Ah, the vendor room! Everyone’s favorite place, and with half hour breaks between each session, there was plenty of time to shop.

Here are just a few highlights of some of the cool new tools I saw at the conference:

Rio Grande was demonstrating both enameling and the Ringmaker tool from Japan. I’d heard about the tool but could never quite visualize how it worked from hearing the descriptions. Yvonne from Rio was nice enough to demo it for me and it’s pretty neat and easy!

The downside of course, is that you have to buy a lot of them in order to make all the various sizes. Good uses for it seem like — making a ring to then dry carve, or, Yvonne’s suggestion, using it to make chain links.

Whole Lotta Whimsey had the new doming forms from Linda Kaye-Moses. You may have heard about these — graduated domed forms and thought, “I already have things I can use as dome forms, why do I need this?”

Once you see the tool in person though, you get it. The plastic is soooo smooth, and the sizes are graduated so precisely. This would save you so much time if you were making a piece with graduated shapes. Very cool, definitely recommended.

Linda, of Naturescape Studio and Linda’s Lids fame, had a number of new products, including etched copper for use as a texture plate. I’ve used various types of metal as texture plates myself, and it does give a nice crisp surface.

The copper plates are well etched, and reasonably priced. They’re not on the website yet, but hopefully they will be, or catch her at a show.

In Hattie Sanderson’s talk on Ring Making, she showed how to use her Ring Shank Guide, a simple but time saving tool to make your rings come out just the right size. At just $4.30, why not?

There was also lots of excitement about Hattie’s Maglettes, a mold set that helps you create the perfect little forms for the magnets for making magnetic clasps.

What about you? What tools were you excited about?

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