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Thread: Hello from Bristol

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    9

    Wink Hello from Bristol

    Hi All,

    This seems like a super forum and I am relieved to find it! I took just a two day course down in cornwall in basic silversmithing where we made a simple link bracelet, a ring, a pair of earrings and a pendant. It was very inspiring! I am a bit overwhelmed right now by the scale of the undertaking ahead of me. I DO LOVE making stuff. I'm a musician, a writer and a full time therapist with a love of all things creative. So I'm going into this because I like the creative process. With that said it is my goal to make it also my living. I've been a therapist for a long time now and I'm slowly running out of steam. It's time for a change! That's why I feel a bit overwhelmed. I have no intention of running before I can walk. I have a lot of learning ahead of me but I do have so many questions. I will be joining a 16 week course this month but sadly the classes are only 2.5 hours per week. I'd like to do something a bit more intensive but I'm figuring that it will be a great place for me to pick up things one step at a time and then come home and practice practice practice. It will be a good opportunity to get my questions answered. I spent 5 days last week cleaning out my old outhouse, painting inside, laying lino and I then built a bench which I am really pleased with! Just about to invest in my first equipment and I guess that too feels a bit overwhelming. I haven't placed my order yet but I'm already up to 350 on my basket and still needing a whole bunch of stuff not yet accounted for. Obviously where I took my course was a fully equipped workshop and we had the advantage of a tumbler polisher and desk polisher, so I'm left with a whole bunch of questions about how to polish and finish pieces. I bought the Jinks book and that sort of covers it but I'm wondering if I should be thinking about tumblers etc at this point or can I just use cloths and a dremel (I have a cheap version does the same thing!)? Any advice welcomed on how to setup basics...especially my needs for finishing pieces! Any tips on how to acquire tools cheaply? Is it worth buying cheap on ebay or are those tools just substandard? I look forward to getting to know you and I am grateful for your patience with the new kid!

    All the best

    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Braunton, North Devon
    Posts
    60

    Default

    Firstly John - Welcome!

    Is there anyway you can copy and paste your basket? That way we can have a look, see whats missing and see what you can do without for a while.....

    Asfor picking up stuff cheap, yes some things you can......but other things it's just not worth it.
    What kind of stuff do you envisage making? Are there any designers / makers out there that you respect and who you would love to emulate?
    Sometimes while you are learning its quite good to be inspired by work already out there and it's a good way to learn different techniques until you develop your own "handwriting".

    Sarah

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Gravesend, Kent, United Kingdom
    Posts
    165

    Default

    Hello John, and welcome to the forum. I'm also fairly new to all this, and I also bought a whole bunch of tools, some of which I barely use, which is a shame because, as you are finding, they're not cheap! For me my essentials tool wise are my piercing saw and a good supply of blades, my vice, my anvil, hammers, a torch, soldering bricks, my dremel, and my pliers/cutters. Then you get into materials and it's a whole new ball game! There are so many nice, shiny and sparkly things out there that it's easy to get tempted into buying something you don't really need or will never use. This forum is great for any questions you have, and is a mighty useful tool in itself!
    Have fun experimenting!

    Celia

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    The Derbyshire Peak District
    Posts
    92

    Default

    Hello John, great to meet you!
    Dragonfly (Lynne)

    http://www.thedragonflycompany.com

    for all things chain maille - supplies, chain maille kits and tuition

    Meddle ye not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crispy and taste good with ketchup!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Central London
    Posts
    8,249

    Default

    Welcome, John.
    You are already trying out tools and equipment on your course and if you look back to last week I recommended my Book Of The Year which would cover much of what you need to know.
    Most members have a graveyard of tools they never use, so only buy for what you are making at present.
    You will also note that the traditional finish for jewellery is a high gloss, but this also highlights any faults and firescale. Personally I prefer a satin finish, which can be achieved with pumice, steel wool, glass brushes, Scotchbrite wheels and pads, emery paper, micromesh and radial wheels.
    Of course if you have a tumbler you can get a satin finish with that, but in 16 years I have never bought one.
    Have a good time, Dennis.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks everyone for your lovely warm welcome. First of all Dennis, here's the basket (A bit messy). Missing from this are hammers (particularly hide or plastic for rings) and I figure I would like a mandrel for rings too.

