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Tools for the Jewelry Maker

Oct 7, 2007
Essential tools for the beginner jewelry maker are surprisingly few. A variety of articles can be made with a small set of good tools; in fact, some of the pieces are made with only two or three of the tools listed. All tools should be kept clean and protected from pressure that may bend or dull them and from moisture which will cause corrosion or rust. A good workman takes care of his tools.

Care of Tools

Keep the working surface of the steel hammer and steel surface plate free of scratches and dents by using coarse and fine abrasives depending upon the depth of the dent or scratch. The steel burnisher must be kept well polished and wrapped in chamois skin when not in use.

The file and handle come separately. Only the small files, such as the needle files, have a handle as part of the file. The teeth of the files will become dull if allowed to rub against each other, or against other steel tools. Clean the files with a file brush, and rub the smaller files with a coarse cloth. Files should be put away clean.

Gauges are tools to measure the thickness of the metal sheet and the diameter of the wire. Insert the metal sheet or wire in the slot nearest to the thickness of the metal or diameter of the wire and read the gauge number. Other essential tools used in most jewelry making are listed below.

Ball pein hammer, for general use, the ball end used as a punch to raise the metal.

Metal cutting shears, for cutting light weightmetal

Hand vise, to hold small work while filing, etc. End and side cutting nippers, used to cut wire.

Round and square nose pliers, used to bend and form wire Disk cutting and doming tools.

Dapping die, a metal block with depressions into which metal can be dapped into rounded forms.

Finishing and polishing tools Hand buffs, felt and chamois on wood handles, to buff and polish metal. Steel burnisher, used to smooth and finish metal
.
Tweezers, used to handle stones and small objects.

Scriber, used to mark an inscribed line on metal.

Center punch, used to make depressions in the metal. Dividers, used to inscribe circles and divide lines.

Wood mallet, used to flatten and shape metal without leaving marks.

Hand drill, to hold and turn the twist drills for drilling holes in metal.

Files, used to remove rough edges or irregular surfaces. Most useful are various types of needle files and 4 to 6 inch files, second or smooth cut.

Ring making tools: Ring mandrel, a slightly tapered spindle used in forming rings. Ring gauge used in measuring ring sizes. Ring sizes, a series of graduated rings marked with standard sizes to measure fingers. Ring clamp, to hold rings firmly for filing or stone setting.

As the result of the vision of an American artist and the inherent skill of the Mexican craftsman, the making of silver jewelry has grown to be a fine art and an important industry in Mexico. Many designs have been inspired by religious and historic symbols.
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