Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Shopping for tools


#1

Hello

I’ve just returned from a trip to the U.S. East coast where I visited
family and old friends from Vermont to Virginia. I also took the
opportunity to finally bite the bullet and shop for some tools that I
have been craving for a long time - a rolling mill, new flex- shaft
machine ( My 50 year-old Foredom finally quit this year) and a bunch
of small stuff here and there. This is something I could have done
long since by mail-order, but I have never been comfy buying a
pig-in-a-poke and I like to see what I’m getting before committing.

Thanks to those Orchidians who had responded to my queries about
best suppliers to visit in NY and elsewhere.

What I learned by visiting suppliers was interesting to me. I’m not
going to name names because I don’t want to get into wrangling about
defamation. I believe the people will recognize themselves and,
learning why they lost one customer, might wonder how many others
they have lost.

For example, I have always understood that maintaining a smooth,
undamaged surface on the rollers of a rolling mill is of paramount
importance. Yet at one shop I saw numbers of both smooth and
patterned rollers on display - more or less jumbled into boxes where
any number of people before me had rummaged through the assortment.
It was inevitable that nicks, chipped edges, and scratches abounded.
Likewise with dapping and forming blocks, stakes and other tools
requiring clean surfaces. All that careless handling had also left
fingerprints on everything and patches of rust were beginning to
bloom on many of the unprotected surfaces. I immediately lost
interest in doing business there.

It was also instructive to see hand tools at close range instead of
as pictures in catalogs. I tend to buy mid-range stuff. I do try to
avoid outright junk, of course, and top-of-the-line stuff seems
extravagant at my age and non-pro level of involvement. Good enough
is good enough for me. But looking at an assortment of ostensibly
identical pliers, for example, it was easy to discern a wide range
of fit and finish even with my tired old eyes. I was happy to be able
to compare one with another and to pick what seemed the best one in
each group rather than have had some shipping clerk pull one at
random off the top of the pile.

I also stopped in at the metalwerx show outside of Boston where I
had a hard time looking at the displays of merchandise - I was
distracted by the jewelry being worn by many of the other visitors. I
wondered how many of those people I saw were people whose names i
would have recognized from having seen them on this orchid forum.
There are a few whose wit and wisdom I have enjoyed and I would have
loved to say hello… Next time nametags anyonei Secret hand signalsi

And that’s really all I have to say tonight. Thanks for all your
help.

Marty


#2
I wondered how many of those people I saw were people whose names
i would have recognized from having seen them on this orchid forum.
There are a few whose wit and wisdom I have enjoyed and I would
have loved to say hello.. Next time nametags anyone? Secret hand
signals? 

I bought a beautiful orchid pin to wear to one SNAG conference, but
I lost it…

I think we all need to invest in a small, tasteful tatoo of an
orchid, perhaps on the back of the right hand where it is visible
during a handshake. Though the skin on my hands is co crepey from
years and use (with never a manicure) that my orchid might look like
a discarded candy wrapper…

Noel


#3

Marty,

I also stopped in at the metalwerx show outside of Boston where I
had a hard time looking at the displays of merchandise - I was
distracted by the jewelry being worn by many of the other
visitors. I wondered how many of those people I saw were people
whose names i would have recognized from having seen them on this
orchid forum. 

Thanks for you feedback on our Metalwerx Vendor Day, and we’re so
glad you could attend. I hope you found some of the tools you were
looking for. Let us know if there was something you wanted to shop
for that wasn’t represented.

Great suggestion about name tags – they could be optional, of
course, but as you say it would be fun to connect faces with names.
And a huge help for those of us who are nothing but one Senior Moment
after another.

If anyone else has feedback from Vendor Day, please do let us know,
especially suggestions for next year.

And many, many thanks to everyone who participated – Vendors and
Visitors alike. I was particularly happy to see lots of folks
standing around and chatting in small groups; it seemed to be a nice
community event for folks.

Personally, I had trouble taking my eyes off all the goodies on
display, and people had to shake me to get my attention to say hi,
but I was in my “power shopping” mode…

Laura Chalifoux
Metalwerx


#4
I think we all need to invest in a small, tasteful tatoo of an
orchid, perhaps on the back of the right hand where it is visible
during a handshake. 

Would this be a temporary tattoo? Temp, I could go for. Surely these
exist. If not, we could have them made.

Good idea.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#5

Hello fellow Orchid members,

I’m working on setting up my home studio. To set out on my own
leaving the current school I’ve been with.

