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Tools Articles and Videos

Having the right tools for any task is critical for jewelry making. Our Tools section covers techniques and tips to get the most from your equipment.

192 ARTICLES 1 VIDEOS 2 PRODUCTS
Article
Pollution Control / Metal Recovery

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Pollution Control / Metal…

Article
Laser Technology

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Laser Technology. See related…

Article
Gem Identification Machines

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Gem Identification Machines.…

Article
Finishing Machines

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Finishing Machines. See…

Article
Engraving Machines

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Engraving Machines. See…

Article
Metal Analysis Tool

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Metal Analysis Tool. See…

Article
Digital Imaging

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Digital Imaging. See related…

Article
Casting Tools and Products

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Casting Tools and Products.…

Article
CAD/CAM Designer Tools

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about CAD/CAM Designer Tools.…

Article
Business Software Tools

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Business Software Tools.…

Article
Useful Bench Tools

This segment from the 2017 MJSA Journal November issue is dedicated to metals, tools, software and more that aids jewelers and designers in their quest to create their masterpieces.  In this article we talk about Bench Tools. See related…

Article
Remembering Lee Marshall, 1935-2017

Founder of both Bonny Doon Engineering and Knew Concepts, Lee Marshall—who passed away June 25 at the age of 81 after a brief struggle with cancer—was an inventor and tool designer whose numerous creations are sure to have a place in shops…

Product
Hydrogen Torch System, Single Torch

Soldering with power generated by this hydrogen torch system is a terrific alternative to using pressurized fuel and oxygen tanks in your shop! This state-of-the-art system, designed to meet a full range of jewelers’ needs, is extremely…

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…

Article
MJSA July 2017 New Products

Every month MJSA choose new products that they feature on their monthly publication. Here are the three MJSA July 2017 New Products. Tune Up Kits Designed for use with the Foredom flex shaft, these 32-piece Tune-Up Kits allow users to install…

Article
MJSA June 2017 New Products

Every month MJSA choose new products that they feature on their monthly publication. Here are the three MJSA June 2017 New Products. Foredom Mobile Work Station Developed for use in small or crowded workspaces, the Foredom Mobile Work Station…

Article
Molding Alternatives for Jewelers

Jewelers need to make molds of objects and parts frequently. Usually wax is poured into the molds and the results used for casting. There are all sorts of vulcanized rubber molds, silicone molds and others which are intended for specific problems,…

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.

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
Equipment Maintenance Guidelines

  You pride yourself on your pristine shop. Your equipment is laid out for maximum efficiency, your tools are stored in a logical, user-friendly manner, and you can monitor workflow effectively because you are so organized. But when…

Article
Pumice Finishing and Brass Wire Brushing

The first time I saw a machine for pumice finishing and brass wire brushing was at the School for American Craftsmen. I don’t know if it is available as a ready-to-use product as I have never seen it in a supplier’s catalog. However,…

Article
Book Review – The Flexible Shaft Machine

Harold O’Connor’s latest book is both logical and well laid out and will be a valuable reference to anyone using the flexshaft machine for either production work or experimentation. The tool, the flexshaft machine, is not glorified…

Article
Tool and Equipment Checkpoints

Maybe you’re shopping for the latest technologies—the newest developments in CAD/CAM to produce life-like renderings, a laser to engrave your rings, or a casting machine engineered to maximize fills. Or maybe you want to upgrade your…

Article
Tips for Modifying Vises

A good vise is a vital piece of equipment for any goldsmith because it can act as a third hand, securely holding onto a piece while the goldsmith uses both free hands to work on it. Given their usefulness, it’s no surprise that many jewelers keep…

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
CNC Milling vs. 3D Printing

For someone new to the jewelry industry, the sheer assortment of tools and equipment in the typical workshop can be overwhelming. That’s especially true when it comes to technology, which changes so rapidly. If you’ve invested…

Article
Optimized Saw Blade for Cutting Wax

While many jewelers work directly in precious metals, many also work with wax, carving models for casting in silver and gold. Working with wax often requires tools specialized for carving, sawing, filing, and finishing material that is softer…

