Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The search for affordable crafting materials

At the beginning of any craft you have to be very careful about buying supplies, 

Did I buy the right supplies?
Will I actually use all this shit?
Doesn't this come in a smaller package?
Do I really need to spend $20 dollars a pound to buy copper sheets or wire?

I had the hardest time justifying $20/lb for copper when I know it sells for about $4 at the investment level of the market so I started looking for alternative sources, I could buy copper pipe, cut and flatten it but it's till not all that cheap and a fair bit of work that will probably leave you with imperfect, dented or scratched copper stock that will make your work that much harder to finish. 

I then thought about scrap dealers which would seem to be viable but in this region it would seem that most of the scrap dealers don't want to deal with buyers, especially small buyers who want to pick. Fortunately for me I did find one that was reasonably close who said yes on the phone, it wasn't until I got there that the guy in the tie said they didn't allow picking of the copper "because it was inside and not safe, besides what could we possibly have you could use?"  Luckily his resistance was limited and he quickly handed me over to one of the fellows who was more than happy to both let me graze and quite willing to show me treasures they had set aside like plated spoons, copper decorative plates and to my excitement a roll of dirty copper banding 1 inch wide.  I never measured it but I guess I scored about 30 ft of it.   I also cut off several sections of heavy braided copper bus wire in different gauges  in all I acquired some 15 pounds of workable copper for a total of  85$

Sure this material was dirty, in some cases dented, scratched or otherwise marred but at the same time there was lots of it, it was cheap and I suddenly didn't feel so bad about experimenting my money away having already discounted my time as having no real value when calculating the price I could charge for the finish product. 

and most importantly it works.  Sure I have to include the cost of  propane, sand paper and steel wool but 10 of these babies will totally cover my costs for the copper and the anvil I purchased with the savings..   and I have enough copper to make a lot more projects than that.  So scramble and search you might just find materials you can afford to play with.