How Long Should It Last?

Greetings to all!

I have been making jewelry for a year and a half now, self-taught
through the excellent info Orchid brings, videos, books and trial &
error. I study the catalogs to understand what tools are used for
what operations and hopefully use my tools for something close to
their intended purpose. And each time I pick up a file or saw or
buff, I find myself wondering, “How long should this thing be used
before it needs to be replaced?” Saw blades are easy – they break.
Buffs (on a Foredom) seem to work better with a little age on them.
Files? How do I know? Shouldn’t they last close to a lifetime with
careful care? And what IS careful care? My charcoal block – it’s
cracked now because I dropped it (don’t have the lazy-susan for
turning during soldering). Should it last years?

So, my question to you mavens of metal & minerals: How do you (I)
know when it’s time to replace a tool?

Thanks in advance; I love this group…

Beth Schmitz

Hi Beth,

How do you (I) know when it's time to replace a tool?  

I don’t think there’s one fixed answer to that question. What one
person may consider inadequate tool performance may not be the same
as someone else. For me a tool should be replaced when it no longer
peforms it’s function efficently or if continued use constitutes a
safety hazard. Obviously, tools which can be sharpened or otherwise
restored fall in a class of their own. However, they should be
resharpened or restored as soon as they don’t preform

Sometimes even broken tools can be converted to some new use as is
or by a little modification.


Beth, I guess this answer is pretty simplistic, but the time to
replace or recondition a tool is when it no longer performs to your
satisfaction.Depends on the tool. Charcoal blocks are basically
disposeable although they can be resurfaced by grinding them
against a firebrick. On the other hand I have a couple of fine Swiss
files I bought used at an estate sale twenty years ago that still
serve me well. Buy the best you can afford, maybe even a bit better
than you can afford, and some, pliers for example should last a
lifetime. I have a very old (60-70 years) chasing hammer that is
better now than anything I can find for sale in my various tool
catalogs. Jerry in Kodiak