My apprenticeship


Why do you have to call first? Why can’t you just go down there and
get it when you know they’re open. I know you had a bad experience,
but that doesn’t change the fact that the tool is yours and you have
every right to collect it.

This may sound harsh, and I know you’re upset and have been through a
lot… but sometimes everybody needs a little tough love! In your
last post, you sounded like the victim. Nobody made you leave your
GRS, you left it. Nobody is stopping you from going to get it either.

You have written it off like it’s lost and that’s that. Hll no! I
wouldn’t leave an expensive tool unclaimed anywhere! For yourself,
you need to go back in there and get it. To h
ll with what your
former boss will say or think. Don’t call to check and see if it’s
okay for you to get your property. Just go.

Just my opinion.

Just do it!
Amery Carriere Designs


This might be a little lengthy but if it’s not entertaining and
informative I’ll try to keep it short.

I can completely relate to similarities in your situation because
I’ve had an employer who seemed to have a similar attitude of “do
your work without any questions or bothering me.” I haven’t metioned
much about it because I wouldn’t know if they read these posts or
There are so many great people who read this, but sometimes we can
shoot ourselves in the foot.

After I left school in 2002, I went to work for about a year and then
stayed at home to care for my son in 2003. Since then it’s been
incredibly hard to find work when you don’t have enough experience
and owners are relunctant to take a chance on you.

My last employer (at first) encouraged me to ask him anything that
would help me on a project. He was friendly and seemed genuinely
interested in molding my abilities.

That didn’t last too long after I had made a few expensive mistakes.
The biggest one was when I needed to replace a platinum head in a
platinum shank that had diamonds bead set on the top and shoulders of
the shank. I did not know whether to use platinum or white gold
for this and he was no where to be found and wasn’t answering his
cell phone. I used the platinum solder (ok let’s keep the gasping and
laughing to a slight minimum) and ended up smoking the diamonds in
the shank. He became more distant and at times almost hostile after
that even though I apologized and tried to see of there was anything
I could do to make amends. He was not around the store much so he
couldn’t help me when I needed it. I began to dread coming to work
and was extremely anxious at the bench.

The best lesson I learned about the jewelry trade from the 6 months I
worked there was that if you dread walking into the shop and feel
like a bomb will detonate at the bench, get out ASAP. Not only was
losing that job one the better things that happened, it allowed me to
get more bench time and I’m now working for a shop with a much more
relaxed atmosphere and the owner is a former jewelry instructor.

Don’t give up; take the most you learned from working on the bench
and hold on to that while you look for a better gig.

Rene Howard

I forgot to take my GRS system off of the bench I was using there.
I cant get a response from him, but I think I will have to kiss
that goodbye being the way he is. I bought it years ago, I sure
dont have the money to replace it now. 

I’m thinking you can get it back, if you must, via small-claims
court. If you have a receipt and warranty registration for that GRS,
it belongs to you, period. I should think that an attorney would take
this one pro-bono.


I would have to agree with this post and the other that say “go get
your property”. I would however add; take a friend along as a witness
in case things do get a little nasty. That way it is not just your
word against the store owners as to what was said or done. Make sure
you go without an intimidating attitude and act as if it were almost
a social visit, introduce your companion, etc. It makes people a
little more cautious about what they say and do if there is an extra
pair of eyes and ears present. If the guy refuses to give you back
your property seek legal action. Property theft is property theft.

My two and 1/2 cents.

Frank Goss

If you have not put a significant amount >of cold work
into the metal (like a 50% >reduction in section) before annealing
then you run a real risk of over annealing the metal 

The above quote from Jim Binnion was in a posting under this thread
of “My apprenticeship.” One of my frustrations with this forum is
that my reply and any other relevant postings on this tangent will
still be under “My apprenticeship”, rather than being part of a new
thread called “Annealing”. At least, that’s the way it seems to work.
Does it have to?

Now to Jim’s quote. I often have to bend heavy bracelets that have
some sections that are thicker/wider than others. So, as I’m pounding
one around a mandrel with a heavy nylon-faced mallet, I have to be
careful with the “weaker” sections. I might anneal a piece 2 or 3
times before I’m done.

Now, in light of what Jim says, I’m wondering if the pounding I’m
doing actually does work-harden the piece enough to justify
additional annealings. Maybe I’m being overly cautious, but breaking
an important piece while bending it is a frustration I don’t want to
repeat. But I sure don’t want to compound the problem by

So, how does hitting silver with a nylon mallet compare to
striking/reducing/raising with a metal hammer, when it comes the
need to anneal? Thanks!

Allan Mason

Dan I would go in to the store and ask for my equipment if it is
open to the public they can’t keep you out of the pubic part but—
do it polite and proper you don’t want a seine.

Don in Idaho

So, how does hitting silver with a nylon mallet compare to
striking/reducing/raising with a metal hammer, when it comes the
need to anneal? Thanks! 

Jim Binnion is Mr. Science - I mean that sincerely, and he can answer
in his inimitable way. On a practical level, you are dealing with the
deformation of metal. More deformation=more hardness. It doesn’t
matter, really, whether it’s bending, twisting, or smashing. An
exaggeration: if you sit there and pound on a piece of silver with
your finger nails all day long, it will not harden, because you’re
not deforming the metal, even though you are pounding on it. A nylon
mallet will harden some - depending how hard you hit with it - it’s
not the hammer so much as the bending of your bracelets that’s doing
it, though.

Why do you have to call first? Why can't you just go down there and
get it when you know they're open. I know you had a bad experience,
but that doesn't change the fact that the tool is yours and you
have every right to collect it. 

I just have to clear this up, and then I promise, nada, nothing, no
more about what happened with the apprenticeship. I am trying to move
on the best I can.

The reason I dont just walk in there and get it is complicated with
Voc Rehab being involved. If I want to continue to get any actual
help from them, I need to heed their advice right now. Some how I
hope, but dont really expect, that there is another opportunity for
me out there. Whether its in jewelry or not at this time I dont
know, and I really dont care, cause I just cant trust them. Like my
Dad said, First time , shame on them, second time, shame on me. Well
this will be the third time in the last couple years, I dont need to
keep the cycle going. I just want to be able to become self
sufficient again, a roll model for my kids and have a little self
pride and respect again. Ive learned that either I was numb to it, or
maybe people have become a lot more greedy and self centered since I
was last in the work force and in the world. No matter what it is, I
cant change them, but I can change me. I love making jewelry, I love
gemology, I find a lot of peace and satisfaction making jewelry and
making others happy with it. I guess that can be a bad thing these
days for money driven circumstances. I can still do jewelry as a
hobby, I need to find something I can do as a job, and not let
myself be blindly used again. I may need the help of Voc Rehab for
that, and I dont want to burn that bridge.