Tools. There’s nothing like new tools.
It’s scary to invest in myself. All the money in doesn’t mean it will equal money out. I’m not going into debt with my purchases, and I am setting myself up for long term success with what I buy. Things that are good for my body, and things that are good for my creative soul. Today I offer an example of each.
I’m not a spring chicken, but I’m not an old lady either. Still, if I am going to work harder with my hands I need to take care of them. Bezel setting and sawing have been making strange parts of me ache in ways that are new!
When I started doing glasswork as more than a hobby, I bought a setup that would help me ergonomically to stay safe with so many hours at the torch. So, I did the same for myself now with the metal work and bought a GRS Benchmate, which will allow me the same, I hope, for my hands and elbows as I dig deeper into working with silver, setting bezels and bending metal to my will. 😉
So today I will be setting that up.
I also finished a small challenge of bringing new life to an old tool. A friend I made one evening at the Lucky Lab in Portland ended up being a wonderful jeweler and metalsmith, Jim Dailing, who I have been delighted to know and experience in the years since our meeting.
He traded me some of my early work (sweet guy) for a hammer and a bench block. The block got a lot of use and neglect early on, from me and students who handled it rough. I looked around for a new one, but this one was the perfect size for me, and thicker than most. Plus, it was a starting out gift of an important tool I didn’t have.
I called several machine shops trying to find someone who would bring it back to life. A lot of them said nope, can’t do it, won’t do it, too small of a job, don’t have the right equipment, etc.
And then I found Paul Brong Machine Works. The end price was only about $10 more than buying a new, thinner block. They turned it around in 24 hours, and while it is on the other side of the river from me, I had other errands and just did it all at once as best I could. They were quick and nice and didn’t look at me strange with my funny square block of steel.
And just LOOK at it now!
I’m excited to have a tool that has a story, in my life, to be refinished and given a new life. Old tool, new tool, together, to help further what I can create and share with the world.
But now I gotta go find those dang instructions.