Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Praise for Dar Shelton

Just a shout, LARGE SHOUT out to Dar Shelton of Sheltech-custom dies
and cutting for the ease, promptnesss, price, quality, and even
music!! I recieved when ordering pancake dies for my lil’ Rocketfish
designs which needed to be done BEFORE I ordered( always the case it
seems) These are to comemorate ARTWALK 2011 in my hometown of Grand
Haven Mi ( MOST beautiful beach comunity) and I was in a panic…
The little things were to be 3/4" and 1/2" pendants, Charms in the
end ( hand sawing individually would’ve caused maddness) and as dar
explained to me the dies would be sawn as good, if not better than I
could’ve done, and of coarse I knew the time saving. Well these
turned out SO much better than I anticipated… using a 1 ton arbor
and because of thier size pooping them out is an extreme breeze.
Maybe even cathartic. THANK YOU Thank You

In a hurry to get back to popping lil fish

He da’ man! He and I have spent a lot of time together over the
intervening years, as I developed the press, and he worked on dies.
I learned one heck of a lot from him about both press frames and
saws. Hip hip hooray! All praise him. Lee (the saw guy)

Dar is definitely the king of dies for me…one very happy customer

Aw shucks, I’m just doin’ my job, Rocket-fish Man !. Thank you for
the kind words, though. I always enjoy the feeling I get when I know
someone is happy that they have a new, easy way to make their parts.

It’s easy to see why you had some doubts as to how good of a job I
could do, given the nature of the fishies and the nature of the
beast; by which I mean sawing around a small shape accurately and
neatly, with no post-sawing corrections allowed. I thought "wow,
this guy is really super-picky, I wonder if he’ll like them ". Then I
thought “of course he will like them, he just hasn’t seen how picky
I am yet, and doesn’t know to expect exactness, if that is what’s
required” , and then "just explain that the dies will be as good or
better than he himself would saw (and probably file) the parts ".

The 1-ton arbor is a good choice for small shapes ; very affordable
and very fast. I have one set up on my die breaking-in table. It has
5" by 7" platens and a cheater bar for the handle. I open and close
dies a few times, and sometimes punch parts, to get the tolerance of
the dies loosened up enough so that opening them is fairly easy when
they leave here. It’s taken years of abuse and will take a lot more.

Glad to be of service…
Dar Shelton

He da' man! He and I have spent a lot of time together over the
intervening years, as I developed the press, and he worked on
dies. I learned one heck of a lot from him about both press frames
and saws. Hip hip hooray! All praise him. Lee (the saw guy)

It has been a long time, hasn’t it?. I remember the first time you
called me, in '91 maybe (?). I was sawing with the original RT saw
table with a guide rigged up for a jeweler’s saw frame, and a big,
heavy saw I had built myself, modeled after the RT saw concept. I
had no muscles back then, and the big saw was bear to work. I was
using a 50-ton manual jack press that was ok for blanking parts but
not much else.

Lee played a huge role in bringing me into the 20th century,
technologically. The old-style BD saw guide was Godsend, because I
quickly adapted to it, and modified it, retrofitting it with a bar
that had a foot pedal on the floor, so I could power my die saw with
my leg. I still use that saw guide, even though I’ve rebuilt the
track and roller chassis.

(ps, I found some suitable roller bearings at Lowe’s, in the window
area, as you suggested).

I always say there’s something about holding the jeweler’s saw in my
hand that gives me the best feel and control for die sawing, and the
original BD sawguide is simple and elegant,and is an archetype. I
haven’t quite made it to the 21st century though, mostly because
Lee’s 20th century products work so well !. Then there’s the
prototype gearmotor saw he made me, which I also still use. The foot
saw I use for smaller, more intricate dies, while the motor saw is
more for big, thick dies. I’ve posted about all this before, but you
know, there are always new people coming around, and some things are
worth repeating. The gearmotor saw is basically an original sawguide
that has been adapted so that a motor drives the chassis (which the
jeweler’s saw clips into) up and down. It’s a wickedly functional
design, but not entirely safe when blades break, so it never got
past the prototype, and I have the only one, and it is priceless to
me. In fact, it’s too good, because it has forestalled the necessity
of using the motorized saw design that did end up making it’s way out
into the world. I do want to use the snazzy new handheld sawframes
though. But what I have isn’t broke…

I have to say that I feel like all the ways Lee has aided me must be
more numerous and more important to me than what he’s picked up from
me by having me use and abuse his equipment. There was a period when
I started making lots of dies and parts for someone who mass
produced (now China does it for her) copper garden art, and I was
always calling Lee up and pestering him about this or that, trying
different setups and urethane and picking his brain till I’m sure it
became very annoying, but he always tolerated me and answered every
question. Not to mention, provided me with the gear that I’ve been
using for almost 20 years.

As much as anything though, it’s all the people I’ve done work for
that are the other main reason things have been very interesting and
engaging all these years. Every week brings some new challenge, it
seems, and even though the pancake die process is a very simple
concept, it has it’s intricacies and difficulties, and when
press-forming is added to the mix, it makes for a rich and complex
world of possibilities. Necessity being the mother of invention, I
have to give a general, all-inclusive ‘thank you’ to the artists and
jewelers out there who have helped make my working life very
meaningful and rewarding.

"Listen, I just wanna say ‘thanks’, so, thanks " (Laurie Anderson)


Praise for Dar Shelton and Lee Marshall

Dar and Lee, What a great read, two stalwart men with quality and
integrity, recognizing the value of one to another over the years.
This is what we need to see more of, recognition and respect.

Thanks to both of you for your tireless dedication to the jewelry
making community.

Teresa Masters