Blog Archives

Tool Tips: Files

January 25, 2013
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Files As with pliers and hammers, there are an astonishing variety of files on the market. They come in different shapes, sizes and cuts. Choosing the right one for the task is essential to ensure you achieve a good quality finish. Files are used for removing excess material from a piece, such as after sawing to neaten the finished edge and to create a graduated finish to an edge. We always recommend to beginners that when sawing, work on the outside of the line and use a file to work the edge the line afterwards if necessary. The cut of the file describes the arrangement of the teeth and therefore the amount of material that the file will remove. Cuts range from 0 which is the coarsest and will therefore remove the most material to 6 which is the finest which will remove the least material and will also leave the least marks as a result. The most frequently used file is a medium cut one, such as 2 as this will remove excess material quickly and leave only light marking which can easily be removed by emerying. The shape of the file that you choose will depend upon the shape of the piece you are working on. If you are working on a flat edge, you will need to use a flat file. Also a convex curved edge, such as the outer edge of a disc, requires a flat file. A curved file is needed for a concave edge, such as the inside of a ring. Needle and hand files are the ones most commonly used in making jewellery. Needle files have an integral handle and are smaller than hand files. Files generally have teeth on both sides however, safety backed files are available with teeth in only...

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Tool Tips: Hammers

December 20, 2012
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Tool Tips: Hammers

Hammers In our continuing series focusing on essential tools, here we look at hammers. There is a bewildering array of hammers out there and choosing the right one for the job is vital to get the best finish possible and to avoid damage, both to your piece and to your other tools. Different hammers are used with sheet metal to bend and shape it to create the desired finished effect. As you are using your hammers to strike your piece it is important that the heads are kept clean and highly polished as any defect in the surface of the hammer will be transferred to your piece with each strike. Similarly, any surface your piece is placed on whilst hammering that has any damage to the surface will be transferred to the back of your piece as you strike it. Hammering in particular demonstrates the need to show your tools as much care and respect as you do your pieces. It is important to remember that hammering will cause your piece to become work hardened so frequent annealing is essential, as work hardened sheet will become brittle and may crack or even break. Here we offer you a guide to the hammers you might expect to find in a silversmith’s kit and explain their individual uses. Household hammer A household hammer or jobing hammer is the first hammer you will need. Every other hammer that you use will come into contact with the surface of your finished piece and as such needs to be kept clean and highly polished and used only for its intended purpose. However, you will also need to hit other tools with a hammer as you work on your piece, for example doming tools or a centre punch are hit with a hammer to imprint...

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Tool Tips: Sawing

November 18, 2012
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Tool Tips: Sawing

Our series of articles focusing on tools looks at how to use your saw. One of the first things you will have learnt on a silversmithing course is how to use a saw, including fitting the blade. So here’s a reminder of what to do. A piercing or jewellers saw is used to cut sheet metal such as silver, copper or brass. This type of saw can be used to cut everything from a straight line to complex shapes with multiple piercings. The saw has 3 component parts, a frame for holding the saw blade, a handle for gripping the saw and the blade which is held in place by 2 clamps, one at the top and one at the bottom of the frame with a further screw at the back of the frame to hold the blade at the correct tension. It’s worth mentioning that the quality of your saw frame will greatly influence the accuracy of your sawing. Cheap frames can bend, the clamps can become loose and the blade can twist. If you find yourself sawing a perfect diagonal line, this may be because your blade is twisted; it may also be because your saw frame is not square, all difficulties associated with a poor quality saw. To fit the blade: Gently rest the handle onto the upper part of your abdomen so that the frame faces away from you and rest the frame in the bench pin.  You may have to adjust your seating position to achieve this. Unscrew the clamps at the top and bottom of the frame ready to insert the blade.  The back screw will already be loose at this stage. Take told of your blade, to make sure that the teeth are facing you run your finger up the length of...

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Simple Silver Jewellery Making Project 2 – Simple Pendant – Part 4 Video Tutorial

November 13, 2012
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This is our second project on Simple Silver Jewellery Making. In this lesson you can watch the last video of a four part project which shows you how to make a Silver Pendant. Here is the fourth Video Tutorial – Part 4 In this video you will learn: How to attach and solder a jump ring How to polish your finished piece   Click Here to watch the first video in this series – Part 1 Click Here to watch the first video in this series – Part 2 Click Here to watch the first video in this series – Part 3 Let us know what you thought of the videos, we really appreciate your feedback – just leave a quick comment below:

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Simple Silver Jewellery Making Project 2 – Simple Pendant – Part 3 Video Tutorial

November 13, 2012
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This is our second project on Simple Silver Jewellery Making. In this lesson you can watch Part 3 of a four part project which shows you how to make a Silver Pendant. Here is the third Video Tutorial – Part 3 In this video you will learn: how to anneal the metal how to texture the copper circle how to solder the silver to the copper   Click Here to watch the first video in this series – Part 1 Click Here to watch the first video in this series – Part 2   Let us know what you thought of the videos, we really appreciate your feedback – just leave a quick comment below:

