Studio Notes: Traveling with Jewelry-Making Tools and Supplies Follow Up
My post, Metalsmithing: Traveling with Our Tools and Materials, was about being searched twice by a local TSA agent thanks to some jewelry-making tools. The post got tons of views and responses. (The culprit this particular trip was Fabulustre polishing compound in my carry on.)
- Include specific pages from jewelry making catalogs that identify your jewelry-making tools or materials you have in your luggage. It may help.
- Consider shipping your tools
Here are some of your comments about jewelry-making tools and travel (edited for length):
I do chain maille and have not had trouble with anything, even my pliers, flying domestically. Coming back from Argentina was a very different story. I checked my bag on the lower level of the airport and proceeded to security on the upper level. My pliers could not come with me. My checked bag was in the bowels of the airport. I lost both pair. We traveled to South Africa last year. Same story
Brought a crucible holder. Got through security, had a layover, got through security AGAIN. Sitting putting on my shoes, didn’t notice the handle came off. Underneath, the metal tapers to a point. Basically looked like I had a small sword sticking out of my backpack. TSA agent noticed around the same time that I did, and walked over to me. They ended up confiscating it, and for $12 I really didn’t care to fight at all. Used BBQ tongs when I got home and it worked out fine.
I’ve often thought someone should set up some sort of shipping business right by the TSA inspection area. Then people could ship the confiscated stuff home rather than losing to the land fill.
I was traveling through either Pittsburgh or Cleveland and left a favorite pair of pliers in my carry on. There was a little shipping store TSA was kind enough to direct me to. They might have even had a sign near security. I was glad not to toss my little pliers!
You should see the amount of weird metal shapes that end up in my checked baggage whenever I fly to shows. So I’ve started taking one of our Knew Concepts PR postcards (with the saws on it) and writing a big note in marker that says “TSA–I’m on my way to a show. We sell saws. That’s why all the weird metal.” More than once, I’ve gotten it back with a “thank you” scribbled on it.
When I go thru security, I always have my metal (gold and silver) with me and take it out into its own tray. The person says “oh, you don’t need to do that” and I say “trust me, you will want to see it”. It is always opened and 1/2 the time I tell the person I am a jeweler and they wave me thru. Sometimes I have to explain a little more. I wave the gold and then they get it.
Have a story of your own to share? Please leave a comment.
Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. Her story on Colorado diamonds appears in the September-October issue and she will be writing about her experience in Kate Wolf’s class in 2018 along with her grant writing adventures as a silversmith. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.