Career summary

Details for Precious Metal Workers


Description

Cast, anneal, solder, hammer, or shape gold, silver, pewter or other metals to form jewelry or other metal items such as goblets or candlesticks.

Tasks

  • Cut and file pieces of jewelry such as rings, brooches, bracelets, and lockets.
  • Solder parts together or fill holes and cracks with metal solder, using gas torches.
  • Polish articles by hand or by using a polishing wheel.
  • Pierce and cut open designs in ornamentation, using hand drills and scroll saws.
  • Position and align auxiliary parts in jigs and join parts, using solder and blowtorches.
  • Examine articles to determine the nature of defects requiring repair, such as dents, uneven bottoms, scratches, or holes.
  • Shape and straighten damaged or twisted articles by hand or using pliers.
  • Anneal precious metal objects such as coffeepots, tea sets, and trays in gas ovens for prescribed times to soften metal for reworking.
  • Rotate molds to distribute alloys and to prevent formation of air pockets.
  • Weigh and mix alloy ingredients, using formulas and knowledge of ingredients' chemical properties.
  • Carry castings or finished items to storage areas or to different work stations.
  • Heat ingots or alloy mixtures to specified temperatures, stir mixtures, skim off impurities, and fill molds to form ingots from which parts are cast.
  • Design and fabricate models of new casting molds, and chipping and turning tools used to finish product surfaces.
  • Rout out locations where parts are to be joined to items, using routing machines.
  • Determine placement of auxiliary parts, such as handles and spouts, and mark locations of parts.
  • Form concavities in bottoms of articles to improve stability, using tracing punches and hammers.
  • Weigh completed items to determine weights and record any deviations.
  • Design silver articles, such as jewelry and serving pieces.
  • Peen edges of scratches or holes to repair defects, using peening hammers.
  • Secure molded items in chucks of lathes, and activate lathes to finish inner and outer surfaces of items.
  • Research reference materials, analyze production data, and consult with interested parties to develop ideas for new products.
  • Position articles over snarling tools and raise design areas, using foot-powered hammers.
  • Trim gates and sharp points from cast parts, using band saws.
  • Verify that bottom edges of articles are level, using straightedges or by rocking them back and forth on flat surfaces.
  • Engrave decorative lines on items, using engraving tools.
  • Sand interior mold parts to remove glaze residue, apply new glaze to molds, and allow it to dry for mold assembly.
  • Strike articles with small tools, or punch them with hammers, to indent them or restore embossing.
  • Wire parts such as legs, spouts, and handles to article bodies in preparation for soldering.
  • Hammer out dents and bulges, selecting and using hammers and dollies with heads that correspond in curvature to article surfaces.
  • Assemble molds, wrap molds in heat-resistant cloth, and ladle molten alloy into mold openings, repeating casting processes as necessary to produce specified numbers of parts.
  • Strike molds to separate dried castings from molds.
  • Glue plastic separators to handles of coffeepots and teapots.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

Knowledge

Skills

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