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Old 03-10-2005, 06:43 AM
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SuzyQ SuzyQ is offline
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Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

This is a ways off...... but when I move in June I want to set up a silversmith studio next to my lampwork stuff. Is there a good place to get a good starter kit? I will say I tend to be the kind of person that wants equipment that will work forever even if it is a bit hard in the beginning. (I wish I had never even used a hot head torch) Any and all suggestions are welcome!!

Also, if anyone know a good silversmith teacher on Long Island that would be great too. After my jewelry class last fall that never did teach me how to solder, I'm not just taking any old class. (remember thank you lord )
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:38 AM
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beclectic beclectic is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

I forgot about that class but I remember your talking about it now. A lot of the basics are the same as for lampwork. A surface that doesn't burn, good ventilation, good lighting, etc.

As for supplies there is such a range of things you can use I don't know where to start.

Here is the basic supply list for the class Barrie gave:

Tools:

Butane Micro Torch – this is available through Lee Valley Tools, some larger hardware stores, and welding supply stores, and jewellery supply stores (although prices will probably be a bit higher). You do not want a ‘pencil torch’. You do want a ‘refillable’ torch. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Butane* – for filling torch (aerosol cans, available anywhere tobacco is sold, including most chain grocery stores)

Pliers* – Chain Nose (no teeth inside jaws) and Round Nose. Needle nose pliers with very long jaws are not suitable. Make sure there are no teeth in the jaws!!! (I said it twice for emphasis!)

Side cutters* (wire cutters) – smaller ones are better than the big ones used by electricians and the like. These are available at most hardware stores, and jewelry supply places.

4 cut needle file – Everyone who works with wire should have one of these. They are only available at jewellery supply stores. (I’ll explain the significance of ‘4 cut’ during the class)

Jeweler’s Saw Frame* – 4 Inch is best. If not available, do not go 5 Inch, 3 inch would be better. Available at jewellery supply places only. I really don’t advise an ‘Economy’ one made in India as it is GARBAGE!!! It will frustrate you to no end, and not worth the hassle.

2/0 Saw Blades* - Come in packages of 12 – I will have some with me, but you will go through a few. Approx. $4 per dozen

Emery Boards – I will provide these, as there are specific ones that work better (gotta love Walmart!)

Metal:

Silver is sold by the ‘gauge’. The smaller the number, the heavier (or thicker) the metal. For those of you who would like to get it in advance, here is a small list of what we definitely need. If you have any design ideas that you would like to try, contact me and I will let you know if it is possible, and what supplies you will need for the project. The following is a basic list of what we will need. (oh, an remember that these are approximations, we may need more, or less of the listed products)

24 gauge sheet silver – approx. 2” by 6” (for bezel settings, earrings, etc.)

16 gauge round wire – 10 feet (bracelet or necklace links, clasps)

20 gauge round wire – 5 feet (headpins, earring hooks, etc.)

Bezel wire – I prefer 24 ga. fine silver bezel strip available at Rio Grande (haven’t checked Thunderbird yet). If you’re using a deep cabochon, get wider bezel strip, but if you’re not sure, get the mid-width stuff. I will have some available if you get the wrong size. A foot will be more than enough for our purposes.

Cabochon or cabochons – you want something no larger than a quarter for your first bezel project. It can be made of whatever you want to work with (stone, pearl, glass, ceramic, etc). The easiest shapes to work with are round and oval. Squares aren’t too bad, same with rectangles, unless the stones are small (like 5 or 6mm). If you are unsure, please email me and I’ll let you know if they’re suitable. It would be easiest if you use stones (or beads, or ceramic or whatever) that have a completely flat back. Some people try to set tumble polished stones or beach pebbles, and that’s just a bit fussy for our first projects. Make sure your 24 gauge sheet silver is larger than your chosen cabochon.

More Advanced Stuff:

For headpins, jump rings, earring wires, 20 gauge round
Large soldered link bracelet - 16 gauge round
For bezels, fine silver bezel wire - widths vary, medium width is probably sufficient - a foot will do quite a few stones
For the backs of bezels, small pendants, earrings, etc, plus charms, - 24ga sheet
Rings - 20 gauge sheet (at least 3 inches long, unless you know how long you need to cut already!)
Tubing for lined beads - 1/4"outside diameter is probably the easiest to work with.

