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Collecting scrap efficiently in a small shop?


#1

Dear Orchid list,

I have some questions about refining. Thus far I have not send any
metal to the refiner since my medium was restricted to inexpensive
sterling. I’m starting to incorporate karat gold into my smithed
pieces, so I want to make sure I recycle what I can. Please allow
some refining newbie questions:

First of all, any general recommendations about how to collect scrap
efficiently in a small shop? Any resources out there (books,
articles) I should know about?

In general, can you only send in “identifiable” pieces of metal, or
also saw dust and the like? To what extend does one need to keep
different metals (e.g. gold and silver) separate?

What about gold filled? One of my not-at-the-bench activities is to
weave chainmail pieces, and I want to use GF for a two-tone effect.
Since I cut my own rings with a jeweler’s saw, over time a lot of saw
dust accumulates. Do I save the saw dust and the pieces of wire that
inevitably accumulate?

Thanks a lot for your input!

Kind regards,
Claudia


#2

Hi Claudia, Save every bit of scrap. Polishing dirt, floor
sweepings, old emery paper, every bit of bench cleaning material and
anything else that might have precious metal in it or on it. Send it
all to a reputable refiner every year. The pay- back will suprise
you.

Have fun.
Tom Arnold


#3
First of all, any general recommendations about how to collect
scrap efficiently in a small shop? Any resources out there (books,
articles) I should know about? In general, can you only send in
"identifiable" pieces of metal, or also saw dust and the like? To
what extend does one need to keep different metals (e.g. gold and
silver) separate? 

We use 3 levels of scrap - 1) “Clean” metal that we can’t reuse -
mixed filings, mystery metal and stuff, but without lint or dust. 2)
Bench filings, which are rich in metal but mixed with other dust and
things. 3) Floor sweeps, which also includes polishing dust and
filters, and also the trap in the sink. Many people just throw it all
together, but the way we do the refining it pays to separate. You can
send in everything you have, you do not have to have only "real"
metal. They’re going to melt it all down and do an assay on the whole
batch. You do not need to separate gold and silver, but you might do
it anyway. More control=less misunderstanding. Gold filled is pretty
much useless, many refiners don’t even want it. Check with whoever
you might want to use about that. The energy to get the gold out is
higher than the tiny amount of gold is worth. I can’t speak for all,
but more than one refiner has told me not.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#4

Claudia,

What Tom said is right on. Be sure to run a magnet through those
bench sweeps. You need to remove any ferrous metal, saw blades,
springring inerds, etc. It costs more to refine if you leave them in.
Hoover’s metal cataloge is a great source for info about collection
and shipping.

And we all know the story about the carpeting thats gone to the
refiner and was worth it’s weight in gold >G<


#5

Claudia,

I save everything! The clean scrap/trimmings with no solder go into
appropriate jars to be reused in casting. The dirty silver and gold
go into separate containers for a trip back to the refinery. Golds
are separated by color and karat. Put all of the GF cuttings and dust
in a separate container.

All of the filing and grinding dust goes into a box along with bench
sweeps, buffing wheels, rags, filters, sludge from the ultrasonic,
etc.

As I run a school, the floor get swept and the dirt goes into
another container. We file and saw a lot of silver! That dust will be
money.

The copper scrap goes into one bucket. Brass into another. A 5
gallon bucket of copper clipping is easily worth $60 now. Helps pay
for that $140+ sheet.

Best bet? Check with the refiner of your choice and follow their
instructions. The materials we use are not going to get any cheaper.
They do not have to be fed or watered while we store them until the
amounts are worth sending in. Consider the interest banks pay. I
suspect our scrap will increase in value faster and have no monthly
service fees.

That dust and scrap has already been paid for. It is a freebie. Save
it!

Magnets! Run a strong magnet over everything to get the iron…saw
blades, file teeth, broken drills…out.

Bill Churlik
www.earthspeakarts.com


#6

Claudia,

There are articles written regularly about this subject in trade
magazines and things like Ebench by Brad Simon. However to give you
a brief overview (IMHO): You should be collecting everything
including: scraps of all metal, bench sweeps floor sweeps polishing
machine dust

The better you separate out the different types of sweeps the higher
your returns will usually be. So what I do is keep a separate bag for
gold scrap (screwed up pieces, ends of wires etc.) and platinum
scrap. You should also have a separate bag for silver scrap. Then I
have a separate bag for bench sweeps which includes unidentifiable
scrap, (your gold filled should probably go in this one), dust from
working, etc. Additionally you should be keeping a barrel that
includes anything and everything you sweep up from the floor and
anything coming from your polishing machines. If you work near
carpeting, you should occasionally throw that in there too. If you
vacuum near the shop, vacuum bags should go into that as well. The
cleaner the scrap the more often you should send it in. It usually
takes a lot of floor sweepings to get any real money back (I usually
send it in every 3-4 years–this would vary depending on how much
work you are actually doing and what metals you are working in) but
there is money in there so you should be saving it. As for the
sawing–everything including the broken saw blades should be saved
(they should go in the floor sweeps batch).

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
www.spirerjewelers.com


#7
The energy to get the gold out is higher than the tiny amount of
gold is worth. I can't speak for all, but more than one refiner has
told me not. 

I believe it. It takes a lot to make it worth the time, energy and
postage. Hauser and Miller and Hoover and Strong both will take gold
filled scrap. I think Ross Metals in NY also takes gold filled.

Michelle


#8

Claudia,

In my experience it is best to save EVERYTHING that contains any
precious metals. This includes your gold filled or plated objects,
buffing dust and the sludge accumulated after letting your 'dirty’
ultrasonic cleaning fluid evaporate in a free-standing container.
You will get the most return on your metal for credit/cash
transaction if you separate the ‘waste’ into categories. Clean,
relatively identifiable, unmelted pieces (ie. sheet and wire
cuttings)/ metal with solder joints and gold filled or plated stuff/
bench filings and grindings/ dust and dirt from polishing and liquid
cleaning. You can even send in the whole dust collection unit filters
as the refiner will throw it into an incinerator and process the ash
material.

Go to this link at Hoover and Strong refiners website for some
education on this subject.

http://www.hooverandstrong.com/refining/finding.html

Namaste,

Allen
Allen Howells
Indigo Designs
3430 Broadway
Allentown, PA 18104
610. 349. 5109


#9

Claudia,

Goodness, gracious yes collect that sterling. To hear folks in New
Mexico and Arizona talk, sterling is not cheap. In this period, the
price has rallied. Brad Simon talks about going to an aluminum
fabricating shop that saved that relatively cheap metal.

Efficient collecting? Some kind of catch-pan beneath the
sawing/filing area is a must for the metal dust. For I.J.S., the bits
of broken sawblade are a commodity to be retrieved and discarded with
a magnet. Others on the forum save their blades, probably to include
with “sweeps”, that class of materials that includes all the fluffy
gunk that you are/should be recovering from the floor and buffing
area. It takes a lot of sweeps (think a barrelful) for a refiner to
take seriously for silver and gold. You might want to take your
sweeps to a big shop, by way of a meet-and-greet that could get you
leads and referrals.

Separation is key for I.J.S. scrap reclaiming. That’s by alloy and
class of metal. Class A is unsoldered, unheated, free of non-metal,
base metal parts. Class B is soldered, heated, still no base- or
non-metal. Class C is filings, and we hoover up sawblades for
discarding. Use tough containers, at least freezer-weight plastic
bags, clearly labelled.

Goldfilled scrap? Just bag the lot, don’t sweat ABC separation. We
will need specs, like 1/20 12K GF on the labelling.

You’re still cutting rings with a jewelers saw? Consider a Jump
Ringer, extremely handy circular saw with coil holder and guide.
Powered by your #30 flexshaft handpiece. And save that dust! Men’s
boar-bristle shaving brushes make excellent benchtop brooms!!!

Dan Woodard, Indian Jewelers Supply Co, Gallup and Albuquerque, NM
www.ijsinc.com


#10
And save that dust! Men's boar-bristle shaving brushes make
excellent benchtop brooms!