Article
The Neo Five Axis Mill

There was a time in Ocean Rose’s life when moving to CAD/CAM would have been like “going over to the dark side,” as she put it. An independent designer based in Tucson, Arizona, she eventually succumbed and invested in ArtCAM…

Article
Jewelers Precision Hand Saw Test

I have an intimate relationship with my tool collection. Sometimes the needs of a particular jewelry project drive me to purchase a new tool, while other times I’m compelled to add a tool to my collection simply because of its “Wow!” factor.…

Article
2013 MJSA Thinking Ahead Award – Mike Joyce

For the past 10 years, MJSA has recognized the technological advances and products that are making a difference in the jewelry industry today and as we move into the future. The honorees are selected with the guidance of the esteemed experts…

Article
Bench Tools for Jewelers

This article lists the following useful bench tools for jewelers including contact information where they can be purchased or ordered. Grobet USA LED Bench Lamp Suitable for use at the bench or on the sales floor, the Grobet USA LED Bench…

Article
Modified Super Tools

Down on your bench, look: It’s a file. It’s a bur. It’s Super Tool! At first it seemed so ordinary. You went to use it for a project you were working on, but for some reason it didn’t work so well. Maybe it didn’t allow you to get at the……

Article
Ronda Coryell’s Foredom Micromotor K.1050

If you’re a bench jeweler who loves her flex-shaft, you may consider adding a micromotor to your toolbox. That’s what San Francisco–based jewelry artist and Revere Academy instructor Ronda Coryell did recently when she purchased…

Article
Thai Chaser Tool Tricks

I was recently in Chiang Mai, a city in northern Thailand, where I spent a month visiting silversmiths and chasers to document their work. The city is teeming with chasers, and there are whole temples covered in metalwork. The chasers work mostly…

Article
Green Bench Tips – Part 1

This is the first in a two-part series on green bench tips shared by jewelers who are taking an eco-friendlier approach in their shops. Small changes at the bench can make a difference. Window to the World Jennifer Dawes, Dawes Design, Santa…

Article
Reusing Broken Saw Blades

Traditionally trained jewelers often scoff at the idea of using glue as a joining method. However, there are times when a tiny drop of glue is exactly what you need to get the job done. Common examples are mounting a pearl on a post or bonding the…

Article
Selecting the Correct Saw Blade

This article provides and describes the useful tips for selecting the correct saw blade by Alan Revere including some important things to consider for blade selection. Sawing is a fast and easy way to cut and separate a piece of metal into…

Article
Green Bench Tips – Part 2

This is the second in a two-part series on green bench tips shared by jewelers who are taking another approach for their shops, eco friendly shops. A Clean Break with Chemicals Jennifer Dawes, Dawes Design, Santa Rosa, California Tired of dumping…

Article
Polishing Hard to Reach Areas

When it comes to fine jewelry making polishing is a very important step – it can be the difference between an okay piece and a high-end piece. Personally, I like to polish every single corner of a piece, no matter how small or tight it…

Article
Perfect Hand Polishing Tips

Though mass finishing procedures continue to improve, it is nearly impossible to match the beautiful polish obtained through hand finishing. The following are a series of procedures, suggestions, and products that should help you achieve…

Article
The RinGenie Marking Tool

Jewelers are constantly in search of tools that make them more productive. It helps to shop trade shows where tools are on display to try out, but it’s really difficult to gauge whether the tool improves efficiency or accuracy without…

Article
3 Jewelers, 4 Tools Testing

Editor’s Note: Want to know how to make a bench jeweler’s day? Send him a box full of new tools and tell him that if he plays with those tools for a month, you’ll let him keep ’em. That’s just what we did. When planning…

Article
Customized Mini Clamp Tool

I like to hold small pieces of metal with a clamp that allows me to file hands free. I feel it gives me better control, which means faster jobs and better fits. I took a plain mini hand vise and a 3/8 inch fine thread nut for the first part…

Article
Beam Path Check

With the Nd:Yag Micro Laser Welders, being used by the jewelry, and other industrial manufacturing / repair industries, there is a very simple test that can provide a lot of information regarding the integrity of the laser beam. In the world…

Article
Tube Setting Faceted Stones

When beginning to do tube settings, the first thing anyone should do is buy a “Setters Tube Holder” which appears in many tool supply catalogues. I have two of them for easy access. Expose only the very top of the cullet in the tube…

