Thursday, October 28, 2010

tool time (or introducing you to some of my closest inanimate friends) ~

by mary jane dodd

my grandmother had a goal of learning something new every day - and she was quite serious about it... if she got to day's end and felt she hadn't, she pulled out the dictionary or an encyclopedia... 

it is a quality that i admire & i try to emulate (emphasis upon try)... 

patty's post from the other day on her adventures with metal was really enjoyable... i love when people share themselves... like barbara lewis showing how she enamels...i think it tones down the initial fear people have of trying something new... you know, that 'oh, i can't do that' feeling... which is mixed with an excitement because you really want to do it... 

and how else can you create your own jewelry and components unless you try?!

i have become addicted to playing with metal - to the point that i am known to rush from whatever room i am in to my work area so that i can 'try something'... 'i just need to try something' has become a phrase my kids often hear... 

so i wanted to talk about tools a little bit - because outside of having sheet metal and wire, that is where it begins... oh, and a general idea of where you are headed is nice as well! 

my favorite cannot-live-without basics (we are going to leave out pliers and torches today) for working sheet metal ::

my hammers - jewelry grade to hardware store... and i have more... hammers for shaping, texturing, riveting, chasing, etc... and for striking - one of my most favorite hammers that i didn't even know i needed - the brass head... do you know that my pile of hammers is adored by the kids that come to my house? 'they are sooo cool!"... yeah, so now you know - em, alex, and nick's mom is so cool because she has this awesome pile of hammers... and while i am a mama bear when it comes to protecting my kids - i can get a little protective of my tools as well!

do you by any chance have a hammer whose face is marred? did your kids want to use the alphabet stamping set and unknowingly pick up the wrong hammer to strike them with? no? oh... well, mine did... and instead of setting this off to the side, i discovered that i got a great texture from it... stay open... 

disc cutter - saves time and money... swanstrom makes a big beautiful one as well... invest in the lubricant... 

dapping sets... these curve your discs... 

i happen to have both... different sets for different needs... 

5 lb. anvil... i love it... 

i just want to say that it is only in the past year that i have invested in some of these different tools... i do not have a big fancy studio... i had a very basic plier set for 10 years... but if you are interested in making your own components - even simple ones like bead caps, the tools you choose make a huge difference...  i know that they can be expensive... but they will save you money... a 6" x 18" sheet of copper is about $10 - that is it... 


** mary ann just brought up the question of where to get some of these tools - and it's a good one... i will honestly tell you that i forget the price comparisons for these... but some of the places i turn to are - my local bead shop (not read as 'large craft store chain' - nothing against them, i just like to support my local bead shop and the quality is usually higher), my local hardware store, rio grande, otto frei, fundametals, objects & elements to name a few.... please feel free to share any suppliers you know of in the comments section... **

more than the money, far far more than the money for me - the right tools are a ticket to freedom... they tap right into my lifeblood - at this point in my life, i cannot fathom being without them... 

'logic will get you from A to B.
imagination will take you everywhere.'
~ albert einstein

11 comments:

SummersStudio said...

I love tools! It's always interesting to get a little peek into what other people use in the studio. Thanks for sharing yours. Growing up my father, who was something of a jack of all trades, had more tools than you could shake a stick at. Most of them were not expensive, many of them hand made, and all had their own task. I think that collection is what inspired me to become a bit of a bower bird when it comes to tools.

MaCarroll Beads said...

Mary Jane....do you have any online companies that you would recommend in terms of purchasing any of these tools?

Alice said...

A girl can never have enough tools--I found this out when I recently started working with metal. With every new project, I find I am needing a new tool. Someday I hope to be able to go to the bench and be able to finish a project without first having to order a new tool (no hardware stores here), and then wait for it to arrive in the mail a week later.

Thanks for sharing your resources!

TesoriTrovati said...

I have never met a tool I didn't like. ;-)
I am coveting the new riveting tool (which I actually saw in action at the B&B but didn't have the funds for) and I plan to get a new dead blow hammer (totally necessary if you are stamping metal!) and a tumbler... tomorrow!
Thanks for introducing us to the friends you hang out with every day. (Do you talk to them, too? Or is that only me? ;-)

Enjoy the day!
Erin

Riki Schumacher said...

Great post MJ, very informative. Thanks for sharing. Riki

MÂȘ Reyes said...

Las ferreterias son mis tiendas favoritas, no me canso de mirar y comprar cuando puedo. Besos

Carol said...

Well, I don't work metal and don't think I ever will. But I do know that having the right tools and quality tools in whatever media you work is key.

This is a great post and I hope others that are consumers see it. People need to see that the quality work you do takes not only talent and skill but a considerable financial investment. Perhaps they would better appreciate artisan work.

Boot ~C said...

Harbor Freight has some hammers & dapping sets, also files & a few other things you can always use, if you have one in your town.( & reader's digest always has a 20% off coupon in their magazine!) I am a sucker for a tool!

stregata said...

Ah, tools... are a girl's best friends! Thanks for introducing yours. You really do have some cool hammers!

quiltingjewel39 said...

Love tools too. Like someone else said, it is always fun and informative to see what others use. Do you have a good source for sheet? Thanks for all the good info.

mairedodd said...

glad to hear everyone loves their tools as much as i do!
for sheet and wire i use monsterslayer.com

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