First of all, Happy New Year!

One of my goals for the new year is to offer video tutorials in metalsmithing. I’ve been asked so many times how one can learn metalsmithing so I know it’s something people are interested in. My first video will be an intro to metalsmithing and I hope to produce it some time in the first 2 weeks of 2008. Having never done anything like this before, I’m not sure how long it will take but I think 2 weeks is a reasonable time-frame when you include the other stuff I need to do to keep my business afloat.

This intro will primarily be about what tools and materials you will need to get started. This initial investment might seem daunting because there is a lot to get, however, I’ve been using more or less the same tools since I started making handmade jewelry back in 2001. Of course I’ve added to my tool box as I’ve developed my skills, but I still use these basic tools on a daily basis.  This list of tools is a companion to the video I will be producing in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned.

The first instructional videos will primarily use the tools listed under Raw Materials, Soldering, and Finishing.  Future videos will include sawing and forming metal.  The intent of the videos are to teach basic techniques for making headpins, clasps, earwires, jump rings, pendants, et cetera so you can enhance your designs by adding extra unique elements.

The list of tools and materials I’m listing is from the 2007 Rio Grande Tools & Equipment catalog.  I’m listing the name of the item, the item number, and price so you can quickly find exactly what I’m talking about, although I think Rio’s website requires one to register before you can shop (which is why I’m not linking directly to the items).  You can print this list out and use the item numbers to “quick shop.”  There are, of course, other sources for these tools, so by all means, shop around–I’ve tried to be as specific as possible so you know what to look for.  My apologies if I’ve left anything out.


Raw Materials (Sterling Silver – prices depend on silver prices at time of purchase)
21 gauge wire (1/2 hard) – 100351
26 gauge wire (1/2 hard) – 100356
20 gauge sheet  – 100120
Solder (easy) – 101200

Butane torch – 500226 $47.95
Heat block – 502004 $13.20
Third Hand – 502066 $11.55
Cross lock tweezers – 115206 $4.95
Tweezers – 115053 $6.00
Soldering tweezers – 115074 $6.95
Copper tongs – 501017 $7.75
Soldering pick – 503021 $7.30
Flux – 504006 $8.50
Pickle – 5010233 $10.10
Pickle pot – 501012 $18.95
Straight snips – 114227 $19.95
Flux brush – a plastic paint brush will do

Sawing, Cutting & Shaping Metal
Portable bench pin – 110010 $7.95
Saw frame – 110068 $9.95
Saw blades: sizes 2/0 & 4/0 – 110195 $9.25 each
Pliers (needle nose, round nose, flat nose, half-round–buy the best you can afford, as these will get plenty of use.  I’m listing an economy set here just for reference) – 111909 $27.00
Dividers – 116329 $11.25
Automatic center punch – 118111 $15.75 or center punch – 118116 $7.50
Flexible shaft tool – A Dremel will work in place of this, but eventually you might want to get a Foredom flex shaft – 117534 $183
Twist drill bits – 77 (.46mm) – 349436 $7.10, 75 (.53mm) – 349434 $7.10
Ring mandrel – 112366 $24
Rawhide mallet – 112209 – $15
Ball peen hammer – 112198 $17.95
Steel bench block – 112495 $14.00
Safety goggles

Emery paper – 337342 $14.60
Polishing cloth – 337040 $3.30
Hand file (half-round, 2 cut) – 114316 $26.50
Needle files (cut 2) – 114262 $16.75
Cup bur (about 1.9) – 344351 $9.40

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