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Saving energy in the studio


I have several small hot pots made for use as porpouri pots. They are
smaller, less expensive than crock pots and run at a lower
temperature. They do not boil dry often. I drill a small hole in the
plastic lid to vent them. I also have them pluged into a switched
outlet so that when finished for the day, I can turn them off. I have
one of my bench lamps pluged in so I can tell when it is off. I
frequent flea markets and resale shops. I am tight fisted.

My next intention is to buy 3 or 4 small fans which will total 1 air
change every 10 min. These will be placed at the bottom of the studio
windows which will allow me to run from 1 up to 4 of these fans. As
these fans are small 110 V. surplus industral cooling fans, they are
quiet and small enough to install at the bottom of my window, or
windows. They are also good to draw smoke away from my main bench,
and also wax working bench They are economical of power themselves,
and are sparing in exausting warm or cool air. This is in Texas where
the electric power rates have gone up 20 % in the last 6 weeks.

Saving shipping costs.

Last week I had to drive into Dallas / Fort Worth Tx. I hate Dallas,
Fort Worth is better. I paid for my gas by going by Roseco. which I
can highly recomend as a jewelry supply house. I made a point of
purchasing only the items I needed or other items which had a high
shipping cost attached. These items were 150 lbs of Satin Cast
investment and items which had HazMat charges. Other items without a
high shipping cost attached, I can order shipped UPS or USPS. This
will save an additional 8 % in sales tax for non resale items.

Other Game plans can be devised to off set the rising costs of
transportation and energy. I would like to hear from some others so I
can put their advice to good use.

Respectfully Yours,
ROBB - Just a Tight Fisted, Tool Using Animal


Not to burst your proverbial bubble, however what it sounds like -
from the perspective of a person that makes his own power (solar &
hydro) is that you are actually using more electricity than saving-
well anything… venting the lids to multiple small potpourri pots
(which usually specifically potpourri pots have holes in the thin
plastic or melamine lids and the reason I personally dislike them in
the studio, not to mention an unsuitable size unless you are
producing a majority of rings…I can’t get a straight 8 inch length
of wire into a standard crokpot without turning it around to pickle
it - then I want less vapourisation than more! ) I can’t figure out
the point in that whatsoever…

Then you plug your bank of 10-25 watt pots into a power strip that
alone uses perhaps 25-100 watts depending on its capabilities. =.
More electricity! The only benefit I see here is that the strip, if a
decent brand with an x amount of connected equipment warranty (and
you registered your strip when required by that specific
manufacturer) is that if you get struck by lightening or have a power
surge greater thatn the capacity in joules. of the strip your pots,
tools, etc are plugged into. provided you have receipts for all of
them is reimbursable in a neat cheque i have learned to avoid no -
name strips. Opting for only the ones that advertise a dollar amount
of coverage on the packaging - and had the best results from those
manufactured by Belkin, or Fiskars corporations as far as paying off
quickly and with a minimal amount of proof - of-purchase and hassle).

Then the fans for air exchange. Again,. more electricity! and a
faulty method when considering the plan of exchange…there is no
filtration, just out the window, along with More Elwctricity Use,
loss of insulation potential, from efficient windows and climate
controlled environs (ac/heat…and I’m betting your home is "all
electric! to boot) no draw for fresh air ( if all are pointed out the
windows!) !

Where does the exchange come in? Where is the energy savings in
opening all your studio windows? How insulated is the rrom in terms
of architecture, shade from trees near the studio, reflective film
on the windowswindows? What wattage are those take-out surplus fans
(you may want to go to go to for low wattage surplus
fans really cheap in all manner of cfm’s, voltages and wattages ).

You can buy a simple battery operated ( and use rechargeable
batteries!) 'pet fan ’ with multi-speeds and that hangs or stands
freely or bench mounts -if you want it in the same position and
placement- for 5-10 dollars and eliminates one more cord from your
work area, directs any fumes rapidly away ( or you can exhaust them
through a 4" corrugated dryer hose that can then be rigged to vent
out of a small opening in the window ( using plexiglass scrap and
silicone caulk- the plexiglass can usually be gotten from a local
home store for free, the caulk is under three bucks brand new, and
the gap in the window is only 41/2 or 5 "x the windows length as
opposed to ? from varying height fans etc., with no excess air
getting in or out…then an air cleaner system to purify the air is
another option and can be as simple as a true ionizer or any manner
of other options, some availble are run on batteries so that they can
be recharged and again, less cords in the shop and increased safety
as each plugged in appliance means a greater potential for an
explosion ignition if a gas leak should occur from your
torch(es)…battery operated ecoutrements do not make sparks capable
of setting off pooled gasses…

( i happen to have bought cases of those battery operated fans and
have some available if you need one and can’t find one in your area
-contact me off liist if you want one or for the specs/brand
recommendations, why and what to look for if you have dollar stores,
a harbour freight tools store, or outlet stores to purchase them
locally…in fact harbor freight has solar powered ones that don’t
even need batteries ( although they can be used in some of their
units) thus requiring less opening of the window ; just enough for
the solar panel’s wire to run from outdoors to indoors if your window
does not face southeast ). It’s the particles that get you in a
studio environment more likely than the fumes if you use safe
practices and products.

