I have been a self taught metalsmith for about a year now. I am a dive in there, try new stuff, kindof gal. In this self guided journey I have learned many things, some the hard way, some the VERY hard way.
Luckily all of my injuries have healed (except for one blister I am nursing that was caused by the blunder that gave me the idea for this post). All my disasters have been cleanable, and any embarasments have been, well, lets just say I avoid those people.
I hope my experiences help you. And, before you read, I know you will feel the need to say "duh", "are you kidding" and "what was she thinking" but, know that whatever you say, I have said to myself ten times over.
- When you screw the washer on the top of your tumbler, make sure it is threaded the correct way. It WILL come loose if it is spinning the wrong way on the tumbler. It is no fun walking into your kitchen with a trail of soapy water all over your cabinet and dripping down to the floor.
- Don't try to hold your new buffing wheel on the mandrel when attaching it to your buffing motor while your motor is running. (yep, this results in the aforementioned blister). Push it on really hard then turn on the motor, no matter how many times it throws it off, don't hold it. ouch!
- Make sure your metal, whatever you are soldering, has been thoroughly quenched prior to touching it. (see this previous post for the results). Although, interesting burn patterns on your fingers can be a conversation starter.
- Don't plan on going anywhere after working in the studio (especially after polishing). Yes, people will wonder what the red smudgy stuff on your face is. Just tell them it is the new "minerals" makeup.
- Nothing is as big as it seems (ie. stones) or as small (ie. tools) as they are in pictures. Measure, measure measure. Darn those macro lenses. 3mm is reeely small!
- If it isn't right the first time, it won't miraculously fix itself during the process. A wonky setting won't polish off.
- Keep an eye on inventory. It's no fun to pay extra expedited shipping for a stone you need because you ran out.
- The flame coming out of your torch is bigger than you think, or, flammable items nearby WILL catch on fire if they are near your soldering station. (get a fire extinguisher. stamping out flames with your hand is only slightly effective)
- Dead soft wire is NOT good for ring bands. It will smash flat pretty quickly.
- Manicures are only good if received a few hours prior to going somewhere. They disappear within minutes of beginning to work.
These are tips that I hope will help you avoid problems, injuries and messes. Good luck, and, if nothing else, learn to laugh at yourself.