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"Orchid in Print" Book Series Announced


#1

The Ganoksin Project
S i n c e 1 9 9 6
Jewelry Manufacturing Methods and Techniques

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 12 November 2004

“Orchid in Print” Book Series Announced

MJSA and Ganoksin to collaborate on new imprint focusing on bench
practices.

Providence, RI - Continuing their sharing partnership,
Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA) and The Ganoksin
Project will collaborate on a new series of books dedicated to basic
bench practices.

The first book, to be published by MJSA/AJM Press under the imprint
"Orchid in Print," will be How to Make the Most of Your Flex-Shaft.
Written by Karen Christians, owner of the Metalwerx school in
Waltham, Massachusetts, the book will focus on how jewelers can
ensure they choose the right flex-shaft systems and accessories for
their needs, and operate them safely at maximum efficiency. It will
also include a chapter of tips compiled from the Ganoksin technical
archive, which includes postings from the popular Orchid forum as
well as the related “Tips from the Jeweler’s Bench” newsletter.

The prime sponsor for the flex-shaft book is The Bell Group/Rio
Grande, the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based suppliers of tools and
equipment, findings, and display and packaging.

Patron sponsors are The Foredom Electric Co. in Bethel, Connecticut,
and 3M Inc., which is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“This new imprint is a logical addition to the list of MJSA/AJM
Press titles,” said James F. Marquart, president/CEO of MJSA. “Our
award-winning series of books have become common references in many
shops and schools, and we are pleased to be able to work with the
industry’s pre-eminent online resource to extend the information
available to the industry.”

“As part of the ongoing collaboration between MJSA and Ganoksin, I
am very excited about the new “Orchid in Print” books,” said Dr. E.
Aspler (Hanuman), founder of The Ganoksin Project
(http://www.ganoksin.com). “These books will concentrate on the
basics of jewelry technique, equipment, and the jewelers’
environment, collected from the discussions and questions gleaned
from the archives of the Orchid community. We are very happy that
MJSA has taken on the project of making this valuable information
available in book form.”

The trade book division of MJSA, MJSA/AJM Press has published three
books since its formation in 2001: The Platinum Bench by Jurgen J.
Maerz, At the Bench by Gregg Todd and Greg Gilman, and The AJM Guide
to Lost-Wax Casting. A fourth book, 101 Bench Tips for Jewelers by
Alan Revere, will be available in December 2004. All have been based
on articles and columns that originally appeared in MJSA’s monthly
trade magazine, AJM: The Authority on Jewelry Manufacturing.

For more about the “Orchid in Print” series, contact
MJSA at 1-800-444-6572 or 1-401-274-3840, mjsa@mjsainc.com.

Dr. E. Aspler (Hanuman)

The Ganoksin Project (http://www.ganoksin.com) is the largest virtual
single source for searchable archived content for jewelry
and metals in the world. Its 5200 Orchid members foster sharing,
support community, enhance productivity and encourage studio safety,
by promoting education in the jewelry and metal arts worldwide.


#2

Hello Orchidians!

Now that the press release on the upcoming “Making the Most of Your
Flex Shaft” has now been announced, I am counting on you to help me
with the most important chapter.

All of you who have contributed every day with your tips and tricks
have inspired me to make a case for this first book in the Orchid in
Print series. The last chapter in the book is called “Beyond the
Bench”. Please send me your bench tricks, your tips, and all the
innovative techniques that make your flex shaft special.

I am also looking for your input for your favorite handpiece, motor,
bur, bit, polishing compound or abrasive. I need the must haves,
wish you had and can’t possibly live without.

Help me write THE definitive book on the flex shaft. If your tip
makes into the book, you will be credited. I will also be
demonstrating the “Beyond the Bench” techniques in live
demonstrations at the AGTA in Tucson and at the MJSA Expo in March.
My demo depends on what I get from all of you, and if I use your tip
or trick, I will give you full credit at the demo.

Rather than emailing me directly, post your tip on the Orchid Forum
and add to the archive’s wealth of knowledge. I will pick it up from
there. The book is due out in Summer of 2005.

Thanks all.
Orchidians rock.

-k
Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#3

Hi Karen.

What a great idea. It will be a wonderful resource and will make a
perfect gift to give (or request :slight_smile: )

. . . Please send me your bench tricks, your tips, and all the
innovative techniques that make your flex shaft special. 

Don’t know that this makes my flex shaft special, but it works
beautifully for me. Coming into jewelry making with a lapidary
background, I found that holding the flex shaft in my right hand to
use in the “normal” way was a pain in the butt - and a mess in the
face!

