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You may have read my previous post on the tools needed to become a silversmith ( if not give it a read here ). In that article I listed 10 tools you absolutely need as a beginner and a quick bit of info on why you need them. If you can devote the (approx) $140 for tools now consider this: what silver supplies do I need ? The following will answer that question and give you specifics on what gauges are useful for different projects (trust me this is a very important part of the trade). I will save you some headache and throw it all out there. So here goes…
You of course will want to start out with the most minimal affordable supplies; you will make mistakes so keeping it cost efficient is key. I will recommend you start making a basic silver ring and then getting creative from there. So let’s get to it!
- The first thing you need is FREE – the handy chart below on what gauges to use. I made this so you don’t have to guess and buy a bunch of different supplies . As you get more accustom to silver work you will no doubt have your own opinions based on what you like working with. But, here’s a good place to start.
2. Wire – Since we are focusing on ring making here, we will need some sterling silver wire. Wire is cheaper up front than silver sheet and it does not require a jeweler’s saw (which you will need to eventually buy as you progress). There are plenty of options for wire including : round, half round, patterned, low dome etc. I will recommend my personal favorite for basic rings : half round wire. Plan on getting it in one of the gauges listed above (I typically use 10 gauge).
3. Solder – The solder silversmiths use comes in 3 different flow temps : easy, medium and hard. You will want to buy all 3, but if you’re strapped for cash you could just buy easy (as long as you’re only soldering one joint). Options for solder types include wire, sheet, papillon and paste. My personal fave is is wire (I flatten with hammer and cut the size I need). The easiest to work with is probably papillon because it is already cut in tiny pieces so that you can just place wherever you want.
4. Flux – Flux is what you put onto the piece before you solder. It cleans the metal and helps solder to flow. You could buy a jar of flux or you can make it yourself. It’s actually super easy ! Recipe: 1 tbsp borax, 1 tsp salt. Form a paste.
5. Pickling solution – Again you can just buy a tub of this and you’re good to go. Or you could save some $$ and make it yourself. Best part is it’s all natural! Recipe : 1 cup hot vinegar (heated in microwave or in your pot) and 1 tsp salt.
Wait that’s it? Yep,those are the most essential supplies you need. You can start to make your ring now. Or you could stock up on more materials and experiment further. Buy some different gauges and types of wire, purchase some bezel cups and cabochons, invest in a jeweler’s saw and get some silver sheet. It’s up to you! Don’t forget to use safety precautions and put on gloves and eye protection. Accidents will happen, believe me.
Now it’s your turn. I want to see your creations, so share them via email! If you’re stumped feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to respond in a timely manner. You can reach me on INSTA too. If you need some help in the idea department check out my handmade shop .
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