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Tools Bank

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[Orchid] Making living off jewelry art?

      here's an idea - i'm sure all of us have tools we don't use.
perhaps we can set up some sort of "tool bank" for beginning
jewelers on the list that are hard up for cash. kind of a grant
thing. just thought i'd throw this thought out there. it also
occurs to me that jewelers by nature are tool freaks, and it might
not be possible to get folks to part with their extra tools. :^)
it's just an idea. 

I just want people to know, Susannah puts her ideas into action.

I am about to become the (very very grateful) recipient of such a
plethora of her spare tools that I was just overwhelmed all day
yesterday after I got her e-mail offer. I still tear up thinking
about it.

I don’t know how to thank her, or the other thoughtful and helpful
listmembers who have taken so much time and effort to answer
questions, discuss, maybe even argue a little bit (but never fight).

I’m also grateful to Dorothy, who noticed my little one-line comment
about what happened to my Tri-cord Knotter CD and is giving me her

I don’t know what else to say. I’m still just overwhelmed.


Personally I would just love a list of tools that a beginner should
invest in. I can save up some dough and buy them as I can afford them
but I honestly don’t know Where to start looking for good ones and
what reasonable prices are. Of course any donations are Sure
appreciated. So even just a list would be great. Another thought, Im
sure a lot of the contributers here have a wealth of knowledge and
experience yet The beginners corner of ganoksin doesn’t seem to have
a lot of contributions. As A person knew to metalsmithing and
jewelry construction any and all tips are defineately An asset.

Just my 2 pennies


    Personally I would just love a list of tools that a beginner
should invest in. 

Ask and ye shall receive. Here’s my list that I wrote up for
students, since it’s a question I get a lot. This is just my opinion,
others may suggest other tools.

Beginning Tool kit for Metalsmithing
by Elaine D. Luther - All Rights Reserved

Beginning metalsmithing students often ask me, what’s the minimum
amount of tools I need to get started? What should I buy and
where? The choices are overwhelming, so I’ve written this short,
easy to understand (I hope) list.


Propane only torch with short hose, from home center Handy or
Batterns flux (I prefer Batterns)

Sparex pickle and glass or ceramic container, preferably with lid,
to put it in (Spa Down may be used instead of Sparex);

Copper or bamboo tongs for pickle Charcoal or magnesia block
Tweezers with wooden handle

Soldering pick


Quality sawframe (German made, for example) “Bench pin with
V-slot,” the kind that clamps on to your table

Sawblades - Herkules brand quality or better, size 2/3 or 3/0

Beeswax or Bur Life for lubricating saw blade.


Sandpaper: black wet/dry sandpaper from the hardware store Grits:
180, 320, 400, 600 1500 grit is available from some auto supply

sanding sticks

Nice, but optional: 3M sanding pads, 3M polishing papers

Pliers, Hand tools:

Needle nose pliers (aka chain nose)
Round-round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
Raw Hide Mallet
Ball pien hammer

Flexible Shaft Machine*
Foredom CC Flex Shaft system
Mandrels, grinding and polishing wheels

Cheaper choice: buy a not-a-name-brand flex shaft from

Tumbler [ Optional, or, plan to get one later.]

“Rio Grande Mini Rotary Tumbler” plus media, such as stainless
steel shot. This is the little red tumbler sold elsewhere as the
Thumler’s Tumbler.

Cheaper choice: check out discount tool supplier Harbor Freight.
The quality is not as high, but the prices sure are low.

Where to buy:, request a Tools and Equipment catalog.
They have everything you need, in an easy to shop, educational

There are also other choices, you can find them via ads in your
favorite jewelry magazines or by checking the listings at

Where to find Elaine Luther:

You may visit me on the web at

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Here is a list of tools to start out with.

A tool bank is a good idea, there has been discussion of this in CNAG
circles for some time, and also with finding a way for retired (or
deceased) metalsmiths to get their tools (scholarship, award?) as a
lot, to pass on to up and coming person etc…

best Charles


Just about any book with “jewelry making” or something similar in
the title will have a list of tools for the beginner. I pulled one at
random off my bookshelf, “Jewelry Making Manual” by Sylvia Wicks, and
there is a list on page 12. If you are learning on your own, you’ll
want a number of books of that sort anyway as well as at least one
catalog from a company which sells jeweler’s tools and supplies. I’d
suggest Rio Grande for starters. You can buy a catalog from them at
on line at They show a beginners set of
tools on page 6 of the 2005 tools catalog. Many of the tools you can
get at your local hardware store. Flea markets and garage sales are a
source for cheap tools as well. Some of the finest tools I have
gotten over the years came from an estate auction in St. Petersburg,
FL at the home of a couple who both were jewelry makers. Good luck!

Jerry in Kodiak

   I would just love a list of tools that a beginner should invest
in. I can save up some dough and buy them as I can afford them but
I honestly don't know Where to start looking for good ones and what
reasonable prices are. 

Ask and you receive. Our wonderful Mr. Brain made a list for us.

and for gold smithing:


This is a great idea! Having just graduated, I have lost the use of
the shop at school and need to start one of my own. New jewelers and
metalsmiths could use concise sources of regarding what
and how to buy the essentials when starting out from those in the
field and, of course, donations of materials from those who are no
longer in need of them. Everyone knows that the first years are
hard, but getting a little assistance from those in the community may

Jamie Burton
jamieburton AT