Dixon bench pin anvil with pin

not new Dixon bench pin anvil with pin

The newer castings of this style are taken from the Dixon model and simply do not say Dixon as it is a trademark owned, now, by Grobet. Buy an original (rare, maybe) for about half of a recent ebay auction (with shipping).

USPS Priority shipping insured with delivery confirmation in continental US is included in the price.

Dixon bench pin anvil with pin $23

SOLD 3-12-13

Dixon Grobet metalsmith silversmith #12 T Stake anvil SOLD

The Dixon #12 is the most versatile stake because it is a mini anvil with two tapering horns – the center portion is flat, one horn with a flat top and one horn nearly round tapering from about 1″ down to 3/8″ which works great for rings, earrings and bracelets. The #12 is barn fresh. It is used and shows signs of use. I have not cleaned nor have I dressed it since unpacking and it is not finished to a polish. This unpolished style is preferred by some smiths as the stake surface does not allow the work piece to move when struck while rough forming. You are free to clean, dress and polish for your style. This is sold “as is”. The #12 can be installed in a nice tree stump if you do not have a large vise or anvil or it can be fitted in the #88 stakeholder I have for sale on another post.

Compare price other info at Rio here.

USPS Priority shipping insured with delivery confirmation in continental US is included in the price.

Dixon #12 T Stake anvil $149 SOLD

Melting down 3 lbs of inventory…

The other day I looked at new sketches and drawings of designs I’ve made and began to draft a Gantt chart to begin work. While setting up a small casting in delft clay I looked at the trays full of old inventory from festival shows going back to 1993. I became underwhelmed.

The original plan was to sort, finish, polish, re-work, etc over three pounds of bracelets, rings, earrings, belt buckles, work-in-progress to jump-start a web storefront. The problem with the plan is it’s a continuation of the old work I didn’t like and the inventory in its present form represents a psychological ball and chain. So, why mess with it at all? Except, maybe, to melt it down(link to short youtube video).

The deep pitting on my ingots is from using charcoal briquettes ground through a cheese grater for ingot mold release/flux sprinkles before/after pour.


Buffing polishing station jewelry studio shop…

With the new year comes an editorial schedule

I’ll be happily sharing many of the operations and processes which make my studio work for me.

topics in this post

metro shelves with casters

shoe box storage/buffing station organization

label maker

dust control shop modification to buffing machine

buff recycling

buff maintenance – rake and wheel dresser (added 20120211)


wire shelves with casters

I like wheels so most of my storage and some workstations, like the buffer, are on casters. I can move things around in a small space. Watch for sales on the wire shelving/Metro Shelves. The 18 inch deep works best for visibility, shoe boxes and most of the totes or boxes I use. Always buy the largest set of shelving and use half, like the buffing station, and the other half for another desk-high shelf  (I know they come with a limited number of shelves. After a few years of buying when they go on sale you end up with a supply of parts to configure the way you want. Start with one and go)

jewelry buffing station 1 wire shelving casters shoe boxes

shoe box storage/buffing station organization

There are many small parts and tools in the studio and after a while you may get as tired as I did of digging through a large box. My decision to use clear shoe boxes started with the purchase of a bulk pack of 6 for $5. After stowing a few things I went back for more. You can find these at any home/DIY/big box. When they drop below a buck apiece w/lids (don’t forget to get lids they’re included) I buy more. Keep all compounds and buffs separated in closed/lidded boxes. Contamination of buffs with dirt or other compounds ruins them and they can waste hours of prep and final polish on your work.

jewelry buffing station 2 shoe box storage buffs

jewelry buffing station 6 shoe box label storage buffs

jewelry buffing station 5 shoe box storage buffs rouge

jewelry buffing station 4 shoe box storage buffs tripoli

jewelry buffing station 3 rouge thrum string leather

label maker

A friend bought me a label maker years ago – one of the most practical additions to the studio or workshop. If you know what is in a box you know two things: what is in there; and what doesn’t go in there. They are about $20-30. At least use peel back labels and a Sharpie if you don’t want to spend $30. Organize.

dust control shop modification to buffing machine

In earlier posts I talked about using the buffer and using a buffing machine creates dust. Period. See this post for ideas on an area dust collector for $20 for your studio. Crafters know the glue gun is an indispensable tool in the studio arsenal. The problem was my buffer was still sending dust out of the filter exhaust ports into the studio. When you figure hours of buffing that is a lot of dust and extra time cleaning. Part of the mental gymnastics one goes through to solve this type of problem is just looking around at what you have and saying “What if I do this with that?” I saw the rag bag and a glue gun in a newly opened un-sorted box. I cut sleeves from an old chambray shirt and plugged in the glue gun. I was done in less than an hour and this made a great difference in airborne cotton fibers. Glue the cuffs shut, glued top corners on the sleeves so they would drop vertically then glued each to the buffer case. This was done so I could use the buffer in nearly the same footprint as the shelving, near a wall for instance, and the sleeve bags wouldn’t stick out like an airport windsock. Images shown with buffer on.

