Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Special Birthday Gift ... to myself!

I recently got out Barbara Lewis's book, "Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry", and watched her video, "Creative Torch-Fired Enamel Techniques". The bracelet she made in the video was sooo great and really got me inspired. I started cutting discs using my old disc cutter, as well as sawing larger circles with my jeweler's saw that could not be done with my disc cutter. After 30 minutes of sawing, I looked at my poorly done circles that still needed lots of filing and sanding, and I stopped. My right shoulder that has 3 tears and is living on borrowed time, was starting to hurt. I made a decision, and although it's a month early, I ordered myself a very special birthday gift that arrived yesterday.

Yes, the Swanstrom Disc Cutter, as well as the Center Positioning Dies!

Last night I got out some of my recycled copper sheet -- it's from the scrap bins at Industrial Metals nearby -- scratched, but easily cleaned and smoothed with sanding -- and used my left arm to easily cut out these discs that will be used for pendants and for making a bracelet. The tiny circle is first cut out to make the hole in the larger piece. You can save this little disc for future use -- bead cap perhaps? The metal is then placed under the large hole of the disc cutter so you see the tiny circle cutout. Using the positioning die for that hole, you center the circle exactly, tighten the clamp on top, remove the positioning die, insert the large punch, and it's time to strike the punch for the perfect component. So easy! I made about a dozen. The copper disc on the left becomes the center element for the piece. Hard to imagine now, but if you have the book or video, you can follow along. And I'll show you in my next step.

Today's a new day. I'll work on the doming parts and show you what's happening in a later post. These pieces can either be etched or enameled or the two processes combined. It's an exciting project and having fed the dogs and myself, cleaned up, paid some bills, etc., I have the afternoon free to play!


  1. I too got myself the Swanstrom not that long ago and it has been one of the best tools for me yet! I love it! Have fun :)

  2. I too love the centre positioning inserts - makes life so much easier