Article
Creating and Sharpening Gravers

This article is about creating and sharpening gravers before using for your work or project as described by Tom Weishaar. Before beginning a discussion on creating a graver it might be helpful to identify the different parts of a graver.…

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
Pulse Shaping: Variable Constants

In my last article about welding nickel white gold, (Ni WG),I said I would weld the same Ni WG shank by using pulse shaping, (PS). I have since realized that I need to write more about pulse shaping before I can accurately describe what I’m…

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
Laser Welding Basics – Part 2

In my last article I wrote about the various adjustable parameters, and the effects of changing those parameters. In this article I hope to explain, in better detail, how laser beam energy is focused. I will likely be referring to some terms…

Article
Jewelry Making Bench Tips

Jeremy Pavlow shares his common jewelry making bench tips by taking advantage of other tools and materials not normally used for jewelry making. Here are some very useful tips he uses around the shop every day. Not Just For Oral Hygiene I use…

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
Half-Ground Round Bur

There are times during the setters workday where there is a need for a specific tool, but there nothing is available at the local tool supply store. With a little creativity you can modify many of the tools you have to make a wide selection of newer…

Article
Laser Welding Basics – Part 3

Back when I was going to school, if I had known I would be writing an article about laser welding geometry I would have paid more attention in all my math classes, not to mention my English composition classes. We aren’t going to be figuring…

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
Pulse Shaping: Energy Over Time

Laser technology is still so new to 
our industry and there is still so much 
to discover. Fortunately, I believe that as 
jewelers, we are the ones left to do a lot
 of the discovering. My only intention 
with this article is to…

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
Grinding and Shaping Onglette Gravers

This article contains the following detailed steps to give you a better understanding why grinding and shaping onglette gravers are necessary and important. One of the most important aspects of diamond/stone setting is the correct preparation…

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
Laser Welding Basics – Part 1

This article will run over multiple issues of Bench Magazine. I plan to start with the basics of welding and write about the characteristics of the beam and how we use those characteristics to weld. It is important to understand how the beam is…

Article
Bud Bur Tool

Of all the burs used on a setters bench, my one good true friend is the bud bur. Why? Because it’s one of the most diverse tools at our disposal. It is used for opening holes, cutting azures, cutting
seats, as a mini-file.
scalloping…

Article
Tool Alterations

This article describes the different tool alterations that any bench man needs to know and learn as guidance for their work and workmanship. These are simple chain nose pliers that are trimmed like in picture then the tip bent. After the seat…

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
Basic Milling Technique

In working on jewelry there are many tasks that seem simple – you just do it and don’t think about techniques. Milling is a prime example. You stick a bur in your flex-shaft, step on the pedal, and away you go. However, as simple as…

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
The Digital Tool Debate Continues

In approaching this article, I found there are many avenues to pursue in the exciting and controversial subject of digital design. I felt it best to give an overview for those not yet informed about the technological waters nipping at the shores…

Article
Small Bench Tools Descriptions

This selected list describes a number of small, easily made tools which can improve efficiency, speed and ease of working at the bench. While by no means a complete listing of the tools one has at one’s bench or of vernacular goldsmiths tools…

Article
Jeweler’s Shop Machines

About Anvils, Buffing Machines, Casting Machines, Drill Press Machines, Flexible Shafts, Hydraulic Press Machines, Rolling Mills and more…

Article
Notes on Files for Jewelry Making

When one gets a new file one traditionally dips it in alcohol and sets fire to it to burn off any grease (this could be dangerous-use great care). Get the longest files you are comfortable with as the long stroke is very efficient. 20 cm or longer…

Article
Jewelry Rendering Tools and Projects

These pages contain a list of recommended tools to jewelry rendering, as well as a series of projects that I have used in classes. You could construct your own ‘self-study’ course using them.

