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Education Direct?

Ok what do you all think of this program? worth it or not? I cannot
go to classes in my region because there are no classes in my
region. So to learn basic soldering and repair on my own or pay 893
dollars for this course?


Yeah, and you can take Drivers Ed by correspondence school too. I
would stay away from this one.

Karen Christians
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


I just looked over the site you posted a link to within your

I do believe you can follow online learning sources right here via
Orchid without such an outlay.

I know you will hear from others on this topic. You have not
indicated where you live, is it in the USA? Rock and mineral clubs
abound and many have workshops and volunteers that teach all phases
of lapidary and smithing.

If you are in the USA, check some of the resources here in the
Orchid archives, also GIA offers off campus distance learning.

The American Federation of Mineralogical Societies lists regional
Federations and Societies all across the US.

My other idea is to check out local Adult Education classes. You
will be surprised to see what is offered there.

Good luck,

Hi Teri,

   Ok what do you all think of this program? worth it or not? I
cannot go to classes in my region because there are no classes in
my region. So to learn basic soldering and repair on my own or pay
893 dollars for this course? 

Here’s another possible source of help/training on learning to

Even if there are no organized classes in your area, I’ll bet there
are some craftsmen/women in the building/repair trades
(refrigeration, tinners, welders, etc) that could help you. Even
though they may not have worked with precious metals, they’ve
probably used silver solder or brazed/welded different metals. The
basic requirements of soldering (brazing in most other metals)
precious metals is the same. Obviously, there are some differences,
but the differences aren’t that great & someone who’s capable of
working with non precious metal may be able to help you. Just take
a book along like ‘The Complete Metalsmith’ to give them an idea of
some of the differences they might encounter. Who knows, you might
be responsible for starting someone on a new hobby/career.


    Ok what do you all think of this program? worth it or not? 

My opinion: Not. You can buy enough books and equipment to teach
yourself everything they will for a lot less than $900. They list
supplied equipment, but I doubt the rotary tool they supply is a
brand name, such as Pfingst or Foredom. You can likely get the same
one they’ll send you for $69, complete with handpiece and foot
pedal. It’s probably similar to the PTA model I use.

They also send you “soldering equipment.” You can buy a Hoke torch
for around $50. A Meco Midget or Smith Little Torch goes for in the
neighborhood of $150. And I doubt they’ll send you gas/oxy tanks and
regulators through the mail. But they don’t exactly say they’ll be
providing you with a torch at all. Add gas/oxy tanks at around $300
or so. Less, if you go the air/acetylene route. One tank, one hose,
one handle, several tips.

Actually, I just looked at their program outline and instruction
modules. They’ll have you working with brass sheet and a propane
torch, graduating to sterling silver near the end of the course. You
can get a propane torch for a few bucks almost anywhere. In fact,
you can probably get a Hoke torch for around the same price. After
the intro to soldering, the course covers cuttlefish bone casting.
That should be loads of fun with a propane torch. Hey, one project
even includes some simulated garnets. Another utilizes actual CZs.
In another, you can make “craft” earrings.

Thinking about it, I’d say you could get a real torch, tank & hose,
rotary tool with bits and abrasives, files, pliers, saw, blades,
tweezers, pickle, solder pick, bench pin, solder block flux(es),
tongs, some very good books and instructional videos for a good deal
less than $900.

They also offer toll-free technical support. That’s a plus, but I
think you can get all the help you need right here on Orchid.

Check out the Ganoksin archives for instructional books in The
Selected Jeweler’s Bibliography.

My favorites are the books by Jinks McGrath and Tim McCreight.

An even better option may be an instructional video. Rio Grande has
some that are great. One in particular (well, three, actually) is
The Complete Repair Jeweler. This three-tape (or DVD) set is done by
Ed Friedman and Marian Macy. The first tape covers take-ins, and
whether or not you should even bother with a repair in the first
place, testing metals, and more. The second covers rings, mostly.
Sizing, tightening settings, reshanking, etc. Removing and handling
stones, prong retipping, and more. Tape three shows you a lot about
chains, worn mechanical parts, such as clasps, etc. Hinge repairs,
catches, earring conversions, and more.

