Nancy L.T. Hamilton

Welcome to: In the Studio with Nancy
Newsletter - Volume 11, July 2015
Let's see what shall we talk about in issue number 11?  That's always a tough decision for me.  There is so much to discuss - so much, in fact, that I get overwhelmed and then freeze up like an iceberg in January.    Well, it's not that bad but, it can take me weeks to finalize my ideas for this newsletter. But wait, I think I have an idea...

How about talking a bit about the book I'm writing?  Sorry, did you say something? Was that a "NO"?  Nah, couldn't be.  Perhaps, next time, you can stop me.  Now, I'm off and running.

So, this book - which is currently nameless - is a book of Tips and Tricks for making your life easier in the studio.  Tools, storage ideas, recipes, alternative materials, shortcuts and other stuff. I'm going to give you a sneak peak of a tiny bit of the content - who knows, you might even be tempted to buy the book when and if I ever finish it.  Sorry, couldn't hear you...all I heard was the word don't.  Don't what? Huh?  Sorry, still can't hear you.


My Book Title:  I will (hopefully) figure that out someday soon. Maybe we should have a contest?

Sample Content (you only get 9 - because the drawings take forever).
  • To work-harden wire after soldering:  grip the wire with pliers and give it a little twist.  Very good for work-hardening the posts on earrings, pins on brooches, stems on flowers, etc. that become annealed after soldering. It's also a great test for the structural integrity (strength) of your solder join.  If it pops off, solder again - better now than in a customer's hands.  
  • Speaking of ear posts:  drill a hole the same size as the post (a tight fit is imperative) push the post into the hole and then solder.  This makes for a much, much stronger join than just soldering a little piece of wire to the earring.  
  • Another option for ear posts is to cut a small disc, drill a hole in that.  Solder the wire into the disc.  Clip off excess. Solder the disc to the earring.  This technique is good if your earring needs a bit of support, you don't have anywhere to drill a hole or you screwed up and need to cover the perfectly natural, I've never-done-it-before, kind of mistake - like drilling in the wrong location with the wrong drill bit, on the wrong day, in the wrong city, wearing the wrong clothes...
  • To cut small pieces of metal with a bench shear, use packing tape, to tape a small piece of metal to a larger piece.  Push the small piece through, to the cutting area, by pushing the larger piece forward.    I love the Scotch Tear-By-Hand tape because  I'm not forced to play that old, frustrating game of: Ripping the Tape off the Scissors.
  • Does your charcoal need a bit of a spring cleaning?  Flux buildup?  Lost solder pallions (not good)?  Well, just dunk (for the dense type of charcoal only) your block into water for a few minutes.  Pull out your old tooth brush and scrub a bit.  Flip the charcoal over, face down, to let metal particles fall out.  Set aside to dry - at least overnight.  It should be pretty dry before use or you'll be creating a lot of steam - which can burn you. P.S.: Can you spot the "Flux Ducks"?
  • Speaking of charcoal blocks:  did you know that you should quench your charcoal after use - especially at the end of the day.  I keep a spray bottle filled with water for this purpose.  If you don't get why, think about your barbecue:  fire + Charcoal = lots of heat and eventually, ashes.
  •  Ever wondered what was going on at the other end of your calipers?  Well, they are used to measure interior diameters.  They are handy for measuring the inside diameter of tubing, stone settings (like bezel cups) and ring shanks. Place the item to be measured over the ends and slide the calipers open.  Subtract the interior measurement from the exterior measurement of your tubing and you'll know your wall thickness.  Necessary for tube setting and ordering new tubing.
  •   Need glue for granulation? Or for holding tiny metal pieces in place for soldering?  What about holding items to a sloped surface?  Well, you can use a mixture of something like Klyr-Fire, distilled water and flux.  4 parts glue, 2 parts water, 2 parts (water-based, not alcohol based) flux.(Klyr-Fire is a non-toxic adhesive agent made of methyl, ethyl cellulose and water [mostly water] called a "gum binder". Usually used to hold unfired enamel to metal).   Let dry and solder. Use an eyedropper for more control when making up small batches. Use a coffee cup warmer to speed up the drying process.  Use tweezers or cross-locks to move the piece to the soldering area - hot!
  • You can also make you own Klyr-Fire type product by purchasing CMC. CMC (Carboxyl Methyl Cellulose) is the same stuff in Klyr-Fire.  To make your own from powdered CMC:  5-6 parts boiling, distilled water to 1 part CMC.  For a gluier mixture, mix it in a 4 to 1 ratio.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  

Some say this quote is attributable to Mark Twain but, there is no evidence behind that claim.  It is more possibly from The writer H. Jackson Brown, Jr. in his book: “Life’s Little Instruction Book” . See source 1 and source 2.

Jeweler's to Check Out

  Linda Threadgill

Andy Cooperman
Lydia Feast
Tina Lazzarine

Heidi Lowe
Janja Prokić
Linda Threadgill

Jennifer Trask

New Webpages
New Videos

What's Up With Me?
It's camping season!  We bought an R-Pod travel trailer and are making good use of it.  So far, we forgot to take the open 2.5 gallon container of water off of the stove, before driving away.  Upon opening the trailer door, when we reached the campground, I was not thrilled to discover  2.5 gallons of water draping the floor and walls.  My throw rugs took two days to dry out. Second fun event:  we forget to tie the television (that is on a wall stand) to the wall.  This time, when I opened the door, the TV was on the floor.  The wall mount had ripped right out of the wall. Amazingly, the TV still works.  Now, I can still watch my Fawlty Towers DVD's in the evenings.  

We are off camping today and I HOPE that we can stow everything properly this time.  Fingers crossed.

  My ideal camping position.

  Ho, ho, ho 2 wet rugs and a bottle of rum.

What I'm Working on Now (jewelry wise)

From top, left:  a soon to be ring (item on left is the ring shank), a link in a chain, another ring with a marquise stone, fold-over ring: a new idea for me. It will have enameled petals on top of it someday.

Parting Shot

I must include kitty photos.  This one (a bit blurry but, cats don't sit still for long) is of Petey (aka: Nella or Mrs. Peach, Peterson), the mother of LouLoo and Ralph.  She was on my desk, getting a little air  (she loves the air conditioner - it was in the 90's this day) when I caught her looking in the mirror at me.  Ah, little mama!

Well that's it.  I'm supposed to be packing for my camping trip now.  So, it's time to rush, rush, rush.  Enjoy.  Make beautiful things and please, give yourself a break!  Love you all!

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