All posts in category Techniques

Tool Talk

Do You Have Trouble Filing Straight? If you have taken a class with me or if you have seen me work, undoubtedly you have seen me use a miter vise. My Ohio pal, Debbie Brown, introduced me to the toolmakers vise, a kissing cousin to the miter vise. What I like about this tool is […]

Marching To The Table

Well, the Lord knows I do love comfort food. Warm whole grain bread, pasta in almost any form, homemade pie, and on and on. I am sure you are not particularly interested in my food preferences, let alone food addictions, so I will write about the Yuma Symposium instead. “The Yuma Symposium is comfort food […]

Bumpy, Crusty, and Patterned

Dress up for Simple Forms When you like simple forms – clean lines and curves without too much embellishment – the danger is the yawn. I guess most of all my own. Falling asleep at the torch is dangerous after all. To avoid this potential hazard, I started looking at surfaces to dress up my […]

Cutting Metal Accurately With The Shear

When you are cutting a piece of sheet metal with a bench shear, blacken both ends with a Sharpie and then scribe your cut line into the ink. If you can (safely) look down over the blade area and line up the two scribe lines with the bottom edge (where the blade will make contact […]

The L-Square

    A common task in the studio is to square up sheet metal. Using an L-square is a simple way to do this. The first image shows you three L-squares of different sizes. Line up the short or long leg of the L-square with the straight edge of a table. Both silver L-squares have […]

Circle Divider

When I started making bangles with stones placed equally around the perimeter I realized the significance of using a circle divider. I have used them for other purposes since. Simply place your object on the circle divider template and mark with a permanent ink pen. Because these marks disappear with the heat of the torch, […]


Beyond Finding Center Dividers can also be used to define arcs and circles. Templates offer a limited number of options which the dividers can easily supplement. Another use for the dividers is finding proportions. Let’s say you are creating a rectangular piece that will have a horizontal wire soldered across. Where do you place it? […]


    It is the small things that drive me wild. You know, attaching a tube set so that it is placed just a bit off center. Or, making one earring slightly larger than the other. These small mistakes have motivated me to find ways to be more precise. In this series I will talk […]

Heat Shields

I taught a class on Pins over the weekend and am reminded yet again how much I appreciate heat shields. In the first image you see a bezel which has been soldered with medium solder. I am attaching a frame to one side also using medium solder. The frame and bezel are pretty close together […]

Tube Bending

You may have been making jewelry just fine without knowing how to bend tubing. However, if you know how, you just might develop a passion (or maybe an interest) in using this skill. Make sure you anneal the tubing first, and place it in the spring where it most closely fits. Gently curve the spring […]