Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society

Safety First

February 26, 2024 Corkie Bolton Season 1 Episode 8
Jewelry Making Tips with Metalsmith Society
Safety First
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today’s episode, I am talking about safety when it comes to jewelry making. I will go through my recommended  list of safety tools that every jeweler should  have whether they’re a hobbyist or professional. As a disclosure I am not providing any medical advice on this podcast.

Checkout Dovetail Workwear, my favorite pants and coveralls for working in my studio (and garden!) Use code METALSMITHSOCIETY to save $10 off your order:

Link to the safety glasses, 3M Ear Muffs and other safety related products:

Tip for ear protection from @amywingdesigns:

Society Work Apron:

Every jeweler should own this book, Eco Jewelry Handbook by Christine Dhein:

Blog Article How To Feel Confident You Are Safely Using Your Jewelers Torch:

Foredom Dust Collector use code MSS5:

Foredom Dust Collection Bench Pin Attachment use code MSS5:

Disposable 3M Masks:

If you have a tip you want to share about a DIY dust collection system you can email it to me over at, I’d love to share!

Quattro SolderPure Fume Extractor use code MSS5:

Technique for safely polishing chain:

Support the podcast:

Thank you for listening!

Music attribution: Stock Music provided by RomanSenykMusic, from Pond5

Corkie Bolton:

Welcome to Jewelry Making Tips with Metals mith Society, the ultimate podcast for anyone passionate about the art of jewelry making. I'm your host, Corkie Bolton. Metals mith Society is a community on Instagram that has over 240,000 individuals, from professional jewelers to small business artisans, hobbyists, students and even those curious, lucky lose eager to learn about jewelry making. Together, we share tips, kindness and support. In this podcast, I will discuss tips from the Instagram page, provide deeper insights, address questions and share bonus tips that often surface in the comments section. So, whether you've been making jewelry for a while or you're just starting your jewelry making journey, this podcast is your go-to resource for all the jewelry making tips. So grab your tools, dust off your workbench and join me. In today's episode. I want to talk about safety when it comes to jewelry making. I'm going to go through my list of basic safety tools that I think every jeweler should have, whether you're a hobbyist or a professional. While it will be impossible for me to mention every single safety tip, I'm going to do my best to provide the basics. As a disclosure, I am not providing any medical advice on this episode, Since what you wear in your studio is an important part of the conversation today, you need to check out our sponsor, Dovetail Workwear. These are my favorite pants and coveralls for working in my studio and my garden. Those of the podcast can save $10 off your order when you use our code METALSMITHSOCIETY, so be sure to check them out for work. Pants that are made for women by women. Okay, so you're about to go work at your bench.

Corkie Bolton:

The first safety thing we need to think about is what are you wearing? You want to make sure that you don't have any loose clothing on, especially something that could get caught up in a machine. You also want to make sure that you're wearing closed toe shoes. This is a polarizing topic, actually, because I know a lot of people that like to work barefoot or in sandals because they're living in some amazing climate where it's hot all the time. But truly, if you drop a tool on your foot, you want to be able to protect yourself as much as possible. If you have long hair, make sure you tie it back. If you have a long beard, you also want to be mindful of that. It's anything that could get caught up in a machine.

Corkie Bolton:

Every jeweler should own safety goggles. They're very inexpensive. There's ones that are super lightweight that I will link in the show notes that I can't even feel that they're on my face, and you have your more stylish ones like staggles. I'll link those two. If you want to look cool on your social media but also protect your eyes, Safety goggles are inexpensive enough that I recommend buying more than one pair and that way, when you go over to your sanding belt, there's a pair right there to put on. That way, you're never not putting them on because oh no, where'd they go? Especially, most safety goggles are clear, so sometimes I'm like where did they go? You spend 30 minutes looking for them and they were sitting right there in front of you. You have a few pairs and you keep them at designated stations so, like your fleckshaft, you should have a pair of safety goggles always there so that you always put them on. It's not a bad idea.

Corkie Bolton:

Another item that I wish every single jeweler would buy was shared by Amy Wing Designs back in 2018. And it was actually shared, I think. I put out a story and I was like I need earplugs or something because I was doing all this hammering and discutting and it was quite honestly hurting my ears, and what Amy suggested were these 3M ear muffs and go out and buy a pair. I'll also link those in the show notes. They're not very expensive and you really should be using ear protection every time you are hammering, stamping, definitely when you're using a disc cutter. Those create harmful levels for our ears over time and if you're spending a lot of time doing it as well, once you get them and you put them on, you'll never go back. Your ears will thank you.

Corkie Bolton:

Wearing an apron or a cover all is another consideration. That's more so because it'll protect your clothing from polishing compounds, metal dust, that sort of thing. I definitely found that. You know I don't want my clothing necessarily coming in contact with some of the you know, particulates and chemicals and other things that I'm using in my studio. So it's not a bad idea to get an apron. I do sell society aprons. I'll link them in the show notes. I feel like I'm gonna say that like a hundred more times in this episode, so I apologize in advance.

