If you've been making jewelry for a while, sooner or later you will probably wish to venture into some metal smith techniques such as hammering, soldering and riveting.  The latest book I received from Kalmbach Publishing is just the ticket to learn more.

Mixed Metal Mania: Solder, rivet, hammer, and wire exceptional jewelry by Kim St Jean stands out among the many metal smith books I have seen. That's because she is also a highly experienced teacher, a veteran of many sold-out workshops at different venues.

Most jewelry book authors know how to write good tutorials. But Kim is able to deliver much more than just instructions and gorgeous inspiring projects - she shares all the tips and tricks, shortcuts and information that really do help learners.  In other words, she truly understands where beginners are coming from. A hallmark of an excellent teacher is nothing is assumed of the learner.

One example of her thoroughness, is her extensive section on tools.  She explains what the tools you need are and more importantly what they are used for. While a self-proclaimed tool junkie, she is not a tool snob either. Her tool collection has been slowly amassed over the years, often secondhand and in some cases, free. If you look at the lower left picture, her hammers are hanging on a tree stump - the perfect surface for hammering metals as the wood absorbs the striking energy and reduces "kick-back".  Click here for a better view of some of these preview pages.

Her workshop is a very model of organization! Most are small tools. The more expensive items would be the flex shaft and rolling mill. She also advocates the use of makeshift tools. Indeed this section entitled, Kim's Unconventional Tools, was a delight to read. One creative solution is the clothespin which she uses as a bezel pusher and to hold pieces safely while hammering! Wooden clothespins do not scratch metals.

Her book is thorough. She even has a page on Basic Tool Kits where she illustrates the groups of tools needed for tasks such as fold forming and stamping metal.  In the Basic Techniques section, she covers all forms of riveting and making holes.

Instructions for lashing (cold connection technique using wire to "sew" together metal pieces), soldering, patina creation, how to tumble and even how to etch metals are included despite the lack of an accompanying project for that method. This form of etching uses ferric chloride and rubber stamps with Stazy On inks for the resist is not difficult at all.  Kim even covers how to neutralize and safely dispose of the solution when you are done with it.

Kim's original designs are funky and fun. Some may not like the look of the darker pieces or even copper but the whole point of her book is to learn especially if you cannot attend her workshops, and beyond that, it's an excellent resource book to have handy. I know I will be referring to it frequently.

Her book will suit intermediate to advanced jewelry makers.


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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