Studio Setup Basics

Hey there! Setting up your studio can be a bit intimidating, but don't worry, we're here to help! Here are a few of our favorite things and a good basic list to start with.

If you don't have any tools yet and want to shortcut the shopping, we've got you covered! We've created kits with the basic recommended tools that you can find here.

"What tools do I need to get started?" This is the most common question we hear and while that's a difficult question to answer (we usually say, "what do you want to make?"), we hope this will be a good starting point for metalsmiths.

We can't recommend taking a class highly enough. You don't want to go crazy buying tools you may never use. Trust us, money is better spent on education instead of wasted on tools sitting in a drawer that will never get used. If you try them out before buying them, you'll know better what you like and what tools are used for what. There are many tools you can use for the same technique and in our classes, we try to introduce you to a few options so you can find the ones you are most comfortable with. Happy creating!

Soldering Kit

  • Cutting Tools

If you need good cutting tools to shape and cut your metal, there are several options available. You can use metal cutters for quick cuts and cutting bezels, or a saw with saw blades and wax for more intricate details and shapes. There are economical versions of each, as well as more ergonomic and durable options. Here are some options for you to consider.

  • Flush cutters: These pliers have a sharp, flat surface that can be used to cut through wire or other materials with precision and accuracy.


Round ring, barrette, bastard, and needle files are crucial tools for any handyman. However, the quality of the file is often reflected in its price. While you can find cheap options on the market, investing in a high-quality file will save you time and money in the long run. It is important to have a variety of sizes since different shapes serve different purposes. For example, flat files, barrette files, and round ring files are some of the basic shapes that are most commonly used. Additionally, needle files are essential for reaching those hard-to-reach places.

These are some of our favorite file options.

Metalsmithing Hammers

Metalsmithing hammers are essential tools for anyone interested in creating metal jewelry or other metalwork. While there are numerous hammers on the market, each with its own unique features and functions, it's important to select the right hammers for your specific needs.

One popular type of metalsmithing hammer is the brass head hammer, which is ideal for stamping and creating texture on metal surfaces. Another essential tool is the non-marking leather mallet, which is perfect for shaping and forming metal without leaving unsightly marks.

In addition to these must-have hammers, there are several other types of hammers that can be useful for specific tasks. For example, the ball pein hammer is great for shaping metal and removing dents, while the cross pein hammer is ideal for creating texture and shaping metal wire.

When selecting your metalsmithing hammers, it's important to consider not only the shape and function of the hammer, but also its weight and balance. A hammer that is too heavy or poorly balanced can cause hand fatigue and make it difficult to achieve the desired results.

In conclusion, while there may be more hammers on the market now than ever before, with a little research and careful consideration, you can select the perfect hammers for your metalsmithing needs and create beautiful, unique pieces of metalwork.

Metal bench block

When hammering, you need something to strike against. A metal block is useful to have on your bench, and an anvil is nice to have for the horn at the end to create curves on your metal. You may want to put leather or a mouse pad (remember those?) under your metal block to deaden the noise of the hammer blow.


Pliers are a versatile and useful tool that can help you hold onto and manipulate metal with greater ease and precision. Having a variety of pliers on hand can be a real game-changer. Here are some of the different types of pliers that we find ourselves using most frequently:

  • Flatnose pliers: These pliers have a wide, flat surface that makes it easier to grip and manipulate objects without causing damage.
  • Multi-looping pliers: These pliers have several different loops in their jaws, which can be used to create a variety of shapes and bends in wire or other materials.
  • Needle nose pliers: These pliers have a long, tapered nose that can be used to reach into tight spaces and grasp small objects.
  • Parallel pliers: These pliers have jaws that remain parallel to each other, which can be useful for gripping and holding onto objects of different sizes and shapes.
  • Flat/half round pliers: These pliers have a flat surface on one side and a rounded surface on the other, which can be useful for shaping and manipulating wire or other materials.

By having a variety of pliers at your disposal, you can ensure that you always have the right tool for the job. Whether you need to bend wire, cut through thick materials, or simply grip onto something with greater precision, pliers are an indispensable tool that can help you get the job done right.

Forming tools

In order to create beautiful and unique jewelry pieces, it is important to have the right tools for the job. Below are some essential tools you will need to get started:

  • Ring mandrel: A ring mandrel is an essential tool for any jewelry maker. It helps you get accurate sizes and shapes for your rings, ensuring that your finished product is the perfect fit for your customer.
  • Bracelet mandrel: If you're planning on making bracelets, a bracelet mandrel is a must-have. This tool allows you to shape and work harden your metal bangles or cuffs, giving them a professional finish.
  • Circle cutter: Producing a lot of discs? A circle cutter can save you time and effort by making the process quick and easy. This tool is especially useful if you plan on creating pieces with multiple circular components.
  • Dapping balls and block: While not strictly necessary, a dapping block and ball set can add a new dimension to your work. Dapping blocks and balls allow you to create beautiful, three-dimensional shapes in your metal.
  • Jump ring maker: Another useful tool to have on hand is a jump ring maker. This tool can save you time and effort by allowing you to create perfect jump rings quickly and easily. While not essential, a jump ring maker can be an invaluable addition to your jewelry-making toolkit.

Stone Setting tools

When it comes to stone setting tools, there are a variety of options to choose from. While burnishers are a popular choice, there are many different types to consider. Some prefer straight burnishers, while others opt for curved, square, flat, or rollers. With so many options available, it's important to choose a burnisher that feels comfortable in your hand and makes it easy to bend the bezel around the stone.

