It might not surprise you to know that we are massive tool fans here at London Jewellery School HQ – they make our hearts sing! And we know many of you love them too. So we are going to be running a series of blog posts on some fantastic tools to consider adding to your toolkits as your progress on your Jewellery Making journey. We will talk about how these tools can be used and what the pros and cons of these tools are and where you can get them.
And first up is a small but incredibly useful tool used by silversmiths called the Mitre Jig. It’s a funny looking tool at first glance, but once you start using you will find it very hard to believe you ever worked without it!
Have you ever struggled to get perfectly straight seams for soldering? Or maybe you find it difficult to file a completely flat facet on a ring to solder a setting for a stone onto it? The Mitre Jig (sometimes also known as a Mitre Cutter) will help you get seamless joints and can be used to create perfect 90° or 45° angles on a piece of metal. It is just brilliant for filing metal wire, sheet and tubing perfectly flat.
The mitre jig in action with Tube, Sheet and Wire.
So how does it work?
Using the jig is very easy. You simply loosen the bolts at the top and insert the metal in the appropriate slot and then twist the bolts closed. Having one perfectly straight edge on your metal before you start works best. You will need to tighten the bolts quite tight so that there is no risk of your metal moving when being filed. Make sure your piece is perfectly straight in the jig. We like to butt the piece up against the little pegs or ‘teeth’ to ensure that it is straight – you can check the underside of the jig to make sure the metal is flush against the peg on both sides. Leave a little amount of metal proud of the Jig as this is the edge you will be filing flat.
Then use your flat or half round file to file the metal flat. Don’t worry about the file damaging your Mitre Jig – the jig is made from hardened steel and so the file won’t damage it. We do tend to use older files for filing on the Jig as the file does rub
against the hard steel.
A perfectly flat facet filed on a ring shank using the Mitre Jig.
Where can you get them?
We are not going to lie, the Mitre Jig isn’t the cheapest bit of kit you will buy for your toolkit, nor is it by any means essential. But, it is one that will last for years and years if looked after properly and is worth considering if you make a lot of silver Jewellery or do a lot of tube setting.
You can buy them from Cookson Gold at approximately £50, or Cousins do an economy version at approximately £30. On the top banner you can see a picture of the Cookson Gold jig and the Cousins jig side by side. The main difference between the two is that you have an extra set of nuts at the bottom for holding wire or a stopper for bigger bits of metal and a 60 degree angle slot.
Please note that the opinions in this blog are our opinions only. We have not been paid for this review and these tools were purchased by ourselves.
Do let us know if there are any tools you use that you couldn’t be without or would like us to review! We would love to hear from you.