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Thread: A big hello, thank you and please.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Talking A big hello, thank you and please.

    Hi Everyone,

    I have been lurking in the shadows for a while now, after having discovered this glorious forum, and have been feeling rather rude having not introduced myself. So a big hello to you all and a big thank you to all of you for your hints, tips, reviews and the encouragement that you all seem to give each other.

    My names Sarah and I am just about to try my hand at silversmithing. It has stemmed from having a love of silver Jewellery but never finding the clean lines and designs that make my knees wobble! I know that I have a lot of work and practise (with probably a lot of swearing) ahead of me but I am bubbling with excitement.

    It's taken me a little while to save up the funds to get my starter kit together but I am finally there, yay. I'm very lucky as hubbie's a carpenter and has built me a work table as I have a teeny tiny spare room to work in and I'm in the process of sanding, assembling it etc. I'm very chuffed as it's the 1st thing he's made me in 14 years and it's lush. I will post a photo when I can (are there restriction on this as a newbie?).

    Please could I ask you to cast your eyes over the order I will place with Cooksongold soon to pick up on 04/11/14. If there's anything you think I'm missing or anything you think I don't need then please say.

    Bench Peg & Anvil
    3" Adjustable Saw
    Vallorbe Saw Blades Grade 2/0, Bundle Of 12
    Vallorbe Saw Blades Grade 3/0, Bundle Of 12

    Nylon Faced Mallet 27 mm
    Jobbing Hammer 1oz/sml
    Steel Bench Block - 8cm X 8cm

    Starter Soldering Kit, Un 2837
    Silver Solder Paste 10g - Medium, Syringe
    Tripod With Gauze

    Half Round Pliers - 130mm, Plain Pliers
    Round Nose Pliers - 115mm, Sprung Pliers

    Vallorbe 6"/150mm Half Round File, Slim, Cut 0
    Vallorbe 6"/150mm Flat File, Cut 2
    Wooden File Handle
    Draper 36325 12-Piece 140 mm Needle File Set

    5.5"/ 140mm Maun Flat Pliers Parallel Action
    Snipe Nose Pliers - 115mm, Sprung Pliers
    7"/17.5cms Straight Shears

    Standard Steel Scriber
    Curved Burnisher With Handle
    Standard Centre Punch
    Durston Round Marked Triblet Sizes A-Z +6
    4" Dividers
    Silverline MT66 Steel Rule 300mm

    Dremel 4000 + Flexshaft Dremel 4000 With Accessory Kit
    Dremel 2615448632 Keyless Quick Change Multi Tool Chuck
    Dremel Drill Bit Set (7 Pieces)
    Radial Disc Kit, 6 Each, 3 Grades + 3 Mandrels

    Wet & Dry Paper 1200 , 600, 400
    Beeswax - 32g/1oz Block
    Luxi Starter Polishing Set Of 9 Mini Luxi Compounds

    Optivisor 2.5x No5

    I get the impression from you all that once I get going it is a very addictive and potentially purse draining but I can't wait to be squirreled away in a room, mumbling to myself, drooling over tools and having to work overtime at my day job to afford the doubloons to pay for it all.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011


    Hi Sarah and welcome. That's a pretty comprehensive tools list and more than I started off with!

    I think I had a hide mallet, Planishing hammer, a ring triblet/ mandrel but these are things to buy once you decide what you want to make.
    I would put a padlock on your wallet now that you've introduced yourself you are on a slippery slope

    You might find this earlier post helpful.
    Last edited by CJ57; 23-10-2014 at 08:38 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014


    Hi Sarah

    Thats a lot of tools!
    What you need depends on what you intend to do really so you may be best buying less to start with and adding as you go.
    I would add some some Everflex burrs:

    I don't have a bench block myself but like I say it depends what you want to do.
    Personally I wish I had gone for the Foredom pendant motor first instead of wasting my money on a Dremel as its hugely better but it is quite a bit more money too.
    I will say if you intend doing much drilling or burring the Dremel isn't much good as it doesn't have the torque IME - I couldn't understand why my burrs didn't last five minutes!

