Melissa Muir is an amazing metal smith with serious design skills. I recently featured her video which shows how she makes her copper flower pendant. It was a demonstration which shows how having the right tools can make the production process faster. Indeed, hitting that creative wall and being unable to form the designs she wanted was the reason why she bought an hydraulic press.
She recently launched her Craft class called Make the Most of Your Hydraulic Press . This is where she teaches those unfamiliar with this tool how to use it properly to take jewelry making to the next level. Most of us are familiar with the humble disc cutter (see my past post, Which Disc Cutter to Get for Jewelry Making?) which only cuts out round shapes. The hydraulic press can not only cut out different shapes but saves a lot of effort. You do not have to be strong to operate one!
The class lasts just under 2 hours. As with all Craftsy classes, the format is such students can watch the class when and where they want and as many times as necessary to learn a technique. You will be able to ask Melissa any questions.
This introductory lesson covers how to use a hydraulic press combined with a pancake die to cut and make a pair of triangular earrings. Melissa teaches the steps needed to prepare the die. The softer metals like silver and copper work with this tool.
This lesson really shows off Melissa's creativity as she enhances what are flat pieces of metal. She shares the metal work steps and tools needed to complete 3 different designs from the die cuts. The triangular earrings actually consist of two layers of metal, the top one being pierced work using a jewelry saw. She also demonstrates wire riveting using spacers. The Deluxe 4 hole metal punch for 18, 16, 14 and 12 G wire also makes wire riveting easier!
She shifts over to the use of silhouette dies in this lesson. There are specific preparatory steps like cutting out the metal shapes to fit the die. These 3D shapes are lovely but some finishing work like piercing or riveting can be challenging to do on a domed shape. So this class covers the instructor's tips.
The hydraulic press can also be used to make embossed designs. Melissa shows how to use wire scrolls to emboss. You can also get bracelet dies as well as embossing plates. The press makes quick work of those steps and can be used to help curve the bracelet too.
Melissa teaches how to use specific formers to produce anticlastic (concave) and synclastic (convex) bangles.
Melissa covers fold forming with her own unique approach to Charles Lewton-Brain's innovation. There is more hammering skills to learn in this class as well as using the hydraulic press to form the shapes.
This class is for serious metal smiths who wish to take their jewelry design to the next level. Along the way, you will learn many tips and tricks and most likely develop a case of tool envy!
You can check out Potter USA (specifically for jewelry makers) for more information on hydraulic presses and accessories. There are many price levels for presses. Melissa said "For a lot of the forming, you really need to have a 20-ton press. Most commercially available presses are 20-ton. You can get away with less tonnage for things like punching out shapes with a pancake die." Other press suppliers include Harbor Freight and Princess Auto (for Canadians).
If you want a chance to win a free access to Melissa Muir's Make the Most of Your Hydraulic Press class (and ask her any question about presses etc), please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog. The class is currently on sale too.
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This giveaway is international.
Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)
It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, July 11, 2016. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!
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