Excerpt from The Encyclopedia of jewelry making techniques by Jinks McGrath
When you are first beginning to work with jewelry you will need only a few jewelry tools and pieces of equipment. Buy tools only as you need them. There is no need acquire the full range when you are beginning.
Although it is possible to work in the kitchen, you should, if possible, try to have a special working area that can be either closed off or secured in some way, because some of the jewelry tools and pickles you will use could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
There is no need to buy sophisticated work bench. An old table will suffice, as long as it is reasonably sturdy and does not wobble. Make sure that the table is a comfortable height. When you are working your elbows should be able to rest easily on the surface of the table is a comfortable height. When you are working your elbows should be able to rest easily on the surface of the table, but try to keep your back straight while you work.
The wooden bench pin, which is the central working point, can be attached to the table with a C-clamp. Try to arrange the bench and working area so that the jewelry tools you use most often � pliers, snips and jeweler�s saw, for example are easily accessible. A hook or rack near to the bench in is a neat and convenient method of keeping them near at hand. A small vise, which has numerous uses, can be screwed to the edge of the table.
Make sure that you work under a good light. An adjustable table lamp is ideal because the light can be directed to shine onto your work so that no shadows are cast. Bear in mind that when you are soldering and annealing you need to be able to turn off the light, so make sure the switch is within easy reach. Protect the area of your jewelry bench or table that you use soldering with a metal plate of some kind � an old roasting pan would be ideal and stand the soldering block or charcoal block on the metal so that the surface of the bench is not damaged by the flame of the torch. Small soldering jobs can be done with a portable gas cylinder torch, but for everyday use, you will probably find a blow torch that uses propane gas and your own breath more than adequate.
Most jewelry polishing can be done by hand, especially at first. If and when you acquire a polishing motor, make sure that is has its own housing or that has an integral dust extraction system. The dust created by jewelry polishing is dirty and gets everywhere. The following jewelry tools and equipment are those you will need to get started. Buy other items as you need them so that you gradually acquire a fully equipped workshop.