Blown Away

2 Minute Read

By Fabio PenuelaMore from this author

Creating a homemade blowgun

As a jeweler and diamond setter, I get asked all types of questions. Recently, a customer who was watching me work asked me the most unique question I've received yet: What do you do with your toothbrush here? I explained that every jeweler and diamond setter is likely to use a toothbrush to clean debris and filings that get stuck everywhere when we drill holes in metal.

The customer's curiosity got me thinking that there might be a better way to clean my work. A toothbrush is cheap and convenient, but there is a risk of it scratching a polished piece. I searched online and realized that a blowgun would be perfect for cleaning off pieces quickly and without the risk of scratching. But when I checked tool suppliers' websites, I found only one model priced at $40. I knew I could create one for much less.

To get started, I went to the hardware store and picked up 2 feet of 1/4 inch clear vinyl tubing. I decided on that size tubing because it is the same size that the Graver Max uses, and I planned to attach the tubing to it. I also picked up a 3/16 by 1/4 inch brass adapter as well as a standard lever blowgun.

I brought my supplies back to the shop and began assembling them using Teflon tape and a small cable tie. We use Teflon tape in my shop to secure any metal-to-metal connections where gas is present, such as the oxygen tank for the torches. It helps ensure a tight connection with no leaking.

I wrapped a bit of tape to the thread of the brass adapter to create a tight connection to the blowgun. I then connected one end of the tubing to the brass adapter, forcing the tubing as far as it could go. I used a cable tie to secure the connection.

Once I had the blowgun assembled, I connected the other end of the tube to my Graver Max through the auxiliary handpiece fitting. My blowgun was then ready for use.

For less than $10, the blowgun gave me air power to quickly and safely clean my work. And I've already found another use for my new tool: quickly drying anything that I clean in my ultrasonic and steamer.

I can't wait to see what the next question I get might lead me to create!

Blown Away

In association with

The award-winning Journal is published monthly by MJSA, the trade association for professional jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. “More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry,” says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.

Click here to read our latest articles
Click here to get a FREE four-month trial subscription.

You assume all responsibility and risk for the use of the safety resources available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC does not assume any liability for the materials, information and opinions provided on, or available through, this web page. No advice or information provided by this website shall create any warranty. Reliance on such advice, information or the content of this web page is solely at your own risk, including without limitation any safety guidelines, resources or precautions, or any other information related to safety that may be available on or through this web page. The International Gem Society LLC disclaims any liability for injury, death or damages resulting from the use thereof.

Fabio Penuela

The All-In-One Jewelry Making Solution At Your Fingertips

When you join the Ganoksin community, you get the tools you need to take your work to the next level.

Become a Member

Trusted Jewelry Making Information & Techniques

Sign up to receive the latest articles, techniques, and inspirations with our free newsletter.