Friday, February 19, 2010

Creating jewelry means being tool-inventive

Anyone who has worked for a while in a workshop will know, that you ever so often find yourself in a situation where you need something to help you finish a job and you don't have that wonder-tool around. Sometimes it's because you just don't own one, sometimes because it doesn't exist. In any case, the solution is to create one or find a substitute in order to proceed. I often giggle a bit by myself when I see how I go about it and am thinking ”good thing my customers don't get to see this – they'd never take me or my jewelry serious!”
But then again – we humans would have never evolved to whatever (more or less brilliant) stage we are at currently, if it hadn't been for our creative minds and so I'm okay with it. If it gets the job done, I'm peachy.
So, here are 3 of my latest twists to the toolbox, free for everyone to copy or laugh at ;-)

Roll it baby!
Recently I created a bracelet for the first time in many years and needed a mandrel to support it, while setting the stone. In the wonderful forum on Etsy that I attend with some fantastically skilled and very nice jewelry smiths, it was suggested to use an old baseball bat, if you didn't have a proper bracelet mandrel lying around. Well, I live in Denmark, and the national sport here is soccer and hence, old used baseball bats isn't something more or less everybody can get their hands on. And an air-filled leather ball just won’t cut it I'm afraid, so I had to get inventive and find something else, fast. So here we are. May I present the stone-rolling-pin-come-mandrel? Maybe not the most charming setup, but it worked. Ha!

Perched on a peg soldering
When creating rings like I do with a lot of tiny doo-dads resting on and around the focal stone (and other places), it's impossible to just stack it on and solder it. You have to have some kind of support, mimicking the way the finger eventually will carry the ring. Yes, you can buy lovely soldering pegs for just that purpose, but I just never got around to do that. Instead I ended up sawing and filing a piece of soldering mat so it would roughly fit the curve of the ring -and using another piece to wedge the ring tight so it doesn't move. Some day I'm gonna get a professional one, but this version works reasonably well and I am happy with the end result.

Soothing vanilla saw blades
KLING -another saw blade broke. Argh! Bile is rising and you feel like throwing the piece you are working on through the room and yell something obscene. Grumbling and with a deep soon-to-meet-Botox crease in your forehead you reach out for the batch of yet unbroken saw blades. And all of a sudden, the soothing scent of vanilla, bringing happy memories of ice cream on the beach and that lovely sunset to your mind hits your nostrils. How? Because I am keeping my saw blades in one of those test-tubes that you can buy real vanilla pods in. Once you have scraped out the seeds and used those for something delicious and have blended the left-over and now empty pods with sugar to create luxuriously rich vanilla sugar, you are left with a nice and still very fragrant test tube with lid. Botox has moved a tad further into the future, thanks to using it as a saw blade container :-)


  1. lol!!! Saw blades that smell like vanilla. That is great, and so true. Usually when getting a new blade, you're cranky that one broke, the smell of vanilla knocks you into a happy stupor instead! I love it!

  2. Love these, and they're just further evidence of your creativity - as a customer, I'd be impressed! I'm very short on cash right now & have actually been trying to figure out what I can rig up to make bracelets, so I particularly appreciate your rolling pin suggestion. Thanks!

  3. Clever!

    What are soldering pegs??

  4. Hehe - forgive my clumsy grasping for words, since English isn't my native tounge :-)

    I found out that it's called a ceramic mandrel (makes sense really). You can see one here:|1267213841221=cheramic+mandrel