Jewelry: Hand Building in Sheet Metal
by Kollabora Follow

These skills will help you begin to hand build - or fabricate - small projects in sheet metal.  You'll need to cover all the basics like:

  • Sawing
  • Drilling
  • Filing

Check in each section's description for helpful tips for each process.

Skills

Loading a Drill

Before you start any other part of your project, you'll want to drill holes while you have the maximum amount of metal to clamp.  A good place to start is by placing your bit into the chuck of your drill.  In this tutorial, we show you from the top how to place a bit into the chuck of a flex shaft - in most cases, though, you should be using a drill press or hand drill, which will feature a similar chuck.  Remember, only use the flex shaft to drill into soft materials - like plastic or wax - never metal, if you want to save your fingers, drill bits and flex shaft components a lot of wear and tear!

Loading a Drill

Kristin Hanson from Fine Jewelry School in New York shows you how to load a drill bit into a...

Drilling into Metal

Drilling Metal

To drill metal you will need a non-electric hand drill or a drill press.   Step 1...

Loading a Saw

Before you can saw, you've got to set the blade correctly, with the teeth facing the right direction, and proper blade tension.  Don't get frustrated, this can be tricky at first!

Loading a Saw Blade

Learn how to load a blade into a jewelry saw with Kristin Hanson from Fine Jewelry School in...

Sawing a Straight Line

Remember to keep your hands out of the way as you saw - channel your inner sewing machine and turn the metal, not the blade, so you don't end up cutting towards yourself.  Helpful tip:  You can put a straight line up against the side of your bench pin - if you cut into the wood you'll know you're not going straight, so you can use that as a guide as you make your cuts.

Sawing a Line

Learn this simple, straight forward technique from Fine Jewelry School founder Kristin...

Sawing a Curve

Remember to keep your hands out of the way as you saw - channel your inner sewing machine and turn the metal, not the blade, so you don't end up cutting towards yourself.  Sometimes when making a curve or a circle it's easiest to keep your fingers behind the blade - this is perfectly safe.  

Sawing a Circle

Kristin Hanson from Fine Jewelry School shows you how to saw a circle from a metal sheet...

Sawing a Corner

Remember to keep your hands out of the way as you saw - channel your inner sewing machine and turn the metal, not the blade, so you don't end up cutting towards yourself.  Sometimes when making a corner it's important to really hold the blade in one spot, don't let it go forward until you've turned the metal to make your cut.  Remember, your blade can make a turn as tight as it is wide, so you can make a fairly sharp corner.  

Sawing a Square

Get your tools ready and learn how to saw a square with Kristin Hanson from Fine Jewelry...

Filing Metal

Remember, only use metal files in a pushing motion - the file should be moving away from your body, the metal should be moving towards the handle of the file.  Always work against your bench pin or work surface - air-filing can take 5 times as long to have an effect!

Filing Metal

Check out this easy tutorial for how to file metal from Fine Jewelry School founder and...

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