My Favorite Jewelry Making Tools and Materials

On this page, you’ll find my favorite jewelry making tools and materials.  I use these tools and materials all the time and have developed a deep fondness (dare I say “Love”?) for some of them.  I’ll be adding new jewelry tools, every once in a while so, check back occasionally.  Please see my tool page for more jewelry making tools, how to use them and where to get them. Thanks.

Nancy LT Hamilton

Added:  10/18/18

Miter cutting vise

Sawing

Jeweler’s Saw Frame: A jeweler’s saw is a must-have for jewelers! Remember that the teeth (of the blade) face outwards and downwards. Don’t buy cheap saw blades!

 

Deep-throat Saw Frame:   It’s nice to have one in the studio when sawing longer, wider or larger material. You will use it!

Laser Gold at Rio Grande Saw Blades:  These saw blades cut smoothly, cleanly and keep working significantly longer than other saw blades.

Studio Flux Bench Pin -Great bench pin. Lots of pre-made cuts and grooves which saves you time by not having to cut your own. You can purchase a clamp-on version or a screw-on version. Screw-on is shown. 

Forming and hammering

 Chasing Hammers:

Fretz Chasing Hammer:  The Fretz is a beautiful, all around hammer. You don’t have to use it for just for chasing! It’s a great, general-use, goldsmith’s hammer. The ball pein end is wonderful for forming, texturing and riveting tool.

    

SC Studios Chasing Hammer:  SC Studio’s Chasing hammer. This is, by far (so far), my favorite hammer. It’s beautiful, springy and well made. SC Studios has many beautiful tools. Visit their site and drool!

 Steel Block:  Smooth and shiny.  Great for making rivets and hammering metal.  Steel blocks are necessary so you don’t deform your metal when you hammer on it.

 Rawhide Mallet: Extremely useful tool.  Use it for making discs, shaping rings, flattening metal etc.

 Ring Mandrel: A good mandrel for shaping rings.

Flat-nosed and Round-nosed Pliers -Wubbers: I love Wubbers!  They feel good in your hand, are sturdy and come in a large variety of shapes and sizes.

Large flat-nose pliers

 

  Round nose pliers

 Small flat-nose

Inexpensive, Basic Dapping Set:  This is a great starter set.  You will want to get different sizes as your skills grow but these are great for forming metal.  And the price is great!

 

Jump Ring Maker:  Make tons of jump rings in a variety of gauges and sizes.  Everything you need is included except the wire!

Drilling, polishing, etc.

Flex Shaft:  I use my flex shaft nearly every day. I use it for everything: sanding, drilling, stone setting, making jump rings, grinding, cutting – you name it!

Quick change handpiece.  I LOVE my quick change handpiece. I would go bonkers using the traditional chuck key to change tools. On the left is a bristle disc and the second tool from the left is an adapter for shanks that are not 3/32″ next, in the image, is the Foredom quick change and next to that, a cotton buff.

Sanding Discs:  I would cry if I didn’t have these! I use sanding discs for almost all of my sanding needs. They conform to curves and flat areas – just be careful that you don’t remove too much! It takes a little practice to control them. Try them on scrap metal first. Love them!

Design, layout, precision

Starrett Dividers:  A really nice pair of dividers for scribing lines, marking and measuring. If you want precision, these are a necessity! I like the smooth, round legs of these dividers. Others are square and can hurt your hands after a while.

Digital Caliper:   For precision work. Love these for measuring interior surfaces (tubing, round settings, etc.), scribing exact dimensions directly on the metal and just, well, measuring!

B&S Gauge for Measuring Sheet and Wire:  Don’t use a SWG gauge.  This is used for ferrous metals. The B&S gauge is also known as the American Standard Gauge (ASG) SAE stands for the Society of Automotive Engineers.  This means that it measures in fractions of an inch – not metric. Your ASG/B&S gauge may also measure in SAE.

  

Cutting Metal

French Shop Shears: Great shears for cutting metal and solder! They cut up to 20 Gauge.

Power Max Flush Cutters:  My favorite wire cutters. Great for cutting most gauges, even thick ones like 12g. Strong, reliable and comfortable to use.

  

Disc Cutter:  Great for making discs and washers! Finley machined.

25. 6″ Guillotine Shear:  I love the 6″ because the metal comes in 6″ pieces.  It is great for cutting square edges and the metal doesn’t curl as with other types of shears. Cuts up to 16 gauge for gold, copper, brass, bronze, nickel, and silver.

Finishing Metal

Wet/Dry Polishing Papers:  Love the flexibility of this sandpaper and all the huge variety of grits.

Escapement files: Round #4 cut Square #4 cut:  I love escapement files for their small size and variety of cuts (from 0 – the roughest – to 10). They come in (I think) 3 lengths. Escapement files are great for finishing piercings, stone setting, and precision cleanup. I have two sets now – 8’s (very fine) and 4’s (medium cut). They aren’t cheap but, they are a great addition to your studio.

Escapement file set of 12 #4 

Clamps and Vises

Ring Vise: Good starter clamp for holding work for sawing, filing and whatever process you need.

To adapt your ring clamp, please see my web page on Ring Clamp Conversion.

Vise: I use it to hold my drill for jump ring making, for fold forming, snapping steel, etc.  Its a must have.  Medium to large will serve you better in the long run.  

See my web page on how to make leather protective jaws for the vise

Soldering

Butane Soldering Torches:  

Large Butane System–  this system is great for larger soldering jobs. I often use this to anneal or do a quick soldering job when I don’t want to go through the bother of turning on my acetylene torch. This type of torch requires a specific type of bottled gas. See next image for what type of gas to use.

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Butane Canister for the Iwatani Torch Head.

Blazer Piezo Micro Torch:  Nice small controlled flame with good quality construction.

More to come!