The above video set doesn’t simply talk about repairs and soldering,
Ed and Marian actually perform the repairs as they talk about them.
They discuss pitfalls in repairs, annealing before working,
replacing patinas, etc. Ed does a hand-florentine on a simple ring
after repairing it. Price? $69.95 for the set. Okay, so it won’t
make you a repair and soldering god, but neither will the Education
Direct place. With them, you’ll learn more basics, but you can
easily get those from any book on jewelry making or silversmithing.

Maybe it’s because I’m a self-taught fabricator, but I believe you
can learn the skills on your own from books and yes, even video. At
your own pace. With better tools. And for less than $900.

Just my $900.02
James in SoFl

Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a rotary tool for your jewelry projects? We recommend:

    Ok what do you all think of this program? worth it or not? I
cannot go to classes in my region because there are no classes in
my region. So to learn basic soldering and repair on my own or pay
893 dollars for this course? 

Not. I’ve seen these courses before. They usually prey on people
who are on disability or don’t have high school diplomas. As others
have stated, you can get everything THEY can tell you from the
Ganoksin archives, and this list. If you have a fair amount of
flexibility timewise (I don’t and I managed to get closed out of
every class I could have taken this spring/summer) you might be able
to get a course or two at the William Holland School. These are week
long courses, they cost $115 plus materials and lodging (I was
planning to camp at a nearby public campground). They are hands on
every day for a week.

Stay away from the “correspondence courses”, they’re not worth the
money for a hands-on field like this. A prime indicator of this
fact is that none of them are eligible for Financial Aid programs or
worker-displacement retraining programs.


I would be very wary of paying that much money for a coorespondance
course in jewelry making.

If classes are not available locally then you should look into
purchasing some the great jewelry making videos that are available
from instructors such as Blain Lewis, Allan Revere and Tim McCreight.
While there is no real substitute for a hands on class in jewelry
manufacturing. These tapes would probably give you more useful
for a lot less money.

I would also check with the art guilds in your area to see if they
could direct you to classes in metalsmithing in your area.

Good luck to you
Ted Curtis

For learning to solder, Lapidary Journal has published a good primer
on the subject, everything from what is happening, how to do it, and
how to fix what doesn’t seem right.

At least in this area, Colorado, about half of the senior centers
offer some kind of metalsmithing classes - and they aren’t limited to
seniors. And these classes are ridiculously cheap, ranging from $37
to $70 for 7 to 8 week two to three hour sessions.

If you tell 10 people in your area that you want to learn, you have
a really good chance that at least one of them will either be able
to help you or will know someone who can. Networking works.

Judy Hoch

[Off topic] Strategies for getting free medical attention

From the “Education Direct” string; someone mentioned the
compassionate use programs offered by pharmaceutical companies. That
reminded me of another way to get free care: It’s kind of minor,

You can also have your teeth cleaned for free at a school that has a
dental hygiene program. And you can probably get free dental work at
a dental college, though I’ve never needed to go that route. I
have had my teeth cleaned by a student hygenist. It was fine. I
found that they are more gentle because they are unsure. And, the
work is always checked by the instructor. Like most free services,
it takes longer to accomplish; there’s lots of waiting involved.

Christine in Littleton, Massachusetts

Hello Christine…

Concerning your mention of dental schools, I’m in Dallas and we have
Baylor Dental College here. Yes, you’re absolutely correct about the
waiting. You have to sign up and wait for a student - sometimes a
day, normally several. You get there early in the day and wait until
the student is ready for you. They prefer to assign you to a student
at the beginning and have them work with you throughout the course of
their education. But for an emergency extraction, they’ll take you as
a one-time patient.

And, it is not free. The cost is roughly half of what the average
dentist might charge. And it is payable in full at the time of
services, no exceptions.

I have no idea what other areas charge, just the way it is around