Learning Center

Homemade Tools

If you need to save money or can’t find the right tool, homemade tools may be a solution. See how other jewelry makers have made their own equipment.

35 ARTICLES 87 VIDEOS
Article
Accessories for Small Part Pickling

Ever spent way too much time trying to retrieve tiny jump rings, links, or other small parts out of a hot acid bath using too-large copper tongs? If you make a lot of chain or work with a lot of findings, the time you’ll save using these tools is…

Video
How to Harden and Temper Tool Steel

Learn to harden and temper your own custom-shaped jewelry tools. By master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain. Filmed in full HD 1080p. IMPORTANT NOTE: Hardening and Tempering is a two step process, the steel MUST be tempered (softened) after…

Video
Other Uses for a Pencil in Jewelry Making

Two surprising uses for a pencil as a tool in jewelry making. (1) Gain extreme control over the burr on your flex shaft by using a piece of the top of the pencil and (2) etch disc designs using the eraser end of a pencil. By master goldsmith Charles…

Video
Make Your Own DIY Rotary Burr

Make your own high quality rotary burr from an inexpensive disposable lighter. By master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain. Filmed in full HD 1080p.

Video
Make Your Own Cardboard Disc Sander

Handy trick to make a useful cardboard disc sander which master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain learned about at a factory in Germany. Disc can then be used on a polishing machine. Filmed in full HD 1080p.

Video
Method to Quickly Identify Tool Steel

Learn to be able to quickly identify what quality of steel a tool is made of and whether it’s low quality or worthwhile to use. By master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain. Filmed in full HD 1080p.

Video
How to Make Wax Engraving Tools

Create DIY wax carving engravers made from everyday steel construction nails. When jewelers carve wax many of them will automatically pick up a normal engraving tool and carve wax as they would metal. But the problem is that wax is very different…

Video
Preparing a Hammer for Foldforming

One of the most frequent foldforming questions Charles Lewton-Brain gets is that someone’s forging hammer isn’t working well for them. See how Charles changes a commercial forging hammer to be useful for foldforming. Filmed…

Article
Customized Earring Setting Pliers

Steve Satow shows the procedure for a customized earring setting pliers using a normal setting pliers. Normal setting pliers can be modified to set stones in loose heads and earrings. Please wear your safety glasses. Most setting pliers have…

Article
Making Wooden Raising Stakes

This article offers a few tips on making your own wooden raising stakes instead of buying rather expensive metal ones. Aside from that it is so easy to make. When the Touchstone School of the Arts opened in western Pennsylvania in the early…

Article
Customized Head Polishing Pliers

This article describes a step by step procedure of a pair of simple pliers to become a pair of customized head polishing pliers. These pliers are just simple by pass style but are heavy enough to hold heads for polishing. They just need to be…

Article
Customized Ultrasonic Sediment Bucket

This article by Steve Satow shares a step by step procedure on how t o make a customized ultrasonic sediment bucket. These are the parts you need for this project: A Gilmore plastic ball valve (that unlike regularball valves doesn’t choke…

Article
Customized Peg Head Holder & Stone Holder

Steve Satow shares his procedure on customized bench tools such as 3 prong or peg head holder & wax stone holder used for stone setting and prong works. 3 Prong or Peg Head Holder Many times I have needed a way to hold a 3 prong earring…

Article
Customized Light Box & Bench Shelf

Steve Satow shares his procedure for customized light box for your jewelry photography projects and customized bench shelf for more storage spaces on your bench. Customized Light Box This is a picture of the Light Box in use, using 4 of…

Article
How to Make Straight Wire Holders

Stuller had the foresight to offer straight wire that we don’t have to remove the bend from before we use it for straight projects. I know we have many curved projects also but the wire is never the right curve, so we have to bend it anyway.…

Article
Customized Turntable Tool Rack

Find a turntable that
 is size appropriate for 
your bench. In this case
mine is 18 inches wide.
 If possible find one with 
ball bearings to make it 
work smoother. Buy a 1/4
 sheet of sanded on one
 side 1/2 inch plywood
…

Article
Customized Hanging Tool Shelf

I made a hanging tool shelf between my setting and soldering bench. With it off the floor it allows easy access to dropped stones or other small parts. It gives me plenty of room for the Elector GX, and the Gravermax. Plus plenty of room for tubes…

