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    Dailing.twisted tools
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Toolmaking for Jewelers

Toolmaking is in essential part of many jewelry practices and studios. This two-day demo focused virtual class is an introduction to working with tool steel and creating tools from scratch as well as modifying existing tools to either work better for you and your hands or for a specific task.

Day one will focus specifically on working with water hardened tools steel, where we will make a plethora of stone setting and chasing tool, as well as a center punch. Topics covered will include shaping as well as annealing, hardening, and tempering your tool steel.  Day two will focus on modifying existing tools that don’t work as well as they could or ones that could use a more custom fit. Several tools that will be covered include a tool for determining the perfect balance point for making pendants, a micro burnisher for stone setting, and a rotary tool used to eliminate porosity in castings. 

Meet the instructor

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Jim Dailing became passionate about jewelry in college in 1977 after watching a friend skillfully cut an opal. He knew then that he had found his creative outlet. Jim spent the next 10 years furthering his education and gaining experience in a variety of metalsmithing techniques. His enthusiasm and genuine love of the craft is evident in every piece created.



To see some of Jim's work, please visit his website or Instagram page



Materials & Tools

Instructor prefers to use square stock water hardened tool steel (W1 TOOL STEEL) and typically 3/16” to 5/16" thick, but you can use any size and shape of tool steel that you would prefer. Most punches are between 3.5” and 4” in length. The length could differ depending on the size of your hand. Tool steel can be acquired from numerous vendor. One good options is McMaster Carr. You will need to cut your rods of tool steel -- a hack saw can be used to easily cut steel stock.


Tools used for the process:

  • 1 x fireproof area - steel sheet, tiles, fire bricks, etc. (Amazon)

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

  • 1 x powerful torch tip - #1 or #2 for example (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x Tillman welding gloves - well fitting (Amazon)

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

  • 1 x bench pin (Rio Grande)

  • 1 x half round hand file - #2 cut (Rio Grande)

  • vice grips - or other pliers used for holding tool steel during heating processes

  • any additional file shapes - will be used specifically for filing tool steel ONLY

  • sanding sticks - 320, 400, and 600 grits

  • cutting compound and solid felt buff (Tripoli or similar)

  • old pointed tweezers


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