Friday, December 21, 2018

Getting ready to make lock picks again

I got a drill press today, and have a grinder and belt sander coming next week. I will start making lock picks again soon. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

working again

I'm set up to do basic jewelry work in my home now. I have most of my important hand tools, micromotor, and a small torch. So far I have just done some work on the pieces I started in the jewelry class at my school. It's good to have my own bench and tools here, even if it is just a small fraction of the workshop I had in the US.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

First visit to a tool store in Taipei

Saturday I went to a jewelry tool store called Jin Bao Shan, in Taipei.  I bought a torch, soldering stuff, and other random small tools. It's not Rio Grande, but they seem to have everything I need for now.  I'll be going here again in a week or two  

I loved these oversized display burs. But I couldn't get my phone to focus on them, and finally gave up on getting an in focus shot. Maybe I'll try again next time.

They had a fairly good selection of hammers and stakes.

Draw plates, hammers, and rubber wheels in the little drawers.

Decent selection of rubber wheels. I just wish they all listed the brand name rather than just which country they are from.

A bench set up for demonstrations.

One part of the store was tools, the other part of the store was display and packaging stuff.

Friday, November 30, 2018

First time at my bench in Taiwan

I finally started working at my new bench last night. I started on a pendant. But I really need a light before I can do much. I'm planning to go to a jewelry tool supplier this weekend, I'll try to get one there. There are a lot of other little things I need, but I have all the other essential things to work here.

Friday, November 23, 2018

new bench

My new workbench arrived yesterday. I'm excited to start making things again. Now I really feel like I am living here in Taiwan, not just visiting for a while. 

Friday, November 16, 2018


I ordered a workbench today. It should come next week.  It's the same design as the bench I have been using in the US since 2000.  Cost was $227 USD, including shipping, which is much less than a similar bench in the US. 

A workbench is the most important thing for me to be able to make things here since I do everything at the bench: jewelry fabrication, wax carving, lock picks, carving, etc.

I have a lot of tools here, but not everything.  I will go through my tools this weekend and see what exactly I have.  I should have tools here to do some fabrication and carving.  I will go to a tool store in Taipei and buy some more stuff after I get the bench and figure out what else I need.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Jewelry class

I was surprised when I started this English teaching job and they told me there will be a jewelry class here on Friday nights that I could attend. So I have been going to this class once a week, it is being taught by some people from a jewelry manufacturing company. We are doing wax carving. They know I was a jeweler, so they just let me work and don't bother me. We are making a ring for our first project. I am almost finished. Still need to refine the edges. It's been years since I carved wax. I enjoy it, but because I wasn't planning on carving wax when I came here I didn't bring my favorite wax carving tools.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

2 more picks

Both of these are paper micarta.  The white one was finished around the beginning of the year, but the black one wasn’t finished till summer.  These are two of my favorites.

Ratyoke Custom Lock Picks

Ratyoke Custom Lock Picks

Saturday, November 10, 2018

More lock picks from summer 2018

Here are some more lock picks I made this year.  

Piquia  marfim & pernambuco

Piquia  marfim & ebony 


ebony and bloodwood lock picks

These are some lock picks I finished before I came to Taiwan.  I will be making a post card with this image.

The woods I used for the handles are ebony and bloodwood.

Ebony and bloodwood
Ratyoke Custom Lock Picks

Monday, November 5, 2018

What happened

I moved to Taiwan in August to teach English.  I don’t want to go into my reasons here except to say that I was unhappy and bored living in the US.  I enjoyed my life in Korea, so I decided to give Taiwan a try this time.  I was sad giving up my great studio, but that is about the only thing I liked about my life in the US.  I am setting up a work bench here in my apartment in Taiwan so I will be making things here soon.  I brought or shipped a lot of tools here already and will be buying more here or having my parents send them to me.  I plan to buy a workbench this month.

I have been here about 3 months now.  Things are going well so far.  I spend most of my free time studying Chinese.  Right now there is no plan about how long I will stay here.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Lindsay Airgraver Classic

I recently bought a Lindsay Airgraver Classic.  I like it a lot so far.  I like how the power can be adjusted on the handpiece.  It feels different from my Gravermax, not better or worse, just different.

Airgraver Classic with foot control

Here is the Airgraver regulator and my old Gravermax.  The power is controlled in the handpiece of the Airgraver, while the Gravermax uses an air pulse from the control box.  They both have a connector for a high speed air handpiece, but it is controlled with a foot pedal on the Airgraver and with a knob on the Gravermax control box.

Airgraver regulator and Gravermax

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Another You Tube review

Lock Picking Lawyer, who has a popular lock picking You Tube channel reviewed one of my picks. 

This is the pick he reviewed. This wood is called tambootie.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Recent Lock Picks

Here are some lock picks I finished recently.  I have made a lot more than the ones I have been posting in this blog, but I usually don't take nice photos unless I really like them. 

Selling custom lock picks has been going really well since I started promoting them more in October.  It's not a full time job, and I didn't expect it to be, but they have been selling better than I ever expected. 

Of these three I like the first one the most.  It is paper micarta with an inlay of some kind of knife handle spacer material.  I don't know exactly what the stuff is because I bought it about 20 years ago and didn't keep any record of what the stuff was. 

Micarta lock pick

Ebony + holly lock pick

Tambootie lock pick

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cocobolo and holly pick set from last year

I finished this set and photographed them in December, but forgot to take the pics off my camera and process them.  They are cocobolo and holly.

Cocobolo + holly lock picks

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pt, 18k, Garnet pendant

Here is a piece I recently finished. It is Platinum, 18k yellow gold, and a garnet.

The platinum parts are hand fabricated, the gold parts were modeled in ZBrush, 3d printed and cast.  The garnet was cut by John Dyer.  I bought it in Tucson in 2017.