Jewelry tools

Keeping with the questions and answers I am often asked what tools to buy and where to buy tools.   I have made countless foolish tool purchases – there are expensive tools I’ve used once or regretfully never even took out of the packaging.   Honestly, it makes me queasy just thinking about money wasted on this or that fabulous tool…that I had to have at the moment.  Before buying a tool – please, take a few days to really ponder why you need the tool and how often you’ll reach for the tool.    The hard decision to make is when it’s a very useful tool that is only used occasionally e.g., a drill press.  Super handy, really a great tool for certain jobs, but not needed very often and a steady hand and patience often works just as well.   Tool mania is highly overrated – heed my words, always look for a work around before buying another tool.

When you do decide to buy ‘what tool to buy?  The best you can afford while being thoughtful of the usefulness.   Not every pair of pliers you own need to be a name brand if you work primarily in metal clay.   On the other hand, don’t scrimp on quality- you may not need to spend $40 for a pair of pliers, but a $5 pair of pliers from the local craft store probably isn’t money well spent either.  Spend the bulk of your tool money on good tools that you will use everyday.  I use my flexshaft every time I sit down at my bench, so I sprung for a Foredom rotary tool rather than a Dremel type tool.

Look at ebay, craigslist and Otto Frei for used jewelry tools, plus I have been to several jewelry stores that have gone out of business and purchased their tools (I haven’t looked, but maybe a pawn shop would have jewelry tools as well).   With patience, you can find good used tools: I found my Cavalliin 120mm combo mill, jeweler’s bench, 6 wheel Genie (lapidary), entire torch set-up, hand tools, much of my show stuff – displays, chairs, etc., vibratory tumbler, ultrasonic, etc… all on my local craigslist for pennies on the dollar.  Do your research before you buy – do a gut check…do I really need this regardless of the price, and be discrimating when buying used tools – a rusty rolling mill is a rusty rolling mill, it’s not a deal.

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~ by khmetalwork on August 16, 2010.

3 Responses to “Jewelry tools”

  1. thanks! haven’t thought of using Craig’s list… I have a tool addiction!

  2. So true! Don’t know how many times I’ve been in “must have” mode only to regret my purchase later – after using the tool! Good advice.

  3. Well now, where were u when I started…good advice is hard to find…looking for a good sonic cleaner after the polishing?

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