    I wouldn't bother with solder paste either. I started out with it thinking it would be easier but actually for most things I now use solder panels or strip and it results in a better and easier job . I still occasionally use paste but I wish I had started with panels instead of being scared of them!
    If you do go for solder panels or strip the the Auflux is brilliant.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014


    Hi Sarah!
    I am a beginner too and have been building up my tools over a number of years, getting what I needed when I faced a particular new task.
    Your list looks pretty cool! I bet you can't wait to get started.
    I don't yet have a motor of any kind. This makes work really time consuming. I may beg Father Christmas for a tumbler or a motor, not sure which should come first!
    My favourite tools at the moment are needle files. I do find that every inspired idea I get comes with a hefty price tag for the required tool and I have to be STRONG and just get on with what I have!
    I look forward to hearing how you get on with your brand new kit!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I would echo what the others have said in terms of (firstly that is a comprehensive list....but we probably all wish we could have started out with that )....but more seriously, have you any particular thoughts on what your areas of interest are, since that could be helpful in helping you to shape your list.....for the time being I have copied and pasted your list with some thoughts......hope they're helpful!!!

    Bench Peg & Anvil.....yes
    3" Adjustable Saw.....yes
    Vallorbe Saw Blades Grade 2/0, Bundle Of 12 ......yes
    Vallorbe Saw Blades Grade 3/0, Bundle Of 12 .....maybe try 4/0 for some finer piercing ( these are my most used blade....but it probably took some time for them to become so)

    Nylon Faced Mallet 27 mm...yeah.....handy long term tool
    Jobbing Hammer 1oz/sml .....go 2oz
    Steel Bench Block - 8cm X 8cm....yeah

    Starter Soldering Kit, Un need more reverse action insulated tweezers than you have here....
    Silver Solder Paste 10g - Medium, Syringe....not has been suggested I would go for panels, you'll be amazed how easy they are to hard and easy....then you can always add medium and extra easy for more complex jobs
    Tripod With Gauze .....maybe....depends on what you are going to be doing.....soldering block and charcoal block are probably more useful

    Half Round Pliers - 130mm, Plain Pliers
    Round Nose Pliers - 115mm, Sprung Pliers ....flats and snipe too

    Vallorbe 6"/150mm Half Round File, Slim, Cut 0 No.2 half round vallorbe file will do almost everything you need in a hand file, plus handle
    Vallorbe 6"/150mm Flat File, Cut 2
    Wooden File Handle
    Draper 36325 12-Piece 140 mm Needle File Set.....if you can afford vallorbe then go for those, no.2 cut or try terms of needle files you definitely need a half round and 3-ssquare.....after that I would go rattail...number 2 for first buys and if vallorbe are out of the price range, try Baiter (German make at

    5.5"/ 140mm Maun Flat Pliers Parallel Action.....yes
    Snipe Nose Pliers - 115mm, Sprung Pliers....yes (already mentioned)
    7"/17.5cms Straight Shears .....yeah, probably....I find these more useful....

    Standard Steel Scribe....yes...this is the bees knees...
    Curved Burnisher With Handle......possibly...the above suggested doubles as an excellent burnisher....
    Standard Centre Punch.....yes
    Durston Round Marked Triblet Sizes A-Z +6.....yes......
    4" Dividers.....yes
    Silverline MT66 Steel Rule 300mm....yes

    Dremel 4000 + Flexshaft Dremel 4000 With Accessory Kit......go foredom or other if you can afford
    Dremel 2615448632 Keyless Quick Change Multi Tool Chuck.....foredom...
    Dremel Drill Bit Set (7 Pieces).....any swiss shank.....
    Radial Disc Kit, 6 Each, 3 Grades + 3 Mandrels.....most people rave about these.....there are so many bits that this is almost a post in itself, some idea of what type of work you will be doing will help....

    Wet & Dry Paper 1200 , 600, 400.....yes
    Beeswax - 32g/1oz is better...
    Luxi Starter Polishing Set Of 9 Mini Luxi Compounds .......menzerna is the thing to have....I can send you some luxi blue and white to'll find that you don't use most of the bars in the mini set...

    Optivisor 2.5x No5 .....yes!!!

    Hope that helps!!!!!

    Tabby xx

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009


    Hi Sarah and welcome.

    I'm not going to go through everything, but a couple of things jumped out at me.

    I'd agree on getting a proper variable speed pendant motor with a foot control rather than a dremel. You'll end up hating the Dremel very quickly. You don't need either immediately - it's perfectly possible to hand finish very effectively, especially if you buy a pack of micromesh cloths.

    Forget medium solder - just get hard and easy. Whether you go for paste or strip is entirely up to you - I'm one of the few around that prefers paste, but a lot of that's because of speed as I have to churn out huge amounts of stuff in very short timescales!

