Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Couple of Recent Commissions

Recently, I have been getting more and more commissions, so I thought I would share a couple of recent ones with you all.

This commission was for 6 charms with the phrase 'sole sister' accross the bottom and the date of the '11 Boston Marathon on the back. On the front is also NYC over BOS. The significance, is that the runners 5 friends supported her at both the NYC marathon last year, and the Boston marathon this year. She wanted something that would combine both races, but focus mainly on the Boston marathon (why we used the date). I'm not usually a metal stamper, but I did have the appropriately sized letters and numbers, so I thought I'd give it a go. I thought they came out good, and the runner thought they came out wonderfully! :) The picture has 5 of the charms facing front and one facing back. They all have that date stamped on the back. It's really sweet that she wanted something special to present to her friends for their support.

During the Dedham Open Studios in May, a woman came to my table three separate times. She kept looking at my pendants and each time she came back, we talked about them, especially the ones that look like pictures. I gave her the scoop about how I make them. How all the little pieces are cut out, how I make my wire rivets, how I piece them's always fun to talk about the process. Anyhoo...a week went by and she emailed me that she wanted to buy a Happy House pendant, but a much smaller version. I told her that since I would have to make that up special anyway, we should personalize it in any way that she wanted. She decided on having 11:11 on the back with a small heart above the colon. I don't know the significance of that, but I told her I could do it. So I did it, and she loves it!

This is smaller than a quarter. I loved making it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Tool Review

The Knew Concept Saw Frame

Last Christmas, I asked for this saw frame from Knew Concepts, and I got it from Santa (ok, Scott) I have been using it ever since, and I thought I would write a review about it.

Firstly, here is a picture of the saw frames I have been using for years. Very generic, 5" throat and 3" throat.

I wanted to try the Knew Concept saw frame mostly because I do break a lot of blades and the company claims that by using their frames, you will break less blades. This claim is spot on.

This saw frame, at first, was a bit intimidating. It looks like something from outer space. I got a 5" frame which is much larger than the 5" frame I am used to using. The way I saw and pierce is very fluid, so it was inevitable that I would bump into bench related things as I was first getting used to using it, because it's so much bigger (if you can imagine a saw pumping up and down and turning constantly). I almost gave up and went back to my tried and true, but I persevered.

The Knew Concept saw frame is made of lightweight aluminum which resists bending and warping and is only a few ounces.The weight (or lack of) also took some getting used to. The way it first felt in my hand almost defied gravity. I was afraid I would break it! But much to the contrary, I have not yet broken a blade while using it, and I have been using it since January. It feels good to throw a saw blade away because it's dull (not because it broke) I also have less arm strain after a long sawing/piercing session...bonus!

Another reason this frame took so long to get used to using is the tension setting spring. Tension of the saw blade is of utmost importance if you don't want to constantly break blades. Traditional saw frames take brutal human force to achieve the ping of a high E guitar string. My new frame has a knob to tighten the tension (missing out on some exercise there). There is a trial and error period to figure out the right combination of tightening the knob and lowering the 'top of the blade' holder, which bizarrely are the same motion. But I've figured it out, so I'm happy.

The key to smooth sawing and piercing is letting the saw do the work while you guide it along. This saw frame is perfect if you can 'let go' like that. After an initial 'break in' period (mine was about 2 months) this could end up being your favorite saw frame. It is my favorite saw frame now. I really love it, and I also love the fact that it saves me hoards of broken saw blades.

If you are a jewelry maker and have a need for a new jewelers saw, I would recommend getting this one. It is more expensive than traditional saw frames, but you will save money in the long run (on blades). After getting used to it, you will love it!