My New “Toys”

by bethwicker on October 5, 2008

I am a confessed “tool junkie”, and love new tools of all types.  I have just managed to get two new “toys” set up this week, and am having a blast with them.

The first is a used rolling mill I bought from a fellow Orchid member earlier this year.  I got it set up this week, and am really enjoying playing with creating texture in my metals.  Being a “pattern” person, this is a real delight.  All of my work, in whatever media I am using, refers back to patterns.  So being able to create patterns in the metal in this new way is great fun.  I can’t wait to experiment more to see what I can do with it.  I do need to find a better location for the mill… right now it is sitting on top of a file cabinet, and it really needs to be somewhere that I can screw it down.  I will have to get creative with that!

My other new “toy” is a Little Smith Oxy/Propane torch.  I have been using an air/acetylene torch with a Pretso-lite tip, and took at workshop at Monnda Welch’s studio in NC this spring.  Monnda has Little Smith torches, and I fell in love at first use!  The tip is SO much finer than the smallest Presto-lite, and I could get in to solder in tiny little spaces with great success.  It was a real eye-opener.  I came home and immediately ordered one from Rio, and finally got it set up Friday.

The only down-side is that I am told it is not safe to house the Propane inside, so I have to bring the tank in, hook it up, use it, unhook it, and carry it back out every time 🙁  Not cool!  My friend who helped me set it up Friday (thanks Doug!) told me I can get a quick-connector that will make this whole process much easier, so that is on my shopping list for this coming week.  I’m also going to see about getting a set of “wheels” for the propane tank so I don’t have to keep lifting the heavy thing!  Rolling will be MUCH better for my back.

Below are two pictures of my first experiment with the rolling mill.  I made a sandwich of some file folder bigger than my silver sheet, then added a piece of upholstery cloth with the texture I wanted, then my silver sheet.  I ran this through the mill, playing with how much pressure I needed to exert to achieve the amount of texture I wanted.  Discovered that I should run the big sheet through BEFORE cutting into smaller pieces, as it did deform the shapes a bit.  Love the texture though!  The bracelet is set with Moonstone, Red Coral, Lapis Lazuli, Peridot, Rhodochrosite (sp?) and Jade.  The name refers to Jacob’s coat of many colors from the Old Testament in the Bible.

view of entire bracelet


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Beth October 9, 2008 at 2:55 am

Beth, so interesting to read what you’re up to! Jewelry looks fabulous. Nice to know that I’m friends with someone who is so talented!

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