Saturday, June 22, 2013

Equipment maintenance

When people look at a finished piece of jewelry I know they can see most of the materials and probably some of the techniques that go into that ring or pendant or pair of earrings.  But one of the things that might get lost is how much that piece cost in other, less visible resources.  The tools and equipment that are involved in making jewelry can be really expensive in two ways:  first in the cost of the purchase and then in time and effort in maintenance.

Last weekend I spent a couple of hours on cleaning and maintenance in my work area.  I didn't want to--I had ideas about things to make and half finished projects staring at me the whole time--but if I don't dedicate the time to doing that kind of stuff I know it will end up costing me a ton of money down the road in new equipment or repairs.

The piece of equipment I use most often is my flexshaft.  I used to have a hand drill with dremel bits but I upgraded to a Foredom a couple of years ago and wish I hadn't waited so long.  I can't think of a single metal item I make that isn't touched by the flexshaft at least once; most pieces require several passes with it at different stages.  I know I need to lubricate the flexshaft for it to work properly and for a long time...and it was way overdue.
I love this thing.
This turned out to be one of the easiest and fastest little tune-ups I did during that work session.  I remembered seeing this video that Melissa Muir put together a while ago to walk through the steps so I pulled that up for a refresher before I started.  I think the whole process takes five minutes (less if you have a screwdriver that fits the flexshaft and don't have to dig around for one).

Glad that's done.  This weekend I can get back to my projects with a clear conscience!

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