For instance, that 150 lb container of satin cast contains things you
don’t want to inhale! I think I didn’t read how much you paid for
that respirator that even the manufacturer (Kerr) recommends you don
when opening that large container- Better to scoop out some into a
smaller, manageable & resealable, container for a week or so’s use
at a time than to experience that whoosh of particles as you stand
over the container each time you mix enough investment for a few
rings… no? And what are you wearing to protect yourself when using
the cheapest solders you can find- as they are generally not the
cadmium free types? Seems to me, that the risk to your health from
that 150 lb container of investment trumps the benefits of the few
cfm’s potential of your fan system, (if you are referring to muffin

Then, coupled with venteing the mildly acidic vapours from your bank
of pickle pots INTO the studio, not knowing if you hang over your
soldering work or not without an appropriate respirator, nor what
types of solder you use…the additional electricity you plan to use
provided you keep the same plan, and wondering how much you are
actually saving in investment quantity purchasing for a small scale
studio (did you ever consider organizing a bulk buy of consumables
with fellow jewelers in your area on Craig’s list or through a
lapidary club and purchasing haz mats and splitting the costs with
others…probably works out cheaper than the gas to drive to the
city! But I’m a bit puzzled as to why you are not able to buy
wholesale in the first place- if you are able, multiple people with a
wholesale license should be able to save a greater amount in the
sheer quantity potential…

Why is it you speak of not reselling, yet are paying sales tax at
all…makes no sense to me. Nor does the rationale of buying only
what you need… If you know what consumables you use most of, and
were in the city and at a distributor why not think ahead and buy
those obvious things, and save the gas that UPS or USPS spends
delivering small orders of supplies to you- when you projected having
to place an order?..No real savings there, particularly to the
environment (that we all share!) in terms of additional and, perhaps
superflouous petroleum products spent getting you the supplies you
consume regularly- when you had the opportunity to buy them in one
fell swoop, no more ordering which meant perhaps burning a light to
see the order numbers, using the telephone that uses electricity on
down the line of consumerism, and the additional time and power to
retreive it from another supplier that uses electricity to light the
warehouse complying with OSHA, the power to run the business
equipment in processing your order (copiers, invoices, printing
costs, etc.), the gas that the fulfillment team at the distributor
used to get to work to fill your additiona lorder, the power required
for that person to just do his job safely, and with all the benefits
required for workers to stay employed…and so on in energy
consumption for that additional order you could have filled in one
place with one gasoline expenditure one time…I am not seeing the
savings, the conservativism, or anything but excesses…even though
your intentions are good… rer

No real savings there, particularly to the environment (that we all
share!) in terms of additional and, perhaps 

Just browsing Orchid on a Post-Easter meltdown day… Certainly here
in N. Calif., and I guess nationwide is a “Buy Green!!!” movement
going on. As has been pointed out, and how we live but not for
political reasons, is that buying green in reality means not buying
STUFF at all. Resources are resources - it’s still raging
consumerism. I’m not going pretend to be expert on this topic, but I
hear many people say things - usually little things. “My rinse water
beaker” - use a peanut butter jar. Things like that help the
environment but more importantly they keep down a cash drain that’s
really not necessary. There’s no substitute for the important things
like a real fire extinguisher, but I use a certain salt shaker
(2for$1) for my flux bottle - stuff like that. Many everyday shop
things can be gotten from a jeweler’s supply, but they also can be
bought or found anywhere for 1/4 the cost or free…


Sir if I did as you percieved me to have done, I could not agree with
you more. We have some miss perceptions, many of which are my
responsability But - The potpourri pot mentioned was only used 1 at a
time for small items. Without a 1/8" vent hole the lid was hard to
remove due to condensation. The crock pot is used for larger work
when needed. The power strip does nothing other than give appliances
a commonly switched supply, one on/off switch. I only use a strip
surge protector to protect the power supplies on my mini mill and
mini lathe. The windows are double glazed and soon will have a 6"
wooden strip at the bottom which will seal to the partially opened
window. They can be completely closed for security and open only 6 "
also for security as they face the street.

My studio is attached, but independently sealed, plumbed and
airconditioned. I enter it via an steel door from my study or
another steel door from my enclosed and secured garage which is where
I have provisions for my oven and casting machines. The fans are
industral surplus 110 v. My buffing machine has an integrated blower
and filter before the air is released to the room. when wax working
and soldering produce fumes they will be vented. As the studio is air
tight, make up air is available from the window mounted combo
airconditioner and heater. A ceiling fan is also available. The 5
light fixtures with 3 each compact flourescent bulbs, are also
independently switched. to be used at need. The proposed under
window fans are to be independently switched. Did I mention that the
outlets are primarly at 4’ hight, both 110 and 220, with a 100 amp 20
service sub electrical panel.