I had an old drill press (garage sale find) with a work table
extended from the main column on an adjustable-height arm. I set the
contraption up next to my table top dust-collector with the arm
extended from the left side into the work area, under the shield. I
attached the flex shaft motor to the top of the drill press column
and for added stability, I placed a heavy chunk of metal (garage sale
find) on the base of the drill press. I nestled the flex shaft
handpiece into a convenient v-shaped depression on the table thingey
and tightly strapped it in place using two 10 inch long Velcro straps
(from the sporting goods store - backpackers’ gizmos). Now I use
both hands to bring the work to the flex shaft, using it like a
grinding wheel or work arbor. Since the handpiece is reversed to the
left side, dust and debris is flung into the dust collector and away
of lungs.

This set up doesn’t work for drilling, but I keep a rechargeable
Dremel mini-mite on my bench for such needs.

    I am also looking for your input for your favorite handpiece,
motor, bur, bit, polishing compound or abrasive.  I need the must
haves, wish you had and can't possibly live without. 

I love my true-running Swiss-madeTechno handpiece and having a quick
change (collet) capability is a MUST! The time saved in changing
work pieces will more than pay for it in short order.

I don’t really think anyone can do without the 3M radial bristle
discs! I’ve recently added the pale green and peach radial disks but
unfortunately, I have these only in the smaller 1/2" diameter and
that doesn’t allow much clearance from the end of the mandrel so I
can’t get down into narrow spaces without the danger of bonking the
metal on the screw head. As you might guess, my work is a bit larger
than tiny!

To save more time and add convenience when using the flex shaft, I
bought lots of mandrels with the removable screw on the end - only
about a buck apiece.

I load up multiples with my favorite abrasive disks, rods, and other
consumables so that I have an immediate replacement if one wears out
in the middle of a job.

I have each color of 3/4" 3M’s radial discs loaded. Additionally, I
make up several mandrels for the blue disks which are my absolute
favorite:

Two stacked for working narrow places

4 to 6 stacked for working larger swath (I use these for a satin
finish on some production pieces)

3 or 4 fresh disks for quick once-over on fabricated pieces to remove
any remaining skuz from soldering, flux or Prip’s

3 or 4 worn disks for that perfect soft, light touch-up or finish

My favorite polishing compound HAS to be the BLUE stuff I got from
Ikohe through Blaine Lewis. It’s more aggressive than rouge but
leaves a great finish and is cleaner than rouge - not greasy. (I
think it’s German)

Blaine Lewis also recommends what he called the “Sanding Disks of
Everlasting”. Well named! These zirconia sanding disks (also
from Ikohe) almost DO NOT wear out. I have mounted them in pairs on
two mandrels: one set facing in for making points on pinstems, etc
(an Orchid tip) and one set facing out so that I can work on either
side.

I can’t wait to see everyone in Tucson!

Pam Chott
www.songofthephoenix.com


#4

OK Karen,

I don’t expect to see this tip in print, but here goes. I put a
fine grit, flat-end taper grinding stone in the hand piece and use
it to smooth my toe nails. Don’t laugh. If one has ugly, ridged
toe nails that snag nylon stockings, smoothing is necessary and an
emery board is too big to be effective down into the crevices. My
toes are still ugly, but I don’t snag my stockings anymore!

Congratulations on this excellent book. I’m looking forward to
seeing it. Judy in Kansas


#5

Let me know if you need a proof reader with a wide variety of
background experience. Besides having my GJG, I am a degree’d
Chemist with minors in Engineering, Mathmatics and Technical
Writing.

Judy Shaw
Jasco Minerals


#6

Sorry Judy,

   I don't expect to see this tip in print, but here goes.  I put
a fine grit, flat-end taper grinding stone in the hand piece and
use it to smooth my toe nails.  Don't laugh. 

I started laughing between the period after “nails.” and the “D” in
"Don’t". But if it works for you, why not.

Joel
Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com


#7

Pam,

        Blaine Lewis also recommends what he called the "Sanding
Disks of Everlasting". Well named! These zirconia sanding disks
(also from Ikohe) almost DO NOT wear out.  I have mounted them in
pairs on two mandrels: one set facing in for making points on
pinstems, etc (an Orchid tip) and one set facing out so that I can
work on either side. 

Wonderful! This is very helpful. Can you elaborate on this one?
Where do I find these?

Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#8

In my estimation the Flex Shaft is the most valuable tool a jeweler
can own. Because of its versatility the flex-shaft is the most
important tool a beginning student can purchase. The Flex Shaft
will do most anything other major tools that are designed for
specific work can do.

