A Glossary of Jewelerspeak
This Glossary is intended to help explain some of the odd words and techniques encountered when venturing into the lands of the metalsmith. This list is partial. If you see a term somewhere that you don’t understand, tell me and I’ll add it in.
(yes, there really was an ACME ANVIL CO. ....)
Note the buffs in the picture are labeled as to what compound they're for. Once loaded with a given compound, any particular buff becomes dedicated to that compound for life.
The hammers in the picture with wide, soft crosspeens are used in raising, for smoothing out the deep dents left from primary raising with sharper crosspeens. Sharper hammers move the metal faster, but leave nasty dents. The sequence is to use sharp hammers for the initial few passes, and then to switch out to hammers with wider and wider faces as the final shape is refined. Sharp hammers can also tear through the metal if used carelessly.
Flask: short lengths of steel tube that form the side walls of an invested mold for casting. Sometimes also called a ‘can’.
A short section of steel rod sharpened at the end, and usually with a mushroom shaped handle. Used to engrave lines and letters, and also to help seat stones.
Americans refer to all tools of this type/shape as gravers or engraving tools.
The British refer only to those actually used for engraving linear designs as gravers or engraving tools. They refer to the other shapes, used for stone setting as Scorpers. This can get a little fuzzy, as the distinction is based on the use of the tool, and many of the tools can serve either purpose. Typically, the diamond or lozenge gravers are referred to as gravers, while the flat, round, bull stick (oval) and spit stick (ongilette) shapes are scorpers.
In America, it’s usually “Sparex #2” which is a sodium Bisulphate compound. Elsewhere, it’s usually a 10% solution of sulfuric acid in water.
Scorper: British term for a specialized subset of what Americans would refer to as engraving tools. Scorpers are the ones used for stonesetting, as opposed to the tools used for engraving. In the British usage, those would be the Spit Stick (Ongilette), Bull Stick (Oval), Flat & Round. Engraving tools would be those such as the lozenge & diamond.
Sinking: Sheet metal technique for hammering a sheet of metal into a form until it has “sunk” down to the desired volume. Not as versatile as raising, although faster. Cannot achieve the same high narrow forms that are possible with raising. About the best it can do is a cereal bowl or similar form.
Spitstick or Splitstick: British term for an Ongilette graver. Used in stone setting. Spellings vary from book to book, but it sounds like they're saying "spit stick".
Split Mandrel: A wooden mandrel designed to fit onto the tapered spindle of a buffing machine. The mandrel has a slot (split) up the center that is designed to trap a strip of sandpaper. As the mandrel spins, the sandpaper winds onto the mandrel, and forms a quickly changed sanding drum. Usually used for the insides of rings. There are also smaller ones designed to fit into the chuck of a flex-shaft machine.
They work by having a lower melting point than the subject metal, so that the solder becomes liquid while the subject metal is still solid. Although the subject metal is still solid at this point, it is very hot, and the crystal structure of the metal has already opened up slightly such that there are minute crevices between adjoining crystals. The silver solder flows into these minute crevices and forms a localized alloy, thus locking itself into the subject metal. (The ultimate super-glue.) If properly designed and performed, a silver soldered joint is as strong as the metal surrounding it. Silver solder is severely thermotropic, meaning that it likes heat, and will actively seek it when molten. Silver solder will not flow or bond properly on an oxide. If your solder is balling and won’t run, try throwing the piece in the pickle for a while. (after it’s cooled Solder commonly comes in 3 grades, Hard, Medium and Easy. Hard is the highest melting , with Easy being the lowest. There are two more extra grades that are sometimes useful: IT solder, which is a super high melting point solder, usually used by enamelists, and Easy Flow, which is a super low solder. It’s not as strong as the others, but is handy for repairs, and a good color match for bronze.