Category Archives: Smithing Tools

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

Tool of the Month – Tumbler



One of the useful pieces of equipment in my workshop is my 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!




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




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




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!



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…


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!

Tool of the Month – Disc Cutter

Disc Cutter


I have a very lovely mum and granny, who sometimes give me cash for birthday and Christmas presents with instructions to buy myself smithing tools. I have a little wish list (of course!), and one of the items on it was a disc cutter.


Disc Cutter


I use a lot of circles in my pieces, (being a fan of the ellipse!) and cutting them out by hand is a lengthy and sometimes tedious process.


Disc Cutter


The disc cutter is made from two steel ‘wheels’, bolted together, with various sized circles (in this case from 3mm to 32mm) cut in them. You slide a sheet of metal in between the wheels, tighten the bolt, and use the appropriate matching punch (which are made from special tool steel, hardened and ground) to cut through the metal.. The ends of punches are sharpened at a slight angle to enable them to cut through metal up to 1mm thick as if it were – well – butter!


Disc Cutter


You can see the sheet of silver I’m cutting here has already seen some disc cutting action.


Disc Cutter


The end result is a perfect circle, every time. I do love my disc cutter ~ thank you, lovely family!


Sterling Silver Matched Domed Sphere Pendants

Tool of the Month – Ring Sizing Equipment

Ring Sizers

In order to create rings that fit my lovely customers, I need to know their ring size. I’ve written a post about measuring your own ring size, however  the best way of finding out your ring size is to have your finger measured at a jewellers – this is the easiest and most accurate way of fitting a ring.

Above you can see my ring sizing gauges. The rings are for measuring fingers, and are graded in sizes – here in Australia we use letters of the alphabet (which are followed by numbers), so these go from size H up to Z, and then on from 1 to 6. The stick is for measuring the size of rings, and has different measurements, including the alphabet system, millimetres, and US sizing.

Red Drusy Agate and Sterling Silver Ring

If you’re in Brisbane, I’m always happy to measure you up for one of my custom made rings!

Tool of the Month – My Jeweller’s Bench

Ruthie's Jeweller's Bench


A jeweller is nothing without a jeweller’s bench! As you can see, my bench is a busy place – I even tidied it a little for you here. My bench was made by my silversmithing teacher, Elmar – it’s robust, utilitarian, set up just how I need it – and I love it.




One of the most important parts of the bench is the jeweller’s peg. This is the wooden piece that juts out the front of the bench. It is used to balance and stabilise whatever you’re working on – great for sawing, filing, emerying – anything that requires gentle force to be applied to metal. I leave most hammering for my large tree stump however! You can see the scars of filing and sawing on my peg – as time goes on, you develop your own comfortable nicks and dents for holding wire, filing rings etc. Eventually your peg wears away, and it has to be replaced – though I think mine has many more good years left in it yet.



There are so many different tools that help a jeweller – I try to accumulate only the ones that I really need and will use, but the temptation to collect is great! Pictured above are: my tri square – useful for making sure the ends of ring shanks are exactly square before bending and soldering, and for getting exact square angles on pieces I’m cutting out; a scribe and a pushing tool – The scribe is great for scoring silver before sawing it if I need a long straight piece i.e. if for cutting my own bezel, and as a general jiggery-pokery thing. I confess I don’t often use the bezel pusher, and never for bezel setting – but it’s a piece I made at a tool-making workshop I did, and I’m fond of it!; dividers – very useful for scribing a circle, or transferring measurements from one piece of metal to another; and my scraper – great for the occasional removal of pesky burrs.


Messy Jeweller's Bench


An my bench – ok, confession time, it usually looks a bit more like this! With every piece, there are periods of time where you’re waiting i.e. for the metal to cool after soldering, or to pickle, so I work on a number of different pieces at once.


Cloudy Blue Sky


Ah, my workplace – a very zen space, where the sky’s the limit! If you’re interested, you can see more posts about my silversmithing tools here.