Tricks of the Trade

We love to share metalworking advice from our experts!  Many thanks go out to our faculty and community members for generously sharing tips they've learned or developed from years of experience at the bench. If you would like our monthly "Tricks of the Trade" delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter, In Lighter News, in the website footer.

Making jump rings is a simple process of wrapping wire around a mandrel tightly to make a coil, and then cutting that coil into jump rings. When making small jump rings, the hardest part is holding the wire and mandrel together. Holding two round objects together can be difficult, as they don't like to sit still as they are forced together. So… a simple jig is in order.

Commercial findings have their place, but when a designer can meld function with form, it is the best solution and tends to make a more successful and pleasing piece of jewelry.

Finishing a crocheted project can be a challenge.  Perhaps one has used a colored wire or pearls and is unable to solder on a clasp or finding.  Perhaps the wire being crocheted is too fine to use as a connector.  Here are step-by-step instructions for a simple solder-free solution to finishing a crocheted necklace using commercial, sterling silver cones.  

Working with Argentium® Sterling Silver is not so very different from working with traditional sterling silver. It is important, though, to know about the differences.

Marlene Richey shares expert tips on how to prepare for a successful Craft Show.

Do you have limited bench space? Do you find your tools and supplies constantly invading your work area? Stop the madness and try some strap-ons!

Use cable ties to strap-on containers, such as jars or medicine bottles, to lamps with extension arms and posts throughout the shop, filling them with pens, pencils, rulers, Q-tips, etc. This offers quick access to the items you use most often.

Here’s a quick way to make granulation beads in various sizes is to use different gauges of fine silver wire.


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