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Last summer, a good friend suggested that I purchase a band saw. He said it would help my efficiency in the studio because I wouldn’t be using my jeweler’s saw to do some of the more tedious tasks associated with jewelry making. It made a lot of sense to me so I started to do some research. After a lot of comparison shopping through Harbor Freight, Lowes, Home Depot, Sears and more, I decided on this Mini-Band Saw from Micro Mark.

Once it arrived and I started using it, I found many applications where it saved me a tremendous amount of time and effort over sawing by hand. If you visit Micro Mark’s product page, you can see all its options plus watch a video of it in use. As an added bonus, it is currently on sale for $275.55.  No I don’t get any type of a rebate for referring you to this; it’s just a happy circumstance that I chose to write about this today.

If you opt for adding a band saw to your tool arsenal, whatever make/model you choose, you will need to secure it to a bench for safety and stability. I have mine screwed down to the top of my Black & Decker Workmate. This is a powerful machine. Respect that there is a blade moving that can easily cut through your fingers like it does steel. Eliminate all distractions while you are operating equipment like this as your focus needs to be on what you are doing. Always wear ear & eye protection when operating. It has a vent where you can hook up a shop vac to collect any of the dust from cutting. I use a 5 gallon shop vac with it, which allows me to avoid wearing dust masks. However, I’m sure some would argue that I should wear the dust mask while using it too. I agree you can never be too safe when it comes to your personal protection when operating electronic equipment.

I would also add as a caution that if you have visitors in your workspace or children, always disable the power source to this machine when it is not in use. My philosophy is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and heart break. If there is a way to avoid injury, find it and use it.

As I lubricant for the blade, I use Brownpolymer that I purchased through Enjen Joes Products out of Fulton, NY. This stuff is great and you only need a very small amount.  I tend to use it on the blade before I start and also apply it along the line on the metal where I will be cutting. A little goes a long way. Really any blade lubricant you have will work. I had read some positive comments about this Brownpolymer product, so I wanted to try it and I’m glad I did.

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Here are some examples of metals I have cut with this. Steel, brass, copper, silver, square steel rod for tools. The specs on Micro Marks site tell you its cutting capacities for a specific material.

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You can purchase additional accessories. The rip fence is very useful for maintaining straight cuts. I also got extra blades with different teeth per inch (TPI) for use with a variety of materials.

I do love my tools. The purchase of a Mini-Bandsaw has been a great investment for my studio. I can avoid some of the mundane sawing I use to do and spend more time doing some of the hand crafting of a piece where that effort pays off in the way a finished item looks and feels. Well worth the money in my mind.

If you are considering a bandsaw, I recommend doing your homework and finding a model that will work for your needs. I am more than satisfied with this powerful and mighty mini bandsaw.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

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RawMaterials

Several weeks ago I attended the opening reception for the first Chasing and Repousse Exhibition at Outnumbered Gallery in Littleton, CO. One of my cuffs, The Mighty Oak, is a part of this exhibit that will run through July 18th.  I had a chance to meet with artists I have never met before, along with some I know.

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The Might Oak – Botanical Series

One of the great things about events like this is the chance to discuss the work. Artist to artist. Their work and mine. Fascinating. Several artists gave me some advice and I am discovering it is some of the best advice I have ever received. As a result, I wanted to share because it is my belief that I have a responsibility to play it forward for all the help I continue to receive as I work to advance my career as an artist.

Tip number 1. Spend five minutes a day at your bench. This nugget of advice came from Henry Spencer. The recommendation, in its simplicity, is profound. He asked me to think about it. It may sound easy, he said, but it is hard. What can come from those five minutes can be an hour and a half of new work or nothing more than staring at the top of the bench. The point is, something wonderful may happen if you commit to spending that time every day. The insight for me is that need to be in my creative sanctuary every day. Something will happen. I can tell you that I have started to do this and it is very productive.

This was the first time I had met Henry. He is very open and engaging. He has being doing chasing and repousse for 40 years and refers to himself as a hippie metalsmith from the 70’s. All of this is said with quite the twinkle in his eye. I can tell you there is nothing understated about his work. Take a few moments to visit his website. I think you will understand why I have taken his advice to heart. He is smart as a fox and then some.

Tip number 2. Make your own tools. Nancy Meli Walker told me this is a must as I continue with chasing and repousse. She showed me a few of her tools that she created for textures.  She pointed out that one of the ways to make your work stand out is to have your own specialized textures. I saw that in Henry’s work and hers, along with others who were in the exhibit. It made perfect sense and there are textures I have envisioned for my own work, but didn’t have the tools to create them. Fortunately, I took a couple of workshops last year and each teacher showed us how to make our own tools. Now it does pain me to admit I was not all that enamored with the idea of making tools. However, inspired by Nancy’s revelation to me, I am thrilled that I know how. Now I am ready to embrace it!

Nancy’s work is so graceful and refined. She has a wonderful sense of humor. Another engaging spirit who is so very endearing. I am very appreciative of her advice.

Hopefully this helps to explain my photo at the top of this post. I have steel rods for making my own texture tools, along with some copper and steel sheets that will be part of my evolution as I work to improve my skills. The copper sheet will become a reference for textures. I’m taking part in a challenge to create sample textures. I will be creating some tools for the new textures I plan to use in my work. The steel will become new works, fused gold to steel, that will be formed into cuffs, pendants, rings, and earrings….all will have the new textures.

I am very grateful to Henry and Nancy for being so open and giving. Maybe they saw something in my work and felt they wanted to help me to grow? Whatever the case, I am thankful.

My husband, Dan, will help document what I am working on and I will post his videos of me working. I am very excited about the possibilities.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

 

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One of my happy places

June’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is post ONE picture of your happy place.

This is in my studio space. My bench looks like an explosion hit because I have been in a serious creative mode. Now I could have tidied it up for this post, but that wouldn’t give you the ‘realistic’ picture, so I thought “What the heck? I’m happy in this space so I will share.”

There’s lots of natural light with a great view of our back yard. I can watch the bassets play when they aren’t keeping me company in the studio. I can pause and watch the weather. When I enter this space, I feel a calm, soothing effect; Zen moments where I can relax and be at peace. Priceless.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have posted on this fun topic.

Andes Cruz
angelojones
Beth Cyr
Allegra Sleep

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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