My question is. What venders are you all finding with the best
prices for quality tools.

Here is what I am looking for Box of setting burs, Rotary tumbler,
Hallmark stamps for sterling, Bench buffer motor, Disk cutter, Saw
blades, And much more little things to get me going.

Do you all jump from one store to another? I’m on a very low budget
and need big savings.

Thanks for all your advice in advance.

Samantha Ann.
Once Upon A Bead


#6

I have found almost all the things for my home studio at Rio Grande.
The quality is excellent. Their catalog offers several of the same
items, setting burs for examples, in different price ranges, so that
one can select the one that closest fits their needs and their pocket
book. Rio has outstanding technical support, fills orders promptly,
and is a pleasure to deal with.

Alma


#7

Rio Grande in Arizona, they have everything you will ever need.


#8

Congratulations on entering the world of jewelry making and a life
time of tool collecting.

Shop around. We have a couple of local tool and findings suppliers
who deal in estates and buy and sell old machinery and tools as well
as new. West Coast Findings and Handley’s. David Geller right here on
Ganoksin too. Check Stuller and Geshwin before you buy. Prices can
and do vary. For instance… Rio sells silk bead cord for 5-8 bucks
a pkg. My local bead shop, Dava Beads, which you would think is
higher sells the same product for $2.00 retail.

Though they can be very poorly made, sometimes Harbor Freight will
have stuff that you can use for jewelry. I like their auto body tool
kit.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#9

Hi,

Rio Grande in Arizona, they have everything you will ever need. 

Sorry, but Rio Grande (riogrande.com) is in Albuquerque New Mexico.
But they do have a good selection of tools.

Dave


#10

I would also say the same for Otto Frei. Excellent quality,
excellent service.


#11

Try out Contenti. They have some of the same products that Rio
carries for cheaper.


#12

When my employer wanted to expand and update the shop during a move
to a new location a few years ago, I contacted Stuller with my
shopping list and spoke with someone in customer service. We wanted
to upgrade several things, including the new dust collector and a
replacement for the steamer. We got a very sweet break on prices by
making one significant order.

ALWAYS pays to ask.

During a GIA clinic in NYC once, three of us bench jewelers at the
class discovered that we all wished to purchase Cavallin rolling
mills, so we went together to a tool supplier there in the city, and
asked for a group discount, which we received.


#13

don’t forget to check your local Craigslist, and
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1qw will search more Craiglists for
you. Use general search terms “jewelery, jeweler, dental, festival,
show, ProPanel, tent, etc.” - try misspelling same, and search often.
Check the bottom of Ganoksin, SNAG, local jewelry and beader groups
and stores - I’ve picked up quite a few handy tools for 1/2 price -
even if shipped, cheaper than new. Also, call Rio customer service
and ask for a list of their discontinued and closeout items - last
time I was there (2 years ago) there’s a section in the waiting area
chock FULL of ionic cleaners, kilns, hand tools, etc. either demo’s,
returns or ?? (I picked up an electric soldering machine for 1/2
price simply because the instructions were VHS instead of the newer
DVDs.) They keep a typed list of these items (4-5 pages when I was
there) and will email it by request.

When buying used, get pictures of item before paying/traveling for
it, and request a recent pic of the item working, if it’s a torch or
other mechanical tool, or have the person selling demonstrate it. Not
guaranteed, but helps to cut down on buying broken tools with no
recourse. I’ve had very good luck with used tools and display items -
although I have not yet tested my $1600 Carlisle glass torch I picked
up for $550 while visiting CA. The biggest danger is buying stuff you
don’t need, simply because it’s 1/2 price and ‘you’ll need it
someday’ - my forming stakes, kiln, sand-blaster, glass blowing
equipment ALL fit into this category - but I’ll get there! You might
make a list of things that are first priority - the beginners kit
from Rio will provide you with an idea of the basics you’ll probably
need.

One last suggestion - if there’s a specific tool that you want, try
calling the manufacturer and politely requesting if they have any
returns, demos, etc. I picked up my Flourish tent for a significant
discount this way - someone returned it because of 2 pinholes it
took me months to locate (now sealed and invisible). Also google the
name of the tool and the phrase ‘used’ or ‘for sale’ to see if
anyone is listing it in a forum not covered here.

Good luck and happy tool hunting,

Sam Kaffine


#14

Stuller has a excellent selection of tools and will work on prices
with you on a large purchase. As well we have a list of used tools…
Just send an email and you will be added to list.

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold