The one major thing I was missing from my silversmithing business were the tools. You can't make anything without the tools. So I set about sourcing them.
Anyone who is interested in starting their own jewellery business, I will warn you now. You will need A LOT of tools. I've put together a list of all the 'essentials' and I can tell you, there are quite a few!
If you can, I would recommend getting everything second hand, you really don't need to have a full set of brand new tools. Some of the 'wise ones' at the jewellery club kindly donated a few pieces to me, it was a bit like a tool amnesty (if you are a jewellery maker and have some spare tools, feel free to donate! I'm a good cause) some other pieces I purchased from a well know auction site.
Here are my tools in all their glory arranged in a very OCD orderly fashion. Quick possibly the cleanest workbench in the history of silversmithing.
The main areas you need tools for are; cutting, shaping, measuring, soldering and polishing.
This list was my shopping list of items, almost all of which I now have:
Cutting & Shaping:
- clamp & vice
- Piercing Saw
- Saw blades
- Center punch
- Ruler or Calipers
- Silver hammer
- Ring sizer
- Ring Mandrel
- Blow Touch
- Heat proof block (Therelite)
- Pickling Solution & Water
- Slow Cooker
- Paint brush
- Hard, medium & easy solder
- Easy Syringe (optional)
- Third Arm
- Cleaning Cloth or Rag
- Wet & dry paper
- Dremel for (polishing & drilling)
Just a few items to get you started!
It really is down to preference though (or how much money you want to spend!) You may prefer a barrel polisher or a polishing wheel instead of a Dremel, this also may be dependant on space.
If you were analysing my pictures you may have noticed one major tool missing from my collection - a piercing saw, I managed to get hold of blades but no frame. This really is a very essential tool, a number of projects have come to a stand still (any customers reading this - I'm expecting it in the post soon)
The majority of my tools I bought second hand from a current jewellery club member who was selling them on behalf of a past club member (all the tools marked E.M.M) who sadly had to retire due to poor eye sight. It resulted in about £400 worth of tools for £30 a very, very good deal! I like to think of myself as continuing her work, hopefully at some point I will get to meet her to thank her and also see some of her work and maybe even show her mine...
Right now I have all my kit I better get cracking on with the back log of orders I have!