If I had a wish as a teacher, it would be that the Lone Star State hire someone with sense to pick our textbooks. The textbook provided by the state is pretty but is really not much use. The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight would be MY first choice as a textbook for this course.
In fact, this was MY first textbook when I started as a jewelry student and although I'm obsessive about books and buy every jewelry related book I can find, THIS one is still the best general guide for someone learning the jewelry arts.
One of the things I love about this book is a page of "Do It Yourself" tabs for chapter dividers. They are very helpful and rather than add to the cost of the book ($14.95 in most stores--$11.96 at Amazon) they are included so that you can cut out and paste up your own.
This book is fairly comprehensive, it packs a wealth of information into 192 pages. The first chapter is about Materials and opens with a brief discussion of metallurgy before it goes into specific metals. Under each metal there is information about the history of the metal's use, the scientific information (Melting point, specific gravity, atomic weight), Standards, alloys and more. Information is given about working or casting with the metals as well as information about the quantities that the metal is provided in. One might buy a dimeweight of platinum or a metric ton of iron. Also included in this chapter is a small section on plastics as they have made an impact on modern jewelry.
There is a chapter on Surfaces and many of the techniques that are used to change the surface quality of metal. The first technique discussed is hammer marks and how to use different hammers to produce marks of varying quality and surface texture. The illustrations give the viewer a very clear idea of what will be accomplished using a particular technique. Each section also gives information about the various tools used for each technique along with tips for using the tool most effectively and definitions of the techniques. Also, there is information about the maintenance of tools, such as the care of graver tools, how to keep a keen edge. In addition, under surface design, there are methods of coloring metal and patina recipes.
Another chapter discusses Shaping which includes piercing, bending and forging just to mention a few of the many techniques discussed. The section on how to create seams and interlocking finger joints presents clear step by step instructions with simple, yet effective illustrations. Also covered are many techniques for joining metal, both hot and cold methods, information about assorted casting processes, stone setting with a summary chart of many different precious and semi-precious stones. There is an extensive section on making catches and clasps and other findings and a very thorough separate section on tools and what to look for and how to maintain them well.
There is just so much information in this book. It is well written in language that is easy for the non-initiate to comprehend. I still refer to it almost every day.
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