Storing materials

Hi- I would like to hear ideas on how others working with metals
store your materials.what is the best way to prevent tarnish, dust,
moisture etc. AND do you use a method for filing or indexing your
inventory of different wire gages,sheet materials, semi- scrap.I dont
keep any gold in stock so I really dont need a safe but I do keep
silver, copper brass, stainless, on hand to where Ive out grown the
shoe box storage method. Thanks Nancy

I buy sterling wire in bulk in 2-3 guages and hand-draw the middle
guages. Each different size of wire is put in a clear ziplock bag
with the guage written on it. These bags hang on pegs on the wall.
They don’t take up drawer or bench space and it’s easy to see when
I’m running low of a particular size…

Colleen in New Brunswick

Hey Nancy, I store my smaller pieces of sheet metal and wire in Manila
file folders, each piece in a large freezer bag, to keep it
(hopefully) scratchfree. In each bag a piece of chalk to absorb
moisture. As I use up a certain gauge of metal, I pull it’s index tab
out of the folder top, so that I may order more. I learned this tip
from a jeweler who has been in the business for forty years. Hope this
is helpful for you. Helene

Hi, as to storing, I too don’t have much gold, so I don’t worry to
much about that, or Palllydium that I have on hand, but I store my
metal when possible in very large zip lock bags that I got off some
blankets that I bought, it keeps air away and keeps them clean

I am interested in ideas on where I can find sheet iron in 16 up to
26 gauge, I have looked locally here in Tucson and have met surprise
that anyone would even want iron! hehe, oh well, I also would like to
know where I could find stainless steel. The iron I would like to use
for the blacken iron you see in some jewelry.


I use a drawer in a file cabinet placed right next to my bench. I
have a folder for each type of metal…one for sterling sheet, one for
rd. wire, one for 1/2 rd, one for copper sheet, etc. The top of the
folder is labeled. Inside each folder, I put the individual sized
items in separate clear plastic sleeves (available from an office
supply) and label them accordingly. I use hanging files, so if I need
18g. rd. silver wire, I can pull the rd. sterling wire file, flip
through the sleeves until I find the 18g. sleeve, then pull it. Is
easy to see when supply is low, and time to reorder. I like this
method alot, as it is easy to access, and easy to use.


When I have a sheet of silver ( or any other metal), which I
want to keep absolutely scratch free, I sandwich it between two
pieces of contact paper, on which I write the guage using a permanent
marker. I then put it in a plastic bag, and store on a shelf in
my studio. When I need a piece, I cut it with my Beverly shear right
through the contact paper, then peel off the paper from the piece I
intend to use. However, I like the idea some orchidians have of
storing the metal in a suspended file folder, as this would save
shelf space, i always learn something valuable from you all. thanks
a Lot.—Alma, in gorgeous Oregon where the Daffodils are making a
splendid show in my garden.

I’m surprised you’re having trouble finding sheet iron in Tucson.
When I was living in Phoenix (I would have preferred Tucson but
sometimes the work dictates…) I had no trouble finding it. Skip the
really big metal yards like Bunger steel in Phoenix and call around
small steel suppliers. What you want is just mild sheet steel, if you
call it iron they will be confused and they’ll say they don’t stock
it. I used to buy it and have it rolled into corrugated to get
corrugated iron that would rust (long story). I never had any trouble
finding 30 or 40 sheets at a time. It usually involved making a
personal trip to the steel yard and talking to the guys there, phone
calls were less productive. I don’t know how much you’re looking to
buy you won’t find less than a single 8 x 4 foot sheet and no one will
be happy selling that little. I wish I were still there, I’d love a
trip to Tucson with the justification of helping you out. God knows I
had enough of the stuff lying about.

Boy that would be nice, I did find some finally in all places, ACE
Hardware! Small sheets too, but it seemed pretty expensive, I got a
12" x 12" sheet for $7.00, I am going next to the yards, I would like
to find the 8 x 4 feet sheets, even though the size is overkill I
could play around with it for quite a while, hehe, I just produced a
nice pendant out of my smaller sheet, it turned out real nice, I was
able to solder it ok (I was told it was very hard to solder, but it
didn’t give me any problems at all), and I used brass and sterling
silver in it too, came out pretty good for my first steel project, I
like the way it worked, I used a sandblaster on parts of it, covered
up others, and cut a snake out of brass, chased it with details,
attached a forked tongue to the snake, rivited with soldered tubing
to the frame I made and it looks like a snake in the grass. I am going
to work on another tomorrow to improve on this one!

If you ever make it here give me a call and I would love to do lunch
(if you don’t mind seeing the whole family, they sorta follow me
around everywhere I go! hehe, I keep on trying to ditch them and it
just doesn’t work! hehe), but from the UK I think you might have a
long swim across the pond!


Hi Nancy - the best idea I’ ve seen and have adopted and adapted
(from a swell gal at Penland), is to use a large, three ring binder
with those three ring zippered supply holders that kids use for
school. You can use one binder for flat stock, one for wire, etc…
Use a separate supply holder for each gauge. This keeps me pretty
organized and I can easily find what I need. It also makes it easy
to take metals along with you for workshops etc… I also use these
to organize my findings and stones. You can find the binders and
supply holders cheap at yard sales, discount outlet stores, and
sometimes grocery stores. Good luck.