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Wise woman's guide to tool care


#1

I have been searching the web for a good guild to taking care of my
jewelry tools. I have looked at the Orchid archive here but still
haven’t found what I am looking for. My friend and I were working on
her bench and talking about tool care and how to fix broken hammer
handles and dealing with rust on tools. While I have learned some
tool care just from using them, I would love to see an article or
book on how to take care of tools in the jewelry trade. I thought
the title wise woman’s guide to tool care would be a great book and
was hoping someone has already written one. Could anyone direct me to
a good website or book that would give good hints on how to clean,
fix or maintain my tools.

Thanks,
Roxan O’Brien
www.disignsbyroxan.com


#2

Roxan,

I agree with you, we all need good on how to care for
our tools. Keeping them in good working order and free of rust is
vital. Learning how to replace ( not repair) a cracked or broken
hammer handle would be a good tutorial to see, I think.

I would, however take issue with the idea that somehow women need
special help with their tools. Are you assuming that we men just have
some innate knowledge of how best to care for hand tools? I have been
working for my entire career to break down ANY gender issues relative
to tool use. Both men and women have equal skills behind the bench,
absolutely.

I am aware that women typically have smaller hands and less
upper-body strength than men, but no other differences that would
affect bench work. Tool suppliers would be wise to stock pliers in
smaller sizes to fit smaller hands, I think.

Take care of your tools and make great work.

Jay Whaley
ww.whaleystudios.com


#3
I would, however take issue with the idea that somehow women need
special help with their tools. Are you assuming that we men just 
have some innate knowledge of how best to care for hand tools? 

Don’t take it so seriously. She didn’t say that, she just thought it
would be a good title for a book. She’s probably right.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ


#4
I would, however take issue with the idea that somehow women need
special help with their tools. Are you assuming that we men just
have some innate knowledge of how best to care for hand tools? 

Jay, this issue came up when we were talking about having someone
speak at our jewelry society which are all women. We thought it would
be great to have for tool care that would appeal to them.
I am still looking for more on good tool care. So if
anyone can add to this please post some.

Roxan O’Brien
www.designsbyroxan.com


#5
I am still looking for more on good tool care. So if
anyone can add to this please post some. 

It is sometimes difficult to respond to such a wide inquiry. Perhaps
if you mentioned specific tools that you’re not sure how to care
for, people could address those.

Basically, don’t let them get rusty. Don’t let them rub up against
each other too much. Things like that.

Flex shaft, grease the shaft now and then. Hydraulic Press, store in
the down position.

That’s all I can think off of the top of my head!

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com


#6

Elaine,

We were dealing with rusty tools and would like to know the best way
to deal with rusty files and other tools. It just would be nice to
have one source that would cover tool care.

Roxan
www.designsbyroxan.com


#7
We were dealing with rusty tools and would like to know the best
way to deal with rusty files and other tools. It just would be nice
to have one source that would cover tool care.

Well, the Orchid archives are it, basically. We’ve covered how to
clear up rust quite extensively. I use google to search Orchid, even
though the new search engine within Orchid is much improved over the
old one, I still have better luck with google.

so do rusty tools Orchid and the thread should come up.

I don’t know that anyone’s going to rush out to write a tool care
book, because it’s just something you usually learn as you go along,
learning the craft. You absorb it along the way. Take good care of
your tools, store them properly.

Elaine
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com/


#8

Of course rust would be a problem for hand tools, and shop
equipment, and there are many good anti-rust formulations that can be
sprayed on or wiped onto tools.

What concerns me most in my studio, are tools being damaged from
incorrect use. Shears should be used for cutting sheet stock only,
and not for cutting wire, as an example. Scribes find their way onto
the soldering bench, used for soldering picks. Pliers get used for
soldering tweezers, then dipped in water to cool them. Planishing
hammers used for driving steel punches ruins the hammer faces. Copper
acid tongs are used to pick up hot metal, ruining the temper of the
tongs. My years teaching at a university saw it all. These problems
didn’t occur on the days I taught in the studio, but certainly did
when I was away. Having my own studio, and being aware of how tools
and equipment are being used on a daily basis has made a huge
difference in the quality of the tools we use in the studio.

A large part of my job is just making sure students use the tools
correctly, and don’t abuse them. Tools can hold up to daily use for
many years if they are used correctly. I have certain tools in my
shop that I would guess are over 50 years old, at least, and some
look nearly new in appearance. I don’t need to oil them, I just don’t
abuse them. On the other hand, my rolling mill rollers get oiled ( No
WD40 !) and covered every night. I am picky about that!

Jay Whaley


#9

Thanks Jay for your insight into tool care. I was wondering why you
shouldn’t cut wire with shears? The rust problem is the most
troublesome. I live in a high humidity area and it is really hard to
keep it from happening.

Roxan
www.designsbyroxan.com


#10
Tools can hold up to daily use for many years if they are used
correctly. I have certain tools in my shop that I would guess are
over 50 years old, at least, and some look nearly new in
appearance. 