It can be used to:

Turn carving wax. I use my Flex Shaft without special tools to turn
wax pottery, rings and bracelets. Clamp the handpiece in a portable
hobby vice, mount the wax on a mandrill mounted in the handpiece and
use a chisel to shape the wax as it is spun by the flex-shaft. I
have turned waxes that are about 3.5 inches in diameter and 5 inches
tall. I have put together a paper on the process which I will sent
free of charge to anyone interested.

Cut and polish most stones. When I first started making jewelry I
created a bunch of inlaid jewelry using my Flex Shaft and cut off
wheels. You can buy cut off wheels that are up to 1 1/2 inches in
diameter. The discs can be used to cut the stones to shape them for
inlay then to flatten them once they are inlaid.

Shape stones. Diamond burrs can be used to shape stones.

Polish stones and silver. There are a multitude of polish buff and
polishing compounds that can be used in a flex-shaft handpiece to
polish stones and silver.

Drill holes in stones. Diamond drills can be used to make holes in
pearls and stones.

Carve wax. For fast cutting there is the three bladed burr. It
comes in various sizes. Any metal working burr can be used in the
Flex Shaft to carve wax. Very fine dental burrs can be used to do
very detailed work.

Lee Epperson


#9

One of my favorite tools for use with the flex shaft is the rotary
hammer. This is a nice little tool that can help with porosity in
castings, as well as rapid burnishing of practically any metal.
Here’s how anybody with a torch can make one:

Find a broken (or buy a new, they’re not expensive) drill bit,
around 2" - 3" in length. I prefer a 3/16" diameter bit, but larger
ones can be made for use with larger materials. Being hardened, you
must first anneal it with your torch by heating it to red hot, and
cooling slowly. It’s easier to cool slowly by covering it with clay,
pumice, etc.

After cooling, mark a place about 3/4" from the end of the bit that
will be chucked into your flex shaft. Now, heat again and bend it on
an anvil, in a vise, with pliers or Vise-Grips, etc (you get the
idea), to about a 35 to 40 degree angle and, again, cool slowly.

Next, mark the end you just bent (not the chucked end) about 1/4" or
so away from the shank and cut off the excess. Grind that end into a
smooth hemisphere, working down with successive grits to a fine
polish. What you’re shooting for here is a piece of tool steel rod
that is bent at a 40 degree angle with a round, hemispherical ball
end that will rotate in the flex shaft’s chuck.

Finally, heat it up again, this time going through the light yellow
color to the deeper straw yellow color. This is the hardness you
want that won’t be either too soft, or too brittle. Allow it to
air-cool this time. Polish again, and enjoy.

The idea of the rotary hammer is that it provides a very fast series
of glancing blows to the surface of your metal. Much quicker than a
hand-held hammer, this little tool can save a lot of porous
castings, and can burnish very quickly.

James in SoFl


#10

Looking forward to the flex shaft book.

I use two flex shafts at my bench. One with a quick change
handpiece (yes–I agree, a must) and the other with a #30 chuck–for
larger mandrels and drill bits,etc. This is a huge time and energy
saver. And it’s easy to switch back and forth if necessary–between
the two tools that are in the handpieces.

For polishing tiny areas with the flex shaft (usually flat areas
that are set in from the surface of a piece), I use a nail with a
small head and use strong double-stick tape to hold a tiny piece of
abrasive paper in place. This works really well, uses up very
little of the paper and is always at hand.

Carolyn


#11

Karen

The Blue Zirconia Alumina Abrasive Discs are availalble at 46
Jewelry Supply.

They come is Fine Medium & Coarse 7/8" @ $4.00 a pack of 100 ea.

Regards from New York

Kenneth Singh
karat46@aol.com


#12
    I use two flex shafts at my bench. .... 

Me too, but in my case it’s one SR motor (reversible) for regular
stuff and grinding/polishing (for which it is sometimes quite useful
to have the option of reversing) and one L motor (low-speed) for my
hammer hand-piece and to run the #30 hand-piece I have permanently
mounted in one of those Foredom drill press rigs. It adds up to a lot
of versatility within easy reach.

On the subject of great flex-shaft tools I’d have to mention the
sleeveless sanding drum I got from Lee Valley Tools
(www.leevalley.com, item #27K10.01) which I find indispensable for
larger and/or rapid sanding jobs and heavier work such as repolishing
your burnisher or sharpening your scraper. You load the drum with
squares cut from regular sand paper sheets and fix them in place with
a simple cam system. Quick, easy, cheap and you can get a much
flatter surface than with most other flex-shaft based sanding
accessories. The only down-side is you should only run this thing at
lowish speeds (there’s that L motor coming in handy again) and you
need a hand-piece that can accept 1/4 inch shafts. I use the colleted
Foredom 44T which is, of course, useful for many other things as well
as being a fine general purpose hand-piece.