I agree with you about the particle hazard. Which is why all casting
and investment use will be done in a 6’ x 6’ x 3’ deep enclosed
cabinet. It has just enough room for a Vic 9 vacuum caster, vertical
casting machine, burnout oven and 10 gal shop vac with a hepa filter.
This cabinet is on casters and is moveable. The filtered air will be
exausted outside. The cabinet, like the studio room is lined with 5/8
fire rated sheetrock. The 150 lbs of satincast is 5 - 30 lb cartons
so I need to open only 1 carton at a time and I will store it in the
smaller 2.2 kilo plastic containers which the smallest amounts are
factory stored in.

My milage has varied from the average. I medically retired in 2000
on a fixed income. (CNS Damage) I live within my income and avoid
the overuse of credit. When I finished in 2003 at TIJT Paris Tx., I
intended to work for some one else, in their shop. Even though I had
all my papers from 5 semesters at TIJT, no one wanted to hire a
busted up, broken down Retired Old Baby Boomer. I should add that
while Texas rehab partly paid for 4 semesters. I paid for the
semester leading to my GGS, as a Certified Gemologist. If You can’t
join them, go play in your own back lot. And own that lot. My studio
is set up reflecting arthritus, poor eyesight and my broken back.

My casting area reflects my experiences with asbestos, toxic dusts
and black lung.

In Texas, resale tax is collected on everything which is not resold
at retail. Satin Cast or hammers are taxed. I have a rolling mill and
draw plates so I can fabricate a lot though casting is easier on my
hands than fabricating. I order my precious metal and findings out of
state, so no sales tax. I did not buy everything at Roseco I wanted.
have a budget and I live within my means. I am tight fisted.

My state business license expires in 2013. If I sell wholesale or
out of state, I do not collect sales tax. Texas has no income tax,
I pay my income on my federal income tax. I don’t like looking over
my shoulder.

I run a low profile and while I work in my home studio, I do not
advertise. I tell local people who ask that I am a semi retired
precision metal worker. I do not wish to injured or killed by a would
be thief. I also do not wish to injure anyone. A near death
and the 9 months it took for me to learn to walk again helped to
consider what this part of my life would be.

I want to have FUN, harm no one, and be harmed by none. My tree
hugging, tofu eating, friends remind me to tread lightly. Over 10
years ago, I found in the Ganoksin community, directions for my life
after retirement in 2000. For this and much more I offer my heart
felt thanks.

ROBB - Retired Old Baby Boomer

I would like to hear from some others so I can put their advice to
good use. 

The quickest way is to disconnect your electricity, get some solar
panels, a small wind generator, a true sine wave inverter and a
dozen deep cycle marine batteries. You only have the energy nature
produces, you have limited amp hours in your battery storage–and
you know what? You’ll figure out real quick how to cut your energy
consumption or you’ll literally be sitting in the dark. But if
you’re not ready for that drastic change of lifestyle, here’s a few

Compact flourescent lights (CFL). OK, yes they have mercury and it
can be recovered. Coal burning power stations put a lot more mercury
directly into the atmosphere. LEDs are also appropriate in some
situations. A Smith Li’l Torch, or similar, will save a lot on
acetylene and oxygen because they use a fraction of the gases.

Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer.

Have a master switch that turns off everything when you leave your
shop. Use an earth tempered air tube for fresh air inflow.

Have double or triple paned windows.

Direct vent outside through a wall or roof, rather than through a

Use more insulation materials.

For the rest of your house:

Use energy efficient appliances.

Get point-of-use or on-demand hot water heaters.

Quit running the water when you’re not actively using it.

Turn the lights off or use motion-activated lights or switches.

Ditch the large screen TVs, and do you really need more than one?

Get rid of the electric stove and replace it with a gas model.

Use a gas dryer that has an air fluff cycle and use solar heated air
to dry the clothes–or a clothesline.

Choose a wind generator power electric company.

Also check with your state government for alternative energy
assistance programs. Most states have something. In addition you can
get a tax writeoff on your federal income taxes. People think nothing
of investing $10,000 dollars in the market, and would consider 10%
return to be excellent. If you take that same amount of money and
invest it in alternative energy, your state assistance program will
pay half of your expenses, plus you can take up to 35% off your
investment on federal income tax, that’s one heck of a return on your
investment. Then consider that energy costs are going to continue to
increase and what you pay will never get cheaper. Why wouldn’t you do

Now what I think is really stupid is having electric cars that you
plug in.

Where do you think the electricity comes from?

Hint: it doesn’t come from the air, and something is consumed in
order to power the turbines or generators. It is NOT energy
efficient. Ethanol and biofuel made from corn, etc. is NOT energy
efficient. Planting, irrigating and harvesting requires–you got
it–gas powered or electrical machines. You are also taking food out
of the food chain. Now methane from pig, cattle, chicken or human poo
might be a viable alternative. Electric cars and biofuels are
feel-good bandaids. Human locomotion from your legs works well.

You may not be able to do everything you would like for energy
conservation/alternative energy, but whatever you can do is a step in
the right direction. The effect is accumulative, and if enough people
do what they can with energy conservation or alternative energy, the
better we all will be.

Katherine Palochak
Living off-grid for 28 years