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Foundations in Metalsmithing: Statement Earrings

Lesson 8 of 21

Troubleshooting & Student Hot Seat


Foundations in Metalsmithing: Statement Earrings

Lesson 8 of 21

Troubleshooting & Student Hot Seat


Lesson Info

Troubleshooting & Student Hot Seat

So this is the point where part of me really wants to saw badly just to break a blade because I wanna to show you guys what happens. So let's see if we can, let's saw badly for a second. I don't even think I can do it, I'm like, let's see, if I try to, (metal sawing) it's really hard to do when you're trying. All right, so, clearly you can see this takes a lot of abuse, right? So if you're breaking a lot of saw blades, there's a couple of reasons for that. First one is just making sure, I bet if I did this, wow, this is like an indestructible saw blade, who knew? So couple things, first of all, is your saw blade tight? Right, are we checking for that nice tightness. That's the first one that I see all the time, is just people are not getting the saw blade tight enough. The other one is are you keeping it vertical? This is gonna break at some point 'cause now it's jammed in here pretty well. So are you actually keeping it vertical, or are you getting crooked or wonky, that's gonna snap ...

your blade. The next one is are you moving the metal and not the blade? So if you're trying to turn a corner by turning your blade, that's probably gonna break a lot. Are you relaxed and letting the blade do the work? That's another big one, right, you're trying to force it through and that's when it's breaking. And then are you using enough lubrication? So if you're breaking a lot of saw blades, you wanna go back through and look at those and make sure, but again, it's really that tightness that's gonna do it. So since I made it look easy, I wanna bring one of you guys up and let you do it. I'm gonna picky on Tawny 'cause I know she's a good sport. So come on up here, and I'm gonna take this guy out, and I'm gonna make you start from the very beginning. Gonna let you practice a little. All right, so you're good, you have glasses on so I won't make you wear the safety glasses. All right. Good, so she's doing the first thing right, which is checking to make sure she's got her direction right. And you said it went all the way to the top? All the way to the top, yup. And kind of all the way against that little nut there too. You left handed? No. (laughter) You're reaching all the way around there trying to. Yeah. So the first thing I would look at is you see how this is coming out, like it's kind of poking back a little bit, you wanna make sure it's nice and straight in there. That looks better, all right. And I'm actually gonna, I'm gonna hold this table so that you can really press against it and it's not gonna move. How's that sound? I'm guessing that's probably (dink) that one sounds pretty good, let's try it. You got that in there all right. All right, so what else do you need? Glasses. Glasses. How about a little bit of Bur Life on there. All right, so I'm gonna let you, why don't you practice, this is getting a little funky here, but start by just cutting that little straight line right there. (scraping metal) Yeah, so because it's got a little bit of flex to it, just slide the whole thing back in your bench pin. It's gonna give it a little more support. (uneven metal sawing) So do you hear how this sounds different than when I was sawing? It's because you're trying to force the blade forward. So that's how you can hear, right, so if you just focus on that vertical movement without worrying at all, and then just kind of let the saw do the work. Better. (metal sawing) All right, why don't you go ahead and back that out. So you can just move it a little bit and it'll just back out, perfect. And then I'm gonna swap you the other side. Let's have you do a little kind of tight turn there. (muffled talking) Yeah, use the big one, that'll be easier. (uneven metal sawing) I think I started cutting in there, that's why. Just start, yeah, just keep cutting. That was when I was trying to break a blade. (metal sawing) Yeah, so in this case, you just wanna saw all the way up to it and then do the spin. All right. There you go. Megan, got a question for you while she's sawing away. Is there any sort of device that's sort of a clamping device where it would, you know where I'm going with that? Yeah, so there are, I mean, you can certainly just clamp it right there, but the problem is because you need to move the metal, you want to focus on, look at that, she's turned that corner like (muffled). You wanna just use your hands. Now this is one of those where if you don't have a lot of hand strength, you're gonna just need to develop it over time. So get those little squeezy balls, do some hand exercises, but the more you do it, again, the easier it gets. (metal sawing) And maybe I missed this, so I'll ask this question, let me know if I did. Is your sawing direction always going, do you always saw by moving forward? Yes, you always move forward, yeah. There are like some really rare occasions where you would actually put the saw blade in backwards and saw out, but off the top of my head, I can't think of one. Pretty much any shape that you wanna make you can create by cutting kind of forward. All right, so you got a little stuck. So sometimes in this case, you can just kind of back it up and keep moving. Worst case scenario, what happens is the blade breaks. And you might also be running into the wood, yeah, so that is the one thing where if you're like, "I'm not moving," you might actually be up against the wood in the bench pin. Bench pins are designed to be cut into, but it's gonna obviously limit what you're doing. (metal sawing) Perfect, so how did that feel? Pretty good. A little awkward? It takes some practice. Yeah, so that's really, I'll let you go ahead and sit down. Thank you, Tawny. So really when it comes to sawing, it's very, very basic. It's just a practice makes perfect kind of technique. Right, the more you do it, the more you cut, the more comfortable you're gonna be, the easier it's gonna feel. But you do wanna make sure, and obviously like Tawny was just trying this really quick, but when you're setting this up at home, like I noticed Tawny, you were kind of like leaned a little, so really just make sure that you guys are getting this nice kind of set up on your bench pin here. And if it means you need to move your stool over a little, or adjust the height, or whatever it is you need to do. Get yourself comfortable, 'cause that's gonna make the process easier as well. Other questions about cutting from the outside? How do you practice cutting? Any advice, just do it? You cut things, yeah. Okay, great. So my recommendation is once you have done like just a couple of practice cuts, practice cutting by cutting out things that you actually wanna cut out, right. Don't feel like you have to do a million of these. Start cutting out the designs that you're interested in, and you're just gonna get better over time. So actually use the practice to make things. Can you recommend the most inexpensive sheet metal to practice on if you're just practicing? Yeah, so copper or brass, either one is gonna be pretty cheap. So I would go with straight up brass over NuGold or Jeweler's Brass 'cause that's gonna be more expensive. So you can even go on Amazon, or I order from this industrial supply warehouse called McMaster Carr, and I think this big, this was an eight by 12 sheet, and I think it was like 15 dollars for that big eight by 12 in 24 gauge. So pretty inexpensive and you can get a lot out of this. Thank you, and one last question. Let me come over here, please. Oh, user would like to know how long does it usually take for you to cut your jar-din? The Jardin. Jardin. The Jardin, I think depending on the size of those, so the Jardin, just so you guys have reference, are these earrings here. And I can probably cut out this big size in, I don't know, like under 10 minutes, five, 10, somewhere in there, it's pretty quick. So the more you do it, the faster you'll get for sure.

