CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report: considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion; See Gemological Articles below.
Welcome to the GemologyOnline.com Forum
A non-profit Forum for the exchange of gemological ideas
It is currently Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:59 pm

All times are UTC - 4 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:09 pm 
Offline
Established Member

Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:35 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Hi,


What does it take to become a bench jeweler. How long it will take me to learn about silversmithing. Any good books about this. :roll: Thank You.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:21 am 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:47 am
Posts: 1322
Location: Pacific Northwest
To become a good one, some would say, a lifetime of experience. Where are you located?

_________________
I just dreamed that I was a butterfly.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:57 am 
Offline
Gold Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2006 9:44 pm
Posts: 1076
Location: Washington State
If you take some classes, you can get to be a passable bench jeweler in as little as six months to a year. To just mess around with silversmithing you could learn the basics in a weekend. The problem is that there are so many facets, ( :roll:), to metal working that it can take a long time to master them all. "Master" means to make few mistakes and end up with consistently high quality work. Some parts are easier than others. Wax carving and casting seem to be fairly easy, while fabricating assemblies with multiple parts can require enough experience to develop a workable strategy to actually have the piece you're making stay together during and after construction. Setting stones offers a whole range of stress and is also a very strategic operation.

Many benchies start out doing repairs and this covers all of the different parts of bench work and can show you quite graphically all of the ways to make things which do and especially DON'T work well. It also offers one the experience of developing much better torch control, since it's much easier to melt worn out metal into a puddle than to do the same to new pieces. It's all a great learning experience and if you want to get better fast, find a older, experienced bench person to show you some of the best ways to approach this craft or take some classes. This will save you a lot of frustration, time and money in the long run.

_________________
Michael E.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:35 pm 
Offline
Established Member

Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:35 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Hi,

Thank you very much for your replies. I found a person who can teach me about silversmith and goldsmiths. I will be taking a weekly classes here in Minneapolis, MN. Thank you. :lol:




Dude


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:48 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 11:24 am
Posts: 7503
Location: Rome, Italy
michael_e wrote:
Many benchies start out doing repairs and this covers all of the different parts of bench work and can show you quite graphically all of the ways to make things which do and especially DON'T work well.


ok i can share a bit of the old "italian way" since i run an historical workshop (the plate from the mayor of the city outside says that) opened almost 70 yrs ago, the familiy is goldsmitting since mid 19th century.
repairs are something the "apprentice" faced as the VERY last thing, actually, after 5 or more yrs of apprentice and when he would be able to perfectly master all the bench procedures. The reason is quite simple: you can made an irreparable mistake building the most difficult piece, no worries, you've lost time only, likely you wouldn't reply the same mistake again, that's part of the learning curve. Repairing stuffs is a no-mistake-allowed task. you can't simply damage client's stuffs.... :wink: ..................of course shit may happens and, in that case, if you're lucky, you will loose a customer.......only............

just my 2 wothless Euro cents............. :lol:

ciao
albé

_________________
GemmoRaman-532 - GemmoFTIR - GemmoSphere - EXA


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:22 am 
Offline
Gold Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:15 pm
Posts: 1795
Location: canada
ok here another way it happens the guy is buying stones and setting to fit them one day he gets stuck with a ring with a setting that doesn't fit so out comes the saw and file and suddenly the ring is ready for one that fits the stone. he hits the internet and finds one that will fit, ok now here's where he goes down another road (the benchie one) now he has to put it on the ring so he looks at what he is going to need minimum to do it .... oh well 200 300 dollars later its soldered on the ring polished an the stone sparkles in the sun and he has a grin and has forgotten how many rings and settings he could have bought for 300 dollars his new found ego says i can do this and another soul has :smt051 started the long trip to benchie heaven

_________________
A Chinese proverb says "Gold is valuable, Jade is Priceless."


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:30 pm 
Offline
Gold Member
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2006 9:44 pm
Posts: 1076
Location: Washington State
Alberto wrote:
ok i can share a bit of the old "italian way" since i run an historical workshop (the plate from the mayor of the city outside says that) opened almost 70 yrs ago, the familiy is goldsmitting since mid 19th century.

just my 2 wothless Euro cents............. :lol:

ciao
albé


Your two Euro cents are worth a lot more than you give them credit for Alberto. I just wish that I could have experienced working on the same level of quality pieces that have passed through your hands.

