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Sophie Monet's Dangerous Tools

If you thought jewelry-making was a delicate craft—well, read on.

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Sophie Monet Okulick’s elegant wood-and-rock designs might be polished, but the process of making them is as dangerous and messy as it is intense. “I cut myself all the time—my hands are so messed up,” she L.A.-based phenom explains. “But I just really like to work with my hands. Getting that end result is really satisfying and makes me feel so good.” These are five of the awesome-scary tools she uses along the way.

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“That’s my dremel—it looks like fun, but it is a monster. I use that to carve out the settings in the rings and necklaces. I wear a mask because my face is so close to it, and it gets sawdust everywhere. It got stuck in my hair once—it was terrible. So now I have my rule: I always have to wear my hair up. I don’t know why that wasn’t the rule to begin with.”

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“I cut all my forms on the band saw. The blades break a lot—so that’s a challenge—and you have to careful you don’t get your fingers too close to it.”

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“The belt sander gets me the fine detail and the softness that I want the finished product to have. I experiment with it most often because you can change things the fastest. You can stand over a belt sander for an hour, making something smaller and smaller and smaller. When my friends come over and want to make something, I hand them a random scrap piece and let them go to work.”

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“I use an epoxy to attach the rocks. It’s messy because if you use too much, it’s difficult to clean up the edges. I try to wear gloves, but I a lot of times I have to use lacquer thinner to get it off my hands.”

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“The drill press is what I use when I make my rings, to make the hole for your finger. I pull it down and drill a clean circle into the wood. You really have to have a tight grip on everything.”

See how Sophie put her woodshop to work for this amazing necklace.