Thursday, January 05, 2006

New Tool! Making Coils

I love tools. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to be able to go into my studio and find the right tool for the job. Metalworking requires some basic tools that aren’t that expensive. But once you’re hooked, you suddenly need three different jeweler’s saws, an assortment of hammers, files, and . . . the list goes on and on. Today I am supposed to be working on my dinosaur book, but instead I am playing with some new tools.

I saw this coiling tool at Anima Designs and had to have one. One thing I teach in my classes is how to make spiral bound books. We make the spiral by wrapping a wire around a dowel.
Here's an example of a spiral bound book.

Coil tool

This coiling tool is another way to make a spiral. I found it easy to control. It would work well for smaller coils. The largest size they sell is 3/8 inch, a little small for me. I use up to 3/4 inch dowels for my spiral bindings. But I’m thinking it might be possible to make larger coiling tools.

The instructions are very brief, but this method works well for me: Cut a piece of wire. You will have to guess how much is the right amount. Don't let your wire get kinks or little bends in it. Hold the wooden handle in your dominant hand. (I am left handed.) Put the end of the wire in the slot in the brass tubing. (on the right in the photo) Then you twist away from you, supporting the coil with the first finger and holding the wire between your thumb and first finger. The tool feels very natural to use and the wire feeds on smoothly. Try to get each new turn in the coil lying against the side of the previous one. Also try to keep the wire at a right angle to the brass tube of the coiling tool. If you want your coil spread out, wait until you slide it off the tool, then grab it by the two ends and pull gently. This way the distances between each coil will stay consistent.

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