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Laundry List

Tips for repurposing clothespins at the bench

By Helen I. Driggs

Simple wooden clothespins are great to have around the shop for random acts of holding, guiding, clamping, and bonding. The wood is easily modified, and a bag of pins can be had for a modest sum at your local dollar store. Here are my three favorite clothespin tricks, just in time for laundry day.

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1. To make a non-marring bezel pusher, deconstruct the clothespin by removing the steel spring.

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2. Use a coarse file to bevel the edge of the wood and round the tip of the clothespin into a gentle curve.

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3. A wood bezel pusher is perfect for thin metal bezels on smaller, soft stones or pearls that you risk scratching with a steel tool.

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4. Tube cutting jigs are very hard on your thumb joint when you are sawing large diameter tubing because the pressure needed to hold the jig closed, combined with the wider angle required to secure the thicker stock, can be difficult to apply for extended periods of time. To combat this, saw a slot into a wood clothespin, ending just past the hemispherical opening.

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5. To use the clothespin jig, position the tube in the clothespin, center the jig on the bench pin, and saw into the slot.

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6. Even 1/4-inch diameter tubing is easy to saw with this jig.

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7. Clothespins are also tremendous epoxy bonding aids. For attaching half-drilled pearls to studs, first measure the diameter of the pearl.

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8. Use a ball bur to create a bowl-shaped depression the same diameter as the pearl in the jaw of the clothespin. Find and mark the center of the depression.

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9. Drill a hole at the mark in the depression for the earring post to be inserted into.

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10. Mix the epoxy, place a small amount on the mounting post of the earring finding, and position the pearl on the post. Ensure there is no excess glue on the finding, and then insert it into the clothespin, fitting the pearl into the depression. A small square of fabric or leather will pad the surface of the pearl as the epoxy dries.

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