04/22 Recycling Scrap and Alloys


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Saturday, April 22, 2023 
10:00 am - 1:00 pm PDT

Instructor: Jennifer Stenhouse

All Levels

Zoom link and instructions for joining the call will be emailed 1 day prior to class.

The class supply list is below and contains links to buy the supplies you need.

Recycling is a basic skill necessary to the jeweler’s studio. Working with materials like silver, gold, and copper makes it easy to melt and start over again or even create new alloys from your scrap metal. We will discuss the possible ways to recycle the scraps in the studio safely. Students will learn how to melt and pour ingots, use the rolling mill and draw plates to make fresh new sheet and wire for their studio needs, and the basics of alloying their metal. Recycling metal can be done with a variety of materials used as ingot molds including materials like graphite, cuttlebone, and charcoal as receptacles for the melted metal. These techniques have been used since ancient times as ingot molds for casting. So bring your scrap fine silver, sterling, copper, and gold, if you have it!



Supply List for Students

The links below will take you to RioGrande.com or other suppliers. To see prices for precious metal items, you need a free Rio Grande account. Registered Little Metal Foxes students can access the Rio for Schools program for significant savings (discounts and flat-rate shipping). This site may contain Amazon and other affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Recommended Materials:


  • Bring your scrap fine silver, sterling, copper, and gold, if you have it!

Melting metal and ingot casting tools

Other potential ingot mold materials

  • Cuttlebones. These can be purchased from bird suppliers and some jewelry suppliers. I get my medium to large bones from Great Companions online. Most cuttlebones are only able to be used once.
  • Soft charcoal block. There are different kinds of charcoal blocks. Be sure to use soft charcoals solder blocks for casting. These can generally be used a few times if you are careful. The mold will deteriorate a bit with each use.

Metal and jewelry tools

  • Rolling mill. A rolling mill is incredibly helpful to mill down the ingot into new sheet. This can be done with a hammer and anvil, but it's quite tough and takes some time, unless you have some blacksmithing skills.
  • Draw plates. We will discuss these in class as well if you want to wait to purchase after the workshop. Do some research on the size, shape, and type of draw plate that you want. Usually, a good general size range for an all-purpose draw plate is going to be from about 3mm (around 9 gauge) to about 0.5mm (or 24 gauge.) One good draw plate can last more than a lifetime. 

Other jewelry tools that will be helpful to have on hand

  • Small scale that can weigh in grams
  • Paste flux
  • Wire cutters
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Tweezers
  • File
  • Saw and blades
  • Anvil surface
  • Planishing or flat-faced hammer

From your local hardware store

  • Thin iron binding wire (20-24g)
  • Dust Mask
  • Coarse sand paper
  • Leather gloves

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