Monday, October 8, 2012

How to learn to Silver Smith

Creating your own silver jewellery and beautiful silver objects at home sounds a daunting prospect – but it is entirely possible to do with minimum outlay and can grow into a profitable hobby if you sell your finished pieces.

If you are new to silver smithing the best way to learn is to sign up for an evening or weekend course in basic silver smithing

Many colleges and universities offer silversmithing courses and of course, this is one of the best ways to learn because you will have the support of your tutor.

Silver smithing courses are available at all levels from basic beginner through to the more expert, throughout the UK.

An alternative less expensive option is to teach yourself by using a book. There is a wide choice available.

One book that covers all types of jewellery making is Jewellery Making: A Complete Course for Beginners

The more advanced Silversmithing for Jewellery Makers

However, the definitive guide to silversmith is provided by Bernard Cuzner in A silversmith’s manual which  covers all aspects of working with silver.

This obviously does not provide the same teaching support but it does enable you to try out silver smithing for yourself without too much outlay because courses can be expensive.

Whichever way you choose to try silver smithing, you will need some tools and equipment before you start.

You will need a piercing saw and selection of blades, files of varying sizes, a scriber, a silversmith hammer and emery paper for rubbing down.
You will also need a soldering iron and silver solder.

This basic equipment should be enough to get you started.

You can buy your silver to work with from silversmith suppliers – if there is nothing local, you can look online.

buy some electronic gold scales

You will find an assortment of raw materials to work with such as silver sheet, wire, fixings, necklace chains and pendant fixings.

If you wish to cast silver at home – i.e. make small sculptures, rings or similar you will need a very high heat source or furnace because the melting point of silver is 893 Celsius.

Unless you have access to a furnace, this is not an option for many people.

Some home silver smiths have made home made furnaces and used a blowtorch as a heat source but you will need to have some knowledge of smelting and engineering to achieve this.

Although home-casting silver is difficult because of the problems of creating the correct temperature, you can buy equipment such as the crucible – a heat resistant container, silver casting grains, wax for moulding and all equipment necessary from good silversmith suppliers.

gold and silver hallmarks guide