Tricks of the trade, huh? I’m game. Here’s a few of mine. I’m sure
most people already know these, but what the heck.
Ronsonol lighter fluid (naphtha) dissolves carving wax. Use it on a
paper towel to polish a wax, or soak a ring to remove wax left in it
from melting it into wax to make a fitted band. Naphtha is known to
the State of California (what about the rest of the world?) to be a
toxic and flammable petrochemical, so if you live in CA, take
appropriate precautions and use with care. I guess the rest of us are
on our own.
Butane lighter fuel can be used to super-cool and shrink a part
stuck in another piece, like a bezel tube in a too small hole,
allowing it to just fall out. Same precautions.
A graphite pencil makes a great solder pick. Burn the wood back and
use a drafting pencil sharpener to dress and shape it. Use firecoat
in varying thickness to provide more or less stickiness.
Aluminum thread cutting lube from a machine shop supply place is
perfect for lubricating any tool used for cutting platinum.
Use a Krause bur (or the edge of a crossing file) to cut a very
small groove inside the tips on one of your pairs of soldering
tweezers, 90 degrees to their length, about 1.5mm in from the tip.
The groove will let you hold on to pieces of wire and other little
bits much more securely.
A tiny bit of casting flux (I use 50% borax and 50% boric acid)
added to your investment makes for a nice clean oxide free casting. I
said a tiny bit. Too much messes up the investment.
Strips of paper towel wrapped around a fragile stone, held in place
with cross-lock tweezers or binding wire and then soaked with water
make a great heat protector.
Used dental tools make great doo-hickies of all kinds. Next time you
see your dentist, ask for some old tools (if you use the term “cleoid
spatula” you’ll impress them and improve your odds). They probably
have plenty. Grind them into all kinds of shapes for burnishers,
picks, wax tools, screwdrivers, whatever. The metal is somewhat hard,
not plated and takes a nice polish. Don’t forget to sterilize with
steam, alcohol or something before using, or talk the dentist into
throwing them in the autoclave for you.
Speaking of dentists, they use a spray (some use paper) for finding
the high spots or checking occlusion of teeth. Get some and try it
when cutting a seat for a weird shaped stone, or when carving a
tightly fitted irregular hole. Your dentist can fill you in on the
details. Lincoln Dental Supply carries a couple of different types
and flavors. I personally like cherry.
Round nosed pliers can be shaped into many different types of
pliers. Grind a small flat on the inside of one tip, and an undercut
flat spot on the other that is also shortened and sharpened to make a
great set of prong pullers.
OK. It’s someone else’s turn.