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Tool Tips: Pliers

October 15, 2012
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Tool Tips: Pliers

Pliers Every jewellery maker needs pliers. Pliers are different from scissors or sheers in that their noses or jaws always meet each other.  Pliers come in a baffling array of shapes and sizes. You can buy sets of pliers and still find you need a variety of nose that you don’t have. However, a set that gives you round nose, chain nose, flat nose, crimping pliers and cutters will be enough for starters. Make sure that you choose pliers with stainless steel noses; they are harder to mark than those made with a softer metal and so will be more durable and less likely to mark your piece. Consider the length of the nose and the types of piece you want to make and also think about the size of the handle. It needs to fit comfortably in your hand and as hand sizes aren’t universal, neither are the handles of pliers! The handles should be covered in a softer material; this is to improve the handling and will also protect you from electrical conductivity when working with metal. Look for pliers with sprung handles as this will reduce the amount of work your hands will have to do. Round nosed pliers are essential for making loops. They generally have a tapered nose meaning that the size of your loop will be determined by the position on your pliers’ nose that you make your turn, the nearer to the end, the smaller the loop. So when choosing a pair, it’s important to think about the sizes of loops you might want to be making. Small noses = smaller loops. They are also effective when opening loops and jump rings. Because of the round ends, they aren’t very useful for gripping. Chain nosed pliers, sometimes known as snipe nosed pliers,...

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The right tool for the job?

September 23, 2012
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The right tool for the job?

Successful jewellery making requires the correct tools.  There are plenty of ways to improvise with items that you’ll find around the house but there comes a time in your jewellery making career when you can advance no further without a few tools.  Once you start your collection, you’ll want to keep building it. So in a series of articles about tools, we aim to give you an unbiased guide to what tools you might need, their uses and how to get the best out of them. Spend what you can afford.  With jewellery making tools, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ really is true. And what you spend can be limitless. It is better to spend what you can afford than to buy cheap and keep replacing them. You’ll spend more in the long run. So once you have decided that jewellery making is for you, consider spending a little more and buy something that will last you well. A few carefully chosen good quality tools will last you a lifetime. In years to come you’ll have your favourite saw frame with it’s softly worn handle but no rust or tarnishing and you’ll be convinced that no other saw frame will cut in a straight line! Another important factor to bear in mind is that not all tools are made specifically for making jewellery and whilst there is room for household tools in your jewellery making kit, tools that are not used exclusively for making jewellery can pick up damage that will mark your piece so it’s worth keeping your jewellery tools well away from your household tool kit and taking the necessary time to care for them. If you treat your tools with respect and care, they will provide you with years of service.

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Don’t Let Going Away On Holiday Stop You Making Silver Earrings!

August 28, 2012
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Delia took her daughter on holiday recently to Benidorm in Spain. Do you think it stopped her making Silver Jewellery whilst she was away in a foreign country? Not a chance! Check out her video below which shows you how easy it is to make silver earrings even when you’re thousands of miles from home.    

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What Exactly Is 925 Sterling Silver?

July 3, 2012
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What Exactly Is 925 Sterling Silver?

What Exactly Is 925 Sterling Silver? By Ashley Shameli A great deal of silver jewellery available today is called 925 silver. Have you ever wandered why we in the jewellery trade add the number 925 in front of sterling silver? Before you part with your hard-earned money buying jewellery for yourself, or as a gift for someone else, it is worth finding out what exactly 925 silver is. Furthermore, it is important to understand why you must always insist that your silver jewellery is up to the high 925 standard. Before we look at what 925 silver is, we must first consider the properties of this fascinating metal. Pure silver is extremely malleable and therefore can easily damage. It also softens over time, even at room temperature. Obviously, in this state silver is useless for jewellery purposes. To avoid the problems of malleability and softening, and thus to increase the life-span of your silver jewellery, other metals are added to the pure silver. The result of this blending process with alloys is a combined silver and alloy substance which is far more resistant to scratching and damage. 925 sterling silver jewellery is actually a combination of 92.5% silver and usually 7.5% copper. Sometimes the craftsman replaces copper with another material, or even a combination of materials. Over the last decade lower copper prices and an abundance of copper due to improved refining techniques have made it the first choice of many designers and jewellery stylists. The beneficial properties gained by adding the copper to the pure silver have made the resulting product extremely popular with a host of silver craftsmen. Earrings, rings, bracelets and all other forms of jewellery can be carefully designed with the assurance that each intricate bend and turn will remain firmly in place. 925 silver...

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Silver Clay for Beginners Part 4 – Video Series

July 1, 2012
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This is last part of our 4 Part Silver Clay for Beginners Video Series. In this video Delia will show you: How to ‘Fire’ your Silver Clay piece Click Here to see Silver Clay for Beginners Part 1 Video Click Here to see Silver Clay for Beginners Part 2 Video Click Here to see Silver Clay for Beginners Part 3 Video Hope you liked the this video tutorial, let us know what you think by leaving a quick message below.

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