It struck me today that I have been using a tip bench trick for ages now which I have selfishly not shared with anyone, not out of malice or self-interest, but simply because I use it so very regularly that it never entered my head until one of the students mentioned today how unusual it was. The idea originally came from another one of my students who asked me why there are no tube cutters for jewellery of the sort plumbers use to cut pipes. Her partner is a plumber and he gave me a plumber's tube cutter to try out. This is what I developed.


1) Mark out the length of tube required.


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ (WIP 37)


2) Use a plumber's "heavy duty mini-cutter":


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ (WIP 38)


3) Clamp the cutter onto the previously-marked line, ensuring that the line is directly under the cutting-wheel:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ (WIP 39)


4) Rotate the tube in the device several times, tightening the clamp slightly each full turn. I don't use this tool to cut right through the tube as it tends to leave an outer bevelled edge and an inner flange which have to be dealt with:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ (WIP 40)


5) This leaves a lovely, clean, deep groove which is absolutely straight all the way around the tube:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ (WIP 41)


6) I then use a saw in a standard tube-cutting clamp to cut the tube off through the groove, rotating the tube as I cut:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ (WIP 42)


This method allows for much more even cutting of tube, less sawblade breakages and fewer blades blunted by rubbing against the standard clamp. I've used it on very tiny tubing and although this clamp says it will go down to 1/8", I've managed to mark out tubing just over 2mm OD.



Didn't get much done today other than making the other hinge for the sphere:


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ (WIP 43)


And cutting out some stars for the "poles" of the spheres.


Fashion:Victim - In Memoriam ALMcQ (WIP 44)



Found an interesting blog today because the owner of it very kindly emailed me to say that my ring made from the corroded hex-nut features on her Industrial page.



As she says on the front page of her blog,

All the cute and the precious have been found. All the kitties and puppies have homes. The candy colored, the eco-friendly, the hipsters of the handmade are all duly covered elsewhere. Here I will find the slightly odd, the darkly beautiful, the elegant and steamy pieces of goodness.

Very refreshing!



Some workshop silliness. You'll recognise the metal from above:



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Comment by Brigitte Martin on September 30, 2011 at 8:32am

I would be happy to mail you one, you can pay me back via paypal. My goldsmith master insisted at the time I get one and so I did. She was right. Very useful to have.

Comment by The Justified Sinner on September 30, 2011 at 1:17am

My students do use those chenier jigs, but we find that they tend to blunt sawblades and the channel is so wide that the blade can drift, giving cuts which are not straight. I like the look of the mitre jigs and have never seen these over here.

Comment by Brigitte Martin on September 29, 2011 at 3:45pm
Ingenious tube cutter you devised. But you can tell your students that there are indeed tube cutters for jewelers around. I brought mine with me from Germany, and have seen them sell here at Rio Grande and Otto Frei, I am pretty sure you can get these in the UK too.

Here's a link to the Otto Frei page selling tube cutters and mitre jigs. I have a mitre jig like the ones in the upper left image. Couldn't live without it.

Oh and congrats on the feature. Neat!!

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