Many people who are just getting into jewelry making will come to the point where they want to start making pieces with stones in them. Usually, the first pieces they will tackle are silver pieces with cabochon stones, or “cabs”. Although this is usually the easiest type of setting, there are some tools you are going to need to accomplish this type of setting. Today, I am going to run through a few of the tools you will want to begin. This is no way a complete list of the tools you will ever need, because that pursuit will never end, there are always going to be new tools on your “wish-list”.
The first tool you are going to need, and probably the most important tool for any kind of jewelry making is a Motorized Flexible Shaft with a good Handpiece. There are many makers of these, and you can get some pretty cheap off-brand ones, but if you are planning on doing jewelry for very long, I would suggest getting a quality Foredom Brand Flexshaft. They will outlast many times over a cheaply made one. A good handpiece is also important and comfort is something to take into consideration. Most Foredom Kits come with a #30 Handpiece, which will last you a long time, but I find it just a bit too big and bulky. I prefer a #10 Quick Change Handpiece, but again, this is all personal preference. The downfall of the #10 handpiece is that it only uses the burs with a 3/32″ shaft, The #30 can adapt to any size bur. (I keep a #30 handpiece handy for those times when I need a bur that has a larger shank.
For bezel setting, you are going to need burs. I would suggest a few types of burs, because you never know what you are going to run into and a good selection of burs is always a good thing. Burs are something you are going to constantly be adding to your jewelry arsenal over the years, but I will try to get you started.
I would start with a small .8mm ball (008) and get a bur every at .2mm increments. (.8mm, 1.0mm, 1.2mm, 1.4mm, etc up to about 2.4mm) it is a good thing to order these in packages of 6, because they will eventually get dull.
I use Square Cut Cylinder Burs. I would start with a 0.7mm Bur and get a bur in increments of .2mm – .3mm. (.7mm, 1.0mm, 1.2mm, 1.5mm, etc. up to about 2.5mm) I would also get a few Tapered cylinder burs, maybe .7mm, 1.0mm, and 1.4mm. Again, it is a good thing to order these in packages of 6, because they will eventually get dull.
Hart burs aren’t as important for bezel setting, but they will come in handy at some point, so it is a good idea to get an assortment of these as well, from 1.0mm to 3.0mm or larger. These come in increments of .2mm – .3mm as well.
An assortment of Sanding Bits, Rubber wheels, and Polishing Wheels. I like using a variety of Split Sanding Mandrels with different grits of Sandpaper from 240 grit to 1000 grit. Cratex Rubber Wheels and Silicon Rubber Wheels in different grits are a must have as well. I also Like the Knife Edge Hard Felt Wheels for polishing. Also a good selection of Snap-on Discs.
Bur Lubricant is important to extend the life of your burs and saw blades, I use Pro-Cut, but I also like “Oil of Wintergreen” just keep a small lid or container around, put a few drops in it, and dip your bur in it every few cuts. It has a wonderful aroma and works great.
You are going to need a few sets of good pliers. I would suggest a pair of Stone Setting Pliers, Flat Nose Pliers, Chain Nose Pliers, Half-round/Flat Pliers, Smooth Jawed Flat Parallel Pliers, (You could probably find most of these in a set) and also a good pair of Semi-Flush Side Cutters (Lindstrom).
You will need a Prong Pusher, Chasing Hammer, Rawhide Mallet, Saw Frame and Saw Blades (3/0 blades to start) Beading Tools Set, Dividers, Digital Calipers, Tweezers (See Day 34) Burnisher Assortment (see Burnishing Tools), Visors (I use a #5 or a #7) and last but definitely not least, Safety Glasses
Files (See Day 14) for a complete list of Files I use.
Gravers (See Day 3) I would also suggest:
This should get you started and used to how they work, after you get used to them, you can cater to the type of work you are doing and get more.
WHEW!!! I thought this was going to be a short list…..
and this is just to get started. Welcome to the “Journey”
Have a Great Day now.
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