Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Alternative shopping sites for jewelry tools!

I make jewelry so I usually check out sites that sell jewelry or metalworking supplies when I need a tool.  But friend, Larry Mellgren, St. Petersburg jewelry artist, tipped me off to another way to shop.  He buys many of his tools on Ebay by searching "Machinist Tools" instead of "Jewelry Tools." He's found that he pays a fraction of the price had he bought the same tool through jewelry searches.  

Taking his advice, I searched Ebay for a digital caliper.  I was looking for a Mutitoyo, which I discovered are quite pricey.  The budget doesn't currently permit this purchase, but some darling dividers popped up on the screen.  In a recent workshop with Wendy Thurlow I admired her smart-looking 3" divider, which was easily maneuvered in one hand.  Mine, on the other hand, were big clunky things. 
Say hello to my new "$15 purchase," a divider made by Starrett, a USA company manufacturing precision tools since 1880  You'll notice the $58 price tag on their website. Mine even came with little covers to protect the points of the legs, which may no longer be offered by a review of their listing. 

Just to visually compare the Starrett divider with the others I own, the divider in the middle is one I bought from Eurotool.  There's nothing wrong with it, but it's unwieldy when compared with the Starrett.  The divider on the right end has some nice replaceable points, but is even larger.

The divider doesn't replace a caliper.  It is simply used for marking ... or dividing ... lengths.  For instance, you can easily mark off a strip of metal by placing one point along the edge of metal land drawing the other point along the metal; mark divisions on a ring; mark lengths of a prong, etc.  These tasks can all be done with a divider.  I'm still in the market for a digital caliper.  I'm sure I'll be checking Ebay! 



Terri Basile said...

I'm happy with the one I got a Harbor Freight. Maybe there is one near you. Wait for a coupon or sale.

Mary Elizabeth Word said...

I was a draftsperson in a previous career, and have found many of those old-school tools useful - but I will have to dig out my calipers and put them in a more accessible place now. I also have found good old (not digital!) tools like this at a huge annual fundraiser garage sale we have in Austin. The office supplies area has some treasures if you look. One man's trash...

Judypag said...

My digital caliper came from Harbor Freight as well and I am happy with it. Thanks Barbara for the machinist search idea.

Stacey said...

Thank you oh thank you for posting this! Seriously...I knew I saw this type of tool and didn't just dream it up but for the life of me I could not remember what it was called and was getting rather impatient with scouring catalogs of available tools and just not finding it! Now I know!!! And thanks for the tips! :)