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Silver Purchase-Tools: Semi Yak/Info


#1

Hi–

I would like to purchase some silver as I understand it is going
to continue going up in price. However, being a novice, I would
like some help in pursuing this quest. Is there one particular
place to purchase, do you usually buy locally or from a recommended
Company?

Also, I know some people, friends of my parents who invested some
money in silver coins in the 70’s when Silver was high. Should I
consider buying coins too or what? As I said, I am new at this and
I am sure my questions prove this quite easily. I would appreciate
as many as possible to give me their opinion so I can decide what
to do, where to do it and maybe when. Can I melt silver coins to
use in jewelry?

Thanks to all, I know I keep saying this but I feel so privileged
to be among such giving and knowledgeable artists.

I am also going to need to purchase metalsmithing equipment as
well, I have many of the basics but I do not have a torch,
jewelers saw, blades, polisher, etc. I am sure I will need many
items but I am trying to start basic and then buy as needed. Any
advice re:purchases and places to purchase would be most welcome
and appreciated.

Thank you so much.

Pamela


#2
  " I have many of the basics but I do not have a torch, jewelers
saw, blades, polisher, etc."

What are “The basics?” if you doon’t already have a saw frame and
about 4 doz. Blades, better get 'em. I worked for a long time W/O a
flex shaft or torch, just relying on a saw frame, about a Doz. 2/0
blades and some files. Eventually you have to upgrade to the “Big
Guns” depending on the type of work you plan to do.

T. Goodwin


#3

Hello Pamela,

Coin silver is not normally sterling silver (92.5% pure), which is
typical in jewelry. Unless you were up to the challenge of
alloying and milling your own sheet and wire, the only practical
use I can see for silver coin would be in casting.

Two suppliers for sterling stock (sheet, wire, casting grain) and
other jewelry supplies are Rio Grande (800-545-6566) and IJS
(800-545-6540). They are both in New Mexico. They both offer
catalogs of tools and supplies, in addition to stones and metals.

When you buy sterling stock, you are paying the “spot” or market
price for the silver, plus a fabrication charge to get it in the
form you want it. Sheet and round wire have relatively low
charges, while the more specialized forms have higher charges.
These fabrication charges are added, per ounce of silver, to the
total weight of the silver you are buying.

There are usually discounts on the fabrication charges as the total
weight of your order increases. To compare the prices of two
vendors, all you have to do is compare their fabrication charges.

As far as tools go… it all depends on your priorities and your
budget. I would consider a bench pin, jeweler’s saw and blades,
torch, pickle (crock) pot, some files and a flex-shaft or Dremel
to be bare necessities. Wire wrapping folks could show you how to
get by for a while without the torch! You could also do cold
connections (riveting) which could allow you to get by without a
torch for a while. I also consider books on the subject to be
invaluable tools.

A lot of the tools I consider essential are, to be honest, either
luxuries or time-savers. I often have to remind myself that
Native American jewelers were doing great work 100 years ago with
an extremely limited selection of tools.

I think most people here would agree that you should by the best
tools you can afford at the time. A well-made tool will last a
lifetime, giving greater economy than the cheaper tools that break
in a year, or two.

If you have a local community college, see if they offer a jewelry
class. It’s a great way to get access to tools and equipment you
can’t yet afford, You also get a chance to try some stuff to see
what’s most important to the work you want to do.

Good luck, and bear in mind that the quest for the Perfect Tool is
never ending… although Dave Arens’ Koil Kutter comes close. :slight_smile:
You can always use some tool or piece of equipment that you don’t
have yet.

Dave

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com
http://www.sebaste.com


#4
As far as tools go... it all depends on your priorities and your
budget.  I would consider a bench pin, jeweler's saw and blades,
torch, pickle (crock) pot, some files and a flex-shaft or Dremel
to be bare necessities.  

My Foredom burned up in December and I purchased a Ryobi Multi
Tool from Home Depot to get through my last show. (Someone on this
list suggested the Ryobi) I also purchased the flex shaft to go
with it. Now that I have it, I’m sorry I didn’t purchase one
earlier. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not getting the Foredom fixed,
but the Ryobi is really a very good second flex shaft. Has a
better feel and more torque than the Dremel and is cheaper. About
$60 for tool and flex shaft. If you can afford the Foredom, go
with it, but if not go for the Ryobi.

Nancy