    Bench Peg And Anvil

    EA 9.95 Starter Soldering Kit, EA 71.75 Tools Student Starter Kit 66.00 Sterling Silver Round Wire 1.00mm Diameter DI 1.000MM LE 4000.000MM

    32.64 GM 20.06 Change / Remove
    Sterling Silver Round Wire 1.50mm Diameter DI 1.500MM LE 1000.000MM

    18.36 GM 11.28 Sterling Silver Sheet 1.00mm Thick,Fully Annealed Soft TH 1.000MM WI

    Sterling Silver Sheet 1.00mm Thick,Fully Annealed Soft TH 1.000MM WI


    Silver Jump Ring Heavy 6mm, 12.7g=100 Pieces

    10.00 GM 8.20

    Vallorbe Saw Blades Grade 2, BundleOf 12

    EA 5.00 Update / Remove
    Duo Polishing Cloth

    Net Price 293.04
    Postage & Packing 11.00
    VAT 53.21
    Total Price 357.25

    Anyway. I think I'm getting clearer day by day. I keep reading and learning and it's coming clearer! It still all looks a bit mysterious but I will start my course in a few weeks and I'm sure all will come clear shortly. I can't really put any names to designing heroes but I have been looking around on the web at peoples work and there is some great stuff. Although I personally don't really wear jewellery I do like "polished" stuff. I think this is what I'm most drawn to produce. I think silver has such a lovely look when it is highly polished that it seems a shame to leave it rough, but I also know that in the long run we'll be catering to all tastes and some people like chunky and rough. I will stretch myself! : ) What I've learned so far is how to make simple s chain bracelets, simple rings, pendant cutting and simple earring and hooks. I am an experiementer by nature so will probably make a few of the simplest things first and then start thinking about where I want to go once I'm feeling comfortable with the work so far. I'll read through the old posts here when I get time and I'm sure I'll learn from them too. Anyway. It was just to say Hi really and thanks for your warm responses. When I get going I'll post some photos and things (if that's allowed?) I'll check the rules before I do anything. I saw someone get told off the other day! : )

    All the best

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    199

    Default

    Hi John

    I am also fairly new - I started 9 months ago. Are you doing the course at college?/evenings? You may find that you can buy the silver from the tutor to start with until you get a feel for what silver you use the most. That's what I did. It would save you some money now from your basket - also you're not getting the best price because you're buying small amounts. I try to buy at least 50g at a time of something so I get the cheaper price but you need to be sure you'll use it.

    Our tutor recommended a nylon headed hammer as it doesn't mark the metal and you can get the replacement heads for it.

    It is a bit overwhelming when you start and I remember saying to my son "why on earth would I need all those pliers/hammers/files etc! famous last words - it is very addictive.

    I would only buy what you need when you need it otherwise as Dennis says you'll have tools you don't use.

    Sonia

    x


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    313

    Default

    Welcome!!

    On saw blades, we all have our preferences, but I'd find the No2 you've packed a bit coarse for the 1mm sheet you're buying, I wouldn't go coarser than 2/0 which are in the basic kit (and to the ridicule of everyone else I'd probably use 6/0).

    I'm not sure about the starter kits myself... would you consider buying fewer for now and investing a tad extra in a few key areas? You'll still need flux (borax cone & dish), soldering block, solder strip, safety-pickle.

    Saw frame - The Knew Concept one is considered the state-of-the-art at the moment (Knew Concept Jewellers Saw 3 inch)

    Files - Cookson have a nice range of Vallorbe cut4 needle files which are much lovelier than the basic ones.

    Torch - the Proxon torch has been getting good reviews (999 7703); the torch seems to be the real stumbling block for beginners.

    Soldering tweezers - it was thanks to Dennis I invested in Cooksons short titanium tweezers (999 1261); they are very flexible indeed and worth the extra (I barely use my pick).

    The Duo polishing cloth isn't going to get you the finish you're after; on the dremmel, tripoli, rouge and the little leather wheels (999 ACQ) will get you further...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    313

    Default

    Oh, and before he has to shamefully promote himself... do check out Andrew Berry's videos on YouTube and On-Line Jewellery Courses and Training for Jewellers – At The Bench: Home for some brilliant tips about tools.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Romsey
    Posts
    5,022

    Default

    I'd definitely agree on the saw blades - my bog-standard is 4/0 for most stuff, but I use 2 & 4 for cutting thicker steel; 6/0 & 8/0 for finer work.
    Less sure about the Knew Concept saw as a beginner's one; they're a luxury item and I'd only really suggest one after getting to grips with a traditional frame. They really come into their own with the larger frame sizes too.
    Files - you really, really can't beat good files. The Vallorbe needle files are a joy to use in comparison with cheaper ones; I used a set of Kennedy cut 2 for ages before going over to the Vallorbes.

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