I thought share some photos with you to show you some of my most essential tools and equipment for hand making jewelry in my studio.
This is where I do my soldering. You can see the torch, charcoal blocks (onto which I place jewelry I am soldering), a "third hand" (tweezers that can hold the jewelry I am soldering), my air filtration system, and a lovely little aloe plant. I just realized that the aloe might come in handy some day if I burn myself! Hopefully I won't need it. :)
This is the kiln I use for preheating my handmade links that I then fuse with my torch, and form into my handwoven chains. By preheating the links before using the torch, I am able to achieve a nice smooth and even fuse. I also use the kiln to reheat the links and chain between steps, which "anneals" or softens the metal after it has been work hardened by reshaping it.
Here's my polishing machine. I use buffs on the right side for putting a high-polish finish on my jewelry pieces, and a grinding wheel on the right for making or altering steel tools.
These are my files! I love this file holder that my Dad made for me back when I was in the jewelry making program at the North Bennet Street School. The labels reflect their shape (half round, round, equalling, etc). Filing different spots requires different shaped needle files (that's what small files are called), for example using half round for the inside of a ring, round for the inside of a teeny gemstone bezel, or equaling for a flat edge.
Here's an example of a piece of my handcrafted jewelry that I used all of the above tools and equipment to make. At my soldering station I soldered the bezels together and onto the backplate (bezels are the silver strips around the stones), soldered the jump ring to the body of the pendant, and soldered the bail together once I put the jump ring into it (the bail is the part at the top that the chain goes through). I used the files to smooth rough edges after sawing off the excess backplate after soldering, and after I sawed and formed the bail. I used the kiln to preheat each link in the handwoven chain before using the torch to fuse them together, and to anneal the chain multiple times during the fabrication process. I buffed the chain and the pendant to a high-polish finish on the polishing machine.
These tools and equipment are crucial for the handcrafting of jewelry, and I'm very fortunate to have my own workshop!
Check back later for another blog post, part two of the Studio Tour!
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