I think it depends greatly on what you want to do. Vessels?
Bracelets? Rings? That will determine what you need.
If you want to do teapots, the Fretz stakes will be useless. If you
want to do things the size of a bangle bracelet or smaller, the
Fretz stakes will be very handy indeed. What I can tell you about
the Fretz stakes is that (A) they really are stainless, and (B) I
took a rockwell tester to one of his hammers that I purchased, and
it really is Rockwell C50. (Hard as blazes.) So they’re very high
quality. Quite spendy, but worth it, if you work in their range.
The Bonny-Doon vertical vise is very useful for grabbing smallish
stakes, or steel bars used to make stakes larger than the fretz
line, but smaller than full-sized silversmithing stakes. Machined up
from solid steel, so quite tough. I’ll probably plop down the money
for one of them sooner or later, if that tells you anything.
Full sized silversmithing stakes must be either forged from steel
(for/by you) or scrounged. You can still buy new ones, but they’re