Last week, I spent approximately $172 million dollars on new tools and supplies, thanks to a fabulous book I’m reading. Simple Soldering: A Beginner’s Guide to Jewelry Making is a delightful tome that teaches far more than soldering alone. Obviously, I don’t consider myself a beginner, but I am new to many of the techniques in this book, and I am super psyched about leveling up my game.
Among my new toys—I mean tools—are a pair of simple shears that glide through sheet metal, an assortment of hammers, the jeweler’s saw I’ve had on my shopping list forever, and a few things that, frankly, I have no idea how to use. I have shimmering sheets of copper and coils of copper wire. And punches! And stamps! And I’m only on the third project in the book, which leaves me fearing for my wallet.
Testing the Water
I’m often surprised by how frightening it can be to try and learn something new. Even simple, easily-understood tasks are easier to put off than to tackle. Fortunately, cutting, sawing and hammering metal are seriously fun for me, so I keep diving in. I’ve more or less conquered my fear of the torch, and while I’m excited to learn more advanced techniques, I’m following each step in the book. I want to make sure I don’t miss out on any valuable tips or tricks.
The teaching method in this book is simple and ingenious. The author, veteran instructor Kate Ferrant Richbourg, guides the student through a series of sixteen “samplers”—small squares of copper that become the foundation for learning and practicing each technique. Each sampler builds on the techniques learned from creating the previous tile. This builds both knowledge and confidence, reinforcing through repetition while allowing plenty of room for mistakes.
If you have a hankering to make jewelry but don’t know where to start, get your hands on this book. And say good-bye to your budget.