New Words For My Tool Vocabulary

Wednesday, July 23

How many of you have ever used a Pen Vice or Hemostat?

Looking around. Ok. One person. LOL!! Thought so.

If you are like me, clueless in the tool shed, not only have you never used them, you never even HEARD of them.

So… here’s the thing. (To coin a phrase from Adrian Monk.) I was sitting in class Sunday looking at the pile of tools covering the beading mat. And I mean covering it. There were several that looked the same, only difference being the tip. Round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, flat nose pliers, wire cutters. And a tape measure, polish cloth, file, scissors. Also included were tools used especially for ring making. A long metal ring mandrel, various plastic ring sizes on a chain, a rawhide mallet, a PEN VICE and a HEMOSTAT. Wow!! I had seen them all except the last two. No clue what they were or would be used for. After class, I decided to purchase these two and add them to my collection.

The Pen Vice is used to twist wire. It is pretty cool WHEN the wire is inserted into the right spot. The only thing moving on my first attempt was my wrist. LOL!! Did you know round wire will not twist?

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A hemostat is like a very long pair of scissors that clamps down tightly on an object. When making rings, it holds the shank in place so you do not have to worry about it shifting.

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I will probably use the hemostat a lot. It will come in handy to hold wire when wirewrapping. Not sure how much use I will get out of the pen vice but it was cute, all nice and shiny. 😀

My First Wirewrapped Rings

Monday, July 21

My class went well yesterday. I surprised myself by being able to follow along and not fall behind the other students like I normally do. I tend to want to SEE how something turns out before I pick up my tools. And in this case… I wanted to be safe and not sorry and not make a mess of sterling silver. BUT I have been practicing with wire all month so as the instructor said to do something, I did it!!

The supply packets were already made up but I got to pick out the crystal color for the ring center. I chose Jet Black. The other ladies selected pink, topaz and olive. There were 4 of us. Only 4 students allowed per class which is good. It allows for more personalized instruction and encourages a relaxed, slower paced, conversational atmosphere.

The only requirement for taking this class was a beginner’s wire working class. I took that last year but didn’t sign up for any others since that class was a hand killer!! I must be regaining some of the strength in my hands since I had no major issues yesterday handling the tools.

I used a pen vice and a hemostat for the first time. Felt like I could have replaced Pam Anderson on Tool Time. I’m the new Mrs. Tool Time. Just need a leather holster for all my new goodies. Which BTW are starting to accumulate. Pretty soon I will need a tool box like hubby.

Here is the ring I made in class from Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. The Black One. (The others I made last night and this morning.)

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It has 2 silver bead caps, one 8mm round crystal and two 4mm bicone crystals. Used 22 gauge square soft and 20 gauge 1/2 round 1/2 hard sterling silver wire. 22 gauge to build the ring, the shank. 20 gauge to wrap the bottom of the ring.

I made several more rings in Indicolite (aqua) and Siam (dark red) and have another one in Olivine (lime) started. The red one, made with silver spacers, has a sterling silver base and then I wrapped the ends on both sides above the spacers. The olive one will be made the same. I just need to transfer from pretend wire to SS.

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Afraid no longer of Sterling Silver. Yippee!! Break out the champagne!!

Feeling The Urge To Work With Sterling Silver

Friday, July 18

Is it time yet? I think it is. Time to move up to sterling silver.

I have a few jewelry pieces made from sterling silver but they were made in class. I have been practicing with inexpensive wire all month so I think I have enough confidence to try it on my own with some REAL wire.

I have been studying designs in my wireworking books and think I know what I want to make. There’s a cool pair of earrings that looks plain and easy. That is usually my criteria when attempting something new. Plain and easy.

And speaking of class… Yep. You knew I couldn’t go a month without showing up somewhere like a sponge ready to absorb whatever I can from talented instructors. I have a class this coming Sunday to make a wire wrapped ring.

That should be interesting. My first class making a ring.