here in CT. I
assume they would probably work well in an ultrasonic as well. I
also like to use wooden shapes found in craft stores, eggs, doll
heads,etc. as daps so I can dome strange shapes. They are easily
carvable, and they also make good dop sticks for stoning enamel
pieces. The last tip is to use old tomato cans, with plenty of
holes poked through them, a small “door” cut out, and either a
wire or some kind of handle so you can move it easily with fire
tongs when it’s hot. This makes a great mini- kiln for torch
enameling and heating operations when you’re losing too much heat
into the air from your piece. Thanks to Deb Lozier for that one.

Juliet Gamarci

Get your free, private email at http://mail.excite.com/

One of my favorite tips is to take heavy steel wire 2.5-3mm
or a nail and bend it into a flattened out U shape. So it looks
like a giant staple. I then hammer it into the top of my bench
near the edge and one on the front near the top, leaving enough
space for soldering tweezers to fit under. This holds the work
very firmly and is always there when you need it. I haven’t used
a third hand in years. Also If your bench has a drawer pulling
the drawer out gives you a great elbow rest to steady your hand.

Hope this makes sense

Bill W.

Bill, this is a similar method of making a “third hand” type jig
. Cut a piece of heavy rubber ( a piece from an old tire inner
tube is thick enough ) that measures about 2.25 in. x .75 in.
Nail or staple the ends of this piece to the top of the bench.
By slipping the end of your cross-lock tweezers under the
taught piece of rubber you have a stable soldering station.
And since the rubber is elastic, it will be accomidate various
sizes of tweezers or other devises. Johann B. —MPLS

John Beckmann

Jewelry Dept.
Minneapolis Community & Technical College

Being also a woodworker, I find that a special fine saw very
similar to a woodworker’s tenon saw is excellent for cutting
strips of sheet metal from small pieces of stock sheet to give a
very straight edge, especially when making certain types of ring.
The kind of saw I have in mind is available from most
modeller’s shops at a very low price - NZ$5 (about US$2.75) -
who sell balsa wood They are about 3 cm (1 1/4") wide and about
13 cm (7") long with around 10 teeth per cm (25 teeth / inch)
They come without a handle, but you can buy one at the same shop
for a dollar or two. The modellers call them 'razor saws’
probably because the hardened and tempered steel doesn’t look
much thicker than a razor blade. Like most tools, you will need
a bit of practice before you can get the hang of it, but it isn’t
difficult to cut strips 5mm wide and 6 cm long, in 0.5mm up to 2
mm, quickly. Take a quick swipe at a bit of candle to lubricate
it Personally, I have a devil of a job trying to cut dead
straight lines in sterling sheet with a jeweller’s saw, and
invariably have to spend some time filing afterwards to get all
the wiggles out of the edges. Get a razor saw and try it on scrap
copper or brass sheet, then if you really don’t like it, you
haven’t lost much, eh? Cheers,

        /\      John Burgess
       / /
      / /      Johnb@ts.co.nz
     / /__|\
    (_______)       Lovely cloudless days but cold nights.


What a great idea! Would you mind if I published it in the Trade
Tips column that I edit for AJM magazine? I would, of course,
give you proper credit as the author: just let me know how you
prefer your name to appear, you company name, city, and any other
you’d like to see in the credit.

Thanks for sharing your idea with the Orchid forum – and by
extension, me!

Suzanne Wade
AJM Contributing Editor
Phone/Fax 508-339-7366
E-mail SuWade@ici.net

Here is a bench shield that I have used for over ten years to
reduce grinding and polishing air pollutants and to protect my
eyes. If I remember the original idea came from an enameling
book. It is easier for me to show you what I’m talking about
than to write about it. Go to
artsights.com - artsights Resources and Information. for a picture and
instructions. For complete particle removable you could add a
vacuum to the rear board.

George Hebner

Hi George, I just took a look at the picture of the bench shield
you made. It looks like a terrific tool. By the way, please tell
me you cleaned your bench before you took that picture, otherwise
I’m going to be very depressed. Have fun. Tom Arnold