Article
Customized Solder Holder, Jet Sett, Blast Shield

Steve Satow shares his procedure for customized solder holder and blast shield, and how to make using a Jet Sett easier with a melter and holder. Solder Holder When I was in school we used to do a lot of sterling silver soldering. I got into the habit…

Article
Customized Beading Tool Retipper, Trays & Polisher

Steve Satow shares his procedure on how to customize bench tools like a beading tool retipper, small parts trays and hand held polisher, and a tip for your Solder Station. Beading Tool Retipper Refinishing beading tools is more convenient…

Article
Customized Loose Head Holder

With these pliers you can pre polish platinum and gold peg heads of any shape. Remove any nicks one prong at a time at your bench with a pumice wheel then off to the polisher and right into the sonic, them steamed all while clamped in the same plier.…

Article
Buffer System & Ultrasonic Basket Replacement

When we replaced our vacuum tubes for the buffer system I chose to run PVC again. The PVC is easy to acquire and assemble and the smooth sides promote air flow. Most fittings are cemented but a few strategic points are just tight press fits to allow…

Article
Customized Robo Grip Pliers

Steve Satow shares his procedure for customized robo grip pliers to add parallel action and more leverage to standard bow bending pliers. Modified Robo Grip Plier The robo grip pliers have parallel action and more leverage than standard…

Article
Customized Steamer Bucket Enclosure

The purpose of this steamer bucket enclosure is to prevent stones from being blown out by the steamer and flying across the room. To minimize the exposure to employees to a steamer accident, I mounted our steamer on wood blocks just above the…

Article
How to Make a Wax Injector

You will require a 5 to 6 inch by 3 inch wide brass or copper tube, silver solder a cover on both ends a thicker one or double up for the base to retain the heat. Ideally the tube and top plate should be 1/8th inch thick with the base plate being.

Article
How to Make a Chasing or Forming Tool

We are assuming you are using W1 water hardening square stock drill rod, W1 tool steel. Many suppliers will sell W1 tool steel. It is often called drill rod (In England ‘silver steel’). It should be square for less work in tool making, but round…

Article
Basic Principles for Tools and Equipment

Saving some dollars on equipment can be really helpful to a shop’s bottom line. Often tools and equipment from other industries prove useful, and are sometimes cheaper than regular tool suppliers. I think this behavior used to be called ‘scrounging’.…

Article
Make Your Own Polariscope

Polariscopes are a very useful, simple and inexpensive to make piece of gemological equipment. They are used to tell glass from gem materials synthetic spinel from all other materials, singly refractive from doubly refractive, crystaline…

Article
Rules for Tools

While it is clearly impossible to give a set of rules for each tool and procedure that goldsmiths use, this section gives some examples of the kinds of rules that may be helpful to review when using powered equipment. hand tools and processes…

Article
Restoring a Jewellers Vulcanising Press

This vulcaniser came to me in a poor condition. It would not heat up and had seized because of corrosion. The bodywork around the base was also badly corroded and needed treatment. Having decided this would be a worthwhile restoration, I began…

Article
Modified Setting Bur with Safe Edge Tool

Here iss a nice little tool that makes use of an old setting bur. If you take the bottom teeth off a setting bur and polish the surface, you will have a tool that allows you to get right up next to the wall of a bezel and work on it without harming the metal…

Article
How to Make a Tumbler

The construction process is simple enough if you have basic do-it-yourself skills. Firstly, assemble the timber frame as shown below using a length of 4×2 inch planed timber and a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood. In my case the base was…

Article
Soft Hammers and Shaping Tools

Jewelers spend hours fixing damage that they themselves did to the metal. Soft hammers and shaping tools limit the injuries to the metal being worked, with the best quality of all (the least damage to metal while still shaping it) being paper…

Article
Build an Advanced Jeweler’s Bench

This sophisticated bench costs a little more and is a bit more difficult to make than the one on the preceding page, but the extra effort will be repaid by years of efficient work. Use this pattern as a starting point, but feel free to make changes…

Article
Build a Basic Jeweler’s Bench

This bench has been designed so it can be made from easily available materials without sophisticated woodworking equipment. People with woodworking skills might use these ideas as a point of departure.

