Favorite Tools

My favourite tool must be my piercing saw frames, I use a range of
six saw frames, each with different frame depths.My frames are mostly
German made and I use Swiss, Grobet Vallorbe saw blades, of sizes 0
down to 6-0. I know that modern technology CNC and some Laser
machines can do the same effect as piercing, but unless you are
making a run of identical items, these machines are very costly and
as I make mostly one off pieces, I will not be buying any new

See my hand piercing on the orchid gallery

Peace and good health to you all

James Miller FIPG,an English goldsmith who is 60 years young later
this month and I am still getting great satisfaction from making
pretty things.

AS. I could not open the article on how2makeARotaryHammer - Is it
corrupted in some manner? Can it be reloaded?

The suggestions in the thread have been great.

My favorite tool is my bench. It was made in my shop, with the help
of some friends, but the design is much like a commercial jewelers
bench. The working height, the cut outs in the top and the
catch-drawer are the outstanding features. It is perfect for working
while seated and is very rigid. It is also the right level for
working while standing at the end where I have a larger vise.

I have used a flex-shaft for a long time, but am finding that a
micro-motor is easier for small work and is a new favorite. Since I
have mostly done woodcarving and small metal sculpture and am just
getting into “wearable art,” my other favorite tools, my band-saw
and my lathe, might not be as useful to others.

For most of my 71 years my favorite tool has persisted but evolved
through many iterations. It began as a black cylinder about half an
inch in diameter and six or so inches long. Later the color turned
to bright yellow and the diameter fell to 5/16. Through the years it
has also included a variety of mechanical attachments.

The tool, which is usually used in partnership with a rather old
Chinese invention, rapidly became an extension of my brain and a
crucial part of my thinking. It has been integral to all of my
designing, inventing and writing.

It is, of course, my pencil!

Happy Fourth to all my fellow Americans, and may God grant freedom
and liberty to all in Orchidland.

Dr. Mac

Hi all,

This has been a great thread. Many tools I expected to hear about
and there have been some other tools mentioned that I will have to
add to my shop.

My favorite tools include the foundation pieces like my torch,
flexshaft and jeweler’s saw. A tool that I added last year that has
had a huge impact is my benchmate. I now have the means to secure a
piece being worked on and better stability while working. That
stability means everything when trying to set stones or do some
burring. I am also requiring more magnification as time goes on.
Really being able to see makes all the difference. Optivisors have
been a big help, would love to have some of those sweet German eye
loupes that Blaine Lewis uses. I also recently got a wonderful
microscope to use for my gemology studies. Magnification is a
powerful tool in itself!

Thanks to everyone for sharing their favorite tools! -Carrie Nunes

you may need to hold down shift then right click on the file and
chose OPEN WITH then chose wordpad to open it

:slight_smile: Teri
Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

Favorite tools ?

  1. My hands - protect them constantly
  2. My flexshaft + quick release handpiece
  3. My eyelash curler

Margie Mersky Custom Designs, INC

Well, in the US, a flexible drive tool usually is a Foredom, so
there’s not really a problem using the name as a generic term for the
flexible drive.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286

My favorite is going to have to be the new Lindsay PalmControl
AirGraver. Pretty pricey at $2,800, but it paid for itself easily in
the first couple weeks of use.

The PalmControl is entirely portable - running off a (3" x 10") 20
oz. CO2 bottle for 8 hours - no electricity or air compressor is
necessary. Costs $3 to refill. (Before it was introduced last year -
my favorite for the past 5 years was the $1,200 Lindsay Chasing
AirGraver which uses a compressor and foot control:)

All in all they are pretty amazing tools. We have 8 Lindsays in the
classroom, as well as all other makes and models of power assisted
engraving tools. They cut the learning curve for my hand engraving
and stone setting students by 70%. Now that I’ve lost part of the use
of my right arm - having ALL of the controls right on the handpiece
and not having to reach for them is indispensable!

Second favorite is gonna have to be the microscope - without which,
I could probably no longer see well enough to use the Lindsays!

I too used a Foredom (flexshaft/pendant motor) for over 30 years.
However, in the past 7 years I’ve switched over to using the
Micro-Motor and air driven rotary tools. Much finer control features,
higher speeds, accuracy, and much, much easier than fighting with
that stiff and cumbersome/awkward “flexshaft” cable all the time!
They beat the old Foredom flexshaft hands down!

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
Stockton, CA USA

I could not open the article on how2makeARotaryHammer - Is it
corrupted in some manner? Can it be reloaded? 

