What a time saver this tool is! Plus, for accuracy when cutting circles, it cannot be beat.
Once again, I’m turning the spotlight on one of my favorite tool manufacturers, Pepe. Their quality is excellent.
When I took my first metalsmithing workshop from Lexi, one of the many things she taught us how to make was a simple pair of earrings that started out as circles. There are times when her teaching style is pure genius, because from that initial task, we learned how to draw out a pattern (the circle from a template), follow the line with the saw blade, replace many a broken saw blade and oh yes, actually learn how to saw metal. The one thing she didn’t tell us, was there was this handy little device that would cut circles in seconds with the use of a steady hammer! First you learn how to do the basics, then you can move into using tools that will make your life easier. Gotta love it, and I do because it gives you a greater appreciation for what you are doing as a metalsmith! Brilliant Lexi, simply brilliant!!!
Many online jewelry supply sites carry these. Otto Frei is sold out of this particular set, but they have others. Again, Google can be your best friend when searching for something like this or if you have a local jewelry supply store, check with them too. From my research, it appears the demand for this particular set is high and most places are sold out, but they will let you know when more come in. I chose this particular set because I felt it provided a good variety of sizes for the work that I do. There certainly are others out the by Pepe and they may work for you if you don’t want to wait for this particular set.
So how does this puppy work? I think it’s pretty slick.
The arrow labeled “A” points to the slot where you insert your metal sheet. The metal is then sandwiched between the two layers of the block. There are perfectly aligned matched circles on the top and bottom of the plates. Arrow “B” points to the knob that you turn to raise and lower the plates. When you have the metal positioned in the desired hole size, you turn the knob to securely hold the metal in place. Arrow “C” points to the punch that is very sharp on the end that will cut the metal circle. Using a brass hammer, pound on the end of the punch until it cuts through the metal forming the circle. The metal circle falls through and in a few seconds you have a perfect circle.
This is the punch I used in this example. Each punch corresponds to the correct hole. They are very accurately machined and as with any equipment, take good care of it as you can get the holes out of alignment if you drop the cutter or misuse it. I’ve heard stories…that’s all I’ll say.
These are a couple of the discs I’ve cut with mine. Sure you can buy pre-cut discs in the metal of your choice. You pay extra for that cutting and the metal waste. Personally, I like cutting what I need from my metal and I have found some interesting patterns from the ‘waste’ that I can incorporate into my work too. I find it a win win.
It’s another great tool that I use frequently and love.
I have been busy working in the studio on two new series, so look forward to upcoming posts about my new work. I’m very excited about them.
Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.