The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Tech Tidbits: Rounding Wire Ends, DIY Drill Sharpening, and Argentium Tarnish Removal

Apr 4, 2012
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Have you heard? Our Tech Support team is on Facebook! And every Tuesday they share tips, tricks, and shortcuts they’ve learned from years of working at the bench. And when I say years, I mean DECADES worth of work in the jewelry industry. All together the Tech team has been making jewelry for almost 170 years!

If you’ve missed some of their past tips, you’re in luck! Below are some of the tidbits they’ve shared in recent weeks. Enjoy!

LYNX cup bur set

 

Rounding Ends of Wire with Cup Burs:

Sometimes you need to round off the end of a wire so that it’s not so sharp. While a file and some sand paper is one way to do that, using a cup bur makes the job much easier. Something like this cup bur would do the trick. But choosing the right size of bur can be something of a mystery.

Pick one that has a diameter that is slightly larger than the diameter of the wire in millimeters. The gauge and millimeter size of the wire is listed in the catalog and on the web for each wire. Or you can use a set of calipers and measure the wire to get the right size cup. So if you have a 22 gauge wire (.65mm), get a .9mm cup bur. If you have an 18 gauge (1mm), get a 1.2 or 1.3mm cup bur.

 

 

 

Irwin wire-gauge twist drills, set of 60

Sharpening Drill Bits:

Ever get a dull drill bit? Ever have it be the ONE drill bit that is the perfect size and the last one you have, but you need a sharp one right now? If you’re like me, this can happen from time to time.

Did you know that you can sharpen drill bits with a separating disc mounted in a flex shaft? With a little practice, you can sharpen bits any time you need to; it sure has saved me a lot of time and money. We recently found this video on one of our favorite jewelry sites: Ganoksin Bench Tube. The people at GIA put together a wonderful little video explaining how to do it. Check it out!

 

Watch the video and give it a shot.

 

 

Removing Tarnish from Argentium:

We were discussing tarnish here in Tech Support the other day (as we often do) and we remembered something Ronda Coryell shared with us, which she learned from Jeffery Herman, founder of the Society of American Silversmiths. He shared with Ronda how you can use Windex or hand sanitizer to remove tarnish from Argentium.
Want to learn more? Check out Ronda’s article on argentium tarnish removal.
The Society’s website is full of very useful information and well worth the time exploring. Check it out!

Argentium, Volumes 1-4, Complete DVD Set

And if you'd like to learn more about working with Argentium from a master, you must check out Ronda Coryell's 4-disc set!

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