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...