Gemstones - smaller than 10mm, larger than 4mm. Round or oval to start with (unless it has to be something different, email me)

These tools are things I can't bring with me, so if someone locally has them, and is willing to bring them to use for class, GREAT!!!
Crock pot for pickle
Dremel or Flex Shaft
Steel block or anvil (I have a small 2 inch one, but the more the merrier!)
Rolling mill (I can dream, can't I?)
Metal doming block & punches
'C' Clamps - large enough for a piece of 1x4 wood and a table (I usually use 5") (clamp holds bench pin)


Tools!
Bottom line, you can never have enough tools! LOL! But these are the ones you'll NEED to have.
flat nose or chain (needle) nose pliers - no teeth in the jaws (if you have both, bring them)
jeweler's saw frame with 2/0 or 3/0 blades
4 cut half round needle file (Swiss)
Small butane torch (or other, email me for okay if you haven't yet)


These will come in exceptionally handy at all times and if anyone has these please bring them, as I won't have enough for everyone:
Wire cutters or nippers
2 cut hand file (flat or half round - Swiss or American, no matter)
4 cut 1/2 round hand file (preferably Swiss)
Rawhide mallet
round bezel mandrel
ring mandrel (metal)
Ball pein hammer
Planishing hammer

For those that want to do lined beads and will want to make them at home:
metal plumb bob (from hardware store)
metal block (anvil or flat block)
Hammer (ball pein or planishing will work - needs a metal face)

Barrie supplied these for class but you'll need them:

Bench Pin to put work on to saw.
Fire Brick to solder on.
Paste solder.
Solder brush.
Hard, med. and soft silver solder. (I use the sheet and cut tiny nips off it)

The emery boards come in a set at WalMart and have foam between the ouside emery paper. There is a rough, med. and fine. The fine are usually pink.

There is a type of torch that is bigger than the little butane ones. It is called a Shark if it has the attachment for a small bottle of propane and a Whale if it has the hook-up for a bar-b-que pit propane bottle. (I have a Whale). Mary has an oxy/acetylene set-up that is good for even bigger applications.

Tumbler with steel or stainless steel shot. There is a link to Barries tumbling instructions for tumbling silver in the Jewelry Links thread.

That should get you started.

There is a polishing nub called a pinkie that you use with your dremel or shaft. I don't remember exactly what it is called in the Rio catalog but it is great for putting the final shine on silver you can't tumble because your stone is already set.

Hopefully Barrie will show up and correct any thing I goofed up or add anything I forgot. However, we all know that the forum can't be at the top of the list for Barrie right now so it may be a while before we can get her input, in this thread. Or not you never know.
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Cup and Saucer,
Saucer and Cup.
Where does a hole go
When its filled up?

"Unknown"

Last edited by beclectic : 03-10-2005 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:16 AM
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SuzyQ SuzyQ is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

Wow Barbara! Thanks for taking the time to post all of this. I'm going to rate this so it can be the beginnings of a great resource. Thank you.
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:08 AM
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TheBlueBetween TheBlueBetween is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

oooh, 5 stars for this thread. Thanks Barbara and Barrie too!
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:14 AM
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tamjai tamjai is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

I am going to be broke for the rest of my life aren't I? Bejewelled - but broke!
tam
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:09 PM
debkauz debkauz is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamjai
I am going to be broke for the rest of my life aren't I? Bejewelled - but broke!
tam


Hey Tam, Broke is just a state of mind! I do know how you feel though. It seems that everything I buy triggers something else that I need. I got the camera, then I needed a good printer, but of course before I could print, I needed photoshop, well, of course before I can take good pics I need to have a photocube...it goes on and on...dontcha love it!?

Deb
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:27 PM
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Barrie Barrie is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

Barbara! You're amazing! I never would have found all that info on my computer! LOL! I would have been re-typing like a mad woman!! You nailed it. Just remember that these are the tools and supplies that I use on a regular basis. Every instructor is going to recommend different tools, and evey instructor is going tohave slightly different methods. I always suggest taking several classes or read different books until you find the technique combination that works for you.