My experience was with repairing mass produced stuff that started life as one step above junk, (Walmart and department store stuff), and by the time I got it in my hands for repair it was not really worth repairing. It did give me a really good experience in learning torch control though, since looking at it wrong would melt these paper thin pieces into little puddles. After thinking about it, I think that you're right in that doing repairs does take a level of experience that a new bench person would be hard pressed to obtain quickly enough to keep from destroying both jewelry and client relationships. I retract that recommendation and thank you for pointing out the drawbacks in it. #-o

_________________
Michael E.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:27 pm 
Offline
Valued Contributor
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:12 am
Posts: 483
Location: Ohio and Thailand
Yes, good points on repair. It requires a much higher skill level and can be very tricky compared to fabricating from scratch.
Everyone will learn at different paces. Some may need their hand held for a year or more before creating a piece and others will be making a piece on their own in a couple of weeks. Have fun with it, Lee

_________________
My jewelry selection catalog https://selectioncatalogleesjewelry.shutterfly.com/pictures/8
My Amazon shop http://www.amazon.com/handmade/leesgems


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:26 pm 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:55 am
Posts: 516
Get yourself some decent books on bench work (the Germans are particularly good at this, and translate them into English too). Get yourself some tools (nothing exotic) and have a go. Make some nice silver rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings and bangles as gifts for all your female friends and relatives and soon all their friends will be beating your door down to buy your production.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:50 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
I just took delivery of the basic Delftclay casting kit. I now have a good little serious hobbyist's workshop at home with everything needed for cabbing and faceting and consider myself pretty competent at both of those but silversmithing is something new to me. I only had one or two lessons while I was a club member and then the lady who taught it got sick and I was left with a bunch of sterling, flux etc.

Question - do I need to prepare this little clay crucible before using it to melt in? Do I need to put borax in it, hit it with the torch and completely glaze the inside surface before using it to melt?

The propane torch I have has only the little pinpoint flame nozzle which they were using at the club to melt little dots of solder or wire. Not having any casting granules, I cut up a length of silver wire into bits and experimented with that. The little propane torch melted them to a shiny puddle without difficulty but the flame itself seemed too small to keep the heat over the entire area and the puddle kept solidifying before I could pour it properly. Obviously the big nozzle for the same torch (which I don't yet have) would put out heat over a big enough area to keep the whole crucible glowing and everything liquid long enough to complete the process?

The Delftclay DVD was very informative but didn't tell me these things. I also have a large book on jewellery making but I don't recall reading that in it either.

The book really brought home to me how much different people like different things and how something that is done properly from a technical viewpoint may still not be everyone's cup of tea. Some of the pieces in the book I liked, others I would class as "wearable surrealism". Some looked like machinery parts, some looked like prisoner restraint devices and some looked like a crucible of molten metal had been thrown against a brick wall.

Anyway, this is going to be fun :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 4:17 pm 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:55 am
Posts: 516
Select the size of nozzle to suit the mount of heat you will need. If you have a Seivert rig they do a large range of nozzles to suit almost all jobs. As for the crucible, I find adding flux halfway through the melt best. Another useful tip is to throw in some ammonium chloride when your silver is molten and stir with a wooden skewer. That purifies the silver (or any other precious metal) and gives you a cleaner result.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 4:30 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Thanks Alan. I suspected the flame might be too small but I got it because I had seen them using it at the club, albeit not to actually melt in a crucible - they only do centrifugal casting there as far as I know. However, the same torch can take a variety of different size and shape nozzles, some much bigger than the one I have. This one almost does the job, a size or two up should be good.

The reason I asked about the crucible was that the metal glob stuck to the side of it when I couldn't keep the heat on it enough to pour it. When the same thing happened on a spot where the flux had already formed a glaze on the crucible surface, the silver blob just fell off when it cooled.

Do I need to take precautions using ammonium chloride - does it release harmful vapours when heated?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 7:27 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Ok, MSDS says it is not a highly hazardous substance by itself. Basic safety precautions I guess.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:22 am 
Offline
Gemology Online Veteran

Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:55 am
Posts: 516
My advice is, get a decent range of burners, O.K. they can be a bit of a layout at first, but they soon pay for themselves in convenience and time saved. The molten metal sticks to the side of the crucible because it isn't heated up enough, hence the bigger burner. Once everything is good and hot sticking won't be a problem.
Ammonium Chloride is recommended because the molten metal absorbs oxygen which combines with copper and other base metals in the alloy and if it is cast in that state it is hard and brittle. The Ammonium Chloride at the heat of the molten metal dissociates into ammonia and chlorine, the chlorine combines with the copper and other base metals and then vapourises (you will see the blue colouration in the flame) when the molten metal is then stirred with the wooden skewer the oxygen combines with the carbon in the wood and passes off as carbon dioxide. That leaves the metal clean and ready to give a good cast. Ammonium Chloride isn't particularly noxious but I have an exhaust fan running and feed the smoke out of doors, just in case.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Learning To Became Bench Jeweler
PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:50 pm 
Offline
Gold Member

Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:52 pm
Posts: 1131
Location: Central Queensland, Australia
Cheers Alan.

Ok to do that with argentium? Won't suck the germanium out or anything?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 4 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Gemology Style ported to phpBB3 by Christian Bullock