Article
Welding Technology Tool Modifications Part 2

Custom jewelry projects for tack-, fusion-, and pulse-arc-welding sometimes call for special welding tool lead attachments. Bench jewelers often make the required leads using standard bench tools to better hold parts for pre-assembly…

Article
How to Make Foredom Handpiece Shield

This paper describes two simple methods of creating a shield to be used on the end of a Foredom handpiece. The shield will prevent grindings and dust from being slung into the face. Always wear eye protection when using the handpiece.

Article
The Art of Tool Making

There are two properties which distinguish a good tool from a bad one. The tool must have the correct shape for the work which it is to do, and the tool must be hard enough to last a long time. This class will teach you to make tools hard enough to last…

Article
Micro Vacuum Cleaner for Enamelists

This article describes a micro vacuum cleaner, based on an aquarium pump, for use by enamelists. The vacuum cleaner allows for cleaning up sifted or spilled enamel. It offers an alternative to wet packing when doing cloisonne, and you can use…

Article
Making a Multi-Grit Sanding Stick

BW Simon in Spartanburg, South Carolina, made this handy tool for finishing jewelry. I would like to thank him for allowing me to share this bench trick with you.

Article
Universal Expanding Ring Mandrel

The other week a friend came by the shop for some jewelry related lathe help. She was using a ring holder meant for benchwork (GRS Benchmate) to chuck her rings, both waxes and metal) for turning. While her holder worked, I thought I could come…

Article
Homemade Flex-Shaft Guard

Homemade flex-shaft guard using a soft drink plastic bottle, a solution to the annoying and potentially hazardous problem of breathing dust from polishing and rubber wheels used with your flex-shaft.

Video
Enameling

This is a video of a work in progress on it’s way towards being enameled!…

Video
Fairy little pliers

Set the video in Full HD As I promised, I’ve had made some charming pliers for the little fairy Oli . It’s a surprise for next weekend and you will see her reaction when she’ll receive the handbag with her personalized special…

Video
Inside Auriou Toolworks – How Files are Made

Produced by Auriou Toolworks, this 10-minute video reveals the fascinating world of traditional rasp-making at Forge De Saint Juery in France. Since 1858, Auriou Toolworks has been making free forged hand tools for wood, stone, and plaster.…

Video
DIY Pulse arc welder

I’m busy designing a Pulse arc welder that can be used by jewelers to weld all kinds of metals together. It will be a DIY project and a welder that can be build for much less than the welders out there. For more info and for support on this project……

Video
“How to make a Wax-Dob”

Why buy a Wax Dob, if you can make it yourself? In these many series of “How to” my student is showing you & us how she made her own wax dob. It might look a tad messy, but these methods are the very same as I did so many…

Video
Bright-Cut inside Bezel setting

This video shows just how the bright-cutting procedure is accomplished. I use only one tool, my “Onglette #2, Right-Sided” graver. It is formed & shaped on a bench-grinder…just for this sole purpose. During this…

Video
Designing with CAD

It is here I am showing how fantastic CAD is now helping our jewellery trade. Instead of raising beads on a piece that incorporates over 525 stones. The setting time could were measured in long hours or even days at the bench. These will be now measured…

Video
3 Azure video’s

Here is the process on how to cut Azure patterns. These appear underneath the diamond setting portion of a ring, bracelet or pendant. Great care is needed in this process of cutting.

Video
Preparing to drill holes!

Before you start to drill any holes in your new project you ‘must’ do the following. Completely measure the thickness of the metal, spacing between the stones, measure the depth from the ‘Table facet ‘ to the ‘Culet’.…

Video
“Moving a Hole”

Supposing a designing hole is slightly off-center, how would you ‘move’ it? The answer will now be shown without soldering to plug it up?..It’s so very easy!…

Video
Azure patterns, w/gravers

Here I am explaining how an Azure cut is finished. It is created underneath the hole where the diamond is situated. Absolute precision in graver-cutting is foremost in this process..what I used was a simple Onglet #1 graver,…nothing…

Video
Drilling Holes in Wax

I need to duplicate a wax form from the original pattern. Here you will see just how easy it can be done. You will notice that all of the intended holes will be now in a straight line just as the original!…

Video
Bright-Cutting, REVIEW!

