Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society

Using A Toothbrush To Set A Stone

January 15, 2024 Corkie Bolton Season 1 Episode 2
Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society
Using A Toothbrush To Set A Stone
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today’s episode I will be discussing soldering clay, using a toothbrush to set stones, and using nail polish on your saw blades.

Be sure to check out my book, Metalsmith Society’s Guide To Jewelry Making. Available internationally and you can also purchase a signed copy from directly me: https://metalsmithsociety.com/pages/book

As mentioned in this episode if you'd like to find more tips on soldering clay you can head over to https://tips.metalsmithsociety.com and search "soldering clay".

Soldering clay tip for doing production work. See it on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/p/C1zmTpztlkE

Affiliate link to purchase Renee Ford’s Hold It: https://pepetools.com/products/hold-it-the-moldable-third-arm-solder-positioning-clay-by-renee-ford-metals?aff=2

Affiliate link for Wolf Clay from Gesswein use code MSS5 to save %5: https://www.gesswein.com/bench-tools/holders/wolf-clay-6oz/?ref=metalsmithsociety

Using a toothbrush to set a stone. See it on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C1hhOgNOMVN

Link for biodegradable toothbrushes: https://amzn.to/41WaHIn

Saw blade organizing tip. See it on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0wTVVMugYQ

If you love the podcast please consider giving me a five star rating and tell a friend! Thanks for joining me!

Corkie:

Welcome to Jewelry Making Tips with Metal Smith Society, the ultimate podcast for anyone passionate about the art of jewelry making.

Corkie:

I'm your host, Corkie Bolton. Metals mith Society is a community on Instagram that has over 240,000 individuals, from professional jewelers to small business artisans, hobbyists, students and even those curious looky-loos eager to learn about jewelry making. Together we share tips, kindness and support. In this podcast, I will discuss tips from the Instagram page, provide deeper insights, address questions and share bonus tips that often surface in the comments section. So, whether you've been making jewelry for a while or you're just starting your jewelry making journey, this podcast is your go-to resource for all the jewelry making tips. So grab your tools, dust off your workbench and join me. In today's episode, I will be discussing soldering clay, using a toothbrush to set stones and using nail polish on your saw blades. But before I jump in, I want to mention my book, Metals mith Society's Guide to Jewelry Making, the ultimate handbook on making silver jewelry. With over 12,000 copies sold, this book has received over 400 five-star reviews from beginners and also professional jewelers. You can order a copy today from your local bookstore, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or you can get a signed copy, which I will link in my show notes, and if you already have the book and love it, a review would mean the world to me. Now let's jump into today's first tip. I'm excited about this tip because it features soldering clay, and that's one of my favorite tools. This particular tip is an oldie but a goodie, shared back in 2020 by Swamp Witch. In the image, swamp Witch has set up a bunch of earring components and the soldering clay is holding them in a position that the jeweler can quickly solder on the earring post, one after another. This is a great time saving tip if you have a bunch of earrings to make all at once.

Corkie:

Now let's dive in a little bit into what soldering clay is, and first I'll start by saying that there's two brands of soldering clay I've used and I recommend them both. The first is Renee Ford's Hold it and the other one is Kate Wolf's Soldering Clay. They're both non-toxic and reusable. They're both essentially the same product and they're both about $6 an ounce. So you can find a smaller jar of Kate Wolf's clay it's about six ounces for $38 and Renee Ford's comes in an eight ounce and it's about $48. So the most frequently asked questions about soldering clay is typically if it's reusable and if you can reconstitute it. Because of the price you're paying for it, you want to make sure you get a lot of use out of it and you absolutely can reconstitute it and it absolutely is reusable. Some of the best tips we've had about reconstitution are taking the bits of the clay that you've used and then pulling out the burnt bits if there are any and kind of tossing those and then taking the bits that can be reused and separating them into a plastic bag until you have a nice little collection of it. You can put on some gloves and add some distilled water, mix it back up and it should be good to go again.

Corkie:

There are so many fantastic uses for soldering clay. We've shared tips in the past about using it to hold prongs, hold round components that might otherwise roll right off your soldering table, and just generally using it to position. It's actually why it's nicknamed the moldable third arm. You can use soldering clay in a way that you could never use a traditional third arm. It can kind of hold components in positions that would be really tricky otherwise. So that's why it's such a fantastic tool. Some other soldering clay fun facts because it's non-toxic and natural, a mildew, smell or minor molding could occur because of the moisture content, but you shouldn't worry about that and just keep on using it. And then the other thing to know is that you should never use soldering clay with platinum. Platinum doesn't like carbon and this product produces carbon. So if you're using platinum, palladium or carrot golds that have palladium or platinum or rhodium, avoid using the soldering clay. My opinion is that it's definitely worth the investment, since I use it all the time. If you want to check out some other ways that people in our community have used soldering clay, you can head over to tips. metalsmithsociety. com. I'll put it in the show notes. That's the tip search page. You can type in soldering clay and any tip we've shared in the past five years that features the soldering clay or mentions it will pop up and you can check them all out.

