Tag Archives: otto frei

TTOTW: Digital Protection

Sexy title, no?

Not sure how it got to be 5 days since my last post, but I’ve been busy…cutting close to 700 beadcaps and taking a cake decorating class with my daughter (more on that later) and trying to stay cool.

All the metal working takes a rough toll on the hands and especially the fingers. I’m currently looking at 5 or 6 minor cuts on 3 fingers on my left hand…all from the edges of sheet metal or fishing through scrap (also another blog post). I only remember one of those cuts…the rest? Very tiny, but very there.

This Tuesday’s “Tool of the Week” could help with protecting the fingers from the sharp edges, but I don’t usually use it that way. I use it to pad the fingers from the other metal working “danger”: Heat.  Working with small metal objects and a fast spinning flexshaft tool equals hot metal and that HURTS.

Enter Alligator Tape! Available all over the internet, various tool suppliers, Etsy, etc. The link here is from Otto Frei, one of numerous online jewelry supply sites that I love to frequent. This stuff is great. I have my friend, Angie Ramey, to thank for telling me about it. It’s actually from the medical industry, used as bandage material. And it works great for wrapping around fingers (there’s the “digital” connection) for protection. My photo includes a big padded finger cap that I wear on at least 2 fingers and sometimes three, depending on what I’m doing. It’s a little comical to try and work on small metal objects with club fingers, but I’ve managed a routine that works and keeps my fingers from melting!

The tape sticks to itself, but not to anything else..perfect solution. Thanks, Angie!

Just don’t wrap it too tightly, or you’ll have a circulation problem!


TTOTW or even Tuesday Tool of the Week: The Guillotine

I’ve got friends who schedule recurring themes for different days of the week and it makes great sense! Helps to schedule and organize (two things I long to be really good at…)

So, welcome to Tuesday Tool of the Week, where I choose one of my favorite metalworking or jewelry making tools and share why I love and it and how I use it. I’m no expert by any means so maybe you’ll have some tips that will make me love that tool even more!

My current fave is my guillotine. It’s a compact “paper cutter”, but for sheet metal and who knew I’d love it as much as I do! I’ve got wrist and finger issues so my day job as a book designer and my work with metal and jewelry all take their toll, leaving me with distressed digits a lot of the time. Cutting sheet metal, even with good metal snips or shears just wasn’t cutting it (sorry, it just came out that way).

I knew a guillotine would help, but the price was holding me back. Then I stumbled on a great deal for a barely used one in a bead forum I frequent. The stars must have been aligned right…the seller was willing to wait til my silver scrap check arrived that week and Voila! Cutting relief in sight.

Maybe you’re still asking yourself what it does. Here’s how I use it. I make LOTS of beadcaps from copper and brass and that involves one of my other faves (disk cutter). Cutting disks leaves lots of sharp scrap and cleaning up the leftover sheet by hand means hammering out uneven spots and generally wrecking my hands. With the guillotine, I can cut a row of disks and then trim off the section where there holes were without losing any excess metal. So more efficient and better use of materials. A+ in my book. (And I’d have more photos if my USB port wasn’t being ornery this morning…)

I also etch metal sheets and the pattern sizes can vary so the guillotine lets me cut crisp edges that look more professional to me.

Here’s another angle of the whole tool. It’s got a long lever that brings the blade down. Nice that it stores upright and really doesn’t take up much space on the bench.

If you look very closely, you can see the “Shop Dog” just down and to the right…ever vigilant (er…snoring).

So, there you have it. The first TTOTW…my guillotine. Maybe I should name it? Guillermo? Guinevere?

What’s one of your favorite tools?