In addition to burnishers, you may also want to consider investing in a ring clamp. This tool can be very helpful when it comes to hanging onto your ring while you work. Another option is a Jett Set, which can be used in a vice or other tool to hold your ring steady while you work on it.

When it comes to choosing the right stone setting tools, it's important to consider your own personal preferences and working style. By selecting tools that feel comfortable in your hand and make your work easier, you can achieve better results and enjoy the process of setting stones even more.


Getting started with torches is a significant step, and it is essential to be well-informed and prepared. Starting with a butane torch is a great option if you want to begin with basic and limited projects. However, if you're planning on working on larger pieces that require more heat, you will need to upgrade to an acetylene torch. We recommend the kit found at [insert kit name and link] for this purpose.

When working with torches, it is crucial to prioritize your safety and take necessary precautions. One of the most important things you can do is to purchase a ventilation system for your studio. This system should be capable of filtering out the gas you burn while making jewelry, as well as other chemicals in your workspace that could potentially be harmful to your health. We are currently working on producing safety videos that will provide helpful tips and guidelines on using torches in your house.

If you are upgrading to an acetylene torch, it is also essential to get a number one tip, which can be found [insert link]. Don't forget to use a striker or torch lighter to ignite your gas and never use a cigarette or torch lighter!

Ventilation - Gold vault

We highly recommend the Gold Vault available at for your studio. You can set up one of the hoses that come off of T and put it on your bench, and then run the other one to your soldering area. This setup will make it easier and more convenient for you to work with gold and other precious metals.

Soldering Surfaces

We have a few options for soldering surfaces depending on the size of your studio and what you are soldering. We prefer a ceramic stone that comes in a 6 x 6, 6 x 12, and 12 x 12. We also use the Solderite board, which comes in a 6 x 6 and a 12 x 12. You want to be careful where you put your torch so that it's not on a wood surface that can get scorched. It's also handy to have a rotating soldering pan with pumice in it for multi-dimensional pieces. The pumice helps protect parts of your design while you're soldering other parts, and it's handy that it spins!

Honeycomb or charcoal blocks are also options, but we use them far less in our studio

You will also need a flux which comes in liquid and paste form, it's nice to have both. You will also need cross-lock tweezers, a pick or two, and a third hand for holding designs. We offer all of these in our soldering kit if you're ready to take the jump!


You will need pickle, a pickle pot, and copper tongs for cleaning the surface of your jewelry after you have torched it. We use citric acid because it seems to be safer, and we also like this pickle from Pepe. You want a pickle pot that warms the liquid but doesn't make it boil, or it becomes toxic. And you only want to remove your jewelry out of the pickle with copper tongs.


To achieve a beautiful finish on your jewelry, it's important to clean up your designs after pickle and before pre-polish. This step will not only remove any scratches or extra solder but also even out the surface of the metal. We recommend using black wheels because they are soft and gentle on the metal. You can use them to smooth out any imperfections on the surface of your jewelry.

After using the black wheels, you can move on to using either the bristle disk set or rubber wheels. Both are excellent for polishing your jewelry to perfection. The bristle disk set is especially useful when you need to reach tight corners or tricky spots. On the other hand, rubber wheels are great for polishing larger areas.

Don't forget to use mandrels to attach the bristle disks and rubber wheels. You can find mini mandrels at {THIS LINK}. In summary, by following these steps, you'll be able to create stunning jewelry pieces with a beautiful finish that will last for years to come.

Flex Shaft and Stand

Your flex shaft is an essential tool in the world of jewelry. It allows you to perform a variety of tasks, such as drilling, cleaning, polishing, and stone setting, to name a few. The Foredom flex shaft is a popular choice among jewelers due to its durability and dependability.

Investing in a high-quality flex shaft and stand is a wise decision for any jewelry maker, as it will allow you to work more efficiently and produce higher-quality pieces. Don't underestimate the value of these tools in your workshop!

Other necessities

When setting up your work space, it is important to consider several factors that can contribute to a more efficient and comfortable work environment. Firstly, a good lamp can greatly reduce eye fatigue and help you to see your designs more clearly. It is also advisable to invest in a chair that is ergonomically designed and provides adequate support for your back and hips, especially if you plan to spend long hours at your work table.

If you are working on a basic table, you may want to consider getting a bench pin until you are able to upgrade to a proper bench. Additionally, some items that are nice to have as you advance in your craft include a jeweler's bench, a tumbler and media.

While not essential, certain tools such as a rolling mill and bench shear can be incredibly useful for cutting thick metal and bands. Investing in these tools can help you to create more intricate designs and improve the quality of your work overall.

Safety items

Last but definitely the most important! When making jewelry, it is essential to prioritize safety above everything else. You will want to be aware of the potential hazards that come with the craft, and be equipped with the necessary gear to ensure your safety throughout the process.

To ensure your safety, it is recommended that you have the following items on hand:

A 3M respirator mask to protect your airways from any dust, fumes, or other airborne particles that may be harmful to your health.

Safety glasses to protect your eyes from any flying debris or other potential hazards.

An apron to protect your clothing from any spills or stains while working with materials such as paint, glue, or other chemicals.

Ear protection to protect your hearing from any loud noises that may come with the use of certain tools or machinery.

Painters tape to ensure that any surfaces you are working on are properly protected and free from any accidental scratches or marks.

If you need to see small details in your work, an optivisor will provide the magnification you need without straining your eyes.

By being equipped with these safety items, you can work on your jewelry-making projects with peace of mind, knowing that you are taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself from harm.

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