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Discussion Forum

News from

Started by MAG Tech Support Oct 24, 2012.

Are we hypocrites? 1 Reply

Started by Shoshana Farber. Last reply by Fahad Khan May 9, 2011.

Recycled & Fair Trade Metal Use 5 Replies

Started by Fahad Khan. Last reply by Shoshana Farber Apr 12, 2011.


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Hi everyone;

I attended a MAG talk by Shoshana Farber quite a while back regarding eco-conscious/ethical materials and more specifically Hoover & Strong.  Since then I've spent more time designing on a computer than sitting at a bench, it's only now I'm faced with real-world manufacturing issues.

I've recently contacted Oro Verde for information on shipping, pricing etc. but given that they don't provide alloys, the other major player in terms of lower-impact metal sourcing would appear to be Hoover & Strong.

My question is does anyone here use these sources or similar exclusively at this time, and how has such use impacted you in economic terms, i.e. is it cost prohibitive or are you finding the public is willing to pay a premium for a product that they perceive as progressive and/or more responsible?

Do you find casting houses receptive (or not) to using outsourced grain?  

I'd appreciate anyone sharing problems, successes or relevant experiences.



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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Fahad,

I don't know about casting houses having an issue with using casting grain supplied by you, I would assume a smaller firm would be more ameniable to it. I would also like to see a written affirmation that only my grain was used in the process and that might mean a higer charge if they can't lump everyones order in together.
With the Canadian $ being so strong right now ordering from Hoover and Strong is not as expensive as you might think, if the product your are getting is grain, sheet, or wire it is covered under the NAFTA agreement and you will not have to pay extra duties. Just confirm with Hovver and Strong that they will include the proper paperwork for Customs. You would be charged duty on finished work like chain, or pieces you have cast by H&S. You will be charged for delivery with Fedex who brokers the import and both pst and gst are charged on the order, which you will need to claim rebates for later on no matter what you are purchasing.

I am very interested in this topic as well - how feasible is it to use only fully reclaimed/recycled material without Canadian sources of it. It is something I feel strongly about and is a bit of a stumbling block for me in making jewellery.

Have you talked to Ryan Taylor? He is positioning his company as eco-friendly, fair trade and might be able to help with resources here in Toronto. I know he is wholeheartedly backing the Oro Verde organization so might be able to help with the alloy/casting questions you have. Fair Trade Jewellery Company

If you find a solution let me in on it too!

Hey Sara;

I've only worked with H & L up to now, I'll ask them and another company I've been wanting to try about bring up a good point about them not being able to process your order with everyone else's. I can see that as both a pricing and logistical stumbling block, but not insurmountable.

+ Is their a segment of the public willing to pay more?

+ Are we as designer-makers perhaps willing to make a little less?

The margins on relatively inexpensive metals like silver make the latter point difficult. As you well know it's not a question of being greedy but rather whether or not a given approach is even possible for small to medium scale production.

For my own work flow and product line, most of what I'd need to import is casting grain, maybe some wire, findings and cable are a potential issue.

I've followed Ryan's progress but haven't talked with him in a while. I'll have to pay him a visit soon, I'll keep you posted. I'm confident that I can make this work; even if it screws up my projected launch date. I have the advantage of starting from scratch while supporting myself through other work, so I've been trying to build all of these things into my business model from the beginning.

For some interesting case studies on extractive industries (the good and the bad) you should check out portions of "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed or Fail" by Jared Diamond.

There is also a segment at the end of "The Art of Power" by Thich Nhat Hanh ... it's actually buddhist philosophy but the addition at the close of the book was written by a guy who runs a successful outdoors-supply (think MEC) company discussing responsible growth, a more moderate and ethically minded run at capitalist activity etc..

Hi Fahad,
first, let me apologize for not reponding to you sooner. I don't seem to be receiving notifications when someone posts on this forum, so I will talk to MAG admin and figure out how to change my settings so I can keep better tabs on things.
I import my casting grain from Hoover and Strong, and use Ed at Fine Casting to cast my pieces. He charges a flat $50 fee to cast your metal on its own in a seperate flask. The only thing is, you have to make sure you have enough grain to accomodate for your sprue and button as well as the piece being cast. Your total weight to factor in the sprue and button should be double the amount you estimate for your piece. However, this metal gets returned to you... so you can use it towards the extra weight you need for future projects.
Fine Casting is on the 9th floor at 27 Dundas. Mention to Ed that I sent you... he'll understand what you are asking for. I have done silver and gold with him - he is a little weary of trying platinum because Hoover and Strong's alloy is dissimilar to the one he usually works with.
I have asked at H & L and the price they quoted to do a separate pour was ridiculous. I don't really like going there, although their results tend to be more consistent than a lot of casting houses.
Regarding the stumbling blocks with the public - they usually have to understand that they are paying a small premium (the flat fee on the pour, and the import costs) and that it is difficult to do a "rush" project with 100% recycled metal, because of the shipping times. Some people are very receptive, some people balk. A lot of people who have a conciousness for things "eco" may not have the cash flow to support their principles. It's a very personal thing, and like all custom work, its important to have a sense of your client's priorities and try to do something for them that they are going to feel as good as possible about.
Hope that info helps.

Hi Shoshana ... I don't check this website enough, hence the delay replying.


Thanks for the response.  I've had very consistent casting results from H & L but haven't broached the subject of using my own grain with them.  I did discuss that with Pino at Modeliamo and he was receptive to it.  I've used them a couple of times so far to cast some slightly tricky work and I've been satisfied with the results, although thanks to my models it took some tweaking.


In terms of custom work, I don't do a lot of it and don't plan to, so I'm more concerned right now with finding a high quality, consistent product with lower environmental impact.  I'll roll those costs into my pricing and see where that leads.


I'm just setting up an account with Hoover and Strong this week.  Have you used their platinum grain yet?




No Fahad, I haven't - but please let me know your results if you use it!


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