Even though I have posted articles on making simple jewelry tools, there is always something more to learn. Here are some of my recent efforts: You can make texturing hammers out of cheap ball peen hammers. I filed the faces of the hammers and used grinding tools on my flex shaft (you can also use a rotary tool) to get some interesting textures. I didn’t have any instructions; I just made it up as I went. If you try this, however, wear safety goggles, because they hug your head with no gaps for tiny metal fragments to fly through. When sanding and finishing metal, I also wear a dust mask because you can breathe in tiny metal particles. You might want to go a step further and use a respirator.
You can also file and grind metal punches and chisels to get great texturing effects.
Here are examples of textures I achieved on annealed copper with the tools I made. The upper left was made with the altered chisel. The other three were made with the altered hammers. I worked on a metal block.
Another tool I love is a gizmo to hold jump rings while you saw them. I first saw a picture of this tool in Robert Dancik’s book Amulets and Talismans. He didn’t give any directions, but it looked so simple to make and such a great idea that I made my own. You can buy one at John Lewis’ Etsy Shop, and you can find directions on how to use it on Barbara Lewis’ blog, Painting with Fire. If you want to try making one yourself, Art Jewelry Magazine published and article by Howard Siegel that subscribers can download here.
My V block tool. Not pretty, but it gets the job done.
It wasn’t until I saw Shailyn Miller’s DVD Rings of Beauty, that I realized how useful a ring mandrel holder could be. I built a home made version from a wood box that held a bottle of wine. If you are handy with hole saws or and spade drill bits, you could make one easily and clamp it to your table when you work on wire rings.
Last in my bag of tricks is a makeshift clamp for small jewelry pieces. If you are trying to saw a small piece on your bench pin and can’t hold it still, try using a large metal binder clip with a piece of craft felt or other sturdy fabric. Your piece won’t move and you can saw or file to your heart’s content.