Monday, August 3, 2015

There has been a death in my tool family.....

I have always been careful with my tools.  I am convinced I have a bit of OCD.  I actually clean my studio (well, clean is a relative term - I put my tools away) after every single work session.  That does not mean my studio is clean, but I cannot work without my tools, and if I am in the middle of something and cannot find one...I go a little ape!

Well, my bench vice was one of the very first tools I purchased YEARS ago, I believe from Fire Mountain Gems.  I knew the device was on the outs and I was just waiting for "it" to call it quits.  It's not an exciting tool by any means, but I use mine every single day.

My old bench vise - there is a lever on the side allowing me to turn the vice portion 360 degrees.
Well, I was twisting wire last week, and the lever that controls the swivel on the vise literally gave out on me.  I swear...I ended up on my backside on my concrete floor (thank goodness there were no cameras)!

The jaws on this old vise were rough. I covered them with painters tape each week, as the the jaws were practically gouging my metals.

I found, what I thought, would be a solution to the rough jaws, aptly named Soft Jaws.  

These are available from most jewelry supply stores, and, while the idea was great, they did not fit within the jaws of my vise.

I still used them when twisting wire, but that's all they were good for. Very cumbersome if they don't fit the vise, as I need the top to be flush! :)

I did lots of research before buying a new vise, and I selected this one.

I purchased it here at Amazon for $10 cheaper than a well known jewelry supplier (don't want to get in trouble here and mention the name!)  If only I had purchased stock in Amazon in the beginning - I swear I would be rich - my hindsight is 20/20...

Anyway, this vise is awesome!  There are removable soft jaws!!!!

Perfect for twisting wire - the ends stay smooth, instead roughed up from old vise.

Sorry for the blurry picture, but you get the drift!
The soft jaws also help to keep me from marring metal when I am fold forming.

Jump-ring cutting in process - a monotonous but necessary task!  I removed the soft jaws to securely hold the wooden dowel.

I prefer a clamp-style vise that I can place on a table of my choice.  My jeweler's bench already has my forming stakes and my Flexshaft permanently affixed - there is no more room for another tool! This particular bench vise has the option for mounting permanently to a table, as well (my old vise did not offer that option).

Lastly, this vise easily swivels 360 degrees - a feature that I need in my studio!

Tube cutting jig

Swiveled 90 degrees to securely hold my hole punch
No glamour/jewelry pics today.  But, without the tools...I cannot make the jewelry!  What about you...are there any tools that you cannot live without? (My list is long)!

Thanks for stopping by!!!


Kepi said...

Great post, very informative and it's always nice to get a behind the scenes peak into a friends life, thanks Patti!

Jordan said...

It's always hard to say goodbye to a tool that's helped you with so many projects. But I'm glad it had a good run - now it's time to upgrade, lol!

Janet Bocciardi said...

Okay - Thank you!!! You did the research for me. I've been needing a vise, but dreaded trying to figure out which one. For all the reasons you stated - this sounds like the one for me. I owe you chocolate or something!

Carol Dekle said...

I'm with you on the ocd Patti! I can't stand it when things are not in their proper place. Sometimes I go a bit overboard though. (says my husband)

I love your new vise, very cool. Love that it rotates 360 degrees! You create amazing jewelry Patti, I can't wait to see what you come up with on your new vise! I hoard tools and all are useful but my favorite is probably my rolling mill!

stacilouise said...

Thanks for the I couldn't help myself :)

Ann Schroeder said...

Great post. Very informative! I'm not such a tool person, but I know I could do more if I had a few tools and - this is key - learned to use them! So I do like to read about them. I'm so glad this allowed you to get a nice upgrade!

KJ said...

Personally, I love tool posts. Very helpful.

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