Congratulations to Dianne Grant from Nova Scotia, who reviewed our AdvantEdge Silicone Polishing Kit (check out what she had to say). She chose to receive the our Crafted Findings Long-Reach Riveting System (which is super cool, I’ve tried it out for a belt project).
Gotta say, we just loved hearing your stories about products and gifts and random “finds” and what they’ve done for you as a jeweler. More contest to come….and as always, Happy Creating!
Every January, we ask fellow jewelers what their favorite jewelry-making purchase was for the previous year. Sometimes, it’s a hammer or a saw; other times it’s an iPad for designing, diamonds for setting, even a ladder for building a new studio (see 2011’s picks). Check out 2012’s list of favorite purchases…and there’s an awesome giveaway at the end!
The question asked of some of our jeweler friends and Facebook followers?
"What was the absolute favorite product that you purchased in 2012?" (intentionally a bit open-ended, open to interpretation, open to clever responses, truthful confessions, product promotion, self-promotion, sarcasm, or just the facts.)
(Maverick artisan, instructor, member of Rio Grande Tech Team)I had several amazing purchases in 2012! New house, a new car, a new puppy, and a ton of new tools! To pick a favorite tool is incredibly hard, it’s a toss-up between the Swanstrom disc cutter, the Bonny Doon urethane hammer and my V.I.C. 12. The disc cutter has saved me so much time and cuts perfectly every time. The Bonny Doon hammer has allowed me to make hoop earrings very easily and fast. And the V.I.C. 12 is just an amazing beast of a machine that will help me start mass-producing my designs a lot easier.
[Editor’s Note: There are a few spots left for Ashli’s E-Coating class during our Winter Workshops!]
(Master enamelist, instructor, all-around cool guy)
The microscopic camera I bought. I’d been looking for one for years, and after teaching at Rio in September and using theirs with my classes, I knew how to use one and what to look for [Ricky was using the Dino-Lite Video Microscope in class].
Now I have my own and travel with a camera, laptop and monitor so students can easily see what I'm doing when I demo tiny techniques. I'll hopefully figure out how to put together the footage I've been recording for both pre- and post-workshops to make students’ learning experiences even better!
(Educator, jeweler, hilarious tool maven)
The Dura-BULL bench dust collection system — it was a treat to finish dozens of castings and not look like a coal miner (and no black boogies!).
(Metalsmith, instructor, owner of Meltdown Studio)
My magnetic polishing unit! My only regret? That I didn't purchase it WAY sooner! This little polishing unit has saved me many hours of work. I used to spend lots of time hand-cleaning the investment out of my cast pieces, now I just toss them in my magnetic polishing unit, and they come out with no investment anywhere! The magnetic tumbling medium reaches even the smallest of areas, breaking up investment, and leaving metal clean and ready to finish. Also, for smaller tumbling jobs (just a piece, or a few components) this unit is perfect, instead of pulling out the large tumbler. It is compact and powerful, and makes my job much, much easier!
(Award-winning designer, cool chick, amazing PMC instructor…I speak from experience here)
I have been collecting tools and supplies since I took my first college jewelry class in 1966. There isn’t much that I don’t already have or want! Hah! I did buy some transparent silicone mold material in liquid form to pour some molds of polymer clay forms. I quite liked the results—much easier than the two-part mold material that one mixes with one's hands. Of course, like everyone else, I bought an iPad this year and it is a boon for the artist. If you are showing pictures they are much better viewed and I also use it for my "Square" credit card thingy.
(award-winning designer, metalsmith, beloved Rio Tech Team member….and hilarious as ever)
A Christmas gift from Bill Fretz! His new ‘Sledge’ forging hammer (#112-656…available from Rio in a week or so!). Finally, a heavy forging hammer designed by Bill Fretz for the jeweler. It is 800 grams of ergonomic perfection and a curvilinear masterpiece. The smallish convex head exacts focused energy on the hitting surface and allows a great view of the moving metal. The cross-peen side is curved toward the user and the handle forces you to choke up for amazing control. This heavy hitter is a game-changer and has a light feel for a heavy hitter.
