Most basic tools to start metalsmithing.

Welcome to the exciting world of metalsmithing!

Would you like to start making silver jewellery and become a silversmith? Whether you're a beginner jeweller or have some experience in other techniques, you'll need the right tools to create your beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces. In this post, we'll take a look at the most basic tools you'll need to get started!

Let's start with the FORMING TOOLS:


- half round,
- round,
- flat nose,
- chain nose,
- ring bending pliers.
These are extremely useful for a number of jobs and it's great to have at least two flat nose pliers that will help you with precise handling of the small pieces, like jump rings.

2. FLUSH CUTTERS or STRAIGHT SHEARS: you will need them to cut your metal - solder, wires, bezel strips etc.

3. BENCH PEG: is a must have, this tool may not seem like it, but it's used for so many jobs, including sawing, forming, shaping, drilling and many more.

4. SAW FRAME: speaking of sawing, you will absolutely need a jeweller's piercing saw. There are many types available, some are adjustable, some are fixed and they are perfect for your sawing needs. You will be cutting out shapes out of the metal sheet, bezels, wires, the list goes on.

5. SAW BLADES: your saw frame will need saw blades! Don't buy cheap ones - they will break and cause you frustration, making learning much harder. Get some good quality saw blades, Swiss ones or Nano saw blades, which are excellent and very well priced. You can start with these grades: 2/0, 4/0 and 6/0 for various metal thicknesses. Refer to charts to check what saw blades you need.

6. LUBRICATION: for saw blades is necessary, you can use beeswax, artificial wax or a handy blade butter, which will last you a loooong time.

7. CHASING HAMMER: for a variety of jobs like flattening, shaping and adding textures, it's the most basic and useful hammer you can get.

8. RAWHIDE or RUBBER MALLET: is another necessary hammer for forming and flattening. This one doesn't leave any marks or patterns on the metal and won't enlarge your rings on a mandrel when shaping.

9. BALL PEEN HAMMER: which you can get additionally for textures.

10. RING MANDREL: with sizes is another essential tool, you will use it for making rings and overall shaping of the metal. Go for the one with sizes - it will make your life much easier and you won't have to purchase another mandrel.

11. STEEL BLOCK: is worth getting for many forming jobs - like stamping, shaping or flattening the metal. You will use it quite often. It doesn't have to be large.

12. FILES: are a must, but you don't need many of them when starting out:
- HAND FILES: get a couple in cut 0 and cut 2, which are coarser,
- NEEDLE FILES: in several shapes: flat, half round and round. You can get some coarser and some finer grades. I have some very coarse ones that I bought at a hardware store and I found 4 cut jeweller's needle files very useful and versatile.


1. SOLDERING SURFACE: which you will absolutely need, it can be a:
- soldering board,
- soldering block,
- charcoal brick,
- honeycomb block.
I recommend having at least two, so that you can create a wall and prevent the heat from escaping. Charcoal brick is excellent, as it reflects the heat, so it's perfect for smaller torches.

2. TORCH: it can be a small butane torch to start with. I used Dremel since I started and I also used a torch I got at a hardware store. Later, I upgraded to Pepetools torch and Orca torch.

3. SOLDER: to connect your metal you will need solder, I get mine in a form of a wire and I cut it to smaller pieces. You can also get a solder paste, ideally the hard one, in a syringe, it's very handy, especially with smaller bits.

4. FLUX: you will need it for the solder to flow - it could be a borax cone with a dish or a handy liquid flux, which I now use all the time.

5. SOLDER PICK: is very important, it works as an extension of your hand that's fire resistant, you use it to pick up solder etc.

6. REVERSE ACTION TWEEZERS: Reverse action tweezers help you keep metal pieces in one place, arranged for soldering.

7. BRASS TWEEZERS: just like solder pick, help you operate things on the solder board, hold and move little elements and they are safe to put in a pickling solution - they won't cause contamination (don't dip your steel tweezers in the solution).

8. PICKLING SOLUTION and a PICKLING POT: pickling solution is placed in a pickling pot and ideally it's kept warm, it can be a mixture of vinegar with salt with water or a stronger, acid based solution.

9. QUENCHING BOWL: is used to quench your metal after soldering and you you can also dip your metal in there to rinse it after pickling.


1. WET AND DRY PAPERS: in various grids, you start with the coarsest one and make your way through the grids until you get to the fines one.

2. SANDING AND BUFFING STICKS: which usually have the paper readily wrapped on a wooden stick, same principles as with wet and dry papers.

3. POLISHING PAPERS: a handy solution for surfaces without deep scratches. They can provide a very nice polished finish and are very easy to use.

4. ROTARY TOOL AND A FLEX SHAFT: is a game changer. While the previous solutions require a lot of manual work, this is a motorized version that saves you a ton of time and energy. It's one of the best investments you can make, as you will be using this tool for plethora of jobs!

5. ROTARY TOOL ATTACHMENTS: for sanding, polishing, drilling, engraving and more, they are detailed in the next section.

6. POLISHING COMPOUNDS: use with polishing mops, there's a large variety of compounds, I recommend Luxi and Luxor, as they are less toxic.


1. Radial bristle disc attachments: from coarse to fine, in yellow, white, red, blue, pink and green. 

2. Eve silicon attachments: white, black, blue and pink.

3. Eve Pumice attachments: honey and grey, which are safer on the gemstones.

4. Sanding discs: make sanding and cleaning jobs much faster.

5. Drill bits in several sizes.

6. Burrs:
A couple of ball ones, smaller and bigger. It depends on your needs, so you need to experiment, but a 1mm and a 2 or 3 mm would be a great start,
Cup burr in size 1 mm to 1.2mm for rounding wires for ear wires, studs and prongs.

7. Polishing buffs: to use with polishing compounds, I use felt and cotton.


1. RING CLAMP: is a great tool for holding metal in general, for many jobs, not only stone setting in rings or stud earrings.

2. BEZEL PUSHER: is used to close the bezel around the gemstone.

3. BURNISHER: you use it to burnish the edge of the bezel and smooth it out.


1. Ring sizer.
2. Dividers.
3. Calipers.
4. Ruler.

Very important - SAFETY EQUIPMENT!

1. Safety glasses.

2. Face mask - ideally with filters.

3. Regular face mask for smaller jobs and for sawing (to protect yourself from breathing that silver dust).

4. Finger protectors or a tape.

5. Small fire extinguisher: be safe and don't take unnecessary risks.
All of these things are available in hardware shops and online.



This set is the most basic one and will be enough for you to start making rings, necklaces, pendants and to learn sawing, polishing and stone setting!

Of course, there are many other tools you can get that will make your life easier, like a rolling mill, magnifiers, third hand, bench polisher or a disc cutter etc, but today we're sticking to the basics. Most tools can be found at jeweller's shops, hardware stores and on online websites.

I would recommend buying from reputable places, so that the tools are of good quality and will serve you for a long time. Investing in good quality pliers and files is especially important, trust me ;) As someone, who ended up paying twice for better quality files, pliers and a ring mandrel (to get one with the sizes), I can recommend investing just a bit more in the right tools.

I hope this list will help you gather all the tools you need to start metalsmithing! Make sure that you enjoy the creative process and have fun making jewellery! :) 

Love, Basia x

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