Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sign of the Times and Then Some

I had to share this with y'all. You know that I tend to hold onto things as long as possible right? Well, 10 years or more ago- I can't even remember when- I bought some Swanstrom tools from Rio Grande. I LOVE them. I SWEAR by them. I use them everyday. Well, my favorite large flatnose has been passed its prime for awhile now.

They are getting lose in the hinge. The whatchamacallit springs are broken, the plastic covers are ripped.

But, they are all broken in. All the edges are worn smooth. Inside the jaws are as smooth as a proverbial baby's butt. (They could use a good cleaning, though.)

I can send them to Rio and for 20.00 get them reconditioned. I'm going to do that. DH suggested I get a new pair so that I will have a back up and I won't be without my pliers while the old ones are in for repair. Good idea. I can always use another pair of pliers. :)

Ta da! Got them today. You know what I noticed? Rio, like every other business, has cut back a little to save money.

Hmm.... This will take more work than my emory board. Man, my old ones were pretty smooth when I got them.

Take a look at the depth of these screws. The new screw is noticeably shorter.

 And, although you can't tell much from the picture, the new ones don't have the same heft as the old ones.

I'm ok with these changes and I'm not surprised, nor am I angry about these things anymore. Unlike this situation I found back at the beginning of the Melt Down.

This was taken in either '08 or '10. I went to the grocery store and picked up 2 packs, the same price. Imagine my surprise when I set them next to each other. They were the same price, for Pete's sake!

Two things that I absolutely need. Whattayagonnado?


I was cabbing all day. Perfect time to get a picture of what my nails on my right hand now look like.

See that nice scar? Glassblowing.

Ugh! You see how brave I am, posting this??? But, a lot of you have mentioned how my nails don't look so bad. Well, that's my left hand you usually see. I'll keep those a little longer for photographing jewelry. They aren't so tore up.

Here's is why my nails are looking a little better than they did.

My dop pot. See the ugly, nasty looking green stuff inside the well? That's a combination of wax and shellac. It gets heated in the pot. The stones get heated on the rim. The sticks go in the goop and stick to the back of the cab, like the ones already done in the rack. (Let me tell you, the goop and stones get really, really hot!!!) After the stone is cabbed, it goes into the freezer until the wax pops off. EZPZ. Until you get a stubborn one like I did yesterday. I broke the soft, yellow quartz getting it off! I fixed it though. Here it is fixed. These are the stones I either cabbed, touched up or repaired today.

Rhodonite in quartz, yellow quartz, red jasper earring pair, colorful moss agate (refined some scratches), agate, picture jasper, blue dumortierite in quartz, center: Sonoran dendritic rhyolite, green moss agate
 The earring pair is to go with this scrumptious stone. This is stunning in person. It took an incredible polish!

Now, I'm off to wrap some freshly cabbed stones. :)


  1. 'Lo Tela. You're right, companies are cutting back. Swansrom is supposed to be top of the line. Sorry, Swanstrom, it ain't so. Foe example, their high priced disc cutter doesn't work any better than the less expensive Pepe. In fact, I find a lot of name brands aren't the quality you would expect from the price.


  2. Hi John, Ain't that the truth!! It's hard to spend money now a days, when you know you won't get your money's worth and then when you do spend it, you're almost always disappointed with the quality. My old swanstroms are worth the 20.00 to repair and last another 15 years or so. Hopefully the new ones will have the same staying power, but somehow,I doubt it.


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