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    Wood.steel leaf necklace
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    Wood.steel oval lace form

From Ferrous to Fine: Steel for Jewelers - Part 1

Steel is a beautifully light and resilliant metal alloy that often gets overlooked in the jewelry making sphere. While light enough to be worn on a large scale, it is also highly durable and comes in a plethora types to suit a number of jewelry making needs!

This demo-focused virtual class focuses on the use of steel, typically considered a non-precious metal, in combination with precious metals such as silver or gold for the fabrication of unique jewelry. Participants will learn about the working properties of steel, which vary greatly from those of precious metals, as well as the few similarities and overlaps that non-ferrous (precious) metals and steel share.

Demonstrations will be given on fabrication with several types of steel, soldering steel wire and sheet with gold and silver solder, as well as surface embellishment. Patinas for steel and other surface-altering methods will also be discussed.

Meet the instructor

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April Wood is a metalsmith and jeweler living and working in Baltimore, MD. She is a co-founder of the Baltimore Jewelry Center, a metals + jewelry community education space in Baltimore city, where she worked as Studio and Program Manager, Exhibitions Director, and an Instructor. She received her BFA in Studio Art, concentrating in Metals/Jewelry, from Texas State University – San Marcos and her MFA from Towson University. She has taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Penland School of Crafts, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and Towson University. Her work has been featured in Metalsmith, Surface Design Journal, and Sculpture. She exhibits her work nationally and internationally, including a solo exhibition at the Austin Museum of Art and SIERAAD International Art Jewelry Fair in Amsterdam.

Materials & Tools

The following supplies will be used for course demonstrations and objectives. A suggested item and/or vendor has been provided below for reference. Click the vendor name to be redirected to a page where you can view the item. The quantities needed for each item are listed first. If ordering, please be aware that some items may come in larger quantities than needed for this class. We recommend not opening an item's packaging until the day of the workshop. Student participation during or in-between class sessions is not required - observers are welcome.


Metal/raw materials: 

  • 12"x24" x mild steel sheet - 20g (McMaster)

  • 1/4lb x mild steel wire - 14g (McMaster)

  • 1/4lb x mild steel wire - 16g (McMaster)

  • 6" x sterling silver round wire - 20g half hard (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x gun bluing agent (Amazon)


Torch setup:

  • 1 x fireproof area - steel sheet, tiles, etc. (Amazon or Home Depot)

  • 1 x Solderite™ pad / pan with pumice (Rio Grande or Rio Grande)

  • 1 x torch - Smith mini, Silversmith, or butane (Rio Grande or Rio Grande)

  • 1 x #0 or #1 torch tip - if getting Silversmith (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x striker or lighter - Silversmith system has one (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x soldering pick (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x paste flux (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x copper tongs - for pickle (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x 6” silver solder - hard (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x pickle - sodium bisulfate or citric acid (Rio Grande or Amazon)

  • 1 x brass bristle brush (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x crock pot or lidded glass container (Rio Grande or Amazon)

  • 1 x tempered glass container or sink - for quenching and rinsing

  • 1 x small brush - for flux

  • 1 x liquid hand soap - for cleaning metal


Hand tools:


Other/miscellaneous items: 

  • hard work surface

  • fan and open window - or ventilation system

  • safety glasses 

  • pencil, Sharpie, notebook

  • rags/towels




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