In this brief video, I show once more how the graver just sails through the silver. Almost like carving into a piece of cake! It IS EASY, trust me..but you gotta follow the ‘rules the road’. No short-cuts are allowed!!! Have fun,eh!…:>)……

Video
Bright-Cutting extra notes

It is here I am just going over some extra little notes on Bright-cutting. I might have missed a few. But as this process is so important & extra video or two, will help you a great deal.

Video
#6, Bead-Burnishing, Final Cuts!

In this final video, you will see the stones being finally set. I will be using a Hart-shaped bur..a.k.a. 156C to under-cut each mini-post/claw. This is to make sure each stone is set level & equally at the same depth. Any ‘touch-ups’…

Video
#5, Bright-Cutting with a graver

With a modified Onglette #2, Right-Sided bright cutting blade, I am now shearing off metal to leave a very bright cut. These are now on either side of the now newly formed bead/posts. As you can see on this particular video, all of the metal being…

Video
#4..Round bur making beads!

In this very interesting #4 video, I am starting to cut a pattern using a simple #006 round bur to cut beads. These beads are not the usual kinds you’ve seen before. These beads are then going to burnished over the stone once made. This process…

Video
#3- Watch-case on shellac

In this 3rd video, we will use an Onglet #1 graver to do the ‘outline’ or rough-cutting around the silver item. I demonstrate how the line-cutting should take place in reference to cutting around the holes. All preliminary cutting…

Video
Introduction to Line-Cutting

This 2nd video introduces you to “Line-Cutting”. It is here we will examine what is involved in basic ‘Pre-Cutting’ as it is called in diamond setting terms. The process of doing all of the rough-cutting prior to…

Video
1-Burs & Gravers for Bright-Cutting

In this first of 6 video’s, I explore the varied, but basic tools I will be using. From the basic round & bud shaped burs I stress that all tools must be kept in pristine condition while being used.

Video
Introduction #2. “Cut-down Setting”

Here is an second video on how this remarkable style of setting looks. It is virtually a skill in all of it’s own. This is not for the ‘feint of heart’. Perfection of only 100% is needed. At all times full concentration is required…

Video
Student; Finished setting project.

My student has now finished his first setting project. He is so very happy over his first assignment under my training! He is now finishing off any sanding disk & file marks with his Pumice Wheel #180 grit. He fully understands the needs of…

Video
Student setting an Oval stone

My student is now hammering the stone in place. He checks that the Bezel-Wall is now laying on the stone all during this process. He is constantly using his 10 power loupe. This is the correct method in viewing the setting exercise. He seems to…

Video
Student setting Bezel

In the first video you will watch how my student set a stone. His attempt was met with great success in setting his very first Oval, 8×6 mm CZ. He used my diagrams & watched every little movement of my hands & then duplicated what I…

Video
Polishing

Perhaps a more healthy way to polish with a micromotor. I made a container for the polish compound arround the dust exctractor (vacuumcleaner)…

Video
Close-up of Bright-Cut silver plate

In this second video I show how a simple graver can cut a design. I show on my shellac stick how it originally started. Although the video is not too long, examples speak for them selves. My next few videos on actual Bright-Cutting will be made in…

Video
Graver w/silver plate

In this video you will see just how a little graver can engrave cuts & mini-claws. These little hand engraved beads are used in setting gem-stones. All that is then used is a bead-burnisher to move over the metal onto the stone…simple…

Video
Graver into a wooden handle

The graver is now sitting in it’s handle, the jeweler will immerse the hot graver into cold water. You must make sure the graver is not tilted or crooked in the wood frame. He will then hit the back-end of the wooden handle with a hammer, just…

Video
Heating a graver

In this video, you can see a graver that is ready to be ‘burned’ in to a wooden handle. This has to be done by using a torch using a high temperature flame.

Video
Princess-Final video

This is the 3rd video on “How to Set a Princess Stone”. In this video, all tools are shown in finishing this setting process. As this process takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, there are no short-cuts anywhere. Finishing…

Video
Princess-second video

In this second of three setting demonstrations, you will see the following procedure. I am burring out the inside of the gallery that will accomodate the Princess Pavilion. You will also see how I am exercising much caution in making ‘seats’…

Video
Princess-first stage of setting!

