Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Got some tools to use or to upgrade


My husband gave me some tools and I wanted to know which ones I can
use and which I need to replace/upgrade. I want t make jewelry,
mostly brass, some copper. I have:

  1. dremel 400 with a flex shaft and engraver.
  2. Two Bernzomatic torches: this and this
  3. Someone wants to sell me a used Thumbler tumbler for $75. This is
    a picture. The model B.

I am looking for advice about if these will work for annealing,
soldering, polishing, etc. brass and copper. And the best way to use
these particular items. I have done some research but I can’t find
too much about the two specific torches or how best to
use that particular tumble.

Thanks for any help


IMHO: Run the Dremel either until it dies or until you can afford a
Foredom or the like, the Dremel just doesn’t have a lot of guts
(torque), but you’ll find you can “learn” a lot with it. Sorry,didn’t
look at the pics of the torch, but most any “plumbers” style torch is
ok for beginning, especially with copper and brass. Depending on the
size of your pieces you’ll get enough heat to solder most of your
stuff… you may want to think about rigging a tripod or the like so
you could use two torches in combo should you need that much heat or
have that large of a piece. Not much control over the flame size, but
you’ll learn. Sounds like a good price on the tumbler. As far as the
engraver… if it is like any of the ones that retail for cheap, be
prepared to “fight” it to control your line. They tend to be good for
putting an ID on a tool or lawn mower or the like (rough) but I’ve
never been fond of their abilities. Might be me… try it. Someone on
Orchid (Karen Christians? sorry…) did a book on the flexshaft,
might be a good investment for where you are at. Above all, don’t be
afraid to try, and don’t be afraid or bummed out at your mistakes,
learn from them and try not to repeat them!!! And as I said a while
ago, check with local plumbing or electrical contractors to see if
they’ll sell you scrape or cut-offs. Offer a bit above scrape price
and you’ll have a wealth of material. Hammer the wire, stretch it,
bend it… can’t go wrong, and when one opens up a piece of 1 1/4"-
2" copper pipe, especially type M I think, thicker wall, anneal
it,and flatten it out you’ve got an incredibly sweet piece of metal
to play with. The fun part is figuring out how to do with what one
has… buying is easy. Also, no promotion, offering inspiration is
all, check out some of my early copper stuff at:


the dremel, though it gets a relatively bad rap from “professionals”,
is a fine tool with the flexshaft. Get the accessory that allows for
quick changing the burs, bits, etc. It is fine for all jewelry work
until you can get a quieter, and more appropriate pendant motor or
micro-motor ( the pendant motor will have a flexshaft-) Buffalo
Dental, Foredom, Pfingst, etc. are good brands- make sure the one you
get has a warranty and you don’t buy it through a middleman- unless
on sale- FDJ Tools On Time, Roseco, Rosenthal Supply, Otto Frei
regularly have sales when you are ready - shop around - you can also
find new ones on on-line auction sites.

You will, depending on if you are setting stones or doing everyday
tasks, require a pendant motor with high speeds and lower torque or
High Torque and lower operating speeds, and a reversible motor is
also useful as a feature if you do a lot of piercing, drilling, or
stone setting as it makes cutting bearings easier, and if you use
router bits in it for making decorative edges on heavy square wire,
or carve gemstones among some of the capabiolties that are greater
with a reversible motor. The Foredom TX line are great all purpose
models. Pfingst makes exceptional motors, though more people have
Foredom’s- that is not however any indication of quality, Foredom’s
are just easier access through catalogues, direct from Blackstone
Industries (Foredoms Parent Company) or used while Pfingst is a
company that stands behind each motor they make and follows them- In
some senses Pfingst being a smaller company takes a bit more pride
in each serialised product, whereas Foredom, is a great large company
with a highkhly knowledgable sale team led by Micheal Zagielski- who
can tell you all you need to know, and more about what each model and
line can do and the pros and cons of each in a jewelry
application…so either company is above the rest of the pack when it
comes to knowing their product- the dental companies that make
similar motors and flexshafts also supply jewerls but in my
experience, for instance with Buffalo Dental motors, the sales force
knows that sell x and how much it is and some features, but read off
a script or spec sheet…no where near the pride in the products…

as for the torches, great for melting with MAPP, and if you get the
Bernzomatric that has a mixer built into the handgrip, hoses for
disposable canisters of gasses, and a fine tip suitable for jewelry
you have a far more precise torch for under 50 dollars at any home
store. For learning, it is a great torch- as is their model with a
base that runs on butane- it gets hot enough to melt small amounts
of gold and platinum (with MAPP and O2 for platinum, Propane OR MAPP
and O2 for all other metals. The plumbers basic kit is good for
annealing metal sheet, and direct casting, and soldering- thoug it
takes some skill to master holding the large tank for small
hit-and-run solder joins.

As for the tumbler- 75 bucks is cut rate- but not that good a deal
over a brand new in warranty unit…it can be used to polish pieces as
well as rock tumbling so its versatile too and far better than a
harbor freight model. if in excellant condition.

the Dremel engraver is best for writing identifying marks on your
household inventory, not for engraving in a jewelry context the
vibration is too uncontriollable and you come out with what looks
like a series of dots, and something police can use to id stolen
properties !..rer

the dremel, though it gets a relatively bad rap from
"professionals", is a fine tool with the flexshaft. 

Another fine motor tool is the Proxxon. It’s a German made tool & has
full power at all speeds. The motor does not use any brushes that
have to be replaced. There ae a number of accessories available for
it. There are 2 models of the Proxxon available; ne similar to the
Dremel & an industrial version that has the bearings mounted in metal
instead of plastic.