Can I ask you for an honest opinion?

Beckybue
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Can I ask you wise lot your opinion on something? (Admin, please delete if not allowed).
I sling all iron and aluminium foil etc., but I have buckets of metal partefacts and scrap which I can’t quite bear to part with, as it was hard work digging up in the first place 😂.
So I bought myself a little furnace and have made ingots in copper, copper alloy, brass and bronze. I stamped them with messages, put felt on the base and they now sit in my finds cabinet. They are super satisfying and shiny and it made me feel so good that the stuff I didn’t know what to do with now has a second life.
It got me thinking whether there is a market in turning detectorists’ scrap that they provide into ingots, starting with local friends I know. Pricing is tricky and a single ingot takes me many hours but I will get better at it.
So, for argument’s sake would you pay £25.00 to have 500g of your scrap turned into an ingot with a message of choice stamped on it, or is one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had?
The photos aren’t great and don’t depict the sheer weight and smoothness of them in real life (they’re very tactile).
I would be so grateful to anyone who could give me an opinion on this. Thank you !
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mattjb
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They look good :clapping: and if I had the kit it would be something I’d enjoy doing myself but not something I’d want to pay someone else to do if you know what I mean. We are all different though and others might love the idea.
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Blackadder43
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Taking away the effort of making such an item, plus the fuel or electric costs for melting said items, this leaves the personalising of it.

Thats the bit that i pay for on anything i buy thats personalised
The amount of effort that goes into that, plus the meaning it has is worth the money asked
In my opinion

You have to make sure you have costed it correctly so you make money doing it.
Its niche and would make an excellent present idea for a detectorist as we all know our loved ones sometimes struggles buying for us tectorists in a reasonable price range

Could you also use other shaped moulds?
Like a paperweight made from our lead scraps?

Sounds a plan to me :thumbsup:
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Easylife
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Not for me, but why not cast some BA axe replicas or suchlike?
Good things come to those who wait.
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figgis
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On the face of it a great idea - they look good and I agree with Blackadder regarding different-shaped ingots. There is certainly an appeal there.

But you have to look at the logistics and figure out how you're going to collect the scrap - post or collect - and factor that in to your costing. Many detectorists take their scrap to the local yard so at the very least you will have to match the prices they'd get there AND pay for getting it to you.

It's far from a bad idea but will need looking at to make it viable :thumbsup:
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shaggybfc
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For me, a nice little project, but not a Etsy type business.
As said, cast something historical, like a BA axe head :thumbsup:
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Kenleyboy
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I like the idea that something from scrap is then turned into something like say a paper weight etc . I like easylifes idea that perhaps something which replicates an artefact or similar .
The problem I see is the usual story and that is factoring in your time and costs etc with postage included , all adds up to the final figure on what people are willing to pay .
"Cottage Industries " are just what they are , small independent souls in love with what they do and make a little money from it , some ideas take off but not always . It is damn hard work convincing the public and most have no idea of the time and effort that goes into the making of such products .
All my products are handmade from start to finish and if I look at my hourly rate then its minimum wage ! However I love my work and always have done and as long as it pays the bills and puts food on the table then that for me is all that matters .
Material costs are the deciding factor and dictate whether a project is worth pursuing as well as a time factor to consider , it all adds up and bespoke items will take time to make and its getting those buyers to understand this from the off . Some of my items can be 18 months from receipt of order .
There was a innovative chap on one of the metal detecting groups who made some truly remarkable little boxes for coin display , they were really well made and it was a sideline to his regular job . He was overwhelmed with orders , family and health issues came into play and he got behind and was then under pressure . I really felt sorry for this bloke because I know for sure that handmade bespoke items take time to produce and if they are not priced accordingly you are in trouble and if you get behind for whatever reason then its even worse to endure !
I like your idea and a bold and sensible move to ask on the forum , nothing beats a bit of market research .
If it doesnt work out carry on for your own sake and maybe look into making some replica items such as those classic roman brooches and similar , neat little items to pop in the cabinet with pride of place because you made them from nothing , another recycling dimension :thumbsup:
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Easylife
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I always think of all the plastic we throw away to be recycled just to buy it back in another form, same with scrap metal. :thumbsup:
Good things come to those who wait.
Beckybue
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mattjb wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:03 pm They look good :clapping: and if I had the kit it would be something I’d enjoy doing myself but not something I’d want to pay someone else to do if you know what I mean. We are all different though and others might love the idea.
Thank you so much Matt, and this is exactly what I’m trying to gauge 👍🏻
Beckybue
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Blackadder43 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:10 pm Taking away the effort of making such an item, plus the fuel or electric costs for melting said items, this leaves the personalising of it.

