Archive for August, 2011

Soldering Block Basics

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Here at WUB we are big metalwork enthusiasts, and we offer a broad variety of classes on the topic in the hopes of inspiring both those new to jewelry-making and those who are wizened veterans of the trade. As a result, we often get questions from our customers who need help setting up a jewelry-making workspace at home. We love to share our trade secrets with them, letting them know about unconventional short-cuts and tips that can help them advance their skills and enjoy the creative process.

So, in an effort to share this kind of inside knowledge with all of our customers we are starting a new series in our blog that will offer all the information you will need to help you choose the right tools for your studio! This week we are featuring soldering blocks that are best for beginners.

The Magnesia Block



  • Lightweight, smaller in size than other block surfaces, convenient to use.
  • Non-Asbestos, clean, long-lasting surface with very little dust.
  • Can withstand temperatures up to 2000 degrees.
  • Has a smooth surface for fine work such as filigree.
  • Inexpensive to purchase and replace.
  • Non-asbestos, fireproof fibrous material that is soft enough to be pinned into.

The Fire Brick: Economical, and Good All-Around Block

Typically $5-$8

  • Good all-purpose soldering surface that is economical to use.
  • Long lasting and will withstand temperatures over 2000 degrees.
  • Easy to control your heat and not as “reflective” as some surfaces.
  • Soft enough to be pinned into.
  • Full size block offers a larger work area.

(A note on this block: though we carry it in store we are not able to sell it online because we can’t guarantee any certain size or shape)

Heetrix :Hard Solderite Surface


  • Durable and Asbestos-free.
  • Smooth, clean surface with very little dust.
  • Fairly hard so as not to flake or crumble, and will not accept pins.
  • Highly reflective surface–your work heats more quickly, saving fuel.  For beginners, heat control may take a little practice in order to avoid overheating/melting your piece.
  • Clean, long-lasting surface with very little dust.
  • Can withstand temperatures up to 1700 degrees.

If you have questions of your own or any tools you are curious about, let us know and we will feature it in a future blog!

An Affordable Alternative…

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Sometimes making jewelry gets expensive. Good tools, fluctuating silver prices, and the cost of classes can really add up. That’s why when we come across quality products that are more affordable we make sure and spread the word about them!

With the launch of our new website we have also added products from the new line of Tierra Cast. Tierra Cast focuses on manufacturing quality plated findings, and recently they released new designs and a new finish that we are excited about! They have added new charms and components to their silver, gold, and copper lines and they have introduced the black line, which opens up a lot of new design possibilities! Since all of Tierra Cast’s findings are plated they are much more wallet-friendly than standard sterling silver or gold products. Below you can see some of the new charms:

Here are some of the designs we created in our Tierra Cast Staff Development:


So pick up some Tierra Cast for your next weekend project, we can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Whimsical. Inspirational. Fun.

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I am not a teacher, but an awakener.
Robert Frost

We talk about inspiration so much around this office that the word has almost lost all meaning, which is sad because the concept of inspiration is such a beautiful one! Inspiring people and experiences have the power to move, motivate, and challenge us, and that is something that there is not enough of in day-to-day life.

Each of us has had our quintessential inspirational experiences–the kind that make you believe in yourself and your ability to create and contribute to the world around you. We have a teacher coming to our studio soon who has a reputation for imparting just that kind of inspiration.

Christi Friesen will be visiting our studio on August 27th and August 28th, bringing with her her signature humor, whimsical style, and encouraging demeanor. Everyone we’ve spoken to who has taken a class from her has left feeling happy, accomplished, and motivated for their next project. Christi knows that taking life too seriously can sap all of your creative energy, so she greets the world with a smile and a good attitude.

Don’t be intimidated by the detail in the projects presented here! Christi’s classes are a great introduction to the world of Polymer Clay, and are a lot of fun! Check out our website for the full details.