Beauty, Dan! I’ve been using paper towels and they leave something
to be desired.

How much, weight wise, is enough to send in for gold filled? I know
it depends on quite a bit how much scrap vs dust is collected, but a
rough off-the-cuff estimate, if you please. I need to know how much
longer to collect it.

Thank you,
Michelle


#11

I definitely concur with the folks saying “save everything” (&
keeping categories separate - the refiner you select will have
guidelines) - EVERYTHING that could possibly have metal dust or
"fines" on it. If it takes several yrs to accumulate a significant
amount - then send in the “sweeps” 2nd or 3rd time you send stuff in
to the refiner. ( I do my polishing filters with the sweeps, too) (
I have been a metalsmith for so long - cycles of 2 - 3 yrs do not
feel so very long)

Re: Saw blades - I used to collect the broken blades with a magnet,
and save them in a small tupperware container & send them off
separately - I work mostly in gold, platinum and palladium, silver.
The saw blades are waxed and the wax collects metal “fines” –

But now, once I have collected A LOT of blades - I put them in the
ultrasonic - HOT water, clean fresh solution - the hot water softens
the wax enough to release the metal off the blades, I then pour the
entire solution from my ultrasonic into a pyrex beaker (or 2) and
set it on top of my burnout kiln to evaporate out the water - a few
runs of the kiln and all that is left is the metal particles - of
course it is a mixture of all the metals- I send it out when I am
sending sweeps - but it is wrapped separately and labelled as mixed
whatever the metals are. It may take a few years - but last time it
was a good amount and definitely worth the extra bit of effort -
with metals prices so high - for sure better than just discarding
the broken blades.

Linda
www.lindaweiss.com


#12

My jewelry production is mostly sterling silver and I separate the
scrap that I generate into clean scrap (never heated or soldered) and
dirty scrap (contains solder and other contaminants). I have been
saving it many years because my supplier at the time was not
interested in small quantities. Now I have quite a bit saved. What is
the minimum quantity of silver scrap that can be sent to refiners to
be recycled and still get a reasonable reimbursement? Thanks.

David Luck
627 Center Street
Iowa City, IA 52245-3008
319-351-5840
www.davidluckjewelry.com


#13

Gold filled will take a 50 gallon drum to justify sending to refine.


#14
Gold filled will take a 50 gallon drum to justify sending to
refine. 

Could you be more specific?

How much gold would a 50 gallon drum of gold filled material
produce? Do you have any literature that could define the cut-off
weight of gold fill as opposed to the energy costs of refining the
material profitably?

I would be most interested in your source of

Cheers, Hans Meevis
http://www.meevis.com


#15

Last I checked Hoover charges $100 for refining gold and silver. So
you want enough to pay that. At least 9 oz. silver. Also Hoover gives
you 10% off your order if you turn that back into metal.

Candy


#16

Michelle,

What I.J.S. pays on 1/20 12k gf is 1.45% of H&H BASE quote. On a
mkt. of $612.00, that’s $8.87 US per troy ounce. Figure at least
$5.00
in transit costs. At 2 ounces or better, it starts to make sense
(cents). Greater percentages of mkt. are paid for the 1/10 goldfilled
scraps.

cheers, Dan


#17

Hello,

After I sweep, I use a Swiffer Wet Jet to clean the floor and pick
up gold dust. It’s very convenient to throw the paper refill into the
box I put sweeps etc into.

James S. Cantrell CMBJ


#18
After I sweep, I use a Swiffer Wet Jet to clean the floor and pick
up gold dust. It's very convenient to throw the paper refill into
the box I put sweeps etc into. 

Ooo, clever, thanks!

Noel


#19

I was just looking at my new Modern Jeweler and found an ad for
hoover and Strong. $50 off first time refiners. Good deal, expires
2-28-07.

Candy


#20

Dan,

Thank you for that explanation. I appreciate it. I have probably 2
or 3 pounds of sweeps and scraps in gold filled and I was wondering
the other day what that amounted to. Mine is 1/20 14 kt gf.

Michelle