I haven’t quite known what to say on this topic (if anything…:slight_smile:
I guess any advise is good to have, though. Jay’s thoughts on this
are about as good as you’re going to get, IMO. One problem is “what
do you mean by tools?” I’d guess that a good portion of Orchid
readers could number their tools at 100 pieces, and some at 25 or
something. That’s easy, but as Jay says, mostly it’s just to take
care of them and don’t abuse them.

There are LOTS of people like me, though, and some of you younger
folks will become that. I have 40 gravers (a modest number), 15
whetstones, hundreds of punches, many hundreds of burs and
wheels…milling cutters, inserts, drill bits, taps and dies,
metrology. 20 or 25 hammers, and I’m not a silversmith. I have
~thousands~ of tools, if you add up every single one. Dozens of
pliers of every description. I have a fairly well stocked wood shop
at home - a set of professional pipe cutters and threaders,
too… I have a collection of vintage tools of all kinds - a
Stanley tape measure from the late 1800’s that’s stitched with
leather, like a baseball… Not counting equipment - casting,
machining, steamer, rectifier, saws, joiner… I could go on…

The thing is, eventually you just can’t keep up with it. I don’t
even re= member what all I have - every once in a while I’ll happen
upon something and say, “Oh yeah, I have that…” To do actual
maintenance on everything would require hiring somebody for the job,
and large shops with lots of tools do exactly that - they have a
toolroom staffed by someone who does that job (I’m guessing Jay does
that in his school). The best thing you can do is what Jay says:
take care of them on a daily basis, don’t abuse them. If they are
stored at least make some effort to store them well.

It’s nice to think of making some spot for everything, but if I had
a compartment for every milling cutter I have it would fill my shop.
If I hung everything on peg board it would fill three of them, plus I
hate peg board for the clutter. But for me to walk through this shop
(not counting home) and simply touch each tool I have would take a
whole day, much less wiping them and oiling them and tucking them in.

I know, you’re thinking, “But you are in an extraordinary place,
with so many tools.” Just give it time, you’ll get there, too. Best
thing is to learn how to use them, and take it day by day from
there… Plus I quit buying tools I don’t ~really, really~ need,
finally.


#11

Roxan,

Metal cutting shears (like scissors) are designed to cut sheet in a
bypass type of cut. Each blade passes the other. The sharpened edges
are somewhat delicate, and can be damaged easily if used to cut other
forms of metal than sheet ( and only in a thickness the shears are
designed to cut). Shears that are used to cut wire ( I cringe even
typing that…) will put small notches in the edge of the blades,
damaging the sharpened edges.

Side cutters or end cutting pliers have cutting edges that come
together and touch, but do not pass each other, as shears ( or
scissors ) do. They are designed to cut wire stock, although, to me,
no matter how the cutting edges are designed ( flush, full-flush )
they still leave the end of the wire not quite smooth or even.

I was borrowing my girlfriend’s sewing shears the other night to cut
some canvas I was stretching, and she reminded me, in no certain
terms, that they were to be used on FABRIC ONLY. Why, because the
razor sharp blades could be dulled by cutting paper! So shears are
designed for different cutting operations, but cutting wire is not
one of them.

Jay Whaley


#12
Metal cutting shears (like scissors) are designed to cut sheet in
a bypass type of cut. Each blade passes the other. The sharpened
edges are somewhat delicate, and can be damaged easily if used to
cut other forms of metal than sheet ( and only in a thickness the
shears are designed to cut). Shears that are used to cut wire ( I
cringe even typing that...) will put small notches in the edge of
the blades, damaging the sharpened edges. 

I’ve been cutting jumprings for 30+ years using "aviation snips"
because the ends of the JR’s are flush to each other using these
type of cutters. Walmart and other big box stores sell cheap snips.
Who cares if the blades get notched?


#13
I was wondering why you shouldn't cut wire with shears? 

Shears are kind of like scissors, and one cutting edge passes over
the other. They’re really meant for cutting sheet, and you can get
quite neat continuous cuts if you’re careful with them. Thin wires
aren’t really a problem for shears, but the moment you cut thicker
wire, you risk one cutting edge “riding” the wire, instead of cutting
it. If that happens, the rivet or bolt can be worked loose. I’ve had
it happen with silver on a pair of steel shears. Also, if you cut
harder wire with it, you might put a nick in the cuttingedges, which
would prevent it from cutting properly in future. Snips work
differently; their cutting edges meet edge-on, so they can’t "ride"
the wire, and cut it more accurately. Snips are cheap; you don’t need
a good pair unless you are cutting thick wire. Alternatively, you can
just saw wire, which leaves it with a nice cut end. It’s better to
buy expensive shears, and look after them, than to buy cheap ones and
replace every couple of years.

Jamie
http://primitive.ganoksin.com


#14
Who cares if the blades get notched? 

Perhaps the teacher of the school in question, who buys shears
specifically for cutting sheet, cares if the blades get notched, as
they may no longer cut sheet neatly and then they have to either
file the blades or buy more shears? If you buy your personal shears
for cutting jump rings and use something different for sheet, then
that’s a different kettle of fish.

Helen
UK