Showing posts with label jewelry making tools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jewelry making tools. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Tool I Cannot Live Without

The Flex Shaft tool is one of the most versatile tools a jeweler can have at his disposal.  It's super handy because it's pedal operated, leaving you in complete control!  As you can see in the photograph below, this tool can be used for many applications (not only metal work).  

There are many attachments, bits and accessories you can add to your Foredom Tool.    

In the past, I had purchased a drill press to drill holes in my fused glass pieces, but now with my Foredom flex shaft, I no longer need the drill press for this; I can perform all of my work from my work station.  This tool was the best purchase for my craft!  I could not live without it!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What Torch to Use for Jewelry Making?

Are you overwhelmed and intimidated when it comes to choosing a torch for your jewelry making projects?  When I first started in jewelry making, I spent many hours researching the subject.  My goal here is to save you the leg work so that you can spend more time making jewelry...  

First of all, if you're only starting out and would like to gain experience in handling a torch and getting a feel of how it works and reacts on metal, I would suggest the Blazer, self-igniting, butane, micro-torch.  It's a great little torch! It handles easily, it's easy to light and has great reviews from experienced jewelers-

Here are a few pros and cons for this micro torch:

-Handles easily (you can hold it comfortably);
-Self-ignites (open the gas valve and press the trigger-you'll hear a small clicking sound and that's it);
-Easily adjust flame strength with valve;
-Heats up to 2500 degrees F (1371.1 Celsius);
-Continuous burn time of 1.5-2 hours;
-Safety component, manually lock the ignition trigger when not in use;
-Flame is precise which is wonderful for small components;
-I have used this torch for larger pieces such as soldering a bezel to a silver plate and it takes longer than my * jumbo torch * (need to be patient);
-Great for Copper, Silver, Brass, Sterling Silver (I never tried it on gold);
-I tried enameling with it (takes long, but it still works);
-Silver Clay (works well);
-Fuel is Butane (easily purchase at any hardware store);
-Super easy to refill with butane - comes with instructions if you're a newbie.
-Measures 6 inches tall.

In my opinion, this is a great little torch.  I keep it handy on my jewelry bench.  It's my go to torch and I would highly suggest this torch for any beginner and even more experienced jewelers.

Now let's talk about the Jumbo Max Torch-

The Jumbo Max Torch is a great torch as well.  

Here are the pros and cons of the Jumbo Max:

-Handles ok, although it's bigger and taller than the Blazer, it measures 7 inches tall;
-Features an igniting system ( no need for a lighter);
-Child proof lock system;
-Maximum heat of 2600 degrees F (1426.27 degrees Celsius);
-The flame is quite large and strong (not precise like the Blazer Micro torch);
-Continuous burn time of 90 minutes (which is good considering how large the flame is);
-It is possible to use this torch for both smaller pieces and larger pieces.  Beware though: it takes experience and you will ruin pieces before you gain that experience.  It's painful when you put lots of work into a design only to see it melt away..  If this is your torch of choice, I would suggest you practice, practice, practice before attempting an important project.  On the upside, I used this torch for years for all of my jewelry making designs because I was on a budget, but now I use both torches for different applications: the smaller Blazer for my delicate work, and the Jumbo Max for heavier work.  

-Great for annealing metal quickly;
-Works wonderful for copper, silver, sterling silver, brass (haven't tried it on gold);
-Wonderful for enameling (because of the large flame);
-Works awesome on silver clay;
-Uses Butane (which you can easily purchase at any hardware store);
-Re-fills quickly and easily;

In Summary:

If you are a beginner and haven't had any experience with torches, I would highly suggest starting with the Blazer GB2001.  As you gain experience, ease into the Jumbo Max as a second torch for your heavier work.  In my opinion, as an artisan, this is a great way to keep your expenses low.  Later, when you're ready to invest and explore, you can get into a more pro jeweler's torch like the Smith little torch, which we will explore in another post.

I hope this review has helped you in making a choice.  Once you learn to use a torch, you're embarking into a whole other dimension of jewelry making!