A Couple of Ideas Jewelers Might Find Helpful

 

As an artist, many years ago I used to also build jewelry as part of my living but have spent most of my recent years printmaking and teaching at a university. I had a well-equipped shop doing constructed and centrifugal lost wax casting; working in both gold and sterling on commissioned piece – as well as selling through some outlets across Canada. Luxury taxes made jewelry not as profitable as commercial art so I after a number of years stopped serious jewelry manufacturing and turned to printmaking and teaching.

As I am now very old, I would like to pass on two simple modifications of common tools we all use, which has made working on a piece easier and less frustrating. I have followed the jewelry forum with great interest, as well as looked what equipment is for sale to the craftsmen, to see nothing like my simple innovations.

When I started to work in titanium, I found its’ two main characteristics to be overlooked for use in making a pair of self-closing tweezers. The high melting temperature of the metal and the fact it is a very poor heat conductor make this possible. By using appropriate length of suitable spring steel to supply the power for the closure, two pieces of titanium can be pop riveted to produce tweezers such as these.

72 DSCN090272 DSCN090772 DSCN0905

I am sure you could spend more time and do a better job than I did on the two shown, but they were assembled in a hurry at different times; when the first thinner prototype set was mislaid. The working principal is to set a fulcrum point (lines) somewhere in the middle of the tweezers so that pressure on the spring section would force the titanium points apart. One doesn’t need much pressure as they are meant to hold pieces of solder while tipping the claws holding a diamond – or critical joints where heat dissipation and fear of tweezers soldering together is avoided.

I also use a sharp titanium or tungsten point to push solder around.

72 peg 372 peg 172 peg 2

Beside the regular V slotted board for sawing, I have been using tapered wooden table legs to make special filing bench boards. A slight tapper will allow you to turn the peg into any ordination suited best for filing at that time. I have a large selection of pegs that I even change shape to better accommodate the work.

I have been included in major shows in those years, even won DeBeers Diamond major award in 1977. You can see pictures of some work that I had time to photograph in those busy days on my blog at: http://www.ndiprintmaking.ca/jewelry.html. Since I have the tools, metal and skill, I do sometimes build pieces for members in my family.

Nik Semenoff D. Litt

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