top of page

Tools List - Beginning Metalsmithing

Updated: Jan 7, 2023


Bench jeweler at work
Bench jeweler at work

In general, I buy most of my tools and supplies from RioGrande. Otto Frei and Contenti are great alternatives as well. Links I provide are just an example of what I use after trial and error but feel free to experiment.


General Bench Tools: a basic list of hand tools to get you started


Magnifying visor: to work under magnification. Optivisor with a couple of lens options works great for most of my work. Beware: Amazon sells similar LOOKING visors but they’re CRAP. Donegan is the original and their glass optics are great. Haven’t tried their acrylic lens option but they’re less expensive.


Pliers: after using lots of kinds of pliers for metalsmithing, I find these to be my go-to’s. I prefer parallel action to regular pliers when available because of less surface damage to pieces and they hold pieces securely in almost any situation with less pressure.

Bail Making pliers - (replaces round nose pliers) https://www.riogrande.com/product/bail-shaping-pliers/111957


Ring clamp, parallel: sooooo much better than a traditional ring clamp and very cheap. https://www.riogrande.com/product/parallel-jaw-ring-clamp/113969


Saw frame: many choices here and this is one of those tools you just have to feel to know which one you like. I have tried a traditional, wholly adjustable frame style and didn’t like it much, others love them. I’ve never needed the adjustability. I like Green Lion: https://www.greenlionstudios.com/jewelers-saw-frame, or PotterUSA (almost always out of stock).


Saw blades: get both 2/0 and 3/0 sizes to start. You will break many blades when you're learning so buy several dozen of each size. You can buy an assortment of sizes also, but buy extra 2/0 and 3/0. Don’t buy the cheapest ones, buy Hercules or Rio’s LaserGold, for example.


Hammers: there are two categories of hammers. Hammers for hitting other steel tools and hammers for hitting your precious metal work pieces, NOT to be confused! You'll need both kinds.

Goldsmith/Cross Peen hammer for general purpose work piece hitting - https://www.riogrande.com/product/fretz-revere-goldsmith-and-cross-peen-hammer-r-gf/112396


Bench block: Steel, 4 x 4 inch is a good size to start. Get an old mouse pad to put under it to dampen the sound.


Bench pin: type depends on your work area, might be a good idea to get a clamp on to start. https://www.ottofrei.com/Combination-Bench-Pin-Anvil. Ultimately, I recommend a GRS system.


Sand paper: this stuff rocks! Can be used wet or dry and it lasts a long time, has more consistent grain size (better results). https://www.riogrande.com/product/3m-imperial-micro-finishing-film-assortment/337310


Scribe: any will do, they're cheap


Dividers: don’t go cheap here. I recommend Starrett. https://www.riogrande.com/product/starrett-deluxe-divider/116171



Caliper, digital preferred


Metal ruler, metric


Needle files: don’t go cheap on files. After expensive trial and error, I recommend two sets of these, one set in cut 2 (coarse) and one set in cut 4 (finer). https://contenti.com/grobet-12-file-needle-file-sets


Precision files: again, don’t go cheap. I’d recommend starting with the following shapes:

Barrett - 4” Cut 0, Cut 2, and Cut 4. https://www.ottofrei.com/Grobet-Precision-Files-Barrette

Half round - 4” Cut 2 to start, https://www.ottofrei.com/Grobet-Half-Round-Precision-Files








Download a copy of this list here:

Tool List - Beginning Metalsmithing
.pdf
Download PDF • 78KB



0 comments

Comments


bottom of page