Again, sourcing rears its head to say, 'hey, why aren't you connecting? why aren't you convincing people the idea is good, the people will help, and there is money to be made?' I have taken and completed many steps which have lead to choosing and still testing adequate tools for on the cheap jewelry making. The sourcing problem has taken backseat as I puzzle out how to get nice, attractive, pretty stones to set and sell. I am working with more common available stones like granite and feldspar.
I have found some rather rough healing stones of feldspar. They speak of an ancient city on a plain that collapsed under its own technology millenia ago. The healing forces are still present in the left-over stone.
I had it set after watching some youtube videos that I could get stones that would be worthy. Then I used it again to see how to work and shape the stones once I had some stones from yards in the area, with permissions (critically important). After perusing ebay for great selling works I know what I have to do. Finding the tools to do it without spending a fortune is the key to my current tries.
So as I found out about a tool, I acquired it. Like so many hands-on activities having the right tool is important. I first tried the Dremel. The Dremel 1/16th drill bit does a hack job on shells splitting them before a hole is made. The layer between the outside of the shell and final cavity lining is where the shell breaks, fractures, and is rendered worthless by the drill. So my solution to that was, use a smaller drill bit. So after yet another trip to the discount merchandiser (I get most of my junk from there), I have the proper sized drill bits. Ah but I get the bits home, go to put them in the dremel and this dremel piece called the collet is too large. Back to the store. And no collets unless I want 49 or more other accessories with it. So the project to drill holes in shells is on hold. Now for engraving shells I have the piece from Dremel and have successfully engraved some shells.
So my original plan to shape stones got sidetracked. But while looking for Dremel parts I put together from going down the tool aisle for the 6th time in a day (2 more at other hardware stores) that a jigsaw with metal cutting or diamond edged blades will do the job of rough shaping the stone.
I did get a hacksaw with metal cutting blades pack and proceeded to saw for an hour on a piece of smoky quartz-infused granite, held by a vice. After only penetrating the stone to a quarter inch, after 45 minutes of sawing, I gave up seeking something that would work right now. Not tomorrow and certainly not when I next happen to be in the store.
As a business plan note there are maybe 10,000 people in the USA who know how and what to cut into gemstones and jewelry. The numbers of bead makers are millions but stones, less so. I base the 10,000 figure off views of stone cutting on youtube. There could be 10,000 more in the USA but they are supplying a $17 billion industry here in the states. Sure, some are imports, but no more than 50%. That leaves $1.7 billion to split among some 20,000 lapidarists or $85,000 per year apiece. Apply Robert Allen's 'Multiple Streams of Income' to it and the figure can go higher, much higher.
Another idea for stone cutting is diamond flat blades for pre-shaping or simply cutting off the bulk of the stone that will fracture and send pieces flying if not done carefully. The blades are from country music playing, farming, and horse supply store. The jigsaw from a discount mass merchandiser. For another week or month I save the work to do with the heavy duty though really still basic tools.
I counted the number of tools I used today, 8, just to find out what can and could be done. The path to a four hour workweek is laborious at first but should quickly get much better.
Now the hacksaw work and running back and forth to the tool store has tired me though I feel invigourated at the same time now that I have tried and failed maybe 40 times (I count every attempt around family, not the right tool, failed to shape, cut, grind, or fracture stone or shells) to get this project going. The dreamline awaits fulfillment. The vision is in sight.