Friday, January 15, 2010

Tool Fix

Sometimes you buy a tool and it's just not what you hoped it would be. Such WAS the case with this leaf masher that came last week from Arrow Springs. It was on sale and I got carried away...And when I arrived I suddenly remembered why I had been able to resist its charms before: I much prefer self opening tools when working with a hot blob of glass!

As you can see, this tool will not open on its own. As I knew I would never use the tool, I decided to see if I could rig it to open. I remembered the stash of "reject" jewelry tools I have. I sell tools to my students and sometimes, a tool isn't up to par for one reason or another and while it's my intention to send them back to manufacturer, I often have quite an accumulation of them on my shop desk.

I chose this set of round nose pliers to take apart... Note the metal scum on the mandrels of the plier:

I took flat nose pliers and removed the metal shims:

And worked for some time to get them into the leaf mashers. Make no mistake, this was NOT an easy fix! It took some doing...bending and maneuvering the shims to meet. But in the end, they opened the mashers.
But I found the mashers still a bit stiff for my liking... off t0 the fusing cabinet for some 3 in 1 machine oil. A few strategic drops and my tool was opening like buttah!

Now my only remaining complaint is... this tool is HUGE - even for ME! That's saying a lot!!! And I have to make a few heat adjustments because the side of the leaf that goes in the back of the mashers becomes much thinner than the front side.

So, I think the front side needs to be a bit hotter to even it out.

Still, I made this piece for me... (a rarity) and I like it even with its flaws.

See you tomorrow here on Hollys Folly Bead Blog.


Maybeads said...

Holly, you are handy! Nice work with the tool, and even nicer - the leaf bead. It's gorgous!

Judith Billig (Icarus Beads) said...

Great tip Holly!
I had the leaf mashers, hated them because they would get stuck and didn't open - and resold them right away.
But since 5 years I'm getting "leaf envy" every autumn, when I see all the lovely leaf beads, and just know that I hate the tool available.
I think I will try your tip, that should do the trick :)