Week 2 Projects 3 and 4

In between the 8 rings we altered our ring clamp so it could be held securely in the notch of the piercing benchpin. It works very well!

Nice little break before the next 4 rings.

This project is a texture application project. We layed out, marked, sawed to define space, drilled holes and polished to 320 grit. The holes are for later stone setting. Then we put 4 different textures on.




There they are, practice and final. Turned out good, I like texture a lot!

Now for the last ring set for the week…. concave and convex on a curve with texture!!

Hee Hee Hee……..  This is the first silver project we’ve had. The sprue needs to be sawed off of the casting and filed down to match. They were nice enough to sprue it on one of the concave curves!


Now to clean up all of the concave parts so I can put texture in. I darkened the convex parts to break up the sheen of silver and when I file them ill know where ive gotten and where I haven’t.


Texture in on the concave curve and now file the convexes that are on a curve as well.


All done!! super cool project, im having a blast now! Practice and final pieces ready to turn in.


Second quiz… tool quiz…. names and what some of them are used for. What application you would use them. What drawer we find things in what burs are used for what. !00 on that one too.

I feel like in on track and in a good place. I’m caught up, all projects turned in and ready for next week. POLISHING week hooray!!! 6 rings to be graded on. I better rest up.


Week 2 Projects 1 and 2

It’s a new week and we are all excited to move on to something new. We get our first rings to work on!! There were 8 of them total.

The first one was a brass band that we had to layout, mark, saw then file grooves into.

The blue is a layout fluid to see the lines better


Layed out and saw cuts in


Filing done time for cleanup.


Practice piece and Final finished!


Filing a concave groove is pretty straight forward, the next band has concave grooves and convex lines as well. A little more complicated!

This ring started as a plain band like the first ones. This time in the layout process we had to do it a bit different. On either side of the convex groove we had to saw to define the space before we filed. Filing too much or saw marks in the wrong place or crooked destroys the geometry of the whole ring. The convex part had to have symmetrical hump and no lumpy, wavy or irregular spots, FUN FUN!!


I was pretty ecstatic with the final products. They came out really well…. I got lucky!!!!!



Week 1 Projects

The projects they give us have different due dates, some are the next day some are that week and some are at 6 weeks when we have our first bench test. All of the tool prep projects are due at week 6 but we need them for all of the projects we do so they’re really due by the end of week one.

All of the metal projects so far have come in twos, one practice piece and one final piece. First project was to saw, drill, stamp and polish to 320 grit 16 small tags from a given sheet of copper. All tags to be the same in size, hole placement and sheen.


The second project was to square up a piece of given copper measure and layout the design, drill, saw, clean up and polish to a 320 grit. This one was pretty tough! The lines had to be specific distances from the edge, holes had to be in a specific place, no tool marks, fingerprints, and polish marks all going in the same direction. This one was graded and there were 20 categories to achieve! The tolerances to be off were within 0ne tenth of a millimeter!!


Honestly one of the harder things I’ve done. I passed with an 85, 3 of my layout lines were off just a hair more than 1 tenth of a millimeter! Looks simple but wow!

Friday of week one we had our first quiz, a safety quiz. I got a 100!!! Im proud to say I think any of my students would have passed this quiz. Tom and I tought you well on the safety!

I really slept well over the weekend!

Week 1 Tool Prep

Sorry for the delay in posting pictures, we had 13 projects given and due the first week and new projects given the second week! Hectic but I’m caught up finally.

Week one projects consisted of tool modifications, making sanding sticks, putting safe edges onto 6 files and altering 2 benchpins. We use the sanding sticks a lot so they’re pretty used in the photo.  The safe edges had to have a mirror finish on them under magnification! Not an easy task, that took the longest. All of the projects had very specific measurements and guidelines and they were fairly strict on details.


The safe edges on the files are for filing prongs next to a set gemstone without scratching the stone



This is the benchpin we use for piercing and drilling


This is the benchpin we use for working and filing


all in all good projects. It got everybody used to using tools and training the eye to see what we needed to see. Now for our first projects!!

Back to basics

Well today we went all the way back to the beginning! We made sanding sticks by wrapping sandpaper around paint sticks. These are very useful tools, I have them in my studio, I use them more on gold pieces than silver. We also modified our bench pins. There was pretty specific measurements to follow and a lot of layout. It was kind of fun doing a bit of warmup stuff before we get onto it. Tomorrow we put safety edges on a few files. A safety edge prevents abraiding the gemstone while you clean up prongs. I’ll take a couple pics, I forgot to today. 

First Day!!!

After what seems to be FOREVER I had my first day at GIA. It was mostly an orientation to the facility and meet and greet with the staff, tour of the place and intro to all the department heads. We had time to socialize with the other students and get to know each other. There are 15 students total in my class, 6 men and 9 women. After lunch we got to unwrap our tools and set up our benches!!!! Holy crap, I forgot how much I like new tools!!! Just the smell and….. Oh, sorry! 

The benches are modestly supplied, no tools from home alowed. Most of the tools we keep. No, unfortunately not the $800 micro motor hand piece. All tools put away and on to books.  No books! We each get an iPad that has all of our instructional material loaded onto it! Bye bye book bag and lugging tons of large books around. Thank you Steve Jobs. I’m no longer a noob….. I have an official ID!!!! 

Monday we start using and altering tools. We have the weekend to study the first module and it’s on!!!!!!! Safety test and tool nomenclature tests this week. Everything happened so fast I didn’t have a chance to take photos of the campus. I’ll do it Monday I promise. This place is amazing and what a dream it is to be here. Thank you to all who had a hand in helping me get here, I am forever grateful!!