Posts Tagged ‘tools’

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!

Stamping Inspiration!

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Stamping is one of those fundamental building blocks of metalworking that can be intimidating. It all seems simple from afar, but once you have that hammer and stamp in hand you start to realize it isn’t as easy as it seems: your letters are all wonky, you can only get half a leaf to imprint, and you hit your thumb too many times to count. Don’t give up, we’ve all been there! We have a few helpful hints to make your next stamping project a success.

These are some of our favorite stamping tools:

(1) Thumb-Saver, $18.95; (2) 40 Hole Stamp Stand, $9.50;(3) Bench Block Helper, $29.75; (4) Small Economy Disc Cutters, $51.95; (5) Nickel Silver Discs, $10.50; (6) Leaflet Stamp, $9.25; (7) 1 lb. Brass Hammer, $24.99; (8) Nail Head Rivets, $3.00; (9) Sleeping in the Clover Stamp, $9.25; (10) Red Brass Sheet Metal, $6.25; (11) Circle with Lines Stamp, $9.25.

We have also been really inspired by the projects in this book:


There are some basic guidelines for stamping that are helpful to know:

  1. Always practice your design on scrap metal first.
  2. Hold your stamp as straight as possible, otherwise you may not get a complete image.
  3. Hit your stamp firmly–a heavier hammer can help you do this without straining yourself. Our 1 lb Brass Hammer works well for this type of job.
  4. If you are stamping a word, it helps to use masking tape or a sticky note to line your letters up against.
  5. Sharpie can be removed from metal with steel wool or during the  pickling process, so you can use one to outline your design.

It takes a while to get used to the process, but with a little practice you’ll be a pro in no time!

Below are some photographs from a Staff Development we did on stamping–there are only 3 or so of us that would be considered stamping “experts”–the rest of us are novices. We had a great time though, and our pieces didn’t turn out half bad!

So get out there and try some stamping, we know you’ll come up with some great projects!




Texturing it up!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Texturing is one of our favorite methods for adding dimension and character to our jewelry here at Wired Up Beads. If you ever happen to stop by the studio when we have a metal-working class or project in the works you might want to bring some earplugs, because we don’t hold back when it comes to using our favorite texturing tools! Last week’s staff development was a fun morning of creating earrings from copper and experimenting with various texturing techniques. Below you can see some of the fun designs the staff came up with!



There are many ways to take your jewelry to the next level with texturing. Whether you are using a simple chasing hammer technique or engaging in “guerilla” texturing, you are sure to add an element of authenticity to your work and have a blast doing it! Take the earring below for example. It was textured using the Crosshatch/Stars Texturing Hammer–you can see the raw quality the texture gives to the earring to complete the overall look.












Another hammer that provides a similar texture is the Euro Tool Texturing Hammer with 9 Faces. It has the cross-hatch design and 8 other fun texturing faces!










Below is a fun charm-style earring design. This look was created using a standard dome-faced chasing hammer. This texture can be re-created by using the small end of your hammer at an angle, hammering lightly until you achieve the desired level of texture. This is an excellent way to add clean and simple texture to a piece. We have two chasing hammers that we just love here at Wired Up Beads. One is our standard Dome-Face Chasing Hammer, which you will find in our classroom at all times, and the other is our Fretz Chasing Hammer, a top-of-the-line hammer that produces bench-jeweler level results.










This last earring design shows a different approach to texturing that provides a smooth, linear finish. This design was created using the striped side of one of Euro Tool’s two-sided texturing hammers. The hammers are the Dimpled/ Narrow Stripe and the Checkered/Wide Stripe. This style of texturing lends itself well to creating a unique, fluid dimensionality in your work.












When you are in the mood for an experiment, try your hand at “guerilla” texturing. This method doesn’t require a special hammer or stamp to complete, you find your texture in the world around you! One of our favorites is concrete–you just take your metal outside and use the concrete as your texturing surface. You would be surprised at what a unique and interesting texture you can get with this technique. You can check out our full line of texturing hammers by clicking this link: Wired Up Beads: Hammers.

What are your favorite ways to texture a piece? We want to hear your tips and tricks!

The Art of Gift Giving

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

” Something handmade is so much more meaningful”

–Beth Wert–

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which means that children everywhere, from little kids to adults, are shopping for their moms.

You can make her something that is beautiful and more meaningful than picking up something generic at the store. Don’t forget to check out our wide range of products, they are sure to inspire something your mom will love!

(1) Vintaj Chain $6/ft. (2) English Meadow Glass Beads, $7. (3) Sterling Headpins, $8.90/pkg. (4) Turquoise Nouveau Button, $3. (5) 12  g Aluminum Wire, $7.50. (6) Vintage Silver Watch Face, $7.50. (7) Purple Hydrangea Micro Suede, .67/yd. (8) Sterling 24 mm Ear Wire, $1.32/pair. (9) Hill Tribe Shining Heart, $4. (10) Book-Mixed Metals, $22.95. (11) Wild Flowers Fastenables, $6. (12) Made with Love Charm, $9.45. (13) Wubbers Looping Pliers, $28.95.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our free tutorials, we have some really fun designs posted and the videos and step-by-step instructions will ensure you get a professional-looking final product. You can access that part of our website by clicking on the link below, or by clicking the “Tutorials” tab on our homepage.

Wired Up Beads Free Tutorials

Do you have any gift-giving suggestions to offer up? We would love to hear them, so feel free to leave a comment or shoot us an email so we can share your tips!