Apologies in advance to those who may have read this on the Etsy Maine Team Thread. This is a post, pretty much word-for-word, that I decided would be a better blog entry than a post (should have thought of that before I posted it, though!). And I think it can fall under the Tool Junkie Series since I do mention tools.
I have a large order of pins I am making and I got the bright idea that I would rivet the pin backs that weren't already attached on the forms. Never having riveted before, I posted a question on the Etsy Maine Team thread, got a great convo from Jenn and jumped right in. So never having been taught metalsmithing, and through books knowing just enough to make me dangerous, here is what I have learned so far. Maybe these can be called the Murphy's Laws of Riveting.
-If you drill both your holes and then set one rivet, the other holes will never line up exactly.
-It's hard to hold on to those little rivets and my hands are too clumsy.
-If you try to hold onto them with pliers or tweezers, inevitably you will squeeze too hard, and what was the start of a pretty good rivet will fly out of your pliers and be lost somewhere across the room.
-My work area is too messy and it's hard to find rivets when you drop them.
-Once you get a good rivet started, because you used the same size drill and wire (as instructed in the Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight) and because you cut the piece too long, the unflared end will have expanded just enough not to fit in your hole.
-You will become so frustrated trying to fit it in your hole that you will squeeze too hard on the pliers you are holding and the rivet will shoot across the room and you will have to start over again.
-Brass is just enough different from sterling silver to make it hard to work with until you are used to it.
-Those cheap gold-colored pinbacks are not brass and if you try to sand out the plier or hammer marks, the finish will come off.
-My new riveting hammer is really cool.
-My new cheapo (beginner's) jewelry saw is also pretty cool. It cuts thick wire great, but I suck at cutting shapes out of sheet. But don't put too much pressure on the saw when you cut or you will break those little tiny hair-width saw blades.
-I actually like doing this once I got the hang of it and wish I could find a place to take a metalsmithing class around here. I know there's a lot more to it than just riveting, but I really like working with metals, I have decided.
Don't look too closely at my finished product, please!
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