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I found these neat looking hole-making tools online and mentioned them here. Linda was kind enough to send me a set to try out.

Here they are out of the package and separated:

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The next time I was working with metal clay, happened to be BronzClay, some clay that had gotten a bit dried out. So I was chopping it up, getting ready to rehydrate, I didn’t have the right blade handy, so I used a wavy blade. The shapes I was getting looked pretty cool! I stopped chopping to rehydrate and started making beads!

I used the Clay Punch to make holes in the beads, trying the two smaller sizes of the three. I knew that the smallest punch would be too small in BronzClay once the clay was fired and shrank, but used it anyway, figuring it would at least be a start for when I drilled the holes out larger after firing.

The middle sized tube is a good size after shrinkage.

The tool comes with a poker-outer tool to remove the excess clay, which is pretty handy, it works well.

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The challenge with tiny tools like this is keeping track of them, so it’s thoughtfully designed, the way they all go back together like this and the cork keeps them from sliding off.

Even so, I think I’ll buy a little clear plastic flip top container for them. An Altoids tin would work too, for those of you looking for an excuse to buy more chocolate mints.

I like the Clay Punch, it gets a thumbs up. There aren’t many choices for a set of hole cutters — straws are unsatisfactory — and it’s very nice to have a set of graduated, slightly sharpened tubes to work with.

I should add that the pretty-dry BronzClay I was working with was pretty stiff — BronzClay is already stiffer than the silver metal clays. And the Clay Punch cut through it just fine.

Here are the beads fired, just out of the kiln and rinsed off:
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I like them, I think I’ll make them again, with the holes going the other way.

You can find the Clay Punch online here: http://www.naturescapesstudio.com

My one quibble with the tool would have been that I wished there were more sizes. Visiting her site today, and see that there are more sizes! There’s now a set of three in larger sizes and a square set, cool!

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