(Or, Where To Get Stuff)
I'll start with the local suppliers, and then move on to the national suppliers. Santa Barbara being the industrial mecca that it is, the list of local suppliers is pretty short. If you have suggestions for other local (or national) suppliers that would be of use, let me know. Just to be clear: just because I mention a supplier here does not mean that I endorse them in any way, I'm just gathering information.
Local Santa Barbara Sources
316 Haley St., Santa Barbara.
Pat (the owner) keeps a small selection of hand-tools, abrasives and findings in stock. He also usually has sterling casting grain available. Call before you head down there. His tool selection is entirely random, and is based largely on what he needs to keep in stock for his own work.
Paul Brombal Coins
3601-A State St., Santa Barbara. (Near Ontare)
Scrap silver/gold for casting.
I've never dealt with them, but I've had many casting students get sterling coins there to melt down for casting. Make sure you're getting sterling coins rather than fine silver coins. I understand they also have scrap gold rings available as well. This is usually a cheaper route than buying casting grain, but please be aware that you will get better results by using fresh casting grain, especially in gold.
32 E. Victoria. (Downtown, just north of State)
General 'serious' art supplies. They don't have anything specifically for jewelry, but they're a good place to keep in mind as a scrounging resource.
187 S. Turnpike. (In the Vons shopping center at the bottom of Turnpike. Across the 101 from the Wake Center.)
The Art Essentials folks bought out the old craft store in the Von's shopping center, and are working to rehabilitate it. General craft supplies and framing. Very little specific to jewelry, but lots of things that can be turned to your purposes. They also have what appears to be a decent selection of beading supplies, and jewelry tools of the sorts that beaders would need. (light pliers & etc.) This is the closest store to the Wake Center that might have what you need.
Michael's Arts & Crafts
183 N. Fairview, Goleta. (Fairview Shopping Center)
Another general crafts store. Light pliers for beading, and some beading supplies. Roughly comparable to Craft Essentials, it's a place to keep in mind for scrounging.
Art From Scrap
302 E. Cota, Santa Barbara. (Way downtown)
Apparently started as a recycling project, Art From Scrap has grown into a sort of...well, I'm not sure what. Their inventory is entirely random, based on whatever cool looking things floated by this week. Their selection is geared more toward 'make cool art with the kids out of recycled shiny things' rather than jewelry, but definitely a place worth putting on your list of scrounging haunts. I strike out nine out of ten visits, but that tenth trip is golden.
(They have a phone. Who knew?)
1207 State St, Santa Barbara. (Kitty-Corner across from the Granada, just up from Anacapa.)
How does one describe "random"?? I spent about 5 years in town before I knew the place even had a name. Definitely a store for scroungers, stocked by scroungers. The owner roves around going to business auctions, and coming home with whatever looked good. The selection is totally random. I've seen everything in there from industrial sewing machines to jeweler's benches, to press tooling, to silk damask and Swarovski crystal. They usually have small base metal stamped shapes, in handy jewelry scale sizes. I make a point of stopping in every time I'm anywhere near. There will rarely be anything specifically jewelry related, but you just never know, and it's always worth the time to check. The place is an absolute madhouse, organized by compulsive packrats. Take the time to peer and pry. I've found some real treasures lurking in the shadows. Their back door opens onto the city parking lot below the Arlington, the one behind SoHo.
National Jewelry Suppliers
(In no particular order)
Given as Santa Barbara doesn't have any real local suppliers for jewelry needs, your best option is usually one of the larger national mail-order houses. Most of them respond very quickly, and can get you your items in a couple of days. Easily quick enough to have it for the next week's class.
The biggest of the big suppliers. They have specialty catalogs for tools, findings, enamels and display goods. They're generally a little on the high side of most prices, but they have everything, they have it in stock, and they ship right now. They're very competitive on staple items. 3-4 days transit via UPS ground. Exclusive supplier for Bonny-Doon hydraulic press equipment.
(website currently down, but coming back soon.)
New York City.
Outstanding source for hammers and stakes. For the longest time, they were the only source for high quality hammers, and they still have the best line on them. Smaller, family owned company, and good people. They're out of NYC, so it takes a while to get stuff out here to us, but they can get the weird stuff. For example, they're the only US supplier of the gold foil for Kum-Boo and Damascene. They're also where I get the 'stainless' polishing compound that does such a number on polishing our hammers. If you need something truly strange, contact them. Chances are they'll be able to help. They also do student discounts. Transit time varies, but generally over a week via ground.
Indian Jeweler's Supply
They started out supplying the 'southwestern jewelry' trade, and their stock selections still reflect this. Sometimes this is a good thing though: they have a unique supply of stamps and forming diesets