We've teamed up with the wonderful and talented jeweller, 'Cyrilyn Silver' to bring you metalsmithing tips every single week - which we will be posting right here on our blog.
Do you have a tip that Cyrilyn can share in an upcoming video? Send her a message over on her Instagram page @cyrilyn_silver, if your tip gets shared you'll get a shout out in the video and be tagged in the video.
Watch this video to find out more about Cyrilyn, who will be sharing with you some amazing knowledge you can use in the workshop, whether you're a beginner or experienced jeweller.
Cyrilyn is an experienced jeweller, who runs jewellery making workshops in Nottingham for beginners who fancy giving this wonderful craft a go. Being passionate about sharing her skills, Cyrilyn was thrilled to be about to join us in sharing top tips, advice and ideas for other jewellers to use too.
Have you ever wondered how to measure the perfect sized bangle for you or a client? Cyrilyn shows you how with this quick tip. All you need to do is measure the space between your knuckles and ensure that the diameter of your bangle matches these measurements to ensure a perfect fit!
Use beeswax on your saw blades when piercing metal to help the blade glide through the metal to prevent it from 'sticking' and to avoid breaking your blades!
A jewellers piercing saw is the best tool for cutting circles, rectangles and any other shapes you may require from sheet metal, as well as being ideal for cutting metal tubing and thicker metal wire. Cutting wire with the jewellers piercing saw will also ensure a neat flat edge for successful soldering!
Saw blades are sold separately and available in three grades, coarse, medium, fine and supplied in a pack of 12. The most appropriate grade will depend on the thickness of the metal and the nature of the job. The coarser blades are slightly thicker (and therefore stronger) so they will remove more material than fine grade. A finer blade should be used for thin metal, cutting curves or for very delicate work.
Next up, Cyrilyn shows you how you can use a nail buffer to get a quick shine on your handmade designs. Normally, you would work your way through the grades of wet and dry sanding sheets to clean your metal, and remove any unwanted scratches and file marks. Then you would move on to working your way up through the grades of polishing papers to get that sparkly shine!
Use these brilliant wet and dry sanding sheets to roughen and clean your metal, remove unwanted scratches and file marks in order to achieve a fine surface ready for polishing.
Polishing papers are a fantastic way of gaining a high sheen on metals! Work your way up through the coloured grades to achieve a fantastic polish by hand and without the need of any tools.
Tarnish is the natural process of the oxidisation of metals, it can create a dullness, slightly golden colour and will eventually result in a black coating on your metal jewellery. Although it's a pain and doesn't look pretty, luckily it's quite easy to remove as Cyrilyn shows you below.
For more ways on removing tarnish and finding ways to prevent it from happening sooner rather than later, read our advice page for more information and discover some of our best selling products to help tackle the problem!
Liver of sulphur is a fantastic and extremely popular product used to create an antiqued, black or iridescent coloured patina on metals. Create stunning colours, ranging from black, purple, blue, copper to gold. Using a coloured or darkened effect on metals is a great way to make your surface textures and decorative elements stand out! You can also use liver of sulphur to darken sterling silver findings or chains to give a vintage look.
Cyrilyn shows you a simple project using your scrap silver! All you need to do is heat your scrap silver until it forms a sphere, quench it and pop into your pickle. Then place it in between two steel blocks and use a hammer to flatten the sphere. Next up you need to use a gas torch to anneal the sphere, quench and pickle. Rinse and dry, then repeat the process of hitting, annealing and pickling until your happy with your disc. Use your disc to create a charm or pendant which you can stamp, texture or keep minimal!
Alligator tape is a workshop essential, wrap it around your fingers to protect them and improve your grip. The beauty of this tape is that it's self-adhering, only sticking to itself so it doesn't leave any nasty sticky residue. The tape protects you from minor cuts, abrasions and burns, plus it's thin and flexible so you have no loss of dexterity or feel for your work.
Another tip is don't forget to fold the loose end of the tape over so you don't lose it next time you use it!
All you need are some jewellery pliers for this simple trick! In the video below, Cyrilyn shows you how she creates a simple wave shape in a copper ring band which has been annealed, making them nice and soft to work with. Simply hold the ring on the soldered edge and grip the other side tightly with round nose pliers, then twist the pliers to form a gorgeous shape - the beauty of this trick is that you can experiment with different sizes and shapes.
In this top tip video, Cyrilyn uses round nose pliers to grab onto the ring band and twist to form a beautiful wave shape!
Cyrilyn shows you how you can use your scrap silver (including dust!) to create an organic shaped ring - all you need to do is create a channel in your charcoal block to melt your silver into. Pretty simple huh?
This top tip shows you how to attach your saw blades and most importantly - the importance of never buying cheap saw blades!
Midas Finish Seal Lacquer forms a clear, hard, abrasion-resistant protective finish to your jewellery and metal pieces! Perfect for preventing tarnishing and protecting patina. Cyrilyn shows you how she uses it to protect her personalised keyrings in this week's Top Tip Tuesday!
Cyrilyn shows you how to fuse argentium silver which she then turns into an organic shaped ring!
Cyrilyn also shows you how to protect areas you don't want heating by using thermo-gel heat barrier. It's perfect for repairing items containing stones that could otherwise crack or shatter or for very complicated soldering jobs with multiple solder joints close together where there is a risk of melting earlier joins.
Cyrilyn shows you how to bring back that sparkle on your dull jewellery with our popular Town Talk polishing cloths which are impregnated with a unique cleaning and anti-tarnishing agent!
So you've experimented with granulation but what comes next? Cyrilyn is here for all the inspiration you need. Granulation is such a great technique to use and is wonderful for using up your scrap silver by melting it down. Your new silver pebble can then be transformed into beautiful earrings, a pendant or even soldered onto a ring design. The possibilities are endless!
Cyrilyn shares with you a handy tip for stamping! Keep your pieces still and secure with the help of masking tape - how simple.
Today's top tip is all about drilling holes in metal! As Cyrilyn shows you in the video above, the Dremel 4000 Multi Tool is such a versatile tool. Ideal for detailed drilling, sanding, carving, engraving, cutting, grinding, cleaning and polishing. The flexible shaft enables precise, detailed work particularly in hard-to-reach places and provides more comfort, flexibility and fingertip control. Despite its small size it is surprisingly powerful and offers numerous possibilities!
These polishing mops, wheels and points are great for quickly polishing jewellery if you don't have a bench polisher and even if you do they are really useful for getting into those hard to reach places! These have a 2.3mm shank and will fit most hobby or pendant drills such as our Dremel 4000 Multi Tool where you will also require a multi chuck. These are best used with our polishing compounds, rouge and tripoli but don’t forget that if you are using both compounds (tripoli is for pre-polishing and rouge for final finishing) you will need separate points for each as even a small amount of tripoli can contaminate your rouge and prevent you from creating a mirror finish.
This bar of rouge polish is perfect for achieving a mirror finish on metals. This polishing compound consists of minuscule abrasive particles all held together with a binder so it is less messy than using rouge powder.
Rouge is designed for final polishing so any scratches will need to be removed first; use wet and dry sanding sheets or sanding sticks to remove any deep marks and then use tripoli to prepare your surface before finishing with rouge for a sparkling finish. Don’t forget, if you are using both compounds you will need separate mops for each as even a small amount of tripoli can contaminate your rouge and prevent you from creating a mirror finish.