Category Archives: Smithing Tools

14 Aug 2015

In My Jeweller’s Workshop III

I know how much I love seeing people’s workspaces, so I’m pleased to show you a few more photos of my own little workshop!

15 May 2015

15 May 2015

I see in the photo above this rhodochrosite pendant, these seaglass and cuttlefish cast pendants, and this gorgeous custom moss agate ring. On the left is a box in which I keep all the gemstones that are works in progress – there are some that have been in there for some time, I know. I’ll get to them all eventually, promise.

29 May 2015

29 May 2015

Under my bench in this photo is the page I use to bend ring shanks to size when they are not going to be a complete ring, for example when they are going underneath a cabochon setting. I can see some of the pieces from my new extraterrestrial collection, and the work in progress on this divine custom chrysoprase set – one of my favourites, I confess!

30 Jun 2015

30 Jun 2015

There is a sheet of silver over on the right rear, and I see the beginnings of some drusy earrings and this lapis ring – and a few other goodies, too.

30 Jun 2015

30 Jun 2015

And here am I, working away. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy what I do!

14 Aug 2015

14 Aug 2015

A sneak peak at some upcoming treasures for you here – and as always, tea. A nice cup of tea’s what keeps me going sometimes. How about you?

Flex Drive

Tool of the Month – Flex Drive

Flex DriveThat long hanging thing in the middle of this picture? That’s my flex drive. The first flexible shaft was invented by the famous Scottish engineer James Hall Nasmyth (1808-1890), who is best known for his later development of the steam hammer.

Flex Drive

The motor is this part the top, which, through a long spiral shaft, drives the little piece at the end. If you’re thinking ‘dentist’, you’re absolutely right! These are used by dentists, too. They’re like a tiny drill at the end of a long hose.

Flex Drive

There are endless variations of bits you can use with your flex drive.

Flex Drive

My favourites are a particular diamond burr, kindly given to me by the lovely Bill from my Goldsmithing class (I use it all the time!) and my slotted mandrels (for emery paper – that’s one you see on the flex drive head in the picture above this one). I have so many other very useful attachments for this great device! I use my flex drive on just about every piece I make. Thanks, Mr Nasmyth!

 

21 Nov 2014

My Jeweller’s Workshop – Part Two

Following on from my previous post in which you’ll find the first batch of workshop shots, and bringing us up to the minute, I’m visiting my workshop space in space and time. You can sometimes catch me posting more of these snaps on my Instagram page and my FaceBook page – I’d love to see you there!

Silver Forge Workshop 14-09-24

24 Sep 2014

This was obviously a busy time for rings – I see a ruby zoisite, an orange titanium coated drusy, a faceted black onyx, a malachite, a piece of labradorite, a brown drusy and a howlite ring all in the creative stages. And some of my domed pieces, too!

 

10 Oct 2014

10 Oct 2014

Here, I’ve come along further with some of those previous pieces, and added this rest of the faceted onyx set and green mojave turquoise ring to the mix. That is my pair of nylon jaw flat nose parallel pliers on the right – fabulous for holding components that are too tiny to be held with fingers while I saw or file or emery, without leaving marks on the metal! Also, a little batch of jellyfish earrings in the making on my soldering block.

6 Nov 2014

6 Nov 2014

The storage expansion continues.. and while it has been there for a while, I draw your attention to my tree stump, kindly provided by a neighbour. It is extremely useful as an ‘anvil’ base, and I’m pleased that even though a tree had to be chopped down, I could salvage a piece of it for a good purpose!

9 Nov 2014

9 Nov 2014

Bead obsessed, much?

21 Nov 2014

21 Nov 2014

Amongst that mass of tools, I see this pendant on my bench peg, and I am still working on that crazy creation underneath!

8 Feb 2015

8 Feb 2015

A couple of repair jobs in the front, some pairs of earrings, a shattuckite pendant and this mojave green ring are all works in progress here! It’s so satisfying to have a number of jobs on the go at once – there is a fair amount of downtime while you’re waiting for things to cool and pickle after soldering.

Silver Forge Workshop 15-03-04

4 Mar 2015

I quite often have things on my bench waiting for inspiration or the right time to strike – some seaglass is in the process here! Also a bunch of forget-me-nots, which I will post more about another time.

1 Apr 2015

1 Apr 2015

Beads for the beginnings of my Ceramic collection are on my bench this day, as well as a number of stones waiting to be set – including this rhodochrosite pendant! The forget-me-nots are all on my soldering block. Stay tuned.

Silver Forge Workshop 14-09-19

My Jeweller’s Workshop

Silver Forge Workshop 12-07-23

23 Jul 2012

For a while now, I’ve been taking random pictures of my workspace. Sometimes I post these on my Instagram page, and sometimes on my FaceBook page; but I thought it was time I posted them here for you to see. Look how clean my workspace was only a few months after I first got my jeweller’s bench set up! Look at that nice new engraving ball.