The file is not corrupted. It is a Microsoft Word document, so you
may need that application to open it. It opens easily in my web
browser (IE 6.0), but that’s probably because I have Word installed
on my machine (computer). If people are interested, I could change
the format and send it to them. Anyone interested may contact me
off-list. In Word format, the file is around 240KB.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL

I agree with Dr. Mac, except now I only use a pencil for marking as
all my design ideas are done in Inkscape. An excellent program
available for free from Source Forge.

Daniel Culver

I have a small collection of tool that I would call my favorites.
They are mostly hand made hand tools. They belonged to my father,
brother and others that are no longer with us.

Left for trash when worldly goods were divided up. Worn gravers,
Agate burnisher, Gages, Punches made from files, a beautiful little
hammer with broken shaft. Found in rusty piles, swept into corners.
So as a gesture of respect I pick them up, gems in the rust, clean
and restore them to there original intent. You can tell a lot about a
person by the tool they make.

I show them to my children, tell them stories the people they
belonged to, show them how they are used and hope they too will find
gems in the rust.


Hi All;

I posed the question to my bench help. His answer: “opposable

Seriously, the most important addition to my shop in recent memory
was my adoption of the GRS system of bench equipment. I don’t have
one of everything they make yet, but there’s not a single gizmo
they’ve come up with that I’m not convinced I absolutely must have as
soon as I can afford them. My advice is, after you get a good torch
and flexible shaft machine, plus the basic hand tools like files,
pliers, etc., get at least the GRS basic kit plus an inside ring
holder. These have made my life immeasurably easier and probably
saved a lot of wear and tear on my hands and my patience.

David L. Huffman

Before my present foray into the world of jewelry-making, I spent 22
years as a computer consultant (still do some software development
part-time, so I can buy materials), so if anyone has any
Windows-based computer problems, don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be happy
to help. Sorry, I don’t do Macintosh. Great computers, but the
businesses I’ve worked for have all run on Windows.

Brian Corll
Vassar Jewelers
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Tel.: (717) 691-0286


My favorite tool (actually two favorite tools) are my EdRoy clip on
magnifiers & My GRS mounting block.

I’m part of the ‘over the hill’ crowd so glasses are a must. The
EdRoy magnifiers clip on to your glasses & an be flipped up out of
the way with no problem. The nice thing about them is that with the
exception of the stainless steel clip, they’re made entirely of clear
plastic. There’s no distracting black or other colors to bother you…
With these magnifiers you can look over, under or around them to see
who just walked into the shop or what just fell without craning your
neck. They’re available in about 6 magnifications. I got mine from
Stuller, around $20.

My other favorite tool is the trapezoid shaped mounting block for
the GRS Benchmate. I’ve made a number of the small blocks that mate
with the mounting block & every tool that is used only occasionally
has had these mating blocks installed. When I need to use one of
these tools it gets slipped on the GRS mounting block. While not in
use, all these tools reside on plastic mounting blocks the same size
as the metal GRS mounting block. They’re attached to the side of my
bench so all I have to do is reach around the corner to get the
desired tool.


My hands and my brain are my favorite tools (unless they refuse to
work together) because they are the main tools that move me between
my different mediums; glass, intricate seed bead work, metal clay,
chain maille, ceramic and silver… I think I should be more thankful
than I am…

Thank you for the reminder to be thankful! :slight_smile:


I have a 6 inch diacro shear that WILL cut almost anything I put
under it flush with little cleanup. Sure I don’t use it often, but
it’s nice to look at everyday.

The next will have to be cut-off wheels for my flexshaft.


Brian, yes I use a flexible drive tool and would not be without
it, it was the name that threw me. Its a bit like still calling any
make of vacuum cleaner a Hoover. 

I’m not too surprised. It got the “Kleenex” effect. Here in North
America, the Foredom brand so completely dominated the market that
it’s only in recent years that any of the other brands have become
even a significant portion of the market.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org

Hello Orchid,

In response to “Favourite Tools”

From Phillip

This is a good question.

The diamond is the best tool in design. My rectangular graver is a
be-all graver. It is big enough to shape for most purposes. Forming
tools are the best tools. But, The best tool is the metal. It gives
the most.


Dear All,

Like David Huffman, the GRS system are the tools that make my life
easier, used every day and invaluable. The latest tool is my
Gravermax, which opened many doors that I only wished for years ago.
They say that the memory is the second thing that goes with age, so
the hands must be #1 for us aging bench jewelers.

Jon Michael Fuja

James I would appreciate a copy of the document and I have Word.
Just send to this email address.