    Don't bother with a tripod, but do get a charcoal block - much more useful.

    Get a wheatsheaf ring sizer rather than a marked durston - they're the most standard.

    You may well get away without an optivisor to start with (unless you're like many of us and past the first flush of youth with good eyesight!)

    It's hard to advise beyond that, as you don't say what you want to start with, but you'll find there are a lot of household tools that can be adapted until you can get the ones you really want. However, I did notice that you don't seem to have any cutters listed, or any drill bits, which might be frustrating.

    Have fun, and expect to be very poor for quite some time!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014


    Nice to hear someone else prefers paste, I thought I was the only one!
    Carin Lindberg

    Camali Design

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014


    Hi Caroline - I'm normally quite a frugal girl but can now understand the glassy dreamy look MOH gets when he looks at tools (he used to hand make guitars and the house was filled with wood and tools)! Thanks for the link, I may need to cull a little until I have mastered the basics. Bit difficult deciding what I need as not sure what direction I'm taking. Would you recommend starting of in copper to practise?

    Hi Enigma - With what Caroline suggested I think I will cut back on the tools but I was in two minds over the dremel v a foredom and so thank you for the advice. I was torn between getting something basic and seeing how I go verses spending 75 more and having something that would grow with my skills and think the dremel may be a false economy . Would you say that the slip joint Foredom SR is much different from the quick release K2220 Foredom? My (very basic) understanding would be that the slip joint bit would spin in the shaft if I jam with swarf which is good but the quick release is good for interchanging bits but may not grip as well and hasn't got the slip join so may damage my bits? Sorry for the basic questions.
    I will most definitely be using solder panels and making my own bezels (as opposed to using tubing) as I think I need to learn all aspects. The reason for the paste was that my first project was to make my mum some earrings for her birthday ( in 2 weeks, ekk!) with some wire and was worried my soldering would be abysmal. I think I'm so excited I'm trying to run before I walk.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Halmstad, Sweden, Sweden


    There are a lot of talented people here that are happy to share their expertise.
    I am still a novice, just doing a bit of this and a bit of that, always trying to find something I never done before and perfect it at first try!

    If I look at your list I compare it a lot to those I ordered when I was beginning silversmithing a couple of years ago. I sort of ordered most of the things on your list, and then some. Trying to keep costs down I bought a lot of things from local hardware stores, such as diamond files, hammers, emery paper...
    Most things are better bought from jewelry stores such as Cookson, if they are not generic such as containers, mallets etc.

    Well, to things on your list:
    Steel bench block: Well, they are good, though if you got a bench peg and anvil you will already have a flat metal space. You might need to polish it a bit though.
    Silver solder paste: Not a fan. I bought hard silver solder in strip and found it a lot easier to use than the paste which just bubbled up and never flowed.
    Sawblades: I mostly use the smaller ones, but it kind of depends on how thick you want to saw. They also wear out quicker. Still, they are cheap so buy a lot of sizes.
    File set: That files set is nice, though are lacking some finesse. Cut 4 and 6 files are really nice for smoothing. I almost never use big files though, just needle files, but I guess it depends on what you are making.
    Dremel: I bought a dremel, with a flexshaft, pillar drill mount and lots of added things. Well, it is bulky, noisy and too fast. And no power, at all.
    I would go for a flexishaft or a micromotor such as the e-bayish Dental Lab Marathon N9 with a 45000 RPM handpiece. You get foot control and much less bulk + a lot more power. I kind of wish I had gotten one before investing in a Dremel.
    Radial Discs: Very good choice, I like them. The silicon wheels and pins have their uses as well though.

    Don't forget to buy some silver, or at least copper.

    It gets very addictive to buy things for silversmithing. I just put an order in for 100, and that was mostly polishing things... I am afraid to look at the total.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011


    Starting off in copper would be a good idea, it's how we all learnt.
    George is right about household items too, rolling pin , darning mushroom, still sometimes in use. My first base plate was a dry iron plate and I still use all of them, along with proper versions.
    You can save money for soldering items, I use fire bricks that you'd build a fireplace with, really cheap and then you don't mind breaking them up to useful sizes. I was taught to make supports and equivelants of your cradle with heavy binding wire, cheap, malleable, reusable and you can throw it out when past its best
    The pliers, snips, files, needle files, emery, tweezers would be helpful, hammers , saw etc are all essentials though so buy the best of those you can afford. I've still got my basic toolkit nearly 40 years on plus some really nice stuff I've bought since joining the forum!


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