as for most of us, we almost all started with a set of second hand
tools that were none worse for the wear.
the very first thing I did behind the bench (and keep in mind I
apprenticed under my father for years.) I was sat down with:
a saw and sawblades
an old file (one of the little ones to use the handle as a mandrel.)
and a section of sterling wire.
what was I doing? I was told to make a bunch of little silver
jumprings. about 100 sawblades later, I had a nice stack of
jumprings. (this taught me to use a saw) then I was given two pairs of
old pliers and told to link them all together (taught me to use my
pliers properly) and then to my horror I was told to solder each
well needless to say, I melted the first 10 or 20…but I learned
great torch control. and in the end I was told to squish the
jumprings to make ovals and wa-la…I HAD A SILVER LINK NECKLACE!
after many exercises like this (one of which I was given a piece of
paper and told to make a design…this became a piercing exercise
with a drill, a saw and a flat piece of silver.)
now, when I went to STEWART’S INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL FOR JEWELERS a
year to two later…I breezed the classes…why?? I knew how to use
my tools and I knew how to control my torch!
Your tools don’t need to be new or wonderful, they only need to
work. and you don’t need much to start off with.
I would think a basic setup would be: flexshaft (or I originally used
an old hand drill), mandrel, hammer, round nose pliers, flat nose
pliers, wire cutter, sawblade and torch I think it would be wonderful
if all the tool junkies out there (and I should know because I was
one) would donate some old workable tools that sit in that tool
drawer to students learning the craft. (how many of you traded in
that old chuck flexshaft for a quick change and though you have 3-4
quickchnge, that old chuck flexshaft is sitting in a drawer, and you
don’t even know where the chuck key is!) I don’t know how this could
be viable, but you don’t need much to learn, and I think it would be
a wonderful way to give back to the “community”.
julia potts studios