Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh, Smiths!?!?

My husband is an incredible man and he knows just what to get a lady for Christmas.
We exchanged presents early as we'll be apart for the actual day 

(I am traveling home to Pittsburgh and he will be with the Schmill family - we have been trading off holidays but if I was away from my nucleus for the holiday of Christmas all I would do would be to sob: not good for anyone, I say)

and he got me a Foredom flex shaft.

Wow, is it amazing looking - and I know it can do amazing things: problem is, I have always only used my hands - only recently did I even get a drill press (which saves so much time and energy over a dremel) and so my question to you is this:

what is the flex shaft best used for?

Any tricks, tips, polishing advice?

I literally know nothing in advance: self-taught beyond a quick soldering class and some Ganoksin tutorials.....

please give me your ten cents, links, ideas and not-so-secret-secrets!

By the way, I am still responding to the mountain of digital missives that came this weekend: I will keep writing after I travel in the wee hours of tomorrow morning -

I am super grateful to all of you for the incredible support and advice you showered me with and 'thank you' is muted and weak compared to the vibrant passion I feel for your generosity of spirit and time.



Brooke Arin Medlin said...

Yay! What an awesome present.

I use split mandrels - - with a bit of sandpaper to smooth the inside of rings, round off edges, and sand large flat surfaces. So useful - and fun. :)

I like using 3m bristle brushes - - for a brushed finish.

Oh! You can easily twist wire with it as well, which is super fun. I like twisting two different types (brass+sterling, etc.) together to use in things.

Have fun!

Emily said...

Allison, yay for the flex shaft! When I got mine I knew it was useful but it took me quite a while to figure out what to do with it...

Here are the two things I use most often: These are amazing for clean-up on bezels, around bezels and just giving you a nice, flat finish. I use these *constantly*

Also, these: which I use for cleaning off the backs of pieces and removing firescale.

Both of these products are a little spendy but they save me SO much time.

Have fun!!

Halie said...

Yay! Congrats on your foredom!!

I have two suggestions that I use every time I make something. Rather than file the edge of my back plate down the entire way, I will hand file and then use these guys;
They are wonderful! They will eat away the silver but not leave you with nasty scrates. You can use them on an edge without the disk developing a groove.

I also love these guys;

They are great for working with texture or embelishments. The high grit disks are very powerful, I rarely use them.
I decided to buy enough mandrels to set up each grit, so that I wouldn't have to trade out the disks each time.
If you want a high bright polish, you can get really close with these, and then use rouge and such to finish.

Hope that is helpful! Can't wait to see what everyone else says. :)

jessi sawyer said...

Oooo I am excited for the replies...I have a flexshaft, but I think for it to be really useful for what I'm doing I need more/different attachments and finishing heads and whatnot.

I long for a drill press...I was so spoiled in college and that was one of my favorite pieces of equipment!

susie said...

Your hubby is a wonderful man - I can't wait to check back to see all of the wonderful tips.

Wishing you safe travels and a very merry Christmas.

MrsLittleJeans said...

Merry Christmas Allison...have a great one! I cannot comment on that instrument but I have a feeling a few of your talented friends will come to the rescue. Have a great one! xox

martina said...

This is a great gift - the best of the best. All my drilling of stones is done by a flexible shaft (you only have to get a diamond drill and do it under water). you can clean up things, you can do small polishing jobs, I grove into stones and set silver wire into the grove and that makes a pendant. you can even cut a nail in half -if you need:)
endless really. get yourself one of this cheap set from bunnings with all the dreml bits - and than you can do most of the jobs I mentioned and much more. If you
have got any questions let me know. but jsut start and go for it. will open up a new world! ENJOY!

Two Bees said...

So I've missed a couple of days and after "catching up" all I can say is "whew", put all that other stuff aside!
Anyway, I LOVE my flexshaft! I started my classes with one and can't imagine my little-bitty silversmithing life without it. Everything from quickly drilling holes to finishing edges and polishing. My favorite application is "Knife Edge Wheels" to clean up the solder that flows under the bezel. (
Now it is true that you can use a Dremel for all of these applications but I don't think it will last as long. I also understand that a Dremel is either on or off with speed "steps" inbetween. With a flexshaft it operates on a footpedal which allows you to regulate the speed easily. It all depends on what you learn with and are comfortable with but give your new toy a try you will love it.
Merry Happy dear!

studio.delucca said...

oh boy! oh boy! oh boy!

I just got my 2nd foredom flexshaft in the shop (and a BL Mini Lathe, and a drill press kit for the old flex shaft, I went tool crazy) -- I cannot sing the praises enough.

polishing, grinding, stone setting, drilling, finishing, possibilities ad infinitum!!!

personally, I "comfort fit" the insides of all wide band rings, which I couldn't do without the foredom (and split mandrels and sandpaper).

the foredom is awesome because you have very delicate control over the speed. if you find yourself in the Long Beach, CA area and have time for a drill party play date, look me up ;)

Happy Christmas!

mary said...

OH In the burg! How nice for your mom and dad. Enjoy the weather while you are here. Also could you send me your address to my email - bob and I have something to send to you!
Merry Christmas Allison and Anthony
M & B
ps that is dreadful about the person who copied your designs especially the KOI! ;-(

Brooke Arin Medlin said...

I can't believe I didn't put this in my original comment - I loooooove using cup burs to round out ends of metal (on earwires, etc.). SO SO useful.

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Holy moley, guys - I didn't realize I had to moderate my comments (I changed everything lately :) ) and I just came upon all of these tonight!!!!

Cannot wait to look everything up tomorrow afternoon and get some atachments - you guys are the BEST!!!!


studio.delucca said...

like someone else said, those 3M bristle brushes are a MIRACLE for finishing.... just make sure you get a mandrel for each grit you use, and stack them on 4 to 6 deep, make sure to face them the same direction as the drill.

and, always wear protective eye gear.

you are gonna love this thing!