GF – Good morning. Again, I just want to talk to you about basic silversmithing. I had to go back about 47years to remember how I started, and the items I had when I first started, and how long I used them.
Ring Mandrel/ Bracelet Mandrel
GF – The other items you’re going to need are a ring mandrel and bracelet mandrel. Right now unfortunately we don’t have one but it will look similar to this (ring mandrel). You can also you a round pipe for the bracelet mandrel. I will help you out with that. An inch and half round pipe is for a gentlemen’s bracelet, and an inch and 3/8ths is for a ladies bracelet, and a one inch bar can be used for a children’s bracelet. You can buy the mandrels either round or oval, I prefer the round mandrel.
GF – You will need a metal anvil. This is to manipulate your metal on by hammering it or texturing it on a piece of metal. I’ll give you some advice when finding these. You want one that’s fairly smooth. You will cause more dents in it, but if you can get one, you can go down to most supply stores, and they might have one. Most supply stores carry these from this size to 100 pounds or even heavier depending on what you want. With the anvil, one thing that can help you is going to any metal supply yard that takes scrap metal, and they have flat pieces of metal of different sizes that they can direct you to. It’s relatively inexpensive if you do it that way.
Bezel Pusher/ Burnisher
GF – Now I’m going to show you something real quick. This is called a bezel pusher. Some of you might not know what a bezel is but it’s important that you have one. The bezel sits up next to the stone, and you push the bezel over, especially if it’s heavier, it makes it a little easier to push it over. If you’re fortunate enough to have a bezel roller, you’ll just have to keep rolling it over. We have a burnihser which you must have. What a burnisher does, is here’s the stone, you have the stone and the bezel. As you push the bezel over it will lay like this. But you got this little gap here (between the bezel and the stone) that tends to not sit nice and square. If you run your finger over it you can feel a little lip, and what the burnisher does, is you come over and peel the bezel back, like you’re peeling potatoes, and you press down real hard, and what it does is it evens up the lip between the stone and bezel. It gives a nice round surface to it, and that’s what a burnisher is for.
GF – You will need a some tweezers because you got to manipulate your silver here and there. They come pointy, curved or straight, they come in different sizes, and they come with fiber pads so you don’t overheat your hands if you don’t have to. You use these to move stones or small pieces of metal around.
JT – I’ve noticed now that I’m doing silversmithing I’ve started to shop at flea markets, garage sales, just anywhere where you can find things. These basic tools can be found anywhere, you just need to know where to look.
GF – Yes. In the old days for example, tweezers, we used to take my mother’s manicure pair. I guess she use to pluck her eyebrows with them, and we always used to be stealing them, and my mom was always pretty upset we were taking those because we were using them in our silvesmithing. Of course we would ruin them and she would always have to buy a new pair. You can use any tool you can make. And remember you can build your own tools also.
With that, these are the basic tools you’re going to need. Now this is to get you started manipulating the metal, it does not introduce you the fact that you’re going to solder, and we’ll talk about soldering later, and what basic tools you’re going to need for that. Of course you’re going to need a torch, a soldering board and other basic tools you’ll need for that.