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Customer Discussions > Jewelry Making forum

Metal work for beginners - where to start?

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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 29, 2009, 2:40:26 PM PST

Many years ago I started dabbling in making jewelry, and have I have been crafting hand made pieces as a hobby ever since. I never took classes, and have only used beading, chain, and wire work techniques. I've used many different medias for artwork, but always had a special passion for jewelry making. This is why I have been eager to take the next step, and learn all I can about making jewelry, especially metalsmithing.

I attended college at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, and was disappointed to find no classes for jewelry design and construction. Wouldn't you know it, the year after I graduated, they started an entire program for earning a degree in Jewelry Design. Figures! Hopefully my persistent inquiries had something to do with it!

For Christmas this year I received a wonderful gift, an extensive jewelry making kit that will begin my quest in metal work and soldering. Here is a link to view the set: Jewelry Making Set The only problem is, I don't know where to start! I cannot find any local classes that fit into my schedule (I work full time), so I am wondering if anyone can recommend some great books or dvds that will illustrate step by step instructions for beginners and beginner level projects. Any additional words of advice would be much appreciated!!



Posted on Dec 30, 2009, 1:53:17 PM PST
Scott says:
The Complete Metalsmith by Tim Mccreight is basically the Bible for jewelry making and metalwork. He has several other books, as well as some DVDs. Even after many years of metal work and jewelry design, I still find myself referring back to that one book more than any other.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2010, 9:43:45 PM PST
Temptations says:
Sounds like you're where I was until very recently! Beads, chain, wire...I love it, but wanted to expand. I'm starting metal stamping...personalizing jewelry, etc.
Many of the crafters on Etsy have been very helpful. Much depends on what area of metalsmithing you're interested in. Check out youtube for online videos of 'jewelry how to', using specific search words to find your area of interest. Also, beaducation, artbeads, romazone have free instructional videos.

Hope these are helpful to you or at least give you some direction.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2010, 8:33:06 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2010, 8:39:05 AM PST
V. Colon says:
Hello, I learned through books as well, and wanted to tell you I got so much useful information from this book, Charles Codina, and Tim Mccreight are both great!

The Complete Book of Jewelry Making: A Full-Color Introduction to the Jeweler's Art

Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing (Jewelry Crafts)

Posted on Jan 6, 2010, 9:02:38 AM PST
Thank you all for the great tips! I have picked up a couple books, including Tim McCreight's Complete Metalsmith (student edition), the Encyclopedia of Jewelry Making Techniques, and Getting Started Making Metal Jewelry. They have been very helpful in giving me a basic introduction to the tools, materials, and procedures.

I have also found instructional videos online, which have helped tremendously! I subscribed to ArtJewelry Magazine, which has several detailed How To videos on their website (most can be found on youtube too). Temptations, thank you, I will check out the other sites you mentioned.


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2010, 7:26:58 PM PST
Temptations says:

Just curious...What specific areas of metalwork are you interested in pursuing?

Posted on Jan 8, 2010, 11:50:08 AM PST
Soldering (both for design and functionality), bezeling, and setting stones..... for now. I would like to think that the possibilities are endless, but these are the things that have caught my eye so far.

This weekend my fiance is building me a work bench to the specifications of Tim McCreight's book. Should be getting started soon!!!


Posted on Jan 13, 2010, 2:54:43 PM PST
Kununoppin says:
Looks like your kit does not include a torch. Most newbies start by learning to solder (brazing to most of the world) and the first piece that they make is setting a cabochon cut stone into a bezel (either a ring or pendant). Lot to learn with torch control. But to do that you need a torch. check out all of the links and the daily emails on Ganoksin.com

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 13, 2010, 3:20:28 PM PST
Hi Kununoppin,

Actually it does include a small butane torch, here is the manufactuers link:
The weird thing is that the tool kit check list clearly marks "propane torch," but it looked to me like a butane torch so I went on the manufacturers website, and it is! Kind of a bad mistake to make when making starter kits. Glad you said that, because I decided that the first thing I would try is setting a cabochon in a bezel. There is a great 5 part instructional video on this from ArtJewelry Magazine, which can be found on YouTube. Since I cannot find a class near me (at least one that fits in with a full time work schedule) this is the next best thing!


In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2010, 10:14:41 PM PST
~L says:
what torch would you recommend?

Posted on Mar 7, 2010, 6:28:35 PM PST
Torches. I have a Smith acet/air torch. And use tips from 00-2 by and large. It depends on the amount of silver I'm working with.

But I consider this along with my flex shaft, and tumbler the best investments I've made. (I'm adding my new cabbing machine to the list.) A good torch allows so much more control of heat in soldering.

Happy soldering.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2010, 1:24:33 AM PST
heart song says:
Hi, Holly Check out this site www.sheffield.edu for online class.
Best wishes!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2010, 1:27:10 AM PST
heart song says:
Hi, Holly Check out this site www.sheffield.edu for online class.
Best wishes!

Posted on Dec 23, 2010, 7:11:05 PM PST
My suggestion is www.wiresculpture.com for dvd videos, online classes. My favorites come from Dale

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 13, 2011, 2:15:38 PM PST
I stumbled across your post today, and I'm so glad I did! I'm in the exact same boat you were nearly almost a year ago (to date--how strange is that?). I'm getting more than a little overwhelmed with what seems to be an unending list of supplies needed before I begin soldering!
So I'm dying to know--HOW IS IT GOING WITH YOU AND YOUR SOLDERING??? Can you give me a little guidance as to which online tutorials provided the most information for you and which books you feel are the most important? My story's basically the same as yours--I've been making jewelry (beads and wire, etc) for over two years but I need something more substantial now. The techniques you described wanting to learn are what I am interested in pursuing as well.
Let me know how it's going when you get a chance! Thanks so much!!!

Posted on Feb 6, 2011, 5:06:21 PM PST
Send me pix! I'll buy!

Posted on Feb 23, 2011, 8:34:34 AM PST
i've gotten those books as well, and now comes the process of affording and purchasing all the required tools and materials. beaducation.com offers several free classes including torch use and safety, annealing metal and oxidizing and polishing metal. they also have a great list of materials and supplies. some of their prices are really affordable, while others are little higher. everything has great quality too.
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Discussion in:  Jewelry Making forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  17
Initial post:  Dec 29, 2009
Latest post:  Feb 23, 2011

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