Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fun 'lil Tutorial; making a tiny loop tool

Ok, well I had recently coveted some of these a friend had gotten.. then I realized (sad but true story) that "wait a minute, I do have some of those!"... and I wanted them.. and I spent a GOOD deal of time (half a day) scrounging around and realized I just cannot find a lot of things since I've moved.

Anyhow, this prompted me to make some quick and dirty ones to use for the day. Aaaaaaand for once I remembered to pull out the camera during this and document/share.

Now please note that ideally you can use even thinner wire.  Another thing I can't seem to find at the moment (argh eh?!!!).  As such, it gave me a chance to show off the filing/shaping I do sometimes with my older tools.   Please note I do know the proper way to do that as well.. Actually my husband loves to sharpen kitchen knives, chisels and big tools the proper way but I love my quick and easy methods for minarettes and things encrusted with epoxies and goop..  My father always used to say that using a dull knife or a the wrong tool is how you get hurt.  Sadly this is SO true.  Most of my sculptures have had actual blood, sweat and tears incorporated into their creation;  all generated in one session typically too.  I'm far too impulsive!  Which is also why you don't see a lot of tutorials here..  do as I say, not as I do. ;)

So here we go, how to make a mini loop tool.  I don't like the ones they sell in hobby stores, far too big a gauge wire, and often the wire pops right out!  The apoxie holding this in resolves that.

Start with a ruined brush or in my case, clay shaper:


I use any means possible to get out what's left in there but this time it was tricky.. sometimes I've been lucky & everything pops out of the ferrule (metal cuff)


Next I take two pairs of pliers and nice thin wire and twist it.. then cut it off to fit into the ferrule.  I didn't do so this time but bending the end that's tucked inside can help hold it in there.


This next part is tricky and you'll just have to do trial and error to crimp it in place.  It doesn't need to be TOO secure.  That's the beauty of the next step with epoxy! :)

Get it centered and slather the epoxy into it.  I used Super White Aves Apoxie Sculpt here because I have a lot of this for use with resins.. any color works of course though.   Key is to try to get it mushed a little down into that ferrule with the wire.. AND within the twists of the wire so it's a secure hold.  This isn't going anywhere! ;)  (unless I snap the end off of course)..


Next step, since my wire is REALLY about 2x thicker than I wanted it..  I start shaping it with needle files (jeweler's files perhaps they're called in some hardware stores?)..  The tiniest ones I can find..


And good old nail files.  I order these in bulk in all sorts of grits.  They can be cleaned off by tapping on the edge of a desk so they have a bit longer life than your packages of sandpaper... but I have tons of sanding tools.  This also works well with just holding a sheet of sandpaper on a firm flat surface (glass for example).  Add water and subsequently finer grits and get a mirror polish to lots of tools by that method ! :)   I didn't go that far, I just wanted a wee tool for this moment..

End result isn't too pretty but didn't I say I was hasty & impulsive? I have to find my finer wire now.. argh!!! :D  Hope this was of interest to someone at least...

2 comments:

Rebecca Turner said...

Hey Morgan,
I make my own tools too, and what really works for tiny loop tools is guitar or piano wire! I have 2 guitars here ( I never paly anymore though sigh..) and had a set of extra string and they are always way too long anyways so I cut off a tiny bit of some of them at the ends and even tried the fatter ones that have wire wound around them and it does some nice textures. Anyways try out the guitar or piano wire for tiny wire tools it works really well and its cheap to buy a whole set or even one pack of strings. I have also used old paint brushes to make them like you did. OH!!! hey ck on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/becky.turner.33865
I posted a photo of a set of tools that this sculptor in mexico that makes and you won't believe the box set he made.. man I wish I was rich! I am a bit of a tool collector( ok.. hoarder lol ) I saw he had made a smaller set kinda liek this in a box and it was very expensive( 1400.00!!) but wow! even has 2 sets of wood calipers in it. He also had some smaller sets he was selling for like 30.00 so I want to get one when I have some cash. If you go to his page you can look thru his photos and see the sets he is selling. just friend him though if you want to ask questions. He is a pertty good sculptor too.

Morgen said...

That's so cool to know Rebecca! Getting that wouldn't be hard either, there's a music shop nearby. I was just realizing anyhow the other day that my piano wire clay cutting tool seems to not have resurfaced here after the move. It was THICK and double ply though so I don't mind having a thinner one that cuts better around to twist off necks & torsos! lol! THANKS for the awesome suggestion! :D