As for a basic kit, Rio Grnade does have a kit, but it's designed for those students that are enrolled in a multi-year program through some institution and some of the equipment may be useless to you. I always find it better to piece together your own kit with stuff that you'll need. Good luck with your teacher quest. Let us know if you find someone on Long Island that does a good job!
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:02 PM
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beclectic beclectic is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

Barrie- you're welcome. If you happen to come back could you post what the pinkie is really called in the Rio Grande catalog? I've been wanting one but can't find the info. on what to order. I looked at all those polishing nubs and I can't figure out which is the right one. Didn't we use some kind of rouge with the pinkie? What rouge?
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Cup and Saucer,
Saucer and Cup.
Where does a hole go
When its filled up?

"Unknown"
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Old 03-10-2005, 05:28 PM
Prudence Prudence is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

Barrie's right about the instructor recommending tools. My list for the college is: 6" jewelers saw, 3 doz. 2-0 saw blades,a jar of flux,hard,medium & easy silver solder,flux brush,round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, flat nose pliers, a set of needle files,#2 half round file,cross lock tweezers,pointed straight tweezers, soldering pad,a variety of different grit sand paper, scribe,solder pick,small drill bits,ring clamp,wire cutter,bench pin,masking tape,rubber cement,ruler,safety glasses,plus whatever metal we would be using for our projects.
I've bought some items so I could work at home. A Smith acetylene torch (tips,hose and tank),pickle,pickle pot,dapping blocks, Dremel XPR with flex shaft,chasing punches, manual reamer,small swivel vise,liver of sulfur,tumbler, ultrasonic cleaner,drill press,tons of books and metal, metal,metal!
I'm not positive but I thought I read somewhere about a silversmithing workshop or studio in Long Island. Two women ran the shop. I'll try to find that information. Good luck. Pru
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Old 03-11-2005, 01:16 AM
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Barrie Barrie is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

Barbara, I can't find my Rio tools catalog! I probably loaned it to someone - doh! I'll see if I can dig it up tomorrow. No rouge, by the way, just the pinkie. For those unfamiliar, a pinkie (my term, not theirs!) is a silicon abrasive wheel that attaches to the dremel and does an amazing job of eliminating small nicks and scratches, especially on bezels. I'll dig up more info, I promise!
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Old 03-11-2005, 07:56 AM
Prudence Prudence is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

Wrong location for the silversmithing school/studio, but I'm sure there's got to be one. I'll ask my professor when we go back from Spring break. Pru
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Old 03-11-2005, 08:30 AM
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beclectic beclectic is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

Pru-thanks for the list. I use a scrib, ring vise, solder pick and third hand myself. I also use a hemostat occasionally since it will lock closed. I probably should file the teeth off the thing though.

The depth of the saw determines how far into a sheet you can cut and therefore the size of what you can make. I've never needed anything bigger than the 3.5" that I have but everyone is different. One thing that Barrie mentioned about the saw is not to get the very cheapest one. Those don't hold the blade well and the nuts don't always stay closed.

I still need to get my own 4 cut 1/2 round file. I used Barrie's in class and that is one amazingly nice file. It does a beautiful job. Now I'm thinking of all the tools I still want.

I think what I liked about Barrie's basic list and Pru's too is that those are the things you really need to get started. You don't want to buy too many special, expensive things and then find out that you are not going to want to do a lot of silversmithing.

Barrie-I appreciate your looking up that information for me. That little pinkie just does a great job, it is like magic.
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~>Barbara<~ (Olympus Camedia C-3000 Zoom; Camedia Master 2.0; Irfanview 3.95; PhotoPlus 5.5)

Cup and Saucer,
Saucer and Cup.
Where does a hole go
When its filled up?

"Unknown"
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Old 03-22-2005, 09:02 PM
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TheBlueBetween TheBlueBetween is offline
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Re: Beginner silversmith set-up, what?

I just picked up two nice little books that, with Tim McCreight's books round out my jewelry making library. They show simple techniques and have decent little projects, not overly intimidating:

Jewelry Making Tips and Tricks of the Trade by Stephen O'Keeffe
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...32806?v=glance

Jewelry Making Techniques Book by Elizabeth Oliver
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...021551-2532806
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