Humans have been using silver for thousands of years to make jewellery, tableware and objects of art. Silversmithing has long been a well-respected profession but has also been widely practised by hobbyists.
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The tools used for silversmithing have changed over time, though some basic ones still closely resemble those used by ancestors. Craftsmen in different regions developed specialised techniques, and with them, specialised tools.
Setting up a Work Space
Though a full-time space does not need to be devoted for silversmithing, it is important to have a work surface that is clean with good lighting, and with a comfortable and supportive chair. If you plan to do soldering or working with chemical finishes, good ventilation is needed.
Basic hand tools include a set of commonly used pliers: needle-nose, chain-nose, flat and wire cutters. For cutting flat sheets of silver, you will need a bench pin, saw frame and saw blades
To join metal without soldering, you will need a drill with small drill bits, a small bench anvil and a hammer.
Working with Solder
It is important to have a fire extinguisher in case you have an accident with the torch. Flux keeps the metal clean while heating. A propane torch from a hardware store can be used or a rig that also utilises oxygen is better for finer work. A metal pick or tweezers are helpful for positioning solder and moving work.
To smooth sawn edges, you will need a set of needle files and assorted grades of sandpaper. To get a mirror-like polish, polishing wheel attachments can be used in your drill to buff the metal with a metal-smithing polish.
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