Article
Basic Metalworking Tools for Beginners

Making jewelry is sometimes seen as a difficult or an expensive proposition. In reality a basic metal working shop can be set up quite inexpensively. Cutting (separating materials), soldered construction and finishing are the three main…

Article
Notes on Presto-Lite Torch

We use a method for cutting down firescale when using a Presto-Lite Torch along with an acetylene B tank. The torch tips are engineered to take in so much gas through the gas orifice and so much air through the air inlet ventura so they burn to their…

Article
How to Make Prong Notching Pliers

These pliers notch round prongs easily to a given depth and replace a bur for the job. They are made to suit a specific size prong and one makes similar pliers for different prong shapes, but all based on this idea. One obtains a pair of chain nose…

Article
Homemade Engravers Ball

There are several methods of obtaining the smooth rotation of a piece of metal necessary for engraving on it. Many North West Coast American Indians use a hard leather pad and hand control to do it. One can install various chucking devices onto…

Article
The Kinds of Hammers

Hammers are an essential part of silversmithing and goldsmithing. While one can buy hammers ready made one can also do a lot with home-made versions and adaptations. Ordinary hammer heads may be reshaped providing they have not been cast.…

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
Engraving Methods and Techniques

As important as the gravers are, it is hard to understate the importance of the devices used to secure work while engraving. Or to say it another way, even a properly sharpened graver in experienced hands will be difficult to use if the workpiece…

Article
Engraving Tools and Preparation

Many industries have need of specialized engravers, for instance those who make dies, who cut stones and glass, and others who carve reliefs. Though a goldsmith might call on a specialist for certain jobs, it is useful to have a general understanding…

Article
Polishing and Finishing Aids

For polishing it is recommended to use primarily bristle brushes for most of the removal work and to follow up with a buff where necessary. Feel free to use a lot of compound, it is the compound that does the work, not the buff. Old polishers would…

Article
Flexible Shaft Tricks

A good selection of burs may be had from your dentist. Dentists often throw out burrs which still have a reasonable life left in them for a jeweller. The same goes for the probes and other tools. Some dentists are nervous about giving tools away.…

Article
Frequently Used Wax Tools

Dental probes and knives make good wax tools. Your local dentist or dental hygienist or school for the same can supply you with used tools for free. If they don’t.

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
Cardboard Disc Sander Tool

A cardboard disc sander is a very useful tool. One uses the side or large flap of a fairly rigid corrugated cardboard box. Make sure it has not been bent or creased to damage its rigidity. Make sure one side is smooth.

Article
Suggested Tools from Karl Fischer

Ask for a catalog with an English supplement. Order by surface if a heavy order as shipping from Germany is very expensive by air. For best speed send them a money order in Deutsch marks with your order and open an account with them as the normal…

Article
Stakes and Swages Shaping Tools

Stakes are objects used for shaping metal over, on and into. Hammers or mallets are used to form the metal over the shape of the stake. Stakes can be made of various materials. A wooden stump can be considered a kind of a stake. Usually in the West…

Article
Modifying Tools as Dapping Tools

Dapping tools are punches with a ball shaped end. As they are used to dome metal discs and making halves of beads they are sometimes called doming punches. They are usually used with a dapping block, a square or rectangular block of steel or wood…

Article
Basic Chasing Tools

As well as being used for chasing they may also be used as punches to make textures. A stamp or texturing punch can be struck onto an annealed blank tool to get a negative impressions of its end. Each texturing tool can then produce its own negative.…

Article
Goldsmithing: Pitch Options

Pitch is used all over the world by goldsmiths and silversmiths to hold metal in place while working it with hammers, punches or chisels. It should be hard enough to fill the requirements of the chasing work done on it. Most chasers will therefore…

Article
Buffing and Polishing Materials

Almost any metal or hard plastic item can be buffed to a high polish or a satin sheen with the correct buffing wheel and the proper polishing compound. This includes copper pots, doorknobs, golf clubs and switch plates, to name a few common items.…

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
Grinding Wheel Safety Rules

Besides the safety instructions that you get from a tool manufacturer in the tool manual it may be necessary for you to write your own sets of rules up to keep you out of trouble. This is especially important with employees. What follows is an example…

Article
Laser Welders Impacting the Jewelry Industry

The one tool that allows each of these jewelers to do their jobs better is a laser welder, a technological advancement that is becoming increasingly common in trade shops and manufacturing facilities. By using a sharply focused beam of light…

Article
Gloves and the Jeweler

Gloves are used to prevent skin contact with a hazard, whether physical (like a razor edge on a piece of metal), or chemical (such as an alkaline solution like you get when mixing casting investment). Use the correct type of gloves for the chemical…