Another cool flex-shaft tool is the hand-piece holder such as you can
see at the bottom of this page at SmallParts.com
(http://www.smallparts.com/products/descriptions/ft-e.cfm). That
holder is useful in and of itself but I actually find that I use it
even more as an easy height adjust for the “Universal Work Holder”
(see Rio Grande, p.258, item F, 113-089). I’ve always known this thing
as a “jeweller’s vise” but the point is that if you remove the
screw-in handle you’ll find that it’s threaded base perfectly fits the
5/16 UNC threaded, height-adjust shaft of the hand-piece holder. I
suppose if you’ve got a Benchmate you’ve got most of this ground
covered already but I don’t so it’s a pretty useful tool combo for me.

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#13

“James in SoFl” et all! (gre-e-eat post)

I also call this remarkable invention…my “bent nail” tool ! It '
burnishes ’ by way of MOVING little layers of gold at slight
increments due to the ‘hitting’ process from the face of the rotating
face of the nail. You can actually cover surface pin holes easier
than soldering. Soldering will at times, have porosity and/or
discolouration due to the solder used. Why use this solder method
when you have actual gold covering up the hole?..Try not to use a
high speed rotation while using this method. Make absolute care that
the tool is held SECURELY and TIGHT in the chuck". After the surface
holes are ‘covered’, file to trim and polish at will !

Electric hammer ‘pounds’ flat and doesn’t move laterally, this tool
moves the gold horizontally!

Gerry


#14
    After cooling, mark a place about 3/4" from the end of the bit
that will be chucked into your flex shaft. Now, heat again and bend
it on an anvil, in a vise, with pliers or Vise-Grips, etc (you get
the idea), to about a 35 to 40 degree angle and, again, cool
slowly. 

I’ve done this too, only I’ve used a small nail with – not a flat
head but a head that is thicker than the nail, but not quite a ball.
Works really well on small porosity. Try it!

This is one of those bench tricks that you’ll only learn on Orchid
or in an apprenticeship.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#15

Gerry,

The only problem with using a tool such as this is it only covers
the Porosity and doesn’t remove it. As the piece wears the Porosity
could show up again.

If the Porosity is severe it is best to scrap the casting and start
over.

If the Porosity is minor it could be handled by drilling out the bad
spot, use a round burr to clean up the hole and then take a small
piece of metal from the button that was used to cast the piece, melt
it into a ball and then fuse it into the hole. Pickle, file, sand
and buff to finish

Good Luck
Greg DeMark
email: greg@demarkjewelry.com
Website: www.demarkjewelry.com
Custom Jewelry - Handmade Jewelry - Antique Jewelry


#16

Thanks to all that are writing in with their tips.

Keep them coming! This is your chapter and I want to make it great.

How about polishing? Do you have favorite ways to polish? What are
your favorite polishing compounds and buffs?

Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#17
    The Blue Zirconia Alumina Abrasive Discs are availalble at 46
Jewelry Supply. They come is Fine Medium & Coarse 7/8"  @ $4.00 a
pack of 100 ea. 

Hi Kenneth,

Thank you for the ID and very economical source! I’m using the fine
and would love to add extra fine if available.

Thanks,
Pam Chott
www.songofthephoenix.com


#18
   polish. What you're shooting for here is a piece of tool steel
rod that is bent at a 40 degree angle with a round, hemispherical
ball end that will rotate in the flex shaft's chuck. 

Hi. Thanks for the posting. Would it be possible to see a photo of
the finished item? I would like to try making this tool, but as
usual, I need something visual to refer to.

From a confirmed tool-a-holic
Ruth in the U.K.


#19
I also call this remarkable invention..my "bent nail" tool !

Hi Gerry;

A word of advice to those who use these burnishers. Use them in an
old #30 foredom hand piece. The various quick change handpieces have
much smaller and more delicate bearings, and the sideways concussion
created by these will really shorten the life of the bearings, the
chuck, and possibly the bearing shaft.

David L. Huffman


#20

Hi Greg, you are right!

    The only problem with using a tool such as this is  it only
covers the Porosity and doesn't remove it.  As the piece wears the
Porosity could show up again. 

This little idea is only suited for little pin-holes, not those
"grand canyon" casting defects so large you can park you car in
them. Scrapping is the only “other” alternate move!..gerry!