Fixing a Foredom Footpedal

Q: I’ve got an older Foredom flex-shaft, but the foot pedal doesn’t work well anymore. It’s basically either on or off now, and the top speeds seem to have disappeared. Can these be fixed, or should I replace the whole thing?

Carving Green Wood

Q: I’ve got some sections of tree trunk that I want to carve into figures. Can I carve it when it is still fresh, or does it need to season first? If I leave it outside (in Britain) will I need to use some kind of preservative?

Making Paint

Q: I want to make my own paints from dirt, rocks, vegetables, spices, etc. I have seen paint make from colored dirt by adding a little white glue and some water. Is this going to work with everything?

Making Sculpture in Papier Mache

Q: How do you make the paste for papier mache? Is it just flour and water? What can you build it on besides balloons?

Carving Amber

Q: I’ve picked up some nice pieces of amber and I was wondering how to carve it.

Fossil Ivory

Q: What is fossil ivory? Is it petrified? Can you carve it?

Homemade Jewelry Cleaner

Q: Can I make my own jewelry cleaner from household ingredients?

Pearls, and How They Grow

Q: When I looked closely at the hole drilled into a pearl I’d bought, it looked like a thin shell of pearl over a bead. Is this normal, or was I ripped off?

Drilling Pearls

Q: I would like to enlarge the holes in some freshwater pearls. Any suggestions about how to do this?

Adhesives for Sea Shells

Q: I make jewelry from sea shells. I have been using hot glue to stick them onto metal findings, but it’s messy-looking and it tends to peel off. Are there any adhesives that would work better than this?

Distinguishing Genuine Ivory

Q: How can you tell if an object is genuine ivory? And if it isn’t, what else could it be?

Cleaning Your Own Jewelry

Q: I’ve got a cubic zirconium in a silver setting. I’d like to clean it; is there anything special I need to do?

Plating on Non-conductives

Q: How does one plate metal onto non-conductive items, like leaves and shells?

The Rubber FAQ—Flexible Mold Materials Compared

Christopher Pardell explains why silicone rubber comes closest to the ideal, and where other types fall short. This article compares the following materials: latex, gelatins, alginates, urethanes, neoprene, vinyls, polysulfides, and silicones.