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This is my first attempt at a metalsmithing tutorial.  I’ll show you how I make my 14k gold hoop earrings with the self-locking closure.  For those of you who aren’t metal smiths, maybe you’ll find it interesting to see how I spend my days in the studio.

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First, I must say a word about studio safety.  All work surfaces should be clear of potentially hazardous objects.  Absolutely no food or drink should be consumed in the studio.

Safety goggles are essential when operating power tools.  Sometimes it’s wise to wear them even when just approaching your bench.  Find a good pair that will fit over your glasses and don’t make you look like a dork.

Take good notes about what you’ve done, and keep them handy.

The right tools are essential.  But, when you don’t have the right tools, you can make them out of pretty much anything you have lying around.

Tripod is essential for shooting videos

Before starting a project, clear the toys off your stool.  You will need that space for your tools, since you will never find them again if you place them on your bench.  Make sure there is nothing lying on the floor that might cause you to trip.

Next, plug in your speakers, find the right station for the mood, adjust the volume, and get to work.

For the self-locking closure, you’ll need two steel plates, preferably held together with one or two pins so they don’t slide around.  I made this tool out of my PEPE disc cutter.  I’ve filed the edges of the plates so that they are rounded.  This is important… abrupt, sharp edges will cut your wire rather than compress it.  I’ve also sanded the surface of the plates smooth so they don’t leave marks in the wire.

PEPE disc cutter not harmed during this procedure

I’m making two pairs of hoop earrings.  Before the video starts, I’ve measured and cut four lengths of 20 gauge round wire.  You’ll need to multiply the desired hoop diameter by pi (3.14) to determine the proper length.  Add a couple of millimeters to adjust for the upturned end. Then I’ve sanded the ends of the wire smooth and used a sharpie to make a mark 3 mm from the ends.

Here goes:  please excuse the amateur video.  It’s hard when you are using a coffee cup for a tripod.

Take a look at the other tutorials posted by the Aspiring Metalsmiths team for our February blog roll:

VCArtisanOriginals –
Sylvia Anderson –
Metals Addict –
Lilian Ginebra –
Esmeralda –
Stacy –
Shannon of Gifted Designs –
Pennee- All Wired Up Jewelry Designs –
Jessica @ Abella Blue –
Elizabeth Brown –

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