Six Tips for Working with Metal and Making Cold Connections

14 Cold Connections, 11 Metal Fabrication Techniques and 13 Video Tutorials = One Well-Rounded Metalsmith!

Did you know there are dozens of different types of cold connections? You're probably familiar with rivets, screws, tabs, jump rings . . . But there are so many more! Connie Fox has created Master Class: Learn to Work with Sheet Metal and Cold Connections as an info-packed course that covers more than 25 essential metalsmithing techniques, including these 14 different types of cold connections you can learn about and create in Connie's course: basic and invisible wire rivets, cotter pins, tube and split tube rivets, rivets for rotating parts, fancy wire rivets, telescoping connectors, jump rings, miniature bolts, staples, tabs, eyelets, and adhesives.

Before you learn all these cold connections, however, you'll need something to connect. In Connie's course, you'll also learn basic metal fabrication and metalsmithing skills as well as the cold connections needed to join your metal components into actual jewelry pieces. This course is really two courses in one–metal fabrication and cold connections–because in addition to 14 cold connections, you'll learn 11 metal fabrication techniques and skills in Connie's course, including sawing, filing, drilling, measuring and marking, sequencing, texturing, piercing, and more. In each of seven sessions, you'll learn at least one fabrication technique and at least one cold connection that pair well together.

Here are six tips that I pulled from just skimming Connie's course notes. (There are dozens more bits of info like these!)


1. Do you have trouble starting sawing with your jeweler's saw? Connie's advice: "Place the top of the blade where you want to begin and use the thumb of your 'clamping' hand to hold the blade in place. (You will be touching the back of the blade where there are no teeth.) Travel up the blade, and as you 'saw in reverse,' a small groove will be cut in the metal. Remove your thumb and start sawing."

2. Do you know how versatile and helpful files can be in your studio, beyond just filing sawed metal for a good finish? "Files can also be used to clean solder, clean or widen holes, shape metal, and carve the metal as a design element."

3. Do you know how to use, clean, and store files in your studio to keep them at their best? "The quickest way to damage your files is to store them so they rub against each other. Use drawer separators or totes that will keep them separate. To clean your files, use a thin piece of brass sheet metal between the grooves to remove bits of metal. Avoid getting your files wet."

4. Do you know how to use your bench pin for filing? "Brace your work against a bench pin. It works well to file a groove in the bench pin to secure the metal in the groove as you file."

5. Do you know how many textures you can create on metal sheet using common household items? "Hammering sheet metal against a textured surface creates transfer textures," Connie says. "Place the texture material on top of a steel bench block and then the sheet metal on top of the texture. Hammer your sheet metal with a brass mallet or an old hammer from the garage." Some to try are metal window screen, perforated metal, and coarse sandpaper. You can even hammer metal on concrete and bricks.

6. Do you want to add rotating motion and spinning parts to your jewelry? "Make the rivet just like a basic wire rivet with one exception. Place a slotted piece of card stock (an old business card) between the rivet head and the sheet metal. Finish the head and the tail . . . Remove the card stock, and the small space that it created will allow your sheet metal to move."

Those tips are taken from just the basic narrative notes of the course–but there's so much more in Connie's course to help you master these metal fabrication and cold connection techniques, including 13 videos. Through "oodles" of pages of clearly written lessons supported by 114 photographs and 13 videos, you'll learn more than two dozen skills that you can use to create just about any metal jewelry you want to make. Learn to measure and cut shapes from metal sheet, add dimension and/or texture to them, file and finish them, and then learn to stack and layer them properly and connect two or more of them using cold connections. Can you imagine a more comprehensive online course?

Learn to Work with Sheet Metal and Cold Connections contains more instructional content than you'd find in an average jewelry-making book and DVD combined, with the added help of a live, knowledgeable instructor with many years of experience teaching metal fabrication courses. It has the benefits of learning in a live class, but you can learn at your own pace. Connie is just an email or Skype chat away when you need help. And this entire course is less than $100!

If you've wanted to learn metalsmithing techniques or you already know a bit and want a little professional instruction to move you along, Master Class: Learn to Work with Sheet Metal and Cold Connections is for you. If you're intimidated by using a torch or just prefer not to use one at home, this course is for you, too! The first session of this course sold out three times, so we created a special second session–which also sold out. Now we're offering Connie's course again, so that everyone who has been waiting to take it can have the opportunity. So don't miss your chance to learn to work with metal and cold connections with Connie Fox! Treat yourself to a top-notch learning experience from one of the most knowledgeable, most generous teachers available: sign up for Connie Fox's Master Class Learn To Work With Sheet Metal and Cold Connections on Craft U.

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