Thanks for the great info. I'm going to try the grooved block/dowel.
I don't think I'd be doing the spoon rings on-site at the shows...as
with the other items I do, I think I'd make them at home in a variety
of sizes/patterns and folks who were interested would pick from my
stock. I tend to do better polishing a whole group, then bending them,
then finishing them, etc. as opposed to doing the whole process for
one item and starting over again! I agree, Cleveland couldn't sustain
the market anyway.
As for the logistics...I buy lots on ebay, at yard and thrift
sales...I stay at home with my preschoolers, so when they're in
school, I hit all the good stores, rotating where I go. Fortunately,
since I live in an urban area, I have many, many sources. I will not
pay more than $1.00 and like to pay way less per piece. I then of
course have a few boxes full sitting around...so, I pull out the ones
I want to work with and polish up the whole lot. Then I bend them or
cut them, if it's a zipper pull or vase. Then I cut the ones I bent
for the keychains. I have a stone mounted on my drill press - so,
taking appropriate safety measures, I grind down the cut end on all
the pieces. Then, I swap the stone for a buffing wheel loaded up with
Jeweler's Rouge and buff it up. I also drill through the ones that
need holes in them (hook rack/zipper pull/wind chimes). For the zipper
pulls, I add a lanyard clip. For the keychains, I add a split ring. I
mount the flatware 'hooks' on the boards I have cut and antiqued using
this great crackle spray paint from Home Depot/Lowes. I research each
piece and have hang tags made up that I write the pattern name/year
on. I sell the keychains for $6, zipper pulls for $4, bud vases for
$5, hook racks for $12 and wind chimes for $10. This is in the
Cleveland area, so that is about all I can get for my things. If I go
back east to do a show I'll definitely adjust my prices UP
accordingly. I do church/school shows, so I usally don't pay more than
$30 for a table for a one day show.
BTW - I tried to sell these on ebay...it was a big flop!
Thanks for your interest!