Now that you know exactly what tools you need in your bench, we can now start the setting. Here I examine the setting & decide to ‘open’ the claws to accommodate the use of pliers & round/bud burs. Easy access to the ‘head’…

Video
“Tools for a Princess”

This is a video showing all the necessary tools, just to set a Princess stone. Between the selection of round & bud burs, the different kinds of files. I explain the many reasons in using these very important items. Even a 10x loup is part of…

Video
Grand Tour of My Setting-Bench

This video is the “Grand Tour of My Setting Bench”. I explain all of my carbide burs as they are located in separate pallets, or bur-holding pads. You will also see where I keep the smaller gem-stones on my bench. My bench-peg even…

Video
Hammer & Clamps

In this video, I explain the differences between many hammers & clamps prior to setting any style of ring. The optimum phrase is ‘being comfortable’ in setting stones. You don’t want your hand to hurt or have your clamp…

Video
Gypsy Setting w/diagrams

In this video I explain Gypsy Setting & the many techniques using the Hammer & Carbide burs. I also show the route in determining the method in finding the depth prior to setting of the stone. I use extensively my numerous hand-drawn…

Video
Removing gem-stones

In this video, I explore the easy methods of removing gemstones. I instruct how to modify your pliers for this process…

Video
4-Claw setting, pliers, saw blade

Here I am using a saw-blade to adjust a stone if its not sitting correctly. I will also who you how I modify my pair of pliers. This is so very important when you are bringing in the claws to the stone…

Video
Pumice Wheel, 4-Claw setting

Here you will observe all of the steps in using the Pumice wheel. I use only a Flat-Faced #180 grit & a Tapered wheel. I must remove all of the little marks from the ring, that were caused by my pliers. this has to be in a pristine condition, prior……

Video
Stone in 4-claw head

In this video, you will see the next step in setting of the stone. It is now being prepared to be set into in the 4-claw head. Details in the alignment of the claws to the stone. Using pliers to place the stone & to arrange the claws.

Video
4-Claw/Prong Setting #2

In this second mini-video, I explain in great detail what happens when I use a H.S.S. 90 degree angle setting bur. In this video I also show what a piece of metal called ‘shards’ can be formed during the ‘bearing-forming.’…

Video
Bezel #5, Final-Hammering

In this last of the ‘mini-series’ on our Bezel setting. I will show you where the hammer hitting will occur. Including how hold the stone in place while starting the hammering process. I will demonstrate the angle of hitting the…

Video
Bezel #4. Cleaning your Hammer!

One of the most important chores of Diamond & Gemstone setting is keeping your tools in a pristine condition. In this video, I explain how an important tool such as hammer needs to be kept in 100% condition. I demonstrate how I improve on it’s…

Video
Bur selection

In this third video on Bezel setting, I demonstrate which round bur to use for cleaning out the corners from the H.S.S. shaping. I explain what size of bur to use & why is it important. The wrong assumed round bur will give you much grief! I’d…

Video
Bezel #2, Filing top of Bezel wall

In this second video, you will notice which file I will use & where it will come in contact with the top of the bezel. This bezel angle is where the hammer will hit top of the frame.

Video
Oval stone, bur selection w/diagram

Selecting a proper bur for setting an Oval stone can be difficult. Deciding between H.S.S. & a Carbide bur can be a greater challenge. I make this a really easy task with my diagrams. In this video, I explain just where the scheduled hammer…

Video
Instructional Diagrams

This is an introduction using my hand- drawn diagrams. It will be easier for the student to fully understand all the tools that are required. Some setting projects need certain high-precision files or Gravers. It is my duty to explain which…

Video
Various graver handles!

This video shows all of my 50 handles of all shapes & sizes. The markings on all of them are used for quick identification in my setting bench. I will be explaining how each tool once used, can be inserted in another handle of different lengths.…

Video
Examining cleaning wheels!

In this first video, you will see some of the poor quality of cleaning wheels. Only the best, or new wheels are permitted in this aspect of cleaning.

Video
How to Modify a Wooden Ring Clamp

One persistent daily challenge a bench jeweler faces is trying to figure out the best way to hold onto tiny, delicate objects while performing mechanical operations such as sawing, filing or burring bearings for stone setting….