Article
Radial Bristle Discs Excites Jewelers

how one of 3M’s radial bristle discs to a non-jeweler friend, and you are almost guaranteed to get a lukewarm response: ‘This is what you’re so excited about?’ But to the jewelers who have eagerly adopted them, these simple circular brushes…

Article
Reconditioning Beading Tools & Dot Punches

Beading tools and dot punches lose their form and become dull as you use them. You can recondition a tool at least ten or twelve times, or you may need a special size, or perfect polish for a particular job. They can be reconditioned fairly easily.…

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
Faster, More Efficient Laser Welders

Since their introduction to the jewelry industry, laser welders have been lauded for their speed, accuracy, and convenience of use. Retail stores and job shops have made sizable investments in these machines, which are guaranteed to simplify…

Article
Benchtop Hydroflux Welders

Connections are an important part of jewelry manufacturing. We make them with suppliers, with retailers, even with the people who buy and wear our jewelry. But some of the most important connections are those we make between metals. Whether…

Article
Tweezers Tips and Tricks

Tweezers are a constant in a jeweler’s life, particularly in these safety conscious times. Tweezer use can help reduce your contact with nasty dermatitis causing chemicals. For example, when used for handling objects in solutions such as…

Article
Suggested Gem Setting Tools

This article lists the basic tools someone learning stonesetting might want to have around. One would of course add to this list..

Article
Bench Tool Junkies

What you should be is excited to read this article and see what others just like you have to say about their favorite bench tools. So you have a passion for hardware – loving tools is not a crime!

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
How to Modify Plier Tools

This is a great modification of pliers to give you a tool that mimics the shape of your thumb and forefinger meeting, but can get into places where your fingers are too large to go.

Article
Jewelers’ Gripping Tools

Euro Tool, Inc. offers a wide variety of innovative and standard holding device’s to make working at the bench easier, safer and more productive. Here’s an overview of a selection.

Article
Foredom Micro Motor Kit

This article features Bill Holman who bezel sets a 2.55 ct. trillion diamond, 0.03 ct. round brilliant diamonds and engraves a platinum ring and matching pendant using Foredom’s Stone Setting and Engraving Micro Motor Kit..

Article
Foredom TX Flexshaft

When manufacturing and repairing jewelry products, rotary equipment is essential to the process. Nothing is more frustrating or potentially damaging to the task than equipment that offers less than smooth, reliable and strong performance.…

Article
Wax Tools Update

Euro Tool, Inc. has developed five wax tool kits and a cordless wax pen for the overall improvement of wax working projects..

Article
Warrior Power Tool System

New patented Warrior Power Tool System kit provides a revolutionary proficiency advantage for bench jewelers and jewelry manufacturers for split-lap abrasive pre-finishing, finishing and polishing.

Article
3M Radial Bristle Discs Proficiency Advantage

3M Radial Bristle Discs were introduced to the jewelry industry in 2000. Additional discs and end brushes have been added to the selection and over time and with the extensive selection I’ve reinvented how I semi-finish castings and perform…

Article
Channel Setting Tools Designed For Wax

Stone-in-place casting is growing in practice with manufacturers and retail manufacturing operations taking advantage of these labor saving techniques. Stone-in-place casting requires gemstones be properly set in the wax model prior…

Article
Steps for Graver Preparation

Gravers are small cutting tools used for stone setting, texturing, de-burring and applying decorative embellishments and traditional hand engraving. Steps required to prepare new gravers include mounting, sizing, shaping, sharpening…

Article
Industrial Tube Wringer Tool Modification

Following the 2002 SNAG conference Barbara Minor forwarded this tool modification made by Chris Hentz of Chris’s Cables – which is a hand saving alteration that you might also want to consider..

