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Useful and interesting  stuff for Jewellers and Silversmiths


  • Dawn Meaden-Johnson

10 Tips for Jewellery Workshop Reclamation

Updated: May 5, 2021

INSIDER | Tips of the Trade

We asked Presman Mastermelt to collaborate with us and provide a summary for Jewellers of the key areas where they can earn extra money by incorporating simple but effective methods for collecting precious metal waste in their workshop.

Some important terminology explained;

What is Lemel Lemel is the unused or waste precious metal filings, cuttings and dust caught up in and around your Jewellery bench and in your workshop.

What is Sweep?

Sweep is the collection of lemel/precious metal scrap, particles and cuttings you collect and accumulate as you go about your Jewellery workshop practice.

1. Bench Practice

Over a period of time, the surface of your work bench will have tiny particles of metal ground into the wood. It is worth sanding down your bench from time to time and vacuuming up the dust as part of your sweep.

- Lemel, put this into a pot and always keep this separate from your low grade sweep.

- General workshop waste, including buff sticks, wet wipes, job packets, hoover bags, chair covers, sweepings and any floor coverings can be collected for sweep.

Jewellery workshop Reclamation. Image credit Presman Mastermelt

2. Barreling & Pinning Machine Always empty barrels and pinning machines through a settlement tank. If you don’t have one, use wet wipes and paper towels to thoroughly clean the machine and throw these all into your sweep collection bag. This is the same procedure for your ultrasonic, once the fluid has been carefully poured away.

3. Carpets Try to use carpets and mats as much as possible in your workshop as they brush your feet and collect metal extremely efficiently. Never throw out old workshop carpets or mats, cut them up if possible and put them into a separate sweep bag. Disposal mats in your workshop doorway are good idea, stamp your feet on the way out!

4. Extraction Units All filters and dust bags from extraction units are lucrative collection points and need to be cleaned and changed regularly, depending on use/output. Cleaning your extraction equipment frequently will also keep it running efficiently. Put the filters and bags into your sweep.

5. Polishing Area

Keep everything used for jewellery polishing, including your polishing dust, mops, brushes, felts, cotton wool, sanding discs, wet wipes and all filters and put all of these into your sweep bag.

6. Settlement Tanks A settlement tank is fitted between the sink and the drain, which enables it to collect precious metal sludge from the water waste. Emptying time will depend on level of usage.

7. Ultrasonic Always empty your ultrasonic cleaner through a settlement tank. If you do not have a settlement tank, empty it into a bucket and lets it contents settle overnight. Wipe the tank clean with paper towels and throw them into your sweep bag. Once the bucket sludge has settled drain off the excess water and wipe out the bucket with more paper towels, and put these into your sweep bag.

8. Vacuum Vacuum your workshop regularly and throw the full vacuum bags into your sweep bag. Metal dust is heavy so it will always fall to the floor. Don’t walk it around the building, place disposable mats in doorways and collect the used ones in your sweep bag.

9. Wet Wipes Wipe your hands with wet wipes after polishing or working at the bench. Regularly wipe down all the surfaces in your workshop and throw the used wipes into your sweep bag.

10. IMPORTANT – What NOT to put into your Sweep bags

  • Aerosol cans

  • Gas canisters

  • Lighters

  • Batteries

  • Chemicals etc.

These are all extremely dangerous items and will explode in reclamation furnaces. SWEEP BAGS

If anyone would like a FREE Mastermelt sweep bag for their jewellery workshop, please don’t hesitate to contact them direct via their social media page @presmanmastermelt

Sweep bag and Lemel pot from Presman Mastermelt


About Presman Mastermelt

Our thanks to Presman Mastermelt for sharing their expertise with us. They are one of the UK’s leading processor of bench lemel and every kind of Jewellery workshop waste, which is processed in-house. The company is ISO accredited and is independently audited to ensure consistently high levels of service and environmental compliance.

Find out more about them here;

Blog Introduction

Written by Dawn Meaden-Johnson, Director and Founder of the Bespoke Jewellery Training Co



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