jewelry buffing station 8 exhaust bag from sleeves

jewelry buffing station 7 exhaust bag from sleeves

jewelry buffing station 9 exhaust bag from sleeves

buff recycling

You may notice in the tripoli box some ring buffs look like they were used with rouge. I bought new ring buffs for rouge as the old ones were getting thin and the old ones went in the tripoli box. You can recycle buffs towards larger grits (tripoli is more aggressive than rouge) but not the other way. Tripoli on a rouge stage buff ruins the final polish. All of my steel buffs used to be some other application for non-ferrous surface finish. For final on steel I usually use Fabulustre.

jewelry buffing station 4 shoe box storage buffs tripoli

Buff maintenance

Here are two tools I use with the buffing station. The star wheel dresser is used to remove grooves or a radius from a hard felt wheel. The stars or spurs spin freely on an axle and bite enough to wear down the high spots until the face is true or one plane – it is moved side to side slowly and you will develop a touch after using it. The second tool, the rake,  is used with cotton or muslin buffs after they accumulate too much compound. You will notice the polishing action decreasing. A couple of smooth passes through the face of the buff knocks the matted compound/fibers loose and the buff works efficiently again. I made the rake using a piece of oak flooring scrap. A solid thick piece of wood about 6 x 2 x 1″ with good grain and no cracks will work. Drill small pilot holes for nails (these are 16d) on the end, drive the nails in,  use a cutting disc to cut off nail heads, use small rough carbide wheel or hand file to re-shape nails to a point and you are done. Another quick way to flat dress a hard felt wheel is with the edge of an old flat file or piece of steel strap.

star wheel dresser and buff rake jewelry polishing

star wheel dresser and rake for polishing station

star wheel dresser close up jewelry polishing

star wheel dresser close up

wheel buff rake close up oak and nails jewelry polishing

wheel buff rake close up oak and nails


While buffing: always wear eye protection/ face shield; Never wear gloves – use clamps and holding devices cautiously, I sometimes use finger tape from Gesswein; unless I’m working on one piece I’ll save up a large batch of pieces to polish so I can quickly switch to another piece before it gets too hot that way I don’t burn and let go; wear ear plugs; I don’t wear long sleeves; and no hair hanging – you can literally get scalped or die. (A Yale student died when her hair was caught in a spinning lathe. Many accidents are foreseeable or have happened to someone else. Tragic events happen quickly. Don’t take chances). Maintain buffs with rakes, dressers and wheels, use light pressure and re-charge, don’t press harder.

Take a break.

Work Safely.


Studio workshop large particulate air filter…

Happy New Year and thank you for visiting

Slow and steady, I have reached the point where the studio is able to produce bits of work. One would be amazed at how much time it takes to vacuum, wire brush, tripoli buff, wipe down with a mix of paraffin and mineral spirits, machine oil pivots and screws every steel tool I have then sort out for sale the many I do not use. Then there is dust. Working in warehouse space with gravel driveways and roads means there is a fine layer of dust on everything and over 10-12 years it works its way into covered boxes. Add working with a few new 6 inch buffs and the dust is everywhere – cotton and dirt. After beefing up the collector on my buffing machine I built a cheap area dust collector and this runs on 2 when I’m in the studio.

dust collector box fan merv 9 $20 a
dust collector box fan merv 9 $20 b

$20 – $15 box fan, roll filter media, cardboard, 2 pack clearance merv 9 filters 4.99 with duct tape.

Note – I used two filters to increase surface area of intake so the resistance caused by the filter media would not place a greater load on the cheap fan motor increasing amperage draw. Do not place a single high merv filter on the face of the intake side of fan. The fan is 20×20 and the filters used are 20×25.

I have seen many versions of this set-up on woodworking sites – not pretty but a nice addition for a workspace.

Recipe for wipe down steel tool rust preventer

1/3 C mineral spirits

1 T paraffin shavings

combine in sealed container, shake until dissolved, wipe down entire tool, spirits evaporate leaving micro layer of soft wax. Wear appropriate PPE – ventilation, nitrile gloves and glasses.

When I grab a tool I would rather feel/see wax than rust. For those who are worried about the wax film contaminating metal all cleaning processes done before soldering, heat and quench, for instance, remove this wax along with other dirt/grease.


