Friday, December 11, 2009

This new hook is not just for the birds!

When I set up my tool stations in my shop area I used an old Dremel tool holder for my flex shaft. It was a metal pole with a hook on the top. It was wobbly and didn't really hold the motor at the right height. In the user manual that came with my Foredom Flex Shaft it said to hang the motor at least 30 to 40 inches above the work surface. It was frustrating because with the motor hanging at about 24 inches on the Dremel tool holder, the weight of the shaft pulling down on the hand piece made it difficult to hold. I had an extension piece for the Dremel hanger pole, but the taller I made the pole, the more wobbly the whole thing became. Also, the clamp on the Dremel tool holder pole is plastic and not very strong. This would be fine for a Dremel, but not for the weight of the Foredom.

Old Dremel Pole

So, I got on the web and searched for a better solution to my problem. I searched for hooks, poles, and hangers of all kinds. Nothing looked quite right until I stumbled on something on a bird website of all things. It was a long steel pole with a large hook on the end that comes with an adjustable bracket so it can be attached to a wall or deck railing. It was made for hanging a bird feeder, but it looked like it would be perfect for holding my flex shaft. And, on the bracket was a knob that could be tightened to hold the hanger in any position or it could be allowed to rotate freely. The info on the site said that it could hold 15 pounds, so I figured it would be heavy duty enough for my needs. When the package arrived I was really pleased with my purchase! The hanger is heavy gauge steel, and the bracket is heavy duty and well made. I attached it to a stud on the wall behind my flex shaft area so that the top of the hook is at about 40 inches.

New Bestnest Pole

The hand piece for the flex shaft is at just the right height for me while sitting on one of my tall stools. To find this hook go to: http// , and look for the Green Esteem Extended Reach Wall Bracket, Item # GRE-60500, Black, 36", Price:$29.99. It has worked out really well, and has freed up a lot of space on my bench top and allows me to move freely without bumping into a pole. They have other sizes & prices of wall hooks available, but this one had the longest reach which is what I needed for my workspace.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I don't care if the walls aren't painted - I'm moving in!

The weekend before Thanksgiving I taped and floated all the joints on the sheetrock walls.  And, even though it's not completely finished, I moved a lot of my tools into the area. I had 3 full days off from work after Thanksgiving and I wanted to be able to spend it making jewelry.  I arranged my work space so that all of my tools were easily accessible. I set up stations for doing each part of the process. In the shop I have a cutting, drilling, and grinding area, an area for annealing, soldering, and pickling, an area for hydraulic pressing and forming, and an area for wheel polishing.  In the studio I have an area for drawing, designing, and beading, an area for hammering, an area for my tabletop kiln, and a wet area for anything that requires water, like my tumbler, my shaper, and my lap machine.

This is one side of the "shop" area.

On Thanksgiving Day we had family over and did the usual cooking, feasting, and spending time with family. It was great having everyone here, but secretly I could hardly wait for Friday to come.  With all the construction projects and other things going on, I had not had much "Studio" time.

This is the other side of the "shop" area.

On Friday I finished organizing my workspace. I have a new air/acetylene torch that I had gotten several weeks before, but had not set it up yet.  I wanted to wait until my husband could help me. (I have a healthy fear of gas tanks and fire, and wanted his help to be sure I was following the directions properly so as not to blow up myself or the house!)  He helped me attach the regulator, the hose, and torch handle, and we checked all the connections with a mixture of liquid dish soap and water. Everything was tight, so I fired it up and tried all the tips. Five different sized tips came with the torch. The second to the smallest tip seems to work the best for soldering.

My new torch!!!!  Wooooohoooooooo!

On Saturday I started making a new piece that had tubing as part of the design. Cutting each piece by hand using a jeweler's saw was really tedious and time consuming. About half way into the project I was really wishing for some kind of tool to make the process faster and easier. Yes, I know I said "No more buying tools."  So, I will have to change that - no more big expensive tools for now!  Anyway, I did some looking on the web at several different miniature miter/cut-off saws.  The places selling them claim that they make the job of cutting tubing much easier.  I also did some reading on the Ganoksin website to see what tools other jewelers were using for cutting tubing. Many of them wrote about using a miter saw made by Proxxon, and a few of them wrote about the mini miter/cut-off saw available from Micro Mark. After reading reviews on a lot of different websites I could tell that the only way to find out which would work was to order one and try it out.  I decided that I would order the mini miter/cut-off saw from Micro Mark to start out with and hope for the best.