Thats the bit that i pay for on anything i buy thats personalised
The amount of effort that goes into that, plus the meaning it has is worth the money asked
In my opinion

You have to make sure you have costed it correctly so you make money doing it.
Its niche and would make an excellent present idea for a detectorist as we all know our loved ones sometimes struggles buying for us tectorists in a reasonable price range

Could you also use other shaped moulds?
Like a paperweight made from our lead scraps?

Sounds a plan to me :thumbsup:
Thank you so much for the feedback Blackadder and you raise a very good point in the personalising of the item, as it is open to any message but, equally, is also the trickiest part, as you only get one chance to get it right!
You’ve also drilled into the second worry I had, ie other shapes which if involving curved lines, are much harder to keep uniform.
And weirdly the other thing you mention is lead, which I have thought about a lot and have a load of , but haven’t worked with yet, but guessing that is what detectorists hang on to most. Will work on a round paper weight mold.
Thank you so much again.
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alloverover
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When I read the first few lines of you post Becky I thought that that would be great if I could get a couple made for me.........then I read further and you are basically asking what I just answered,,,,,,I think they would be a really nice thing to own but also a very much appreciated gift to a farm thats detected on, I can think of a couple of my landowners that would be over the moon with something that looks and I am sure feels so great made with bits and bobs from their land, with the farm name stamped into it,,,,I would certainly commision a couple of them :thumbsup:

As for the finances and returns etc, I have no clue if you could make it viable,,,would say you must charge postage of the scrap to you and then of the ingot back to the purchaser on top of the £25 .
Beckybue
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Easylife wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:15 pm Not for me, but why not cast some BA axe replicas or suchlike?
Absolutely, and point taken. Moulding metal into meaningful replicas of bucket lister detecting finds make it a more representative object. Thank you for the input👍🏻
Beckybue
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figgis wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:59 pm On the face of it a great idea - they look good and I agree with Blackadder regarding different-shaped ingots. There is certainly an appeal there.

But you have to look at the logistics and figure out how you're going to collect the scrap - post or collect - and factor that in to your costing. Many detectorists take their scrap to the local yard so at the very least you will have to match the prices they'd get there AND pay for getting it to you.

It's far from a bad idea but will need looking at to make it viable :thumbsup:
Thank you Figgis for your input, and you have pinpointed (pardon the pun) the crux of the problem. If I keep it local and collect scrap from friends on local digs and return their order at the next one, that’s all well and good, but it’s the postal side that’s more of a headache due to the increased cost. Not sure about this side of it and need to think about it but thanks for raising it 👍🏻
Beckybue
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shaggybfc wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 8:41 pm For me, a nice little project, but not a Etsy type business.
As said, cast something historical, like a BA axe head :thumbsup:
Thank you so much for the input Shaggy, there is a recurring theme here which I’m listening to loud and clear 👍🏻
DaveP
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Becky,

I think quality hand made items are always worth paying for and I appreciate the skill. But it is typically a small market and you can only cover your costs by marking up. A 2nd class small parcel one way is £3.20 meaning you are already in for ~£8 P&P unless you add that on top i.e your £25 ingot has already jumped to £33 delivered. I think all you can do is make people aware and then see if there's any traction.

For other shapes you could consider a lost wax process - that way any shape is possible.

I can't leave without adding a note of caution. Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc. I don't know how much exposure you would get to zinc fumes but they are not pleasant. Similarly, lead fumes or lead dust are a significant risk. It's up to you how you manage your life but please be careful as many of the risks are invisible.

Hope the project works out for you.

Chris
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