All I can say is, “Get used to it!” I don’t know if you can ever
achieve the point where you have all the tools (and books) you want, or
think you need. It’s like a sickness… the more you have, the more you
can do, the more you can do, the more you want.
I occasionally remind myself that native American silversmiths were doing
great work, around the turn of the century, with little more than a few
files, a hammer, a couple nails, charcoal, etc. This helps quell the
"gottahavits", and make me think about how I can improvise and economize.
Some tool suppliers (like Rio Grande) have starter kits available. If you
have absolutely nothing, that might be the way to go… you could probably
save a few dollars. Otherwise, its an ongoing process of buying a tool
here and there, as funds and opportunity present themselves.
Since you’re retired, you probably have time to make a lot of your own
tools. John Burgess, who is on this list, from down in New Zealand, seems
to have made almost all the tools in his studio! For me, tool making is
time consuming… when my jewelry making time is already streched too thin.
Charles Lewton-Brain, who is a master goldsmith also on this list, has a
book “Cheap Thrills in the Toolshop”, which is chocked full of homemade and
improvised tools and solutions to problems. Might be worth checking out,
Bottom line? You’ve got to have a torch, pickle pot (crock pot), a saw,
bench pin, files, a selection of sandpaper, and a way to polish metal.
Anything else is a bonus!
Good luck and above all, have fun,