The stripey, coastal etching on my Estuary collection has long been a favourite of mine and, for the first time, I’ve gotten around to putting it onto some rings. I went with a plain, simple band to really make the most of the etching and I’m really happy with the bold, distinctive way that they’ve turned out.
Every now and again I get asked to alter one of my existing designs, or make something new, for someone with un-pierced ears. Finding earrings without the standard, pierced ear fittings can be especially tricky so I’m always happy to help when I can. There are a couple of good options available for people without pierced ears – either a hinged, clip style earring (which, I find, can sometimes lose it’s grip a little after wear) or, my personal preference: screw backed earrings.
These are made with neat, screw fittings which can be looped around the earlobe and then gently screwed onto the ear, to grip but not pinch – meaning that each person can chose the perfect pressure setting for them. Of course, these fittings take up more room than the standard, pierced earring post so clip on earrings are generally larger, to hide the fitting. I made this screw backed version of my Tidal studs earlier this month and just managed to tuck the fittings behind the earring – keeping the crisp silhouette that I like so much.
Here’s how they were put together:
For many years I have got by in my workshop without a proper, large scale polisher. Oh, sure, I have a little barrel one (which is just brilliant) but not the full on, rotary kind. If things have needed a good, glossy polish I have either made do with a tiny polishing mop, mounted onto my pendant motor, or borrowed a friends larger polishing machine.
Well, no more! Back in the spring I found a local, third-hand polishing motor on eBay for a song and have finally had it re-wired, got it installed and ready to go. Of course, you don’t have to do much polishing to realise the value of extraction, while opening the windows is a fine start it is by no means enough when you’re using something that kicks out as much dust as a large polishing motor. Getting covered in polishing rouge is annoying but the real danger is combustible dust hanging around the workshop and getting stuck in your lungs.
Now, I’ll admit that I know very little about woodwork/carpentry and while I’ve seen some fine home-made extraction systems constructed entirely from cardboard boxes and gaffer tape, I really did want to get something a little more official – that I didn’t have to build. Most jewellery supply companies only stock ridiculously expensive, all in one extraction solutions which I’m sure are brilliant – but which would be like a sledgehammer to a walnut in my little workshop.
Thankfully, there’s eBay. I found a nice, friendly little outfit in Salisbury, called Moleroda who have an eBay store here and a comprehensive website here. They specialise in polishing stuff and do a nifty little fold-up plastic polishing hood that can be cut to fit your machine, and a vacuum to use as an extractor, all in one listing. Having looked about a fair bit it’s easily the most cost-effective solution that I’ve come across and it solved all of my problems in one go.
The dust hood does a surprisingly credible Transformer impression:
in it’s flat pack state but it folds up very quickly (and simply) and is held together by yellow electrical tape, which is included in the parcel:
I did have to cut the triangular, side ‘wing’ sections off (mainly to avoid them extending over the edge of my very skinny polishing table) but the sturdy, corrugated plastic didn’t seem to mind this and holds together very well without them. I’ve secured the whole thing down with a few tiny panel pins and it is, so far, very stable.
The dust hood has a pre-cut hole in the centre of the back, for inserting the hose of a vacuum but, as you can see, I don’t really have an abundance of space to work with behind my polisher – so I’ve opted to fit the extractor on the side – cutting a new hole in the plastic (again, not too tricky a maneuver):
and have used the angled head (that comes with the vacuum) to get the whole thing positioned correctly. That seems to have worked a treat and, now that the hoses are all connected up, I have a fully functional dust catching and extracting system to keep my lungs safe and my workshop tidy.