A Blog for the Silversmiths + Jewelers.

Make Metal Jewelry Without Spending a Fortune on Tools. What You Need to Set Up a Work Space at Home.

You saw a pair of earrings a friend made at a local design studio and felt inspired to try your hand at it, too. However, you’d like to do it first at home because you want to mess up a few times without any curious onlookers and to see if you like the process in general. You can find supplies online, in specific tool-focused groups on social media, thrift stores, and flea markets at reasonable and or discounted prices.

Your shopping list for tools needed to make metal jewelry is as follows (most of the items on this list, minus the Dremel® drill and flex shaft and can be found for $25 or less).

bench pin sawblade and ring clampJewelry Tools for Cutting, Piercing, Rough Finishing 

A jeweler’s saw frame.
Saw blades #03, 02, 01, 0, and 1.
A wooden bench pin. Or you if you’re particularly handy, you can cut a piece of 1” board with a “V” cut into it to clamp onto a table with a C-clamp.
A set of needle files. 
Sandpapers with a variety of fine and medium grits.  
A range of drill bit types and a drill. We recommend a flexible shaft or Dremel®.  A small, household electric drill can work, too if you rather save up for one of the other types for the future.
A center punch is helpful to drilling a clean, neat hole. 
A small ball peen hammer. 
A steel-edged ruler. 
Safety gear like dust masks or eye protection/visors.
A fine point marker for drawing shapes or indicating where you want to cut your metal.
A small vise may be helpful for holding your metal still as you saw or drill it.

third hand locking tweezers with crockpot for pickle
Jewelry Tools for Soldering

A Benz-o-matic® propane-type torch can be found at local hardware stores for around $15. They are most beneficial when making small pendants or earrings (not more than 1-2 inches in width, as the torch flame won’t be large enough to heat bigger pieces of metal.
Liquid flux or flux paste.
Papermate® white-out for deterring excess solder flow on your design.
Cheap watercolor brushes for applying liquid flux to your piece.
A crock pot for keeping your pickle (an acidic compound). This cleans off oxides and flux residues.
Pickle solution is made of Sparex®, a professional pickling compound or swimming pool acid from your local pool supply store (1 tsp. to 500 ml). Some like to use a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of table salt, or pickling alum. The latter are all available at your local grocery store.
High-melting-temperature silver solders for jewelry fabrication. These are graded as ‘hard’, ‘medium’ and ‘easy.'
Soldering pick and tweezers to move the solder where you want it (vs. dirtying the metal with the oils from your skin).
hammer and various files

 Jewelry Tools for Finishing

Scotch-Brite® pads are good for achieving a satin finish. Tip: Janitors throw away the centers of floor polishing pads which are the same type of material. Call your local janitorial service and maybe they’ll give them to you for free.
Some like to use renaissance wax or similar product for protection – particularly on brasses.
Tripoli and rouge are great for high-shine results.
A buffing wheel on a mounted electric hand drill or on a polishing motor can produce the high-shine appearance quickly when used with the afore mentioned tripoli and rouge.

We hope that seeing the basic necessities of metal jewelry design listed by purpose encourages you to get started on the path to making your first metal jewelry pieces. As you gain confidence with the tools, consider checking out our classes at Harold Studio. If you’re not sure which class is right for you, don’t’ hesitate to contact us, we’ll be glad to help you.

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