Class Description

Learn the basics of metalsmithing to make stunning statement earrings (and more!) - no torch required!

Getting started in metalsmithing doesn’t have to be scary. In Foundations in Metalsmithing: Statement Earrings, you’ll learn the basic skills you need to start making metal jewelry, as well as the design principles to create your own unique pair of statement earrings, all with less than $100 in tools! (And, you’ll be able to apply those tools and new-found skills to expand your ideas into a full line of jewelry!)

In this class, jewelry designer and metalsmith Megan Auman will show anyone how to get started making one of a kind metal jewelry.

You will learn how to:

  • Choose the right tools and materials for your metal jewelry projects.
  • Design incredible (and comfortable to wear) statement earrings with balance and movement.
  • Saw and pierce to create any shape from sheet metal.
  • File and finish your metal pieces so they look professional.
  • Create your own ear wires to finish off your unique design.

Whether you’re looking to grow your existing jewelry making knowledge or for a new creative outlet that you can proudly wear (and show off!), you’ll leave this class with your own pair of stunning statement earrings - and the skills and design chops to expand your ideas into a complete line of jewelry!  


user 1398976626171314

One of the most special things about Megan, is that though she is a creative, she is extremely good at business. Her organized way of thinking and presenting material, and her genuine joy when empowering her students with the tools needed to be successful, is charming and so much fun. Somehow there is such seamlessness and flow to her class structure and explanations, that I can absorb what she says and easily retain it. I really can start a jewelry line just with this class. She is amazing and LOVE her style!!!


I really enjoyed this class! Megan provides a great foundation for using metal sheets to design/make jewelry and using wire to make unique findings. This was a great class for learning the fundamentals and sparking inspiration for new projects

Vernell Bevelander

I LOVED this class! Megan is such a detailed teacher. She leaves no stone unturned. So much fun! Can't wait for my next class!