For you, jewelry-making and resin-working gals, I thought I’d share some of the tools or materials that I find really helpful and can make your life easier while you indulge in your dreamy, manicure-ruining, zen-inducing hobby or business.
Let’s start with the most obvious, expensive, and mind-blowing tool:
The Foredom flex shaft!
It was a challenge to learn how to use this tool by myself. There isn’t a one-stop shop where you can learn all about the various tasks it can accomplish and the uses for its various bits, so I used a combination of resources to slowly build up my knowledge and make the most use of it. I’m still a long way to using my flex shaft to its full advantage, but here are some examples of tasks that are made easy by this tool:
Some of the resources you can use to learn more about the flex shaft are:
1 - www.ganoksin.com/
If you’re not a member yet, do yourself a favor and become one. It’s a wonderful community, sharing knowledge on anything from tips and materials to the business aspect of your jewelry making and selling. You can ask questions, and you're almost guaranteed to get generous information from knowledgeable jewelers.
2 – The book The Flexible Shaft Machine – Jewelry Techniques, by Harold O’Connor. It’s a black and white book, and the pictures are sometimes not very clear, but it’s still the resource I found with more info about the flex shaft bits in one place.
3 – You Yube videos
There are various, just search for "flex shaft". Nancy Hamilton has some pretty humorous and informative videos, including one on the use of this tool:
You can purchase different handpieces for your flex shaft depending on your intended use. The photo below shows you the two I use: No. 1 is the H.20 Quick-Change handpiece. I loooooove it because a quick flick of the lever allows for a speedy change to a different bit when you’re handling different jobs. It is the one I use most often. One drawback is that the collet only takes bits with a 3/32 shank, so you are somewhat limited in the type of bits you can use. I found that diamond drills, for example, used to drill or enlarge holes in stones or pearls, do not come in this shank size.
Which brings me to my No. 2 handpiece: the H.30 Key Type Chuck handpiece. It will take whatever size shank you need! However, it is a bit more cumbersome to change bits, you have to use a chuck key to release and tighten them, and it adds time to your process. But it allows you maximum flexibility in terms of the variety and number of bits you can use. And mine is PINK! How cool is that?
Circle divider template
I use it all the time to mark the spots for holes in circular shapes (works for others as well). So easy to use! Just align your metal circles with the circle lines on the template, and use the diagonal lines to mark the spots where you’ll drill holes with a Sharpie pen.
I got my circle divider template from another very useful and worth-every-penny book:
Joanna Golberg’s Making Metal Jewelry. I just made a few copies of the template on the book, covered them with self-adhesive contact paper and always have them around.
Thingy to hold pieces flat while resin cures
Call it what you like – it’s a spongy-plasticky square that came with some gadget I bought. While making resin earrings, all the soldering needs to be finished before I work the resin into them. When I have post earrings, I need to stick the resin into something that will ensure the earrings will be completely flat and the resin does not pour out – it’s what I used, for example, for the earrings below. I’m sure you have equivalent spongy stuff around that you can use – think outside the box!
Yep. I go through lots of them. I use them to clean bits of glue when I’m gluing pearls, to remove resin from my hands while I’m working it, and to swipe spills away from the pieces while the resin is still wet.
And if like me you are the mother of a son or daughter who stopped needing baby wipes many years ago, the scent will remind you of that wonderful time when you were his/her whole world…
Not quite for jewelry making but part of the process – it’s great to prop pieces for photographing! Like the purple earrings!
Like we say in Mozambique, “fica bem” – stay well (enjoy yourself, have a great time, be healthy, all into one!)
Introvert quote of the day:
Thunder is good; thunder is impressive. But it’s lightning that does the work. Mark Twain
Hi, I'm Carla
I love making jewelry, travelling, taking photographs, reading, cooking, experimenting new things, living in Africa,finding leopards and eating roasted marrow bones. Oh, and making the jewelry that celebrates your uniqueness!