Monday, July 2, 2012

More Tool Time

I alluded to some more things I had going on in my last post. But, I couldn't say much at that time because I hadn't had a chance to try out this other new toy.

First Groove Wrap
I have been wanting to learn to groove wrap because I want to cut earring stones to match some of my pendants. But, here's the thing-- **me personally** I don't like big, heavy, froo froo earrings with lots of wire to get tangled in my hair. So, I wanted a way to make really simple earrings that wouldn't become ear rippers. This was the perfect solution.

I'll show you my machine. You have to promise to ignore how it looks, though. I got a good deal on a used one on eBay and had just finished using it when I got the picture. Doing lapidary work now, I am so used to things being wet and dirty that I really didn't notice. :)

This is an old Glastar G-4 machine. It was made for stained glass artists to grind the edges of their glass, but it works great for lapidary, too.

My always reliable helper made it into the shot. Don't mind my dirty work space.

Here is the diamond groove making bit. It is moves up and down so you can adjust it to the height of the stone. Honestly, that is the hardest part of doing this. This bit cut through hard agate like butter.

The first stone I cut, some soft sodalite, that was one part of a pair for earrings was ripped from my fingers and thrown across the room. Good thing no one was hit. Especially my ever present side kick- Cat. I got the hang of it pretty quick after that. :)

I know that not everyone will want to run out and get one of these, so I thought I would tell you about another, smaller, tool that I got recently. It's a hammer. Not just any hammer, though. It's a micro hammer.

Before you scoff, let me tell you, I reach for this all the time when I am wire wrapping. It is so small that it would be hard to damage anything and it will get into small spaces. In fact, I was reminded to tell you about this little beauty when I was using it to tap the wire into the groove of the pendant pictured above. It is a very high quality Japanese tool made by a company that specializes in hobby tools. I know about it because of DH's modeling hobby. Here is the hammer's page on the company site and here is where I bought it.

Not much bigger than your pliers.

Finished up a few more stones. Me and Gene get together for a few hours a day. I think I'm learning. :)

Porcelain mystery jasper

Noreena Jasper

Jasper Agate- much nicer in person

Red Moss Agate


Last, but not least, here is that red jasper all prettied up.


Happy 4th!! Have a great holiday all of you in the US. Me and DH have the week together. Yay!


  1. Hi Tela!
    Now that is one cool tool I didn't know about -- the Glastar G-4. I can see you doing wonderful things with that in your hands. I've taken the plunge and am going to buy my own cabber! Have you seen Diamond Pacific's new 'Xpert'? Not sure whether I'll go for that or the trusted Genie. The Xpert has the advantage of a 7th wheel and a slightly larger motor -- I can get either one of them shipped here for about the same price, so that's the quandary. Decisions, decisions!

    - Robin

    1. Hi Robin, GOOD NEWS!!! I'm so happy for you!!! You'll be thrilled... and addicted!

      I had to go check out the Xpert. No, I hadn't heard of it. Hmmmm.... I'd be torn, too. But, knowing me, I still would have chosen Gene. He's time tested. I have a suspicion that the Xpert isn't US made. If you get the Xpert, do yourself a favor and wait till you order the 7th wheel and know better what you would want. After using mine awhile, I'm not sure I actually need another wheel. I have 7 on Gene and can add another. If anything, I'd have another genie with all the fancy wheels for fancy shapes. :) Now, that is an expensive dream. LOL!

      The G-4 is an old unit, but still quite usable. The new ones are essentially the same. It's a motor with a spindle and box. :) Inland makes one for lapidary, but I think they are more. Not sure, though.

  2. Ooooh, I LOVE that rhyolite!
    And your cabs look perfect, that probably means the "learning" stage is officially over :) (well, it probably never is, really, with anything, but still.. could you do MUCH better than that?)

    1. Hi Laura and thanks! No, I'm in no way done learning. There is much I struggle with, but it is getting easier.

      The rhyolite is a soft stone. This slab was thin, but it made a great low dome cab. I love all the patterns in the slab and have a few more interesting cabs of it to cut. Wish it would take a better shine, but I'm happy with it. :)

  3. Wow, more awesome things you are making. Doing a groove like this is very unique. You seem like you are in your element with all the rocks;)

    1. Hi Mary :) Yup, I'm totally happy with my rocks! I have so my irons in the fire, it's hard to keep up sometimes, but I'm loving it.

  4. Your cabbing looks wonderful!! Of course, your wrapping is always beautiful, simply done and impeccable. You never over do it and always showcase the stone elegantly. That hammer looks like something I want (and can actually afford).


    1. Hi Zoraida :)

      Thank you, thank you! I hope you get the hammer and find it as usful as I do. It comes with different screw on heads, too. And don't forget to sand the sharp edges.

      I have always meant to tell you- that is the most pretty and unusual name I have heard. Do you have a knick name? What nationality is it? It's so unique- definitely memorable. :)

    2. Hi Tela..found your blog and put in my task bar so I wouldn't forget it..One reason I stopped using the JL site for awhile was it seemed to be a "click" of certain people and I had wanted to get some good critques on my work, but I didn't get it. I thought that was what the site was for, to have more advanced wire-workers give novices advise re their work. When I revisited I found that most of the work shown was beading and the tuts were the same.

  5. Hi Peggy!! I'm so glad you found me! :) Listen, anytime you want or need some feedback- send me a picture. I don't mind, at all. You can find my email under my profile.

    Yes, the site was originally supposed to be that way, but too many of the more experienced people had very bad results with offering their opinions, advice, critiques. As a result, most people learned to stay quiet.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.