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As a metalsmith and jewelry designer I'm frequently asked by both customers and aspiring artists what tools I use to create my work so I thought I'd compile a handy resource list of some of the tools I have found most useful.
A good set of pliers and cutters is essential. You'll use these for anything from forming and cutting wire, to creating jump rings and making attachments. There are tons of different pliers you can use but to start achain nose, flat Nose, and round nose pliers, as well as a pair of snips meets most needs.
You can almost never have too many hammers. They provide a variety of functions, including stamping, texturing, riveting and chasing. Having a variety of hammers will allow you to form metal in various ways more easily.
Just a few examples to consider:
A basic brass ball peen hammer is great for stamping. It has enough weight to do the job while being a little easier on your joints.
A few tools that help you form metal without marring it and set stones without damaging them (when used correctly) include rawhide mallets, bezel pushers and burnishers
One of the tools that really opened up my creativity was a dapping block and punches (also often known as a doming block) As far as all the different types of forming tools go, this is something I'd recommend even beginners try to use.
Use mandrels to help you form and size things like rings and bracelets.
Those who want to do stamping, personalization or just add their own initials or makers mark to pieces might consider a steel stamp set.
If you have any plans to do soldering, fusing, or even annealing metal, a torch is an essential tool. For many smaller tasks a small handheld butane torch can suffice.
Of course, for those with a little more experience the Torch Set, Little Torch™ Acetylene/Oxygen System. is considered one of the best and is great for larger projects.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg and doesn't include things you would need for safety like masks, goggles and so on. There is also literally hundreds of other tools depending on the types, styles and quantity of jewelry you have in mind to make. Then depending on the pieces you are making you might need things like flux, pickle, metal protectants to coat your work and chemicals to add patinas. However, even these few basic items in this list can help you create hours of work!
Happy jewelry making!
Please do share your favorite tools or supply links in the comments below. I'm always on the lookout to add to the workbench.
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