2016 was a tough year for tools at Chez Michelle.
Like anything else in life, it's always when I have three overlapping deadlines and a few custom orders to finish that things start to fall apart.
I first broke the pin (hole-drilling side) of my lovely riveting tool. I've probably had this tool for about three years and I use it almost daily to make holes in metal pieces. I love that I could replace just the pin (a cost of $25) rather than the entire piece. When I'm in the excitement of buying a new tool, it's hard for me to remember to look for a feature like replaceable parts so that was definitely a stroke of good luck on my part.
I broke a simple pair of Fiskars kids scissors that I normally use for cutting FireLine. (Seriously, those are the best for that and very inexpensive, especially during the back-to-school sales.)
I then broke a hole punch after several years of use.
Nothing makes you feel more like a chump jewelry maker or crafter than breaking your tools one right after another.
Why All The Broken Tools?
- Incorrect Use
Lots of tools break because of incorrect use—think using your good wire cutters instead of heavy-duty wire cutters on steel memory wire. This is probably the case with my scissors. They didn't break when I was cutting FireLine, but an annoying hard plastic clamshell package from Home Depot. (The package remained closed, by the way. What do they make those things out of anyway? It's beyond childproof!)
- Too Cheap To Last
Did you go super cheap? This could have been part of the problem with my hole punch. They're not designed to last long. (Maybe manufacturers figure that most crafters will tire of their hobby long before the part wears out?) Some tools offer a "regular" version and a "production or business" version for just this reason. I'm learning that for some tools, it really pays to upgrade.
- Worn Out
Awhile ago I wrote about the importance of good tools ("Is The Problem You or Your Tools?"). But even the best of tools can break from constant use. I have to remind myself that this is a good thing. It means that I've made so many things that I just wore the tool out. In a society that favors the use-once-and-discard motto, this is something to be proud of.
Take Your Broken Part ... And Make It Into Art (With Apologies to Carrie Fisher and Merle Streep)
"Take your broken heart and make it into art." You might remember actress Merle Streep saying those words at the Golden Globes earlier this year. She was quoting actress Carrie Fisher who died in 2016. I put my own twist on this great quote by deciding to make a creature with the broken hole punch instead of throwing it into the trash. I painted it several shades of green and gold with a red tongue. The eyes were made with black glass beads and head pins.
Crossing my fingers he'll bring me good luck in 2017!