Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Heart Tools - Flush Cutters

image courtesy of Anne Mitchell's website

I Heart Tools by Jean Yates

I had a problem. Like many of you, I like to learn new techniques. It is one of my great loves, in fact. In my situation, I have to teach myself at home most of the time. To accomplish this, I learn from books, DVDs, or from online teaching services. This usually works pretty well!

My latest interest involves learning how to fuse fine silver. I see that this is a direction in jewelry making which is getting increasingly popular. I am a curious person anyway and this appeals to me. Additionally, I just don't like to be left behind! Don't do that to me!

The problem, however, was this: I needed the right flush cutters. A "flush cut", as you probably know, is one where the wire, after cut, is not left burred. You need a good flush cut for making proper jump rings, or for making any kind of chain from rings. The wire needs to have as flat a surface where you have just made the cut as possible.

When you start learning about fusing fine silver, one of the first things you learn (Jean, "the big knowledgeable pro" is talking, here) is that if you don't make a perfectly flush cut, the relatively simple fusing procedure will not happen. The magical (at least that is the way it looks to me, when I see it take place!) wire fusing will not occur! You will be admiring a gloppy pile of nothing instead, where there should be a lovely fine silver circle, to which you should then be able to connect another lovely fine silver circle. When you have spent a lot of money on fine silver wire, it's a waste of money to do it wrong, plus it is a waste of your time.

My specific problem was compounded by the fact that I wanted to be able to cut very heavy gauge fine silver wire for projects, and then fuse it. Now, granted, fine silver wire is softer than regular sterling silver wire, but that doesn't mean that 12 gauge wire isn't really hefty! So I needed the right tool for the job! That's where my troubles started. Everywhere I looked, the cutters didn't seem to be able to cut the gauge wire that I wanted to cut.

Then, Eureka! I found the right tool for the job over at Anne Mitchell's site (http://www.annemitchell.net/)! Just look in her tool section. She's got great flush cutters (see photo above), which I purchased. They are reasonably priced! They can cut "up to 8 gauge fine silver wire" according to Anne. I am thrilled because this is the answer to my dreams, flush-cutting wise.

That is why I "heart this tool"!

These flush cutters can get me up to speed in my latest interest, which is fusing fine silver. I can make the pretty chains I have been dreaming of. So, if you choose to fuse, check my suggestion out!

Wouldn't it be great if everything were this simple?

Jean Yates, guest editor
author of Links, website


Libby said...

Thanks Ms. Jean for the scoop on good flush cutters, and for the link ;) to Anne Mitchell --- her blog looks pretty cool too!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

you are welcome!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see what you do with fusing. That sounds perfect for you too.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Tammy--thanks! You are so nice to say that!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info! My cutters suck and I've been wondering what the best choice is. I am often cutting many different gauges and many different metals of wire and without good cutters, making jump rings is impossible!

Rosanne said...

I'm glad to hear there's a cutter out there that you can do something with. Not too long ago I bought a pair of flush cutters (paid a little bit of change too) and the first thing I cut I broke a chunk out of. Ended up giving them to my husband for him to finish off. Very sad. Maybe I'll give these a try ;0)

Melissa J. Lee said...

This is such a great tip. I love Anne Mitchell's site. Thank you!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

you all are very welcome!