Corkie Bolton:

Keep a first aid kit that's fully stocked in your studio. Hopefully you'll never have to use it. Same goes for a fire extinguisher. My tip with a fire extinguisher is to familiarize yourself with how it's used and keep it in a place where you can grab it fast if it's needed. Hopefully it'll never be needed. You should also know that disposable fire extinguishers should be replaced about every 10 years.

Corkie Bolton:

When it comes to safety around chemicals and consumables like flux in your studio, I want to encourage everyone to buy a copy of the book Eco Jewelry Handbook by Christine Dhein. You will be better informed about what types of pickle, patina and fluxes to use to create a more environmentally friendly studio. It's a fantastic book and truly a resource that every jeweler should own. A question and concern I get frequently from beginners is torch safety. An entire episode could be dedicated to torch safety and maybe there will be one in the future, but today I won't be going into all the specifics. I will, however, link an article from the Metal Smith Society blog in the show notes that's titled how to Feel Confident you Are Safely Using a Jeweler's Torch, and I think if you give that a read it might answer a lot of the questions you may have.

Corkie Bolton:

The next important safety consideration is how to handle dust. It's created when we grind, sand and polish jewelry. A dust collector is an important tool for a few reasons. It will improve the safety of your work environment by collecting the metal and polishing dust. It will also collect the dust so that you can send it to your refiner eventually and reinvest the money you spent on precious materials back into your business. I really like the Fordham dust collector I have because it doesn't use a filter bag. It collects into a clear canister that I can easily empty into my refining bucket. It also has this awesome attachment that has a bench pin built right into it so I can work with my flux shaft and have all the dust collected while I work. An added bonus of this type of system with the clear canister is that there have been a few times where a gemstone has been sucked into my dust collection system and with the clear canister I can just reach in and get it out, so that's always a plus.

Corkie Bolton:

Not everyone can afford a dust collector, especially when they're doing jewelry as a hobby or starting out or on a budget. Everyone, however, can get a respirator mask to wear. I like the 3M Aura particulate disposable mask. I'll link it in the show notes. You can get a pack of them for $10. They're not too uncomfortable to wear, they fit really nice to the face and they're going to give you really great protection if you don't have a dust collector.

Corkie Bolton:

Fumes are another safety consideration I want to discuss today, and, while this is an inferior method, if you don't have a fume extraction system, you can keep two windows open and a fan on to circulate the air around you At the time I'm recording this. There are these tabletop fume extractors that are available for about $75 or cheaper on Amazon, and I would say that that would be your next step, if you can afford that. It can sit right on your table that you're soldering at and it will pull some of those fumes and smoke in to it. The fume extractor that I decided to invest in is the Quattro solder pier. It has a HEPA filter, it's very quiet. You can roll it around and move it to different places in your studio because it's on wheels, and it has this flexible arm with a capture hood attached which is sort of the shape like a dog cone, and you put it where you want to extract fumes. It works great and I would say, if that's something that you can invest in in the future, it would definitely be a really great system to have.

Corkie Bolton:

I want to end with something sort of general, which is that you should maintain a clean and organized workspace. To minimize tripping hazards and accidents in your studio. Make sure that you keep cords, wires and equipment just properly stored when not in use. And then I also want to end with something oddly specific, but I know that it could help prevent injury for a lot of folks. Never, ever wrap your hand around chain and then use it on a polishing machine or even with your flux shaft. Chain can easily get caught and wrapped up in those mechanisms and this can cause great bodily harm if your hand is sort of intertwined with the metal or the chain in that instance. Recently I did share a technique for safely polishing chain. It's really as simple as placing a tiny nail or hook onto a area of your bench, which you can then use to hold the clasp of the chain, and then by hand, you hold your chain taut and you polish the chain. So if you would like to see that tip, I will be sure to include it in my show notes.

Corkie Bolton:

Before I wrap up today's episode, I want to take a moment to talk about how you can support the podcast and the work I do, If you've enjoyed what you've heard and you want to help me to continue to create content.

Corkie Bolton:

There are a few things you can do. Consider subscribing to the podcast on your favorite platform and leave me a review. Your feedback helps me improve and reach more listeners. You can also share the episodes with your friends, family and on social media. That can make a big difference. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to help this podcast grow. And finally, if you're able to support me financially, you can become a Patreon member or purchase a shirt from metalsmithsociety. com. Your contributions go directly towards covering the costs of producing and hosting the show. I'll link those in the show notes. I appreciate each and every one of you for tuning in and supporting me. However, you can Thank you for being a part of my podcast community and I hope you'll tune in next time. Byyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Intro and sponsor with discount code
What are you wearing?
Protecting your eyes with safety googles
Ear production via 3M earmuffs
Consider wearing an apron or coverall
Keep a fully stocked first aid kit in your studio
Fire extinguisher at the ready!
Buy Eco Jewelry Handbook by Christine Dhein
Quick notes on torch safety
Handling dust
Fume extraction options
Keep a clean and organized workspace
Oddly specific, but never ever wrap chain around your hand!
Wrapping up and how to support the Metalsmith Society