Author Archives: julialowther

Be Kind to Fish! Dispose of ALL Spent Pickle Responsibly.

The sad truth is that the  “safe” “organic” “natural” or “food grade” products sold as jewelry pickle are only all of those things BEFORE you use them. Even after you use them they are still (relatively) safe for you and your drains, … Continue reading

Posted in Studio Chemistry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Solder Inlay

There is something strangely appealing about metal mosaics, in which different metals are juxtaposed seamlessly into a single smooth surface.  Delving deeply into the mystery of that appeal will lead you to exotic techniques like mokume gane, marriage of metals, and … Continue reading

Posted in Soldering, Surface Embellishment | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Dressing Pliers – “Fashioning” Your Tools

This is an authentic Peruvian llama finger puppet. Only the finest and most exotic dressing for my pliers! Why do pliers need dressing? They don’t, actually, need clothing, but what almost all pliers DO need is a bit of specialty … Continue reading

Posted in Get the Most from Your Tools | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

MISSA, how I <3 U!

This is a love letter. My favorite place to teach asks a lot of me and of my students. No spiffy studio chock full of tools and equipment awaits us here, just folding tables covered in protective cardboard standing in a … Continue reading

Posted in Mewsings | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Elusive Tam O’Shanter Hone… Mourning the Loss… Seeking a Substitute.

Many years before I ever saw one, I had heard of the mystical Tam O’Shanter Hones (also called Water of Ayr Stones, Snake Stones, or simply Scotch Stones). Touted by old hands in the jewelry business as the best no-fuss … Continue reading

Posted in Get the Most from Your Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Pickle Tags

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be teaching another silver stack rings class, so I made pickle tags for my students. Nothing fancy, but SO useful (like that horseshoe nail in the adage). If you need to pickle a bunch of similar but … Continue reading

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Wind & Cut Jump Rings Simply & Efficiently

Do you need a lot of wire rings that are consistent in size, but you don’t have an expensive pendant drill and jump ring cutting system? Read on for the simplest and least expensive ways I have found to achieve a big pile … Continue reading

Posted in Get the Most from Your Tools, Tools to Make | Tagged , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Golf Ball Bezel Pusher

Luminary metalsmith Tim McCreight casually mentions making a bezel pusher from a golf ball and a nail in one of his books*. Turns out that pounding a nail into a golf ball is surprisingly difficult. Golf balls are very tough, … Continue reading

Posted in Tools to Make | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Wire Gauges – Why They Are Useful

Though the tool pictured above is called a wire gauge (or gage), it is also used to measure the thickness of sheet metal. For a metal disc with holes in it, its price ($30-$50) can be a bit surprising to those new … Continue reading

Posted in Get the Most from Your Tools | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Make a Wire Knitting Spool

In my opinion, the hardest part of spool knitting with wire is finding an appropriate knitting spool.  There are commercial versions available (also called French Knitters, or Knitting Nellies), but I prefer to make my own, so that I have … Continue reading

Posted in Chain Making, Tools to Make | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments