METALSMITH SOCIETY'S GUIDE TO REFINING SCRAP METAL

Posted by Corkie Bolton on

Whether you are just taking your first classes in metal work or have been making jewelry for decades, if you are working in silver and gold it is important to save every piece of dust you can! Refining not only your clean scraps but also "dirty" scraps which I will get into below, can put hundred even thousands of dollars back into pocket annually. *I am referring to precious metal scraps throughout the article, not base metals like copper and brass.

YOUR STUDIO GARBAGE IS WORTH MONEY!

Did you know some companies will take items like spent sandpaper, flex shaft bits and dirty paper towels and refine the metal from them? This is "dirty" scrap, it is the paper towel you used to wipe down your bench after sawing out a pendant. It is the contents of your vacuum after you clean around your bench. You can also send the collection bag from inside your dust and fume collectors! All those items I'm afraid to admit that years ago I would toss in my regular garbage or recyling bin. The question you have to ask yourself is whether there is metal dust on the item, if that answer is yes save it in a separate bucket!

WHAT ABOUT CLEAN SCRAPS?

Clean scraps (your metal dust and remnants) can be stored separately in a container, you will want to keep gold and silver separate. Depending on where you are refining you may also need to keep different karats of gold separated as well! It is incredibly helpful to have a scale on hand as you will need to write down the various weights of the clean scraps you are sending in. This Gem Oro scale is reasonably priced and measures between 500g - 0.01g it can also measure in dwt, ozt, ct, gn and oz.

WHERE TO REFINE

United States

PMRS

Located in Illinois they refine dirty scraps and clean scraps! You simply call Ted 1-815-355-4422 and based on your needs he will send you a bucket for dirty scraps and containers for your clean scraps. Free shipping.

Rio Grande Scrap Program

They accept silver, silver-filled, gold, gold-filled, palladium, platinum and PMC® items. They do not accept sweeps (dirty scraps). They charge a $50 service fee  for the use of their Precious Metals Recycling Service.

You can donate your scraps through Rio Grande to support We Wield The Hammer! Click here to download the form. There is no processing fee
for donated scrap.

To read more information on how to send scrap to Rio Grande, click here.

Stuller Clean Scrap Return Program

They pay market value for silver and gold metal scrap, no processing fee if you select to be paid in store credit. They also have a diamond return program.

To read more information about their program, click here.

AUSTRALIA

Palloys

They accept all types of material including scrap, lemel (lemel is a jewellery trade term for the small shavings of precious metals such as Gold, Silver, Platinium and Palladium, that are left over from filing and other techniques that handmade jewellery pieces require. Think of it as the wood workshop equivalent of sawdust) & other metal residue to recover gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

To read more information about their program, click here.

CANADA

Umicore

They recover and sell silver, gold, platinum, palladium.

To read more information about their program, click here.

FRANCE

Cookson CLAL

They can provide valuations for clean scrap as well as sweeps!

To read more information about their program, click here.

GERMANY

Burger Edelmetalle

To read more information about their program, click here.

IRELAND

NN Enterprises

To read more information about their program, click here.

NEW ZEALAND

Morris & Watson

Morris & Watson were the first company to provide a refining service for lemels and sweeps (floor scraps) to the precious metals industry in New Zealand and have since expanded our operations to Australia and Thailand.

To read more information about their program, click here.

SPAIN

J & M

They refine silver, gold an other precious metals in Madrid.

To read more information on how to send scrap to J & M, click here. 

UNITED KINGDOM

Cooksongold

They treat thousands of pounds worth of scrap metal items every day. They can provide valuations for clean scrap as well as sweeps!

To read more information on how to send scrap to Cooksongold, click here.

 

If you found this information helpful, please consider supporting the page by becoming a patron! Thank you for your support!

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METALSMITH SOCIETY'S TOP NINE TOOL TALK TUESDAYS OF 2020

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Every week on Metalsmith Society I explore a different tool used in jewelry making for #tooltalktuesday! It has been a wonderful opportunity to deep dive into different tools and discuss with members of our community! Some of these posts are sponsored, without this support the page would not continue to run daily. So thank to all of the sponsors in 2020, when you purchase from them you are supporting the page! Here is my list of the top nine #tooltalktuesday posts of 2020:

Custom John Frei Bench From Otto Frei

My John Frei Custom Workbench which was created for me, by @ottofrei1930 😭It is so amazing I’ve actually been worrying this post would not fully do it justice but here it goes. This bench started with a solid 1-1/2" thick butcher-block top made of select grade maple. The legs, top trim, bottom trim, drawer faces, face frames and arm supports are solid wood and the side and back panels are made of cabinetmaker quality maple-veneered plywood and look beautiful. It is the sturdiest, most gorgeous bench I’ve ever laid eyes on! They are made in Chico, California start to finish by professional cabinetmakers. If you get one of these benches it’s game-over, you have a bench that will last a lifetime and be passed on to another jeweler. An heirloom! 

Purchase the bench here. Be sure to use code MMSOF.

See the post here. 

Excel Blades Sanding Sticks

These are my go-to for cleaning up excess solder around a tight space. The sticks come in grits 80-600 (I have grits 120-600 in the photos) and they each have a rotating belt of sand paper (which is replaceable). What I like is when I get a small lump of solder where I don’t want it, this works quickly but isn’t so strong that I’m easily scratching my piece (which can sometimes happen with a mini file, or a flexshaft bit that rapidly removes material.) The tip of it is rounded so it gets right next to my solder seam. I try to move the stick around so I don’t get any deep scratches. They are so handy to have! The sticks come in different colors as well so I know which one I need to grab.

Purchase the sticks here. Use code METALSMITHSOCIETY 

See the post here.

Jump Ring Maker By Pepe Tools

This @pepetools_usa Jump Ring Maker, which works with my Foredom Flexshaft to create jump rings fast! It has three main parts: a mandrel base which you use to create coils, a cutting box that holds the coil and a hand piece holder with blade that is used with your Foredom H.30 hand piece to cut the coils into jump rings. You will need to mount the mandrel holder and cutting box but you have options! For the mandrel holder I use a c-clamp, this allows me to pack it up when not in use in my small studio. The cutting box I mounted to a piece of wood (which took me two minutes to saw and drill) and then I clamp it with a Irwin Quick Grip Clamp (purchased at my local hardware.) You can also hold it in a vise if you have one. Or mount these items directly to your bench if you have the space! Using the mandrel base is super easy, you pick a wire and mandrel and create your coil. It comes with 20 mandrels sizes 2.5-12mm. In order to keep your jump rings from going everywhere, tape the bottom of your coil! Lubricate the top before placing it in the cutting box. It’s important not to over tighten the screws on the cutting box so I like to look at it from the side to make sure it’s secure but even. Next you set up your blade in the mandrel and place your hand piece in the protective holder. There is a line to help you make sure your blade is in the proper position. Lubricate your blade before you cut. PUT ON YOUR SAFETY GLASSES. Now you’re ready to cut: place the blade in the cutting box, place one hand on the hand piece and the other over the protective shield so it stays level, run your flex shaft at top speed and guide it down as it cuts. Speed is important! Doing it half heartedly or hesitantly can result in a little smoke or it getting jammed either of which is no big deal but it’s not the ideal, smooth cutting experience this thing is capable of! Once you cut you have beautiful jump rings! 

Purchase the Jump Ring Maker here.

See the post here.

Durston Dapping Set

Durston's 24 Piece Doming Set includes a dapping block and carry case! For those completely new to dapping blocks they are an essential tool for doming metal. In my demo I took a 1” circle and made it into a cup, this is done by striking it into the dapping block and annealing in-between hammering into the smaller parts of the block. This is just the start of what you can do with this, you can saw designs and shapes prior to doming or use the tiniest domes for design elements. It’s a great forming tool. We have also shared some great tips with it over the years, for example it is awesome for making ring bands or thick jump rings perfectly circular by giving them a few strikes inside the dapping block. I probably use mine the most often for that purpose.

You can purchase the Dapping Set from Otto Frei and use code MMSOF. Or purchase from Durston directly where you can also save using code MSSDT. 

See the post here.

Jump Ring Maker By David Lee Smith

The Jump Ring Maker Kit - With 28 Coiling Dowels created by our friend @silversmithingretreat this kit is $39.95 and all you need is a variable speed power drill (to slowly wind your wire onto the dowels) to create your jump rings. Once you create your coil you use the Cutting Guide to saw it. SET UP: It took me about five minutes to cut a piece of wood and mount the Cutting Guide. I then use a C-clamp to attach it to my bench, that way I can store it when it is not in use. When mounting the Cutting Guide, whether it’s to a piece of wood or your bench make sure the slot for cutting is hanging off the end. Once you have that set up all you do is pick a dowel, insert it into your variable speed power drill and then create your coil. I like to create a little 90 degree bend in the wire, and place it next to the dowel in the chuck collet and then I slowly wind. Bonus tip: Variable speed power drills are also amazing for twisting wire as you can go slow. You then want to thread your coil onto your saw blade. I think cutting coils takes a little bit of practice and there are some things you can do to set yourself up for success. First use a brand new saw blade and choose an appropriate saw blade for the gauge of wire you are cutting (for example I use a 1/0 for this 19g wire) also be sure to lubricate your blade. I didn’t do this but am thinking of it as I write this, you can slap a piece of painter’s tape on your coil, it would have prevented the jump rings from falling off. Be patient as you cut :) I always found the last jump ring or two stayed connected and I just finished them with a flush cutter. All in all I think this is a great, reasonably priced option if you’d like some support for cutting jump rings.

You can purchase the Jump Ring Maker here.

See the post here.

Whaley Bezel Shears

The Whaley Precision Bezel Cutting 90 Degree Shears I got from @ottofrei1930 are essentially solder shears that have been modified so that you can quickly cut your bezels with a nice 90 edge. As someone who definitely tends to trim bezel wire crooked this shear does make it quick and precise. If you don’t cut a ton of bezel wires or you find it pretty easy to get it super straight this specialty tool probably isn’t for you however If you’re someone who constantly cuts bezel wire you may find this super handy! It will save you time with your production.

You can purchase the shears here from Otto Frei. Use code MMSOF.

See the post here.

Tungsten Dividers from Otto Frei

 I wanted to talk about a tool that is on my list of essential tools for jewelers: DIVIDERS. Dividers are useful for a ton of tasks but here I demonstrate how they help me achieve a nice border for my stamps lines. I LOVE this pair from @ottofrei1930 their Tungsten Dividers, made in the USA (item 135.081) the price point is great at $79, they are sturdy and won’t flex while you work (like some of the economy dividers out there) This is one of those tools that most jewelers don’t need to buy the most expensive version but I think it’s really worth it to invest in a SOLID pair. The tungsten carbide inserts are built for a very long working life and the knurled opener is smooth and opens easily. Also great when you can support tool makers in the USA.

You can purchase the dividers here from Otto Frei use code MMSOF.

See the post here.

Bracelet Bending Bar and Pliers

The @impressart Bracelet Bending Bar and Bracelet Bending Pliers are tools you can use to bend cuffs made out of wire or sheet. For someone wanting to give their bracelets a consistent shape, they work nicely. The bending pliers are awesome! I have already used them for other things besides bracelets. I like their wider jaws and the nylon prevents marring. It’s an awesome set together!!

Available from Impress Art.

See the post here.

Grid Soldering Board

Grid Soldering Boards from @silversmithingretreat these boards are asbestos-free, flame resistant hard soldering boards that can withstand up to 1800F. They provides excellent heat reflection and rapid cool down. They can be great for soldering ear posts, bails and other small elements. They do not flake, can be sanded, cut, carved, drilled or shaped for holding parts. A popular tip we’ve shown in the past is using steel T pins in these boards to prop and hold items, or even drilling directly into this board and then sticking prongs into the board to solder all at once. They can be used with metal clays and in kiln’s as shelves, (up to 927 degrees centigrade). The grid is a very helpful visual for making sure things are properly aligned and help you prevent soldering something crooked (we’ve all been there 🙋‍♀️😂) David marked these in half inch increments and its just a few bucks more to get the board with the grid but if you want to do it yourself he also sells plain ones!

You can purchase the Grid Board here.

See the post here.


Thank you so much for tuning in every week for #tooltalktuesday! If you have a tool you would love to see covered please comment below, or let me know on Instagram! If you are looking for other tool recommendations please visit my #TOOLTALKTUESDAY page!

If you love Metalsmith Society, join my email list! You will receive the latest news about products, blog articles and tutorials! You will also get special promo codes :)

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METALSMITH SOCIETY'S 2020 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

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Please note: This post contains affiliate links.

Sponsored by our friends Gesswein this is my 2020 holiday gift guide for jewelers. Whether you have a loved one who is a jeweler or hobbyist or you are looking for something to splurge on for yourself this list should provide some awesome ideas!

Fordeom Dust Collector

This is a big ticket item but WORTH EVERY PENNY. The Fordom Dust Collector is a powerful vacuum that collects harmful airborne particles and valuable metal dust! I use mine with the additional Foredom® Fishmouth with Shield which quickly hooks onto my GRS Mounting Plate. All that dust I collect, goes straight into my bucket for refining and I get hundreds of dollars back, multiple times a year!

GRS Mounting Plate

If you read the previous item and was wondering what the heck the GRS Mounting Plate is they are AMAZING. If your loved one (or you) dream of having a Benchmate System get started by getting the mounting plate and bench pin! This plate attaches to your bench and from there they can collect all types of vises and attachments! 

GRS Bench Pin Kit

Once you have the mounting plate you slide this bench pin on. The benefit is to be able to quickly change from your bench pin to another tool (like a benchmate) in seconds! 

Sanding Detailer™ Sets

These sanding sticks are awesome, they are great for sanding around smaller details of your work and fitting into tight spaces! This set features eight sticks, grits 220-1200. I like that you can replace the sanding belts.


GRS® MicroBlock® XL

This amazing rotating vise is perfect for holding pieces while setting! You can heat up some of the included Thermoloc and safely secure earrings, pendants, rings or any other piece you are working on.


Gesswein® Stainless Steel Ruler

This a great little add-on item and essential for every bench. A stainless steel ruler with both millimeters and inches.

Panther Mug

I'd be a fool to not include my own merch on my own holiday guide, lol. For the jeweler that also enjoys a cup of coffee or tea you can get the 2020 Panther mug. Only available through 12/31/20. They can also be produced in Europe making them a good choice for those  in Europe that want to avoid customs fees. I also have tons of other stocking stuffers as well: sharpies, pins and stickers. Mugs start at $21 on metalsmithsociety.com

ECO-Torque 280 Rotary Micromotor

This micromotor is a great option for someone who does not yet have a flex shaft. It is just under $200 and is wonderful for an at-home set up! It has the torque to handle all the grinding, sanding and polishing we need to do as jewelers but it’s significantly quieter than a flexshaft. 

Automatic Electric Torch Lighter

An electric torch lighter is a game changer! You can light your torch quickly with one hand. I love mine!

SilverSmith™ Air-Acetylene Torch Kit

For the person who is looking to upgrade their torch or is looking for their first torch: the air-acetylene is my favorite set up. You purchase this kit and then go to your local plumbing supply and get the tank of acetylene. Here is my article on How To Choose A Torch For Jewelry Making to see if it is right for you.

Foredom® Rotary Tumbler

I've owned many tumblers and this one is really cool. This innovative tumbler has no belt! Very easy to open and close, runs smooth (no need to prop up one side to get it to turn lol.)

Bur & Tool Caddy

Give the gift of sweet, sweet organization. This bur caddy has various holes to hold your favorite burs and magnetic strips to hold your smaller tools. 

Dedeco® SUNBURST® Knife Edge Radial Discs - 7/8" Assortment

I talk about radial discs every year because for a long time they were what I used to polish my work. If you have a flex shaft this assortment set will get you a high polish. These are knife edge (to get into tight spaces) but they come in a variety of sizes and shapes. You can't go wrong with these!

Online Classes With Lucy Walker

I have personally taken these classes and they are great. Lucy is funny and very knowledgable and I highly recommend her classes. Why not buy one for a loved one and give them something constructive to do in the new year?

Hopefully this gave you some great ideas! All of these tools are available from our sponsor Gesswein and when you use code MSS5  you not only save 5% but they will also give back to the page with each purchase. If you are in CANADA you can also receive the discount by using code: metalsmith. Thanks for checking this out!

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JOIN US FOR THE METALSMITHCHALLENGE

Posted by Corkie Bolton on

WHAT IS THE #METALSMITHCHALLENGE

Here is a quick quide on what it is and how you can join in! Huge thank you to our new sponsor of the challenge Pepetools!

Chain created by @may.amoibe for the first ever #metalsmithchallenge

The #metalsmithchallenge is something I started back in April of 2018. The idea was to have a monthly theme to create a piece of jewelry and all are welcome to join! The goal was to inspire those who participated to go outside of their comfort zone, encouraging them to try a new technique or make something that wasn't their typical style.

I then take the submissions I receive and share them with the rest of our community with either a post on the @metalsmithsociety feed or an IGTV.

The one "rule" of the challenge:

It's pretty simple, the only real rule is you have to make the piece of jewelry that month. Please don't send me something you made a few years ago that happens to fit the challenge :)

How to have your piece featured:

When we first started and were a smaller community you could just post about your piece and tag me in the image but now due to the volume of submissions I prefer you email me. I don't want to miss your submission! My email is corkie@metalsmithsociety.com and in the subject line please put whatever the current month is along with "metalsmithchallenge". 

Images + videos:

Your email should include some pictures and/or a 5 second video of your piece. It is really helpful if these are in a square format. I will add your handle either as a tag or a text overlay so adding it the image is unnecessary. Please include your Instagram handle in the email, even if you send every month ;)

Deadline to submit:

This part is important: it can take me a few hours to go through my email and get everyones images and create a video so please email me your submissions no later than two days prior to the end of the month. My schedule with two little ones at home can be a bit hectic so I have to make sure I have the video done the day before ;)

How we choose a theme:

The theme is voted on every month in my stories. I choose two themes and create a poll. This is always either the last or first day of the month. 

Where to find the current month's theme:

I have a story highlight called "CHALLENGE" and if you click on it you can find the current month's challenge theme.

Suggesting themes:

I need your help! I am always looking for ideas for future #metalsmithchallenge themes. You can email me your ideas or even post a comment on this article and I will add to my list.

I always look forward to seeing what you all create and it's been wonderful to see people try new things and gain confidence. Thank you again to Pepetools for supporting this monthly challenge, we appreciate you! If you would like to see challenges we did in the past head over to the TIP SEARCH and search for "metalsmithchallenge" :)

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HOW TO SUBMIT A TIP TO BE FEATURED ON METALSMITH SOCIETY

Posted by Corkie Bolton on

DO YOU HAVE A TIP FOR US?

Every day, since February 3rd 2018 I have posted a tip about jewelry making over on the Metalsmith Society page. Most of these tips generously come from members of our community. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to submit a tip (or multiple tips :) Here is my simple guide on how to best submit a tip! 

WHAT KIND OF IMAGES TO SEND

 In order to share your ideas with the community I will need at least one picture (but more is typically better.) Your images should clearly convey the

context of your tip. Ideally someone shouldn't need the caption to make sense of what they are seeing in the post. Because Instagram is optimized for square pictures please either send a square picture or an image that when cropped will not cut off any crucial aspect of the image. The images you send should belong to you and not be *borrowed* from a Google search or Pinterest. I also prefer images without text overlay. My reasoning is that I prefer the explanation of the tip to be in the caption, which can be translated via the Instagram app. Lastly please consider the lighting and clearness of your images, I'm hesitant to share blurry pictures as they can make it hard to understand the tip in some cases.

SHARING VIDEOS

We LOVE videos, they get some of the best engagement and can really help beginners understand the use of a tool or technique. Ideally a video is 4-59 seconds long. Instagram has a maximum length of 1 minute for videos in a post so sending clips under a minute is best and they also can be easily attached in an email. I like to share videos without someone speaking and explaining, again because if someone needs close captioning or they don't speak english they can still get the same explanation from the caption as everyone else and not miss out on any crucial info. 

WRITING A CAPTION

An Instagram post has a character limit of 2200, I can't tell you how many times I've had to edit down a 3000 character post 😂 so when you write a caption please be mindful of that. Typically short and sweet is best. If you are showing a tip with a tool you will want to mention what that tool is. Some members of our community are very new to jewelry making and every post is a learning opportunity! Have fun with it, emojis are encouraged! ⚒

SENDING ME YOUR TIP

The best way to send me your tip is to email me at TIPS@METALSMITHSOCIETY.COM with the subject line describing the tip. It's very important you share your Instagram handle as I always want to give full credit to you. Sometimes I am unable to write back immediately, please don't hesitate to send a follow up email after a month if you don't hear from me. I get hundred of emails a week and sometimes a tip can slip  by so don't be shy!

CAN YOU SEND ME A DM?

It's not ideal to send a tip through a DM, simply because it will easily get lost. I get a hundred DM a day at times, which I always appreciate it is just simply impossible to  see and respond to them all. On the same note if you need my help, have a question with an order from the Society Shop or just reaaaaaallly need to get in touch, email me!

WHAT TYPES OF TIPS TO SEND

I am open to sharing your tips and techniques about basically everything relating to jewelry making as long as you are not sharing proprietary information that would allow someone to copy your designs!  Tips about organization of your studio space, materials, tools and finished work are always a hit. Soldering tips, stone setting tips, fabrication tips. If you made your own tool or modified a tool. If you found ways to save time with production or you streamlined some other technique. Safety tips are great as well. Business tips, photography tips the list goes on and on! If you are curious about whether we have shared a tip in the past you can look it up on the TIP SEARCH PAGE. This is a search engine created just for us (thanks to my Patreons) where you can search a term like "dental floss" and see any tip we have shared that mentions floss in the caption.

WHAT IF I ALREADY SHARED A TIP ABOUT THAT?

Even if you see I've already shared a tip does not mean I won't share it again! So go ahead and send it! Only 5% of our 150,000 community see a tip on any given day so I love to revisit an idea with new pictures, a new caption and from a new perspective!

I can't tell you enough how grateful I am to all of you, if it weren't for everyone being so generous with sharing their information there would be no Metalsmith Society! Every tip shared keeps the community going another day! If you are looking to support the page further please visit the Society Shop or consider becoming a Patreon. Thanks for reading!

x

Corkie

TL;DR

  •  Email me your tips! TIPS@METALSMITHSOCIETY.COM 
  • Send between 1-10 square format pictures and/or video 
  • Please don't text overlay in images or record yourself speaking in videos 
  • Write a caption that explains your tip or technique

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