My name is Mike O’Toole and I have been lurking on the list for over
two years. (golly sounds like I’m at a “twelve-step” meeting
I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and have been metalworking at the
hobbyist/amateur level for about twelve years. On the billpaying
side I’m a System Support Specialist in the computer/IT industry.
I started out making mail armour and progressed to jewellry with
piercework pendants, wire earrings and have taken a couple of
silversmith classes locally and even took a blacksmith class last
fall that let me swing a big hammer.
My current interests are learning and figuring out historical
techniques for jewellry manufacture. Ancient/medieval/early
rennaissance pieces from Northern Europe get “my motor running” so
to speak. I find that learning something new and making a tool is
half the pleasure of finishing a piece.
I’m also a member of the Calgary Rock and Lapidary Club, sit on the
Board as Parlimentarian, look after the club library, and also a
member of the Show committee.
I have met several members of the list already, Karen Bahr taught
one of the silversmithing classes and I have seen Charles
Lewton-Brain though other responsibilities (like work and duties at
our annual Show) conspire to keep me from meeting him.
There are many on the list that have helped me understand different
facets of the jewellry making process but there are a few that I
would like to thank in text:
Peter Rowe and John Burgess for providing clear and concise
explanations of chemistry topics like pickles, fluxes, fire-scale
and fire-stain preventions.
Ian Wright for descriptions of graver polishing and annealing
Charles Lewton-Brain for all sorts of good advice from Cheap Thrills
in the Tool Shop, to Small Scale Photography, more info on
fire-stain and its prevention. One of these days I track you down
and thank you in person.
Thanks again to the entire list for helping me learn more about my