Article
Tru-Seat Setting System

Hoover ‘ Strong, Inc. in Richmond, VA provides a line of Tru-Seat settings that include solitaire earrings, pendants and solitaire rings in yellow, white and palladium white gold alloys. By using Tru-Seat mountings and the system outlined…

Article
3M Bur and Polish Wheels

3M XR wheels, formerly known as XK wheels are ideal for sprue removal and smooth deburring with minor surface reduction. A channel can be created in the wheel for repetitive multiple part processing. They replace stone wheels, have superior…

Article
Sheet Metal Tool Modification

Sheet Metal Tool Modification, Look for: WISS Hand Seamer (as LAST resort BRAMEC or VISE-GRIP) sheet metal bending tools and modify as shown. Recommended for quick, tight crimping! I prefer the Wiss Hand Seamer Model HS-1 or as a LAST resort…

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…

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Testing the PUK 2 Precision Welder

If the thought of buying a laser welder gives the accountant in you cardiac arrest, you may have a more affordable option. The PUK 2 by Lampert Tools Inc. in Chicago is a spot welder that performs many of the same tasks that a laser welder can, such…

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Polishing Tools and Tricks

The mantra of polishing jewelry is the shinier the better – and obtaining polishing perfection takes skill and practice. It also helps to have the right tools in your polishing arsenal. The following are some suggestions for tools and tricks…

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What Kind of Torch Do You Need?

With so many torches on the market, a first-time buyer can be quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of decisions that have to be made. Choosing a fuel, fitting the right tips, and determining the type of flame you need are just the beginning.…

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Kiln Questions

First, the ‘n’ really is silent, at least according to the American Heritage Dictionary. There are kilns as big as your house, used for cooking everything from grain to stone, but we don’t need to concern ourselves with those. Even in the sub-sub-category…

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Machine Tool Technology: An Aesthetic Application

This paper is initiated with the reference that one selects process because of aesthetic need. The premise of technology as an end in itself insures the triumph of the means (process) over the ends (aesthetic). Only ones aesthetic ends deserve…

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CAD/CAM Wedding Set Finishing and Setting

Computer aided design (CAD) was used to develop three designs in multiple views to show the customer. After the design was selected, the wax was milled and the ring was cast, pre-finished, set and polished. Foredom tools, equipment and accessories…

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Setting a Three Stone Ring with Foredom Tools

This three stone ring designed by Barney Jette has two flush set trillion sapphire side stones with a total weight of 0.81 carats and a 1.05 carat round brilliant diamond center stone. Jette prepared the wax using build-up techniques and cast…

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Turning Burrs Into Stonesetting Tools

Stonesetters frequently convert and and reuse tools intended for other purposes. Often when a tool is needed they will cast around the bench looking for raw material – and as every setter knows, used burrs abound. There are a number of tools…

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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…

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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.

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The TAO of Bur Goodtip

Bur Goodtip, a legendary bench jeweler shows how sometimes a tool is not just a tool… We are taking a break on the back porch of his home and studio. I have spent the last five days up here with Bur, one of the great-but-largely-unknown repositories…

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How to Modify Tools for Carving Wax

Casting is the most important method of commercial jewelry production. Even for small workshops, lost-wax casting is often the fastest method for creating a jewelry piece, especially if there is any complexity to it. However, one of the things…

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Stone Setting Tools FAQs

Tim McCreight answers 13 of the questions about stone-setting tools most frequently asked by his metalsmithing students.

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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…

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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.

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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…

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Pitch Bowls and Alternatives for Jewelers

Chasing and repousse is carried out on various surfaces using steel punches to strike and manipulate sheet metal or cast objects. Flat pattern chasing or stamping sheet metal can be done on an anvil, or the bottom of an old iron which makes an…

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Comparative Analysis of Three Welding Systems

AJM Magazine asked me to perform a comparative analysis of three welding systems performance in several different precious metal welding applications. I was to analyze the PUK 2 spot welder, which was developed by Lampert Tools USA Inc. and…

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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…

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Foredom Redesigned Series SR Flexible Shaft

Foredom has redesigned the popular Series SR Flexible Shaft motor. It has more power/torque and is rated at 1/6 HP versus 1/8 HP of the former series SR and S. It also has 33% more power over the variable speed range from start up to full speed.

