The only time that I buy sterling sheet is for projects where I need
large areas of perfect sheet.
For brooches, rings, neckpieces, etc. I roll down my own gold,
silver and, at times, bronze sheet and wire. It really depends on
what you make and how you work.
I have no "crack house next door" or "Hell's Angel's Club across the
street" but neither do I have huge amounts of superfluous time to
I have found for years that rolling out the material that I need
allows me to utilize clean scrap, fabricate an item from stock in
dimensions that are not commonly stocked by most suppliers and
produce a bit of stock when I need it rather than waiting for UPS or
spending time driving and parking downtown to get the small bit of
stock that I need.
Much of my work is forged, so dimensional issues are important to
me. I am not apt to use a simple piece of wire... But when I do, I
can have that length of wire or piece of sheet in several pain and
chronically disease free minutes, using the gold or silver scrap that
would otherwise end up in the assay bucket.
Finally, melting and pouring metals gives you an understanding of
the material in a whole different way that can open windows into
surface, form and overall design. (Sort of an "alien' perspective.)
Life is, indeed, short. When I need something, I usually need it
now-- not in 2 days. That being said, I'll reiterate that for certain
projects such as hollowware, large flatware and certain jewelry
applications, I'll but stock. I may have a roll of 10 or 8 ga wire
that I'll draw or roll down as needed. I may also have a supply of
heavy walled seamless tube. I always buy lengths of straight 14k 2o
ga wire for earrings: drawing it barrel straight and semihard is
tough. There are times when I have a large sheet of 18g sterling in
house that I'll cut bits off and roll if needed.
But I can't imagine not having the ability to pour and roll out
metal or the freedom it gives me. It really takes the pressure off in
some instances. If I'm working on a piece of gold or silver sheet and
I melt it or cut it wrong, I know that I can have that sheet back in
15 minutes. That's a really nice feeling.
So, "melt and roll away".
Just another viewpoint.
Who says remember people: there's more than one way to skin a cat.