Corkie:

The next tip I'm talking about is using a toothbrush to set a stone. This video was shared by Curtis R Jewelry, and what I love about it is that you're creating this bezel pusher that is unlikely to mar, scratch or break a fragile stone. So Curtis, in his video, is setting a gorgeous opal. His piece of jewelry in general is beautiful, so I just want to mention that. The fact that he's using the toothbrush. It helps push that bezel over and if you do accidentally touch the toothbrush to the opal, of course it's not going to do the opal any harm. So that's why it's a great DIY tool that you can use around your studio if you are working with some of those softer stones. I do want to give a shout out to Tim McCrate. In his book The Complete Metal smith, he mentions using a toothbrush as a bezel pusher. This was the first time I learned about it and I actually got Tim's blessings to mention it in my book as well. So thank you to Tim.

Corkie:

Now, this video got tons of engagement and there were definitely some great comments, and I wanted to share a few ideas that were shared by members of our community. One person mentioned you could add beeswax to pick up stones. I think that's a great idea. I do a lot of flush, setting a lot of pavé, and when you're working with these smaller faceted stones, it's great to have a little tool with a little bit of beeswax at the end to pick up and move around those smaller stones. You could certainly use the toothbrush for that. Someone else mentioned that they don't cut off the bristle part of the toothbrush. When making this tool, they do it to the opposite end and then the brush can be used to brush off dust. I would say, if you're going to use a brush to brush the dust off of your stone setting, you know, if you're drilling and there's little sprues of metal and you want to gently rub them away, a toothbrush does work great. I would definitely use extra soft. And then someone else mentioned that you can use biodegradable plastic toothbrushes and this is just a great life tip because it's certainly better for the environment. So thank you to everyone that commented and supported that post. It was fun to read through the comments. There was a lot of positivity.

Corkie:

The last tip I want to talk about today is a saw blade tip. This was shared by Lara Sermon on her own feed. This video got over a million views. In it she's taking a package of saw blades that are all the same size and she's painting the very edge with a bright nail polish. Then she created a chart which she keeps at her bench, and it shows which nail polish color corresponds to which saw blade size. Now, most jewelers do use more than one saw blade size, and so it can be confusing if you take a saw blade out of the frame to know which one was it, to put it back to be able to use it again, and so I love having a system like this so that you don't have a bunch of mystery saw blades all over your bench, which I've certainly been guilty of.

Corkie:

This post got a lot of positive engagement, which I love to see people saying thank you and commenting what a great idea it is. So I love to see the positivity, because it really means a lot to me when people take time out of their day to share a tip with all of us. The comments section also had a good idea in it, which is that you could paint the top of the saw blades so that you know when you go to put it into your soft frame, which side should be sticking up. You'd still have to pay attention to which side is sticking out. You want to make sure that the teeth are always pointing out and down when you are inserting them into your soft frame, but I do like that idea, because those little, tiny teeth can certainly be hard to see.

Corkie:

And lastly, another great topic that was brought up in the comments section of this post is rust, because some people have experienced their saw blades rusting. Now I live in Rhode Island and it's not particularly humid here. I don't live, unfortunately, across the street from the ocean. I really wish I did, but me keeping my saw blades out. I just never have had them rust. But some members of our community certainly live in more humid climates or right near the ocean, and so, if that's the case, I would definitely suggest keeping your saw blades in a airtight container.

Corkie:

We've also shared over the years a lot of really cool ways to store your saw blades, so if you want to check out some of those ideas again, you can head over to tips. metalsmithsociety. com and you could put in the words saw blade storage and see what tips pop up for you. If you want to see the tips that I talked about today, head over to the show notes and I'll link them to Instagram, and I would love, if you head over to those posts, if you want to leave a comment on them, that you listen to the podcast or even just thank the person that shared the tip. That would mean so much to us and thank you for tuning in today. Bye.

Introduction
Soldering Clay
Toothbrush Bezel Pusher
Avoiding Mystery Saw Blades
Tips Search and Appreciation