Saturday, June 30, 2007

What tools should I buy for a metalsmith?

This is how I organize little bits of tracing paper, sandpaper and labels. It's a business card box, I cut the dividers from a manila file folder.

I got an email today from someone asking what tools he should buy for his girlfriend. He says "Would you be willing to make a list for me of some nice equipment that would help her get started in her field as a metalworker? I want to get her a flex shaft definitely and any other items that would prove useful for her. I apologize for my lack of knowledge on metalworking, but hopefully you could steer me in the right direction."

Here is a list of tools for metalsmiths from the orchid mailing list. I have been meaning to add this to the links on my web site. It looks like a good list of basic tools. Maybe you could leave out the t.v., though. I am anti-television myself. How about a nice stereo instead?

Although Don suggests buying locally when you can, my personal experience is that you pay more for poor quality when you buy locally. This is based on one bad experience. I bought a jeweler's saw in Daly City, California years ago. It required a pair of pliers to tighten the nut that holds the blade in place. This really slowed down the working process. I still keep it around to show students what to avoid. For the same price I could have had a lovely one from Rio Grande that is a pleasure to use.

Although Rio Grande charges for their catalogs, once you place an order, you get them for free. They are huge and full of useful information. I am not affiliated with them in any way, just a happy customer. They have great customer service, too.

While you are at the Orchid site, check out the rest of the site.

And think about what you can make, instead of buying it. The file box for sandpaper, above, and the drill bit holder work as well as anything you buy. They could be prettier, but they make me smile when I see them.

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