Monday, October 12, 2009
More Good Things in Small Packages - Metal Clay Tools
I recently received yet another generous $50.00 certificate from Rings & Things to select some products of my choice to try out in my home "studio" (I use that word very loosely). You may recall the last time I had this wonderful opportunity, I used it to run barefoot through their book collection. This time, I decided to boldly go where I had never gone before, and checked out their supply of metal clay tools.
Yes, you heard right - this was my first time exploring their metal clay section. Can you believe it? Silly, right? I am a creature of habit - there are a few stores from whom I buy tools, and, for whatever narrow reason, I don't tend to step outside of my comfort zone and look elsewhere. While I doubt that will change (being a creature of habit), Rings & Things is definitely now on my go-to list of places for good quality metal clay tools.
The photo above was my top score from Rings & Things. They look like clay cutters (or Klay Kutters, as Kemper calls them), and they are. However, they are not the standard packet of graduated circle cutters. These are actually packaged as a Rose Cutter set - with circle sizes from approximately 0.5" to 1.5".
Now, don't get me wrong - I have a circle template, and I use it all the time. However, in my opinion, there are some things for which a cutter is just more convenient (like making chain). I own the standard Kemper Circle Kutter set, and I also have a graduated biscuit cutter set that I use for larger sizes. However, there's a gap of 1"-1.50" sized circles between these two sets, and I'd thought for a long time how convenient it would be to have cutters to bridge the gap - but I'd never actually seen any (or contacted Kemper, or any other clay tool company, to determine if they were actually available - which would have been the smart thing to do). So, in short, I'm completely thrilled to have this new set of cutters.
The next big surprise for me, looking through their tool section was finding this brush:
This is one of my favorite finishing tools. It is a double-sided stainless steel brush with one angle-cut and one straight-cut head. Each head is a narrow .13" across. I prefer a scratch finish on my pieces and own a number of brushes (and am always on the lookout for more). This one is excellent for getting into tight corners, etc. In my experience, not all metal clay suppliers carry this brush, so I was happy to see it here. I actually purchased two of them with my certificate, but the other one has already been put to hard use, so I just photographed the new one.
My third discovery were these intriguing sheets:
These days, I make the majority of the stamps I use with a linoleum cutter and rubber carving blocks. These blue thingies (to use a techinical term) are actually rubber carving sheets - with a difference. They have colored layers to help the carver measure depth - one side is blue, one side is green and the 1/10" center layer is black. They are also a very generous size at 5 7/8" x 3 7/8". I like both of these traits very much. I am also seriously interested in how durable the sheets are (I tend to be pretty hard on my stamps), but, of course, I haven't owned them for long enough to know for sure how hardy they are - although, the sheets seem fairly resilient. I'll get back to you on this issue.
Next, I turned to carving and shaping tools. This is always a difficult area for me, as I really have to use carvers and shapers for a while before I decide whether I really like them (and, frankly, I often end up using sort of jury-rigged items as tools). Rings & Things had a few different sets to explore. I decided to try out this set of wax carvers and spatulas by Eurotools:
I found this selection of different tips to be very intriguing, so I indulged. However, to be perfectly honest, at this time I've only used a couple of the spatulas, so I can't really comment on the set as a whole yet. I've liked what I've seen for far, though!
Finally, I ordered that staple in any metal clay enthusiast's bag of tricks:
Yes, liver of sulfur. My supply was getting low, and I needed more - as simple as that - and Rings & Things delivered (thank you!).
So, in short, I had a fun time rummaging around the metal clay tools section at Rings & Things. The only caveat I have about the whole experience is that it did take me some time to find certain items. For example, stencils and cutters are actually classified under the polymer clay section on the website. However, they are cross-referenced in the description of the metal clay section - just be sure to read the text at the top to find all of the links relevant to metal clay.
So, if you are a metal clay enthusiast, I do recommend checking out the tools that Rings & Things carries, if you haven't already done so. As for me, I'm off to experiment with my new bag of goodies.
Thanks for visiting.
Please note: the products mentioned in this post include promotional gifts from Rings & Things for review and/or design partnership purposes.