Video
Ergonomics for Bench Pin Modifications

Ergonomics is the safe and effective relationship between a worker and the work environment. For the bench jeweler who spends hours working with a bench pin, it is important to make it work efficiently and effectively for you. There are many…

Video
A Modified Tool to Bezel-Set Round Faceted Stones

This jewelry bench tip is a follow-up to “Using a Split Mandrel for Finishing Fabricated Round Bezels,” which showed you how to modify a standard split mandrel to make an effective holding device to finish several fabricated…

Video
How to Sharpen a Twist Drill

This installment will teach you how to sharpen the cutting edges of a fine twist drill. There are different styles of twist drill tips, but this example features a chisel tip. Let’s begin with a look at its anatomy.

Video
Tool Time Tuesday – Let Your Tools Do The Work

Jewelry Artist and Teacher, Melissa Muir, demonstrates the importance of using the proper speed with some of your studio power tools, such as the flexshaft and drill press For more great tips, visit my blog: http://design.kcjewelbox.com……

Video
Silver refining

A micro-scale experiment explaining some principles related to the refining process of silver.

Video
Give Your Tools an Acid Bath

Bench jewelers hate to throw out used tools. By training and by nature we try to conserve the materials we use. An unfortunate side effect is that old burs and dull files tend to collect on our benches.

Video
Coiling tube

I made this tube coiling device based on a post by David Cruickshank. The drawbench I made up myself.

Video
LUNGS AND PC

A DualCore 3Ghz PC , after 4 years of intensive using , in very hostyle environments , never cleaned before …My poor PC , yes ….

Video
Turn an Old Brush into a Whip Burnisher

A worn-out bristle brush can easily be recycled into a useful tool called a whip burnisher or rotary hammer to improve or even eliminate minor imperfections and surface porosity in castings and other metal surfaces. Read more: https://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/bd……

Video
Anodizing Titanium and Niobium

http://TitaniumRingsForever.com and Chris Boothe demonstrate the coloring of titanium and niobium through electrical anodizing. A process combining science and art, it is used in the creation of titanium wedding rings and other titanium…

Video
Making a stamp

making a leaf stamp and test printing it with a rolling mill…

Video
Good or bad things, just keep learning…

When you are poor , the last thing you have to do is to buy cheap tools ..This will cost you ten times more then , repairing and fixing , instead of making an effort and get a real quality tool from the beginning..This rolling mill was broken three…

Video
Necessity Is the Mother

How (many tools) does a metalsmith (have to use or make to) open a bottle of wine? Originally created for the show, The Art of Opening: Bottles and Their Toppers, The Wood Turning Center, Philadelphia, PA. 2008, V. Lansford.

Video
Large Scale Fold Forming

this is a video featuring the fold forming process with Large Scaled non ferrous elements. THIS is my first video upload……so bear with me as I figure out what works best. This video is low res 🙁 …..I’ll be resizing…

Video
Cleaning Colored Stone Jewelry

Many of the Colored Stones we set in jewelry cannot be cleaned with an Ultrasonic or Steam Cleaner. This video shows safe and effective methods of cleaning them. For more articles on Stonesetting go to: http://AboutStonesetting.com or http://BenchJewelersNetwork.com……

Video
Sizing Stone Set Rings

Sizing silver rings with heat sensitive stones can be difficult. This video demonstrates a tip to make it easier. For more articles on jewelry repair go to: http://ExpertJewelryRepair.com or http://BenchJewelersNetwork.com……

Video
V-Tip Pliers

Need to make a V-Tip Prong? This video shows how to alter a pair of pliers to make V-Tip Prongs easily at your bench. For more articles on jewelry making go to: http://GuideToJewelryMaking.com or http://BenchJewelersNetwork.com……

Video
Ring Stretcher Sleeve

Sizing large wedding bands giving you trouble? This video tip shows a creative way to enlarge your ring stretcher. For more articles on jewelry repair go to: http://ExpertJewelryRepair.com or http://BenchJewelersNetwork.com……

Video
Jewelers Tools: Making a Square

An inexpensive method to make a square to lay-out lines on your jewelry or wax carvings is shown in this video tip. For more articles on jewelry making go to: http://GuideToJewelryMaking.com or http://BenchJewelersNetwork.com……