How to Take Care of Jewelry Tools?

by Bill Mikulas.

How to Take Care of Jewelry Tools?  - Discussion on Jewelry Making Journal

I have been making jewelry for about a year now, and just upgraded to my first set of high quality tools… a collection of pliers, cutters and a few specialty pliers.

I never did any cleaning or routine care on my old “beginner” tools, but I want to take good care of my new expensive tools!

I’d appreciating hearing how you clean and maintain your jewelry tools.

Thanks in advance.

Bill Mikulas

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  • Joey B says:

    Bill – congrats on investing well. If you are on Facebook, there’s a great group you could join called Aspiring Metalsmiths. It’s a wonderful group of folks who come from all ranks of expertise (from beginner to well established). This is a perfect place to ask this question, and I will get more answers than you thought possible. Good luck, and please post some pictures of what you create!

  • Judith says:

    Great tip about that FB group, Joey B. The name perfectly describes me!

    I am no expert on tool care but I try to keep mine capped and carefully put away (not piled on my work table) when not in use and I try not to use them inappropriately. I also try hard not to drop them, ; ) Shears and cutters are designed for certain limits as to wire or sheet metal gauge, and if you push the limits you risk destroying your tools. I will be interested to learn what other people do to preserve theirs. I’ll just add that my electric dog-grooming clippers require a certain type of oil between uses, but I haven’t heard of anything similar for manual cutting tools.

  • Ed Turner says:

    Ya. Other guys are here too,
    Maintaining is easily done with 3+1 oil in a can or Fluid Film spray can. Both are an oil based preservative and lubrication oils. Water based such as the more popular and inexpensive oils evaporate, they can be used but, not as good for moving parts I.e. pliers.

    Remove any tape residue or other substances right away, see above. Wire brushing or tools is also ok if they are rusty. Buy some waterproof sanding paper of at least 800 or higher grit to sand your tools as well. Those little flat sanding sticks women use on their nails work good to help sharpen pliers as well.

    Some tools never rust and others rust if you walk by them. The self rusting ones can be sanded then refinished by the following; bees wax, clear sealant spray, clear nail polish or Tremclad spray paint. My preference is the black semi gloss.

    Hammers!! When they get loose, for the love of all that is good in this world do not start pounding nails into the end with the metal head. Just please don’t do it.
    Hammer time, to fix a loose head either soak it in warm water overnight, then clean off water and rust in morning.
    – This will will cause the dried out wood to re-swell and the head will be secure for about a year.
    – Secondary method is to heat up used oil, veggie or petroleum, place hammer in, head down and leave overnight as well. (May cause discoloration and residue thatay come off in your hand. Inside hammers water works fine and shop tools, oil is the better way. By they way, oil soaking will last 3-4 years before another present is needed.

    Plier’s – get a couple of cheap big ugly old pliers to cut big chain and big wires. I once watched someone in a craft store ruin a $20 precision crafting and jewelry pliers cutting a large linked men’s neck chain with them. The $2 garage sale pliers I have them as a gift will work for about 5 years doing the same job!

    For small chisels or screwdrivers, use a loop or magnifying glass to check out for burs or jagged bits. That similar to above.

    Especially in your home or studio, use the larger cheaper tools for your pre work, use the much more expensive small tools for finishing and shows.

    Hope it helps you out.
    Cheers Ed

  • Thanks so much, Joey, Judith, and Ed – for sharing these fantastic tool care tips! 🙂

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