Help on the shelf

Yesterday, when I began my riveting experience, I knew that somewhere I had a chart that would show what size drill bit I needed to match the gauge of silver wire I was using for my rivets. I had 20 gauge wire and 18 gauge wire and a number of drill bits in various sizes.

I found what I was looking for in the book: “The Complete Metalsmith an Illustrated Handbook” by Tim McCreight. I’ve had this handy 150 page book since the 1980’s (before metal clay was invented). The version available on Amazon is the revised edition from 1991. It is full of information and charts, such as the one I was looking for.  Of all the books I own, this is still the one I turn to most consistently when I want to figure out the mechanics of a clasp, learn about specific alloys, or just about anything else. (Like, what size drill bit do I need to make a hole for a rivet using 18 gauge wire?) The illustrations are clear and the spiral bound book lays flat. It is packed with information. I highly recommend it if you don’t already have it.

The drill bit size for 20 gauge wire is 65. I bought some from Rio, in the fall, after taking Celie’s class.  I must have had the information in my notes to remind me to order them at the time.  They were handy by on my workbench. The drill bit size for 18 gauge wire is 56. Not something I had among the new packages. But last year when I did a major overhaul of my studio, I made an effort to put things I wasn’t using into labeled drawers. At the bottom of the “drill bit” drawer, the last package I checked, was this:

I purchased these from Rio Grande a long time ago. Glad I held onto them, so I had them to use  yesterday. It was just the kind of instant gratification I needed to keep moving forward.


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5 responses to “Help on the shelf

  1. what a handy reference! i think i need hat book-especially if it has info on clasp mechanics…
    i’m such a “wing it” kind of girl that i just file down the wire to fit the hole i’ve made with my drill…it never really occurred to me that there were drill bits that exactly matched wire thickness!


  2. LeAnn

    This is one of my favourite books as well. I think it might be the best metal smithing reference book out there. I use it all of the time.


  3. crnbrycst

    I will have to tell Chris About this. This is exactly the kind of thing he would do..and actually, I have done it on occasion. I can remember the feeling of, I know I have this…I’ve seen it before…where would I have put it? Like, replacement blades for my paper cutters, a specific type of glue, a picture frame…or a picture etc.


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