Tools of the Trade: Part 1

If you’ve ever made, or built, or repaired something, you’ll know the importance of having the right tools to get the job done. So imagine their value to the craftsperson that spends much of their day making and creating things. The right tool can be priceless. We asked our makers to tell us about their favorite tool for a series we’re calling “Tools of the Trade”. Here is the first installment of their responses.

Luana Coonen Jewelry

Sebastopol-based Luana Coonen is enamored with her jewelers saw. “It looks a bit like a coping saw, but has a finer blade. I love it, because the tool has not changed a bit in the last 100+ years, and I’ve had mine since my second jewelry class – still going strong! I use it on almost every piece of jewelry I make, and it helps create those razor-thin lines you see cut out on many of my designs. It’s so cool because it has a razor-thin blade, but can cut through all kinds of metal and create intricate designs that you can’t do with a machine or laser. There’s nothing like working with your hands!”

Photos by Cadencia Photography


For Oakland leather-crafter and bag maker Sarah Atkins of Martine, her sewing machine is her workhorse. “This is my sewing machine. It’s a cast iron hand-stitcher that is normally used to make horse saddles (hence the shape). I love it because every stitch is manually done, so I am in total control when sewing. It is able to sew through up to an inch worth of material, and after nine years of making bags, I am still using the original needle it came with. This is unusual – seamstresses usually go through hundreds of needles in nine years. It requires no electricity to run, and makes beautiful stitches that last a lifetime.”

Check out this short video to see it in action: Martine Sewing Machine Video


Loreto Remsing of LARO makes small-batch, artisan perfumes, cleansing oils, and bath salts in her Novato studio. She loves her lab grade collection of glass beakers in many sizes that she uses to measure and batch her perfume formulas – a blend of art, passion, and science.

Image at top of page: Luana Coonen using her jewelers saw.

View the Luana Coonen Jewelry profile.
View the Martine profile.
View the LARO profile.

View the second part of this series here.

Filed under: Tools of the TradeTagged with: , , , , ,