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Testing the 3M FX Polishing Wheels

When AJM asked me to test the new 3M FX Polishing Wheels, I was reminded of a neat factoid: The House of Faberge didnt have the fancy technologies – laser welders, CAD/CAM, etc. – we have today, yet the objects of art they produced are in collections…

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The Flex-Shaft System

The flex-shaft is a wonderful tool – but one that jewelers rarely use to its maximum advantage. Usually the first piece of serious equipment in which hobbyists or graduate jewelry students invest, the flex-shaft system makes bench work much…

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2005 AJM Innovation Awards

AJM Magazine has announced the winners of the second annual AJM Innovation Awards. These awards recognize technologies that are making a difference in the jewelry manufacturing industry today, and will continue to do so in the future.

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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.

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Perfect Finishing Tools and Techniques

Our castings can be flawless, our assembly precise, and our settings secure — but let any surface go a bit rough, a little uneven and wobbly, and the jewelry is judged to be inferior. Ironically, even the ultimate finish begins to deteriorate…

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Book Review – Making the Most of Your Flex-Shaft

A welcome addition to the literature now coming out for bench jewelers, Making the Most of Your Flex-shaft by Karen Christians is an informative compilation of material for anyone who takes tools seriously. Everyone with a flex-shaft understands…

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Jeweler Experiences in Tool Design

As you may have guessed, I highly recommend taking out frustrations at the bench on your tools. If you are a jeweler struggling with a process, stop and re-evaluate your tools and procedures. A few swift strokes of a file or a couple of minutes…

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Customized Stone Laser Shield for Jewelry Making

I have found this to be a most useful tool to use when rebuilding a bezel using a Laser Welder. It is made from a watchmakers screwdriver and is used to deflect the excess energy reflected at a sensitive stone to prevent damage to the stones surface.…

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Using Coils To Bend Tubing

Many tools sold in model/hobby stores can be used for jewelry making. During a recent visit to a hobby shop, I found these tube bending coils, which model makers use to build models that require bent tubing. Jewelry makers will find these coils…

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Calculating ROI for Tool and Equipment Purchases

Whether youre running a 15-person workshop or a 400-worker factory, you should know before buying whether a piece of equipment will provide an adequate return on investment (ROI). In other words, “Is this going to pay?”.

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The PUK Fine Welding Devices

For two years now, the manufacturer Lampert has been cooperating with the Laboratory for Welding Technology and Thermal Treatment at the Polytechnic College in Wrzburg-Schweinfurt. Test series and fundamental scientific research is…

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Handling Stakes and Anvils

Shaping a bezel on stakes is a process of forming the metal by stretching. First the metal is bent with pliers to fit the gem, forming a shape smaller than the stone while following its contour. The gauge of the sheet metal chosen is slightly thicker…

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Fold Forming Tool List

These are some of the metal ‘ tools that you will find useful in fold-forming. Ear muffs or plugs and safety glasses.

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Japanese Chasing Tools

Japanese chasing tools are made from steel blanks available in Japan called tagane. Japanese chasing hammers are lightweight with long straight handles and smaller faces than European styles. They balance beautifully in the hand and are…

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Beading Tool Tips

Like most bench jewelers I do a lot of bead setting and like most
bench jewelers I take pride in my work. When I bead set I want crisp
and clean beads. Recently, I was setting one pointers into white
gold skirts that would become…

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Magnesia Blocks Myth Debunked

Myth: Magnesia blocks are superior soldering surfaces to charcoal blocks: A topic that seems to raise a fair amount of spirited discussion and strong opinions is what is the best soldering surface: firebrick, charcoal, magnesia, solderite…

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Creating a Rotary Burnisher

Jewelers have been going green for many years by recycling old or worn-out tools into something new and useful. Setting burrs, normally used to cut seats in prongs, can’t be used once they become worn or damaged. But instead of throwing them…

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Creating 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.

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How to Modify Cross-Lock Tweezers

Often when soldering, it is necessary to use cross-lock tweezers to hold or steady the piece(s) being soldered. The pressure exerted by the arms of the tweezers can often by strong enough to deform the metal being soldered. The modification…

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Using Acid Bath on Used Tools

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. All is not lost, however. There is life in those…

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Make Your Own Wax Tools

I make all my own wax carving tools and hot wax tools.I have done this since the early 1970’s when I could find only dental tools ready-made on the market. I was told a bent nail would suffice, but thought I could do better. So my tools and techniques…

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Pat Pruitt’s Wolf Belt Sander

Using 1 inch by 11 inch belts with a 4.25-inch working surface, this sander fits onto a flex-shaft with a quick-release collar. It can be clamped onto a table or bench and is adjustable to many angles. An optional mounting attachment is available…

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Giving New Life to Old Burs

By Old burs can serve a number of useful purposes in daily bench work. Here are two tips from jewelers at Chris Ploof Studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for giving new life to old burs.

