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Recently discovered the darkside


Hello everyone I’m 22 years old, I am a glazier on commercial buildings (I install commercial windows) I recently discovered my intrest in making jewelry after seeing some wire wraps that really intrested me I just started researching and reading in most of my free time along with ordering tools and practicing using my tools and working on getting my bench customized to meet my needs. I didn’t think I would ever be posing in here but hey I have nothing to loose and could definitely use some tool money… :slight_smile:
My desk is an old door, I messed up and didn’t use a solid hard wood so that will be replaced eventually, my bench skin isn’t hanging because I really don’t like how it worked out, it’s homemade from glove leather, wish I would have learned about the catch trays before I bought the leather but that’s okay, my foredom is from my grandpa he used it back when he was a gunsmith, it’s been very useful, I am wanting to get an H30 handpiece. I bought multiple graders and this cocker graver sharpener but I haven’t been able to get them sharp enough and or the right amgles. All of my wire, sheet, small gem collection and hand tools is from @RioGrande. My bench grinder and pickle is in the other room. I have mostly made rings and one pendent. I found an expensive and addicting hobby! I have not bought a buffing wheel/lathe yet Most larger tools due to having to buy my tools slow.
All I know is I have a long way to go and so much to learn and very limited resources and space in my one bedroom appartment but I guess you gotta start somewhere.


Welcome Brent. You’ve found a great place to hang out. So many wonderful, helpful people, a lot of serious experience, stories and skills and beautiful work.

I think you’ll find the Orchid community and the main Ganoksin site very helpful as you progress along your newly chosen path.

Looking forward to seeing your work.



Hi Brent! Thanks for your post here. If you haven’t already met them, our Jewelry Tech Team is a great resource for these exact questions. They would absolutely love to help you with getting your set up working for you to sharpen the gravers and answer any questions you have. They can be reached toll free at 800-545-6566 from 7am to 6pm MST, M-F, just ask for the Jewelry Tech Team. Hope this helps!


Hi Brent,
Not a bad ring there! I’m not your great bench jeweler, but I have had a lot of fun setting up my bench and finding cheap tools and work arounds. There is a lot in the archives on this. For starters for polishing you can use polishing sticks or rig a small “fishmouth” type dust collector and use small polishing wheels on your flexshaft. You can rig a polishing lathe from an old Chinese grinder (about $30) and two adapters and spindles (one RH, one LH). Then either use it outdoors on your patio or rig a polishing hood out of cardboard or thin plywood and use a shopvac or a squirrel cage blower as a dust collector. I would guess you could pull up some pix of such through google. Happy to share info on other work arounds, such as my pull down setting


Hey thanks everyone! I made a druzy opal pendant for my mom but I never took pics … I am looking to buy a torch and have done reading and ventelation system will be in. I didn’t relize how much a acetylene/oxy full set up is… I can afford one that goes off disposable cans barely but that’s still 350$ and I’m sure the o2 disposable cans go way to quick. And @RioGrande thanks for giving me that tidbit! I will be calling and asking some questions:)


Hi Brent,
A decent torch setup from the jewellery trade suppliers is only one of the ways to go. 1stly dont go down the oxy /acet way, go the oxy/propane way. That will do everything you need for years . Im sure your not thinking of welding steel , which is where oxy/acet is the only gases that will work.
Look at and go and visit INDUSTRIAL welding equipment suppliers, there cheaper especially as they know users who may be upgrading and can find you some good s/hand kit. There in the know who may have some.
Also, they will stock ali, bronze s/steel and titanium wire in 1/8in thick 1 yrd lengths, lots of useful material to play with.
I have looked at the pics you posted and didnt realise from you first post how well you have set up your work area. Better progress than your written word said. Be that as it may, your a hands on person, from your daily work thats to your advantage here.
However if you were my apprentice the next project you would have to tackle is the world of the bracelet,. And that would need a wooden stump, and a tinmans stake ot “T” stake set in it. Its a small anvil with one side flat and the other half with half round grooves in the top in different sizes.
when youve got that well look at how you will be rolling the edge of different metals with hammers, like copper, brass and s/steel sheet finally with your skill up to scratch in silver sheet. Well be looking at production runs of a minimum of 5 off at the very least.
when youve sold those youll have money to buy the silver.
Theres no reason why this hobby cant be financially sustainable.
Doing just bench work is very limiting for you just now,. you need to include much more wrought work in your skill set. As mentioned in a post earlier, read my previous posts, I work in a very different way to most of the posters here. more the pity as theres so much to be made by hammer work thats fast, good and profitable. I chose just for fun to design some work that didnt need ANY heat at all! in its making.
Ted a proper silversmith,
in Dorset UK.


Hi Brent,
Lots of variables in the torch decision. Yes, propane/oxy is what most folks use as it is applicable to gold and silver and even platinum, but you will face decisions regarding safety and tanks… Rob Meixner and I solved that problem by using the small 1 lb canisters of propane along with an oxygen concentrator, which you could buy used from someone privately. You are still looking at several hundred dollars. Acetylene/air will work for silver and be cheaper for a while. I don’t suppose anyone is going to suggest a blowpipe and an alcohol burner, but I have used that for small silver items and it is a $20 setup at most. Easiest thing for simple silverwork would be a small butane torch. A cheap one is about $10 and a better Bernzomatic is $26 at Home Depot. Very convenient and easy to use and workable until your work gets too big for the heat output. Safe, small, inexpensive, adjustable and convenient. What’s not to like? Then propane/oxy or an alternative with tanks and regulators when you are ready.
Best, royjohn


Brent, have you checked out Harbor Freight if you are close to one. I was there and they had a setup for$ 300-400 with regulators, hoses, and carry tote. Not sure about torch .


Hi Brent,
Welcome! Or, my condolences, since you will never be a normal person again. But normalcy is overrated!
That is an ok little flex shaft. I used one of them for a long time. I also bought tools gradually, as I sold jewelry to pay for them. You are well on your way, as your photos show. I have had a 45 year career as an artist Jeweler, and it has been very absorbing and fulfilling. Best wishes to you!
M’lou Brubaker