(Instructor, Laser Dude, Rio Tech Team member)
I have to admit that I am getting older, though I don’t want to. My eyes ain’t what they used to be. Well, I got a Meiji microscope this year to do some stone-setting and engraving…I didn’t realize what I have been missing. What a fantastic tool. The zoom is incredible and the clarity of detail, fantastic. Of course, then all I wanted for Christmas was a new table-top laser welder, but my wife says she isn’t giving up her easy chair because we have no place else to put more tools.
(Tool designer, instructor, craftsman)
My favorite tool experience of 2012 was to take one of our new M-100 Series stakes, the M-113, and re-grind it into a new shape. The new form of the stake makes it possible to hammer flutes into a cylinder or bracelet shape so that the flutes encircle the form rather than being vertical. Our original fluting stakes, F-2A and C, were designed to make vertical freeform flutes and don't work the same as this new design. It’s a new option and was such a simple solution for shapes that usually require chasing with pitch.
This technique works with bold shapes and may still require chasing if you desire fine detail. The hammers used were the HMR-8 Rounded Narrow Embossing hammer and the HMR-9 Wide Rounded Embossing hammer. The new fluting stake is the pointed version of the M-113 on the right.
And check out all the replies we got on Facebook!
So now, it’s giveaway time!
We’d love to know what your favorite jewelry-making purchase was for 2012...tools, inspirations, spaces, what-have-you. Share here on the blog; and, if it was a product you purchased from Rio, review the product on our website and just use the word FAVORITE in caps somewhere in your review…we’ll randomly select a reviewer next Monday (January 21) who will get to choose one of the awesome products below to add to their bench!
NOTE: The winner will be chosen from the FAVORITE reviews we receive on riogrande.com….but your fellow blog readers would love to hear about your favorite purchase, so comment on the blog, too!
Krista and friends drool over the latest in every kind of technology—plasma welding, hydroforming, automated production systems, gear generations, three-dimensional printing on a massive scale—the list goes on and on! Check out her discoveries at IMTS in Chicago. . ....Read the Rest
Andy, a self-professed “non-jeweler,” dives into a Beginning PMC class by the one and only Yvonne M. Padilla. What will he create?...Read the Rest
In this video, Tim Sheriff, shows you step-by-step how to create an eye-catching sterling silver bead cage custom-sized to your standard-size marble using the Swanstrom link-forming pliers. Enjoy!...Read the Rest
Rio’s Diana and Jeff take a trip to one of their favorite vendors, Swanstrom Tools in Wisconsin. Cheese curds, disc cutters and a mad scientist were involved. . ....Read the Rest
Put the kettle on, have some flapjacks, stay in your pajamas, and check out awesome deals on fantastic products from Rio’s Closeout and Outlet page!...Read the Rest
Today, on The Studio, we’re sharing a video project which features the ever-brilliant Bill Fretz forming a concave cuff bracelet using his new Silversmith’s Forming Stakes and a brass blank. Enjoy!...Read the Rest
Our guest writer today is Jeff Herman, an internationally renowned silver restoration and conservation specialist, and founder of the Society of American Silversmiths. Jeff wrote about the PUK04 Arc Welding System, an incredible tool and a huge asset to anyone’s workshop....Read the Rest
The Studio is excited to bring you another video clip featuring Bill Fretz and his innovative forming stakes. Last year, Bill showed Studio readers some Basic Hammering and Forming. This year, he helps us take forming a few steps further with a clip from his latest DVD, Metalsmith Essentials: Forming Hollow Rings with Bill Fretz....Read the Rest
There are several barrier fluxes on the market, but why not go old-school and mix your own boric acid barrier flux? This mix has been around for a VERY long time and it works great to protect your pieces from oxidizing during soldering. Today, on The Studio, Mark Nelson tells you how to make your own!...Read the Rest