Silver Forge Workshop 13-07-02

2 Jul 2013

A year later, and I’ve achieved the more lived in look. All clean work in progress mess of course! I spy the beginnings of the Elementals collection.

Silver Forge Workshop 14-01-24

24 Jan 2014

As time goes on, storage becomes more of an issue, as you can see by the stacks of boxes full of Czech glass.

Silver Forge Workshop 14-02-28

28 Feb 2014

Here you can see my jump ring winder… and I think those are parts of this bracelet and ring combination piece.

Silver Forge Workshop 14-05-03

03 May 2014

That’s a wax stick for stone setting you see there amongst the tools and bits and pieces. I was working on this chrysocolla pendant amongst other things here!

Silver Forge Workshop 14-05-15

15 May 2014

More joy, and more pieces in the works.. including this peacock blue round drusy ring, and this stormy blue oval one. That’s my ring sizing equipment in the top left hand corner.

Silver Forge Workshop 14-09-19

19 Sep 2014

Besser brick is not very exciting, but I brighten up my space with a fabulous piece painted by a three year old, and I love my beautiful Granny’s landscape oil painting of the cliffs at Fairlight – it is calming and inspirational. And yes, I do drink a lot of tea!

Chenier Cutter

Tool of the Month – Chenier Cutter

Chenier Cutter

A tool that I don’t use very often, but when I need it I’m glad of it, is my chenier cutter.

Chenier Cutter

Chenier is fine hollow tubing, which can used to make various parts such as hinges and bails, or be used decoratively as I have in this ring:

Carnelian and Sterling Silver Power Station Ring

To cut the chenier to the right length, and/or to file the ends of the chenier flat, it’s much easier to clamp it in this cutter.

Chenier Cutter

The cutter has various spaces to cut at both 90 degree and 45 degree angles.

Chenier Cutter

It’s great for cutting wire, too!

Chenier Cutter

Tumbler

Tool of the Month – Tumbler

Tumbler

 

One of the useful pieces of equipment in my workshop is my tumbler.

 

Tumbler

 

It can be hard to get a shiny finish on small pieces and pieces made from wire, so popping them into the tumbler with some steel shot, water and a tiny bit of dish soap does the trick!

 

Tumbler

 

The lid is cleverly made to seal completely, and bolted on tightly.

 

Tumbler

 

The base of the tumbler rotates the pot around and around, which rubs the shot against whatever you place inside, polishing it beautifully.

 

Tumbler

 

The tumbler I have is actually sold as a gemstone tumbler, but works beautifully for silver as well. Not that you can see in this last picture, but twenty minutes sees the finished product looking shiny and great!

 

Tumbler

smithing – creation of a teardrop shaped gemstone and sterling silver ring

I love seeing other people’s processes, and I thought it was time to give you all another look into what goes on in my workshop. I have blogged before about how I create one of my signature big chunky rings, and I thought it was time to examine that process again. Here’s how I do it!

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

Firstly, an appropriate width strip of sterling silver sheet .6mm thick is selected.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

This is curved by hand using a pair of half round pliers to fit the gemstone.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

Next, the strip is cut to approximately the right length on my bench peg using my jeweller’s saw, leaving a small extension for soldering against.

In this video, you see me prepare and apply the borax, position the solder (not usually quite so fumbly, I had a bit of stage fright!) and solder the bezel together.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

Once the metal is cool, it goes into the pickle to be cleaned. An explanation of pickle can be found in my previous blog post.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

I trim the excess bezel metal away from the solder join.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

I check to make sure the bezel is a good fit.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

I emery the bottom of the bezel so that it is completely flat and will make a good join with the base plate.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

I select a piece of 1mm thick sterling silver sheet to fit the bezel.

I solder the bezel to the backing plate. Here you see me applying the paillons of solder with borax, and soldering the join. Then it’s back to the pickle.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

After rinsing and drying, a bit of a check to see how it’s looking!

Now, I saw the excess metal from around the bezel setting.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

After filing the edges of the bezel setting, I start creating the ring shank.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

Using the appropriate width of 1.2mm thick sterling silver plate, I bend the shank to the right shape and size.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

I trim the shank to the right length.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

I hammer the shank with a mallet to get it perfectly round (this shot is for explanation only, I actually have the mandrel hard up against the bench to absorb the force when I’m really hammering the ring!).

Emerying the inside of the shank with my flex drive makes life easier.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

After more filing and emerying, I stamp the inside of the shank with my maker’s mark and 925, which marks the metal as being sterling silver (the 92.5% is the fine silver content).

I solder the shank to the bezel setting assembly.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ringSilversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

Then it’s time for plenty more filing, and coarse to fine emerying to bring the ring close to it’s finished state.  (Zen or tedium, you decide!)

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

Next, I head over to my trusty engraving ball to set the stone.

Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring Silversmithing - creating a bezel set ring

Plenty of gentle hammering with my setting hammer later…

IMG_1003

And my work, bar some tidying up, is done!

Bright Orange Drusy Agate Teardrop and Sterling Silver Ring

There it is, a beautiful drusy agate ring. I do so love what I do!