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Debunking Three Myths About Sawing

In thinking about the daily tasks that I undertake at the bench, I realized how easy it is to fall back on old habits, and to make assumptions and generalizations, particularly about the accuracy of things that I was taught early on in my career.…

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Overcoming Tool Limitations

True tales of how jewelers overcame out-of-the-box limitations – Most people who work with their hands become tool mad, and jewelers are no exception. They scoop up new tools, shop garage sales for used ones — and then often alter what they…

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Channel Setting Bezels with Customized Pulling Pliers

These pliers are used to pull back bezels on channel set rings. This allows you to drop in the stones without thinning the edge to allow the stone to drop in. It works especially well with the continuous channel method that the all-set tool creates.…

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How to Customize Fine Tip Melee Tweezers

These tweezers are great for gripping melee when you slide then into position in continuous channel setting jobs. Here you see the very fine tips on these tweezers.

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Modified Split Mandrel to Bezel-Set Round Stones

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

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How to Sharpen Drill Bits

Small, fine drill bits used for jewelry making will become dull with normal use. Worn cutting edges make tasks more difficult and time-consuming and can cause costly accidents, including damage to jewelry and gemstones or even injury. Maintaining…

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How to Make a Riffle File

Every now and then when you are fabricating a piece or polishing a casting, a hole or hollow will pop up that needs to be filed and smoothed. You can usually get at it using a bur and abrasive tools in your flex-shaft. But when you just can’t reach…

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Testing the Wolf Adjustable Trimmer

In my 25 years of working as a goldsmith, I have always looked for tools that make my life easier — tools that make me more efficient and therefore more profitable. And I’m not an easy sell. Although I have embraced CAD/CAM in the past few years…

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How to Modify a Goldsmith Hammer

Jewelers and metalsmiths have had to make their own tools throughout the ages to accomplish different tasks at the jeweler’s bench. One tool a jeweler can’t do without is a hammer. Today, many styles of hammers, made in a variety of shapes and…

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Hydraulic Die Press

Pressing Matters by Tina Wojtkielo Snyder This month, we asked Lisa Krikawa of Tucson: If you were stranded on an island (that just happened to have a bench in the middle and some metal hanging around), what tool would you want to have that allows…

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Etype Automated Wax Injection System

Racine and his son, Ittai, a physicist by profession but a top engineer, passed on purchasing the dated facility and equipment, instead opening a new tech-savvy casting workshop. It was here that they designed the Etype automated wax injection…

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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…

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How to Modify Prong Pushers

Many stone setters would agree that one of the most challenging aspects of prong setting is getting the prongs down tight on the stone. It’s easy to take this process for granted. If it’s done well, you might never notice. But doing it poorly can…

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How to Modify Wooden Ring Clamps

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.
There…

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Graver Detailing and Sharpening

A sharp graver can improve cutting performance at the bench. There are several approaches to use when detailing a graver, including the following.

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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…

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Recycling High Speed Steel Burs

When I buy my high speed steel, 90 degree, under-cutting burs I always think of the words, “waste not, want not”. This little phrase has stuck in my mind for many years. If I find that some of my burs are getting past their prime then I examine each…

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How to Handle the Flexshaft

In the course of my 30 years in the jewelry industry, I can recall many instances of damaged equipment and potentially dangerous situations caused by how the handpiece is connected to the flexshaft. Here are a few observations that can make…

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Transform Nails To Riveting Tools

Soldering is a quick and easy method for joining metals. But sometimes two metals require a connection for which soldering is not an option. Rivets or cold connections are the perfect answer and can add a striking detail to your construction.…

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Bench Tools Maintenance Schedule

Take a look around you. Chances are there is a flex-shaft or a dust collector you’ve neglected because you’ve been too busy making jewelry. As you put your heart and soul into your work, don’t forget to take a little time to give some TLC to your…

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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.