Art night consolidated 1-4…

20110918 A small group of posts from my other blog showing my wax modelling workstation. I set this up in my apartment in Thibodaux , LA while I was there for a construction project. The workstation is basically the same here in Oklahoma. I will leave the posts unedited.

20071227 original post 001

I brought back my wax bench table from the warehouse but quickly rediscovered why I placed the desktop on top of 2 steel wall brackets in my last studio. The wonderful Scandinavian cantilever design is great to look at but too weak for regular use. The table needs braces. The legs are spaced far enough apart to work in the center and reach each end without moving the chair and the legs are 8 inches from the outside edge. This space begs for pegboard or standards and 6 inch shelving there. I will opt for pegboard and still may add a shelf on each side. Materials: thin ply as stiffener with 1×2 fur strips, 1/4 inch pegboard and screws.

Think of every cavity or void as potential storage space. In a studio it is more efficient to have stuff nearby – where you need it.

The desk –

wax workstation marshansen

The components –

wax workstation materials pegboard leg braces marshansen

The result –

wax workstation pegboard leg braces installed marshansen

The contents –

wax workstation supplies tools marshansen

A small vacuum is a great tool for the wax carving bench. The shavings go everywhere and wax is no fun to clean out of a carpet after the chair has rolled over it so clean as you go. I bought this vac after Xmas a few years ago at Home Depot for $9 clearance price. It has just enough power to pick up a wax shaving otherwise it would be useless.

More on the drawer contents next time on Art Night.

Mars out.

20071229 original post 002

What is in the wax workstation?

wax workstation wax marshansen

Wax What shapes do you need? I don’t know. What are you making? The small blue stick pieces on right are round, square, rectangular, bezel shapes. Green sheets range from 10 to 18 ga. Ring tubes, blocks, sprues and the miracle sticky wax. You must have sticky wax if you are going to sprue up your own trees.

wax workstation saws marshansen

The small back saws and miter boxes can be purchased at hobby stores that sell airplane kits and balsa wood. The mitres have a lip on the foot so it will grab the edge of a desk or table to help keep the box steady.

wax workstation cork marshansen

Wine corks are great for file handles and could probably be shaped a bit if you wanted to take the time. It is manipulated like a graver – cork part in a closed hand with the tool over the thumb. The cheapest tool I have is the nail through the wine cork. (I do not count the cost of the wine.) Sharpen the nail on a grinding wheel used for steel only. Keep wheels separated by what material they are used on.

wax workstation tools marshansen

Spiral blades, files dental picks, nail in cork, reamer, needle broaches, steel point, tweezers, x-acto, snap blades, surgical blade handles, bamboo, wire brush.

Always move a blade away from any part of your body.

Use three cuts where one will do.

All you need to carve wax is a point and a sharp edge. The Japanese use bamboo splinters/strips which are plentiful and cheap. I keep a small piece of bamboo but have plenty of steel tools.

I haven’t used all of these dental picks. Like hammers, files and stakes there are 2 or 3 I use 80 per cent of the time and the rest sit until what I normally use won’t work. Check with dental schools, dentists and dental labs.

The rifflers are only used on wax. I haven’t needed them in fabrication or clean-up after casting. In use it is hard to remove metal with them so I design my work to not need them. I do use them with wax regularly.

When working on a wax model there are only 4 or 5 tools on the bench at a time. Removing a lot of material requires rough work and the finishing stages need a fine touch – the tools are different so I have out what is needed for the task. Everything is right there in the drawer anyway. The #10 or 11 surgical blades are out all the time.

Needle broaches are great for drilling holes. You can make spade drills out of brad nails

The wire brush is to clean clogged files and burs.

wax workstation tools b marshansen

Garage sales – small SS containers for small parts, old files, screwdrivers, knives, saws, saw frames

The yellow mini hack saw is from HD or Lowes and works well on ring tubes and blocks.

I use sculpey for wax pattern masters and various projects so the red handled files are used only on sculpey.

The heart is a cookie cutter I made from sheet copper for a series of one-off heart bolas and belt buckles.

Surgical blades can be ordered from some jewelry supply houses.

OptiVisor makes detail work easy.

The scale helps control mass as I’m making stuff. I have a good idea of the total charge of metal I want in a particular sized flask and how many wax pieces by weight and size will fit.

wax workstation think tank marshansen

Here’s a typical think tank bonus. When I’m in the stores I look at clearance items and when something is a quarter I think “what can I use this for?” The tile blade was a no brainer: it is abrasive and will work on wax and soft metal; the ends will work in a jewelers saw frame; I can remove an end to have a round file/reamer. I bought a buck’s worth. Occasionally I set tile, too.

Mars out.

20071230 original post 003

A few more items for the wax workstation:

wax tools03 marshansen

Small vise (I have a PanaVise which I couldn’t find on the last trip to the warehouse), alcohol burners, storage bottle for alcohol, book frame/easel to hold photos or books while cutting models, Japanese hobby knife set (these must be sharpened X-acto knives are a bit more convenient), flex shaft with #30 style hand piece for wax burs, and saw frames.

wax workstation wip marshansen

A shot of work in progress – necklace parts about 1/4 inch each.

wax workstation cal marshansen

A desk calendar (this one is new) is a great item to protect the desk as hot wax will drip here and there. The straight lines also provide reference lines for cutting through sheet wax – you can see through it.

Take your rouge, ZAM, Fabulustre or Tripoli stick and rub small section about 2 inches square in the upper right hand corner of the page. With the paper charged with compound from time to time I rub the tools on the paper to get a quick knife-edge polish while carving. Wax does not wear a steel edge quickly but you’ll notice the difference. A bit of leather glued to a board, sketch paper or cotton bond paper with a bit rougher texture works great, too.

Instead of the calendar pad a sheet of kraft or butcher paper works fine with a little tab of tape.

wax workstation pvc1 marshansen

From the think tank are various PVC pipe tool holsters and stands. This one holds the larger files, wire brush and thin saw I use the most. I know the outside right row top to bottom is 1/2 round, round, 3 corner and flat, inside the yellow is a Swiss cut tapered flat #2, dark short handle is a reamer, saw on bottom. Place the holster where your hand will naturally fall and you don’t have to look.

wax workstation pvc2 marshansen

Cut the pipe long enough to have options on mounting at an angle. To mount as holster make two holes for each screw – the outside hole is large enough for the driver bit to reach the screw and the inside hole is smaller than the head of the screw (of course it is) on the inside wall of the pipe.

I glue up one row at a time on a flat surface – gravity is my friend. Use the primer along the contact edge then swab glue on the same edge. Place the pipe sections next to each other and use two bricks on the outside to maintain a bit of pressure. This keeps the pipes in contact while the glue sets. If the next row is the same diameter then they nest just so. Primer and glue all contact surfaces. A fan and warm air will harden the glue quickly. I would let it dry over night.

wax workstation pvc3 marshansen

If you use a smaller diameter pipe for second layer then they will leave a little space like my desk holster. After glue is set up you can spray paint it one color or leave it au natural.

wax workstation pvc4 marshansen

If setting on bench top cut one edge of pipe block even with a hack saw for the bottom. This will take a little concentration. If you have access to a chop/miter saw use a fiber blade and cut. Dress the bottom with med/fine sand paper (full sheet glued to board) to smooth out if the footprint of your cluster is large enough to be stable. If not, then find a plastic container the approximate size of your pipe cluster. Place next to the container, mix up a little plaster and fill the bottom of the container with about 1/2 inch of plaster, set the pipe cluster in the plaster and jiggle a little to make sure it flows into the cells. Let it set, take out of plastic form and snap off excess plaster from outside the pipes. The mass of plaster inside each pipe should keep it stable. If not you’re on your own.

Mars out.

20070101 original post 004

Happy New Year and all that.

Okie dokie.

Work began on a new wax design today and it is proprietary so I won’t be showing step-by-step with it. I usually work on several designs at the same time so I will have a new one starting in a day or two. This would be a good time to explain that my production is not geared towards festival inventory per se. The minimum price point on my work will be the low three digits and up from there. It takes the same file and torch to make a $7 silver ring as it does to make a $300 brooch so brooches and more it will be. Since this production stage is wax there’s quit a bit left in the fabrication process and I’m looking locally for casting (jewelry store) before I haul the casting stuff down here. One step at a time…

wax workstation lights a marshansen

wax workstation lights b marshansen

The last couple of additions are lighting – $10 desk lamp from Mal-Wart and a magnifying lamp I found at the Goodwill in Albuquerque for $5 and the hanger stand I built for the flex shaft.

wax workstation hanger marshansen

The hanger I put together with parts from Lowes for less than $10. The cheapest at the supply house is over $20 plus shipping. Parts: 1/2 inch flange, 36″ 1/2 inch galv pipe, 4 #12 screws and a 4″ paint roller cage. I wanted a chrome-y or decent looking hook for the motor and this was the ticket. Cut off the handle and roller, bend the last inch up to stop the motor from falling off and there it is.

On the desk the pill bottle has hard wax shavings I made with a fine cheese grater. I put a little pile on the calendar and can pick up what I need with a hot needle pick for building up small areas.

Mars out.


So, there they are – a few posts with thoughts about my wax modelling workstation.

Thanks for making it this far. Thoughts, comments, likes and feedback are all appreciated.