Review: Hot and Cold Connections

Tim McCreight is an American artist and teacher who is well known and widely respected within the jewellery and silver smithing industry. He has written over a dozen books on metal technique covering a broad range of subjects including PMC, Knife Making, Casting and also Design Theory. However, McCreight is perhaps best known for his ‘Complete Metalsmith’ series which is highly regarded as one of the best reference guides on the market today.

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Hot and Cold Connections For Jewellers By Tim McCreight (999 A127)

McCreight has a reputation for clear and concise instruction, which has no doubt been enhanced by his many years of teaching. ‘Hot and Cold Connections’ first published in 2006, is written in that same casual yet informative manner which makes McCreight’s books so easy to digest and consequently, so successful. Produced in a small scale hardback format, this book has been ring bound so it will sit flat on the bench for quick reference purposes. It is divided into three sections entitled Cold Connections, Hot Connections and Adhesives, which are sandwiched between a history and overview at the beginning and an appendix at the end.

The Cold Connections section deals with tabs, staples, bezels, threaded connections and rivets, as well as covering some more unusual methods such as knot work and coils which make fascinating reading. If you stick rigidly to the same few techniques of connecting, then I guarantee this section will broaden your horizons and help you to think more creatively about joining components.

Staples – “…forget about the very specific device used to join sheets of paper together and think about how a staple works. Two or more pins go through a layer, or several layers, and are bent over to prevent their coming out. That definition offers a lot of room for design innovation.” – Tim McCreight.

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Cold connecting is also extremely useful if you like to incorporate unusual materials into your work, and are looking for some alternative ways to secure them. This was without doubt my favourite section of the book and I will definitely be returning to it in the future.

The Hot Connections section, whilst containing comprehensive information on soldering as you would expect, also delves much deeper into the subject and includes soft soldering, brazing and welding. McCreight offers a valuable insight into the pros and cons of each method whilst interspersing the text with interesting historical facts, making this book enjoyable to read rather than simply informative.

Welding – “Electric welding is cleaner and faster than gas welding. Because the current can be controlled by simply dialling knobs on the welder, arc welding provides greater versatility. As industrial alloys became increasingly complex in the 20th century, arc welding developed many variations to keep pace” – Tim McCreight.

This book is nicely rounded off with a section on Adhesives, which contains a thorough guide as to the different types of glues as well as help in deciding which one to use in what situation.

As you work your way through Hot and Cold Connections, you will appreciate Tim McCreight’s vast knowledge of metal smithing along with his accessible teaching methods, which have helped to make him such a successful author. This is not a glossy book full of colour photographs to grace a coffee table, but it is a book to be used and referred to time and again, and anybody interested in metal technique will greatly enjoy reading it.

So, if you want to learn more about practical joining in jewellery making, why not order your copy of Hot and Cold Connections from Cooksongold now.

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