Silversmithing in an apartment?

I’m moving into an apartment soon, and I’d like to be able to do
silversmithing there. Has anyone found the noise to cause problems?
If so, how do you minimize it?

Paul Anderson

I'm moving into an apartment soon, and I'd like to be able to do
silversmithing there. Has anyone found the noise to cause
problems? If so, how do you minimize it? 

If you’re talking about silversmithing as in, raising stakes and
hammers to make hollow ware and the like, well, a good pair of ear
protectors will take care of the noise as far as you are concerned.
Your neighbors (your floor, upstairs, and downstairs), on the other
hand, might require very large sums of cash. (Yeah, it’s gonna be a
problem.) If they ALL work during the day and you get their
permission, perhaps it could work. But the hammering sounds carry a
lot, especially since your stakes need to be well mounted, which
usually means transmitting sound into the floor. Carpet or rubber
pads under whatever you mount the stakes to might help, but I doubt
it would be enough. I recall in college and grad school, both of
which were solid concrete buildings intended for this type of work,
the hammering could be heard all the way outside, not to mention
inside the buildings themselves. Really hard to eliminate it. Now,
if you means sitting at a bench with a saw, torch, small hammers,
making silver jewelry, well that’s not likely to be a problem, so
long as the apartment manager and fire department, and the like
approve the torches or heat sources you’ll likely need to use. (And
for hollow ware, that goes in spades, as you’re not going to be
annealing larger silver vessels with a smith little torch…)

You might want to investigate finding workspace outside of your
residential space. Perhaps an artists co-op building, or rent
someone’s separate garage for a studio space, or finding another
local metalsmith who’d be willing to share a decent workspace…

Your mileage may vary from all this, of course, but that’s my two
cents worth. Good luck.

Peter Rowe

hi peter –

i silversmith from my apartment and to make matters worse, my
apartment has both wooden floors and wooden ceilings!! so sound
definitely travels. that being said, i only had a complaint once and
that was a sunday afternoon when i was hammering away for about half
an hour straight. i’ve never had any other trouble be it with
tumblers, polishers, sawing… even chasing and repousse hasn’t
gotten me into trouble yet. i do think it’s helpful to kind of be
aware of your neighbor’s schedules! i definitely try to do extended
hammering when there aren’t too many footsteps from up above (and by
that i do not mean when people are sleeping!) once or twice i have
concocted a little tent over my anvil to soften the impact using a
comforter and i think it was reasonably effective. i kind of agree -
if you’re going to be doing hollowware or something of that sort, you
might want to look into a studio or at the very least putting some
sound insulation in the room where you will be working. (it’s not
cheap, but it may work out cheaper than renting another space
depending on where you live. when i investigated (which was about 8
years ago) it was $5 a square foot.) as for how effective it would
be, i can’t say, but i do know that some people in my building went
down that route who were musicians and i think it worked out okay for
them. i also happen to live in a neighborhood where most people are
artists of some sort so tolerance may be higher than other places.
for example, i live next door to a dj and frequently have found that
techno music is making appearances in many of my dreams. hmm. wonder
why. i do think it can be done, though. another thought is to do
everything but the extensive hammering at home, and then, if there is
a metal studio somewhere near you where you can rent benchtime, go
there when you need to hammer to your heart’s content.

good luck with the new space!

I'm moving into an apartment soon, and I'd like to be able to do
silversmithing there. Has anyone found the noise to cause

i rent a house just for that reason, they are pretty cheap now,
you can also get a basement and/or garage with it for $1000 and
under, dave

The limiting factor may not be noise (although it might be) but the
use of torches and/or casting equipment. The zoning and fire
insurance regs probably forbid it (and maybe your lease). Also,
you’re quite likely to have venting issues that become state or
Federal violations. Not really a good idea.

Wayne Emery

I am doing it with the full consent and permission from my landlord
all he asked was a vent system be installed and that was easy er and
cheaper then i though his handy man even offered to help but i was
able to do it by my self from my wheelchair. It is set up so I can
send everything to a bag or change over in seconds to vent out side
with shut offs so the vacuum system is working on one area at a time.
and buffing and grinding station. enclosed but the from and the hose
and fitting goes in though the top. a solder and smelting station
with a hose set up to retract. it just a peace of rope hanging from
the ceiling works great. my land lord looked it over wanted the large
co2 tank strapped to the wall but that’s it happy as can be. loves my
work and even sent some repair work my way

best wishes to all


Add a sturdy magnet to your anvil and the sides of your stakes. It
actually reduces the noise quite a bit.

Make your neighbors something cool. Show them what you are doing and
ask them a good time for you to bang away. Involve them in your
process and educate them in how you are spending your time. You would
be surprised that you might not only have support, but customers. A
lemon into a lemonade thing.

Karen Christians