Saturday, August 30, 2008

First Friday Favorite Tools

I’d like to call this “First Friday Favorite Tools” but I didn’t get it done in time for August's first Friday. But, I’m going to call it that anyway and every once in awhile on a Friday I’ll add something I’m using to my blog and try to explain how I use it.

For one thing if you don’t have a set of calipers, get one! They are the most useful tool that I own. I never used to use them. I used a ruler and a sharpie to mark things. What was I thinking with the eye ball method? You can measure your bead for a liner, easy peasy, add the needed millimeters and then mark the tubing with the calipers (a quick scratch will do it). From then on it’s just the usual directions for lining that bead. The calipers will measure in both inches and millimeters. So, you can measure a bead to post it; or a mandrel because we have a gazillion sizes, you can do that too. I also use my calipers for metalsmithing. Measure and mark! So run on down to your local Harbor Freight and get a set, they’re about $20.00. Once you start using them you will always want them around.

The second item I never want to be without again is small, but powerful. That steel looking thing there is a hand vice. It was made in France and is about as close as I’ll probably ever be to France in this lifetime. You can use it for squaring off your metal (or your tubes), by putting them into the vise, cutting and then running your file against that edge. Now this is not necessarily good for the file (move the tube up a smidgen) and don’t use a pricey one. Oh, please be gentle because that vice did not come from Harbor Freight. It’s from Rio Grande Jewelry Supply. You can also get an absolutely PERFECT 45 degree angle cut. I’m going to need that in the future…near future. I can not tell you the amount of times that I have had to refile something because the ends did not match well enough to solder. This has saved me time and aggravation. Time is money and well, frankly I never have enough of either but if you want this French version it is going to set you back $175.00. For that amount it ought to ask you what you want, find the materials, and bring you the finished piece. It doesn’t! But, there are some alternatives and an inexpensive model in the Rio catalog. If you part-time your metalsmithing it would be fine. I use my tools a lot and this is a very high quality steel.

Last, but not least, I threw in my trusty Sony camera. That baby can shoot at 12 mega pixels- Oh baby, Oh!). So, hey then, how’d she take the picture? I have another Sony, it’s a huge thing and sits on the tripod all of the time. Lugging that baby around to shoot photos for this blog and of family would be way inconvenient. I like this little camera. It fits anywhere and takes a great photo.

This is it for the First Friday tool session. Not sure what’s up for the first Friday of the month tool talk next time but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.


rosebud101 said...

Sharon, no matter how hard I try, I am tool incompetent. I have 3 different calipurs, and I don't know how to use any of them. I just switched over to a canon digital camera. I love that. As for anything else, give me that hammer. I can use that!

angelinabeadalina said...

The calipers sound much better than my metal ruler and assorted sharpies, so I'm gonna have to take your advice about those! Oh, and that vise makes me drool! Of course, I'm not sure why *I* need one, but it sure is pretty!

Right Turn ArtWerks said...

Yes, get the calipers and measure those beads for linings. Measure several different ways becuase one side might be acouple of hundreths off. No biggie. Just add 3mm to the largest number and that is the length to cut your tubing. The vise is what I use to true it up and ring shanks, bezels, etc. I've never had one until recently so it's a luxury. Better than Clairol..."and, I'm worth it!" I always wanted a head of hair to shake but I'll settle for the vise. : - ).