Tricks of the Trade

We love to share metalworking advice from our experts!  Many thanks go out to our faculty and community members for generously sharing tips they've learned or developed from years of experience at the bench. If you would like our monthly "Tricks of the Trade" delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our email newsletter, In Lighter News, in the website footer.

Getting into tight spots to polish can be difficult! Learn how to make your own mini laps with chipboard and get into the polishing groove!

This is a great tip if you want to build a setting for a stone and your tubing doesn’t exactly fit. Learn how to adjust your tubing so that your setting is snug and fits your stone perfectly! 

PnP Blue is a transfer paper that is often used by metalsmiths as a resist for etching. When I was taught how to use PnP paper, I was told that I had to fill up the entire page, so none would go to waste. But I have trick to make your scrape PNP useful again! - Marissa Saneholtz 

I have never soldered a bezel closed. From day one of my jewelry making experience I was taught to fuse a bezel closed.When you fuse a bezel, the fine silver flows over your seam making it a permanent join. Overheating will not open it up as it sometimes can with solder. This is not a fusing tutorial but a trick I use to make sure the top edge of my bezel is a consistent thickness all the way around.

Pauline Warg is known for her hollow form beads with beautifully textures exteriors. But how does she maintain this texture while dapping the bead? 

 Traveling with all of your different gauges sheet metal, tubing, wire, silver solder, stones, etc… can be difficult and messy! Learn how to easely store your silver sheet and materials when you are on the go! 


For a recent repair, I had to rebuild a gold bezel on a worn out, cabochon gold ring. The original ring was cast. It was too complicated and expensive to rebuild the whole setting, so I added new bezel material just to the top. I fabricated new gold bezel and tacked it into perfect alignment with the laser welder.

Learn about a simple way to clean all of the nasty grit, rouge and studio gunk off your hands without the harshness!


With the dizzying array of files available on the market, it’s hard to imagine not having the right file for the job… until it finally happens.  Learn some valuable ways to customize your file to have the right fit for your project!

All those old burs you have lying around your bench are waiting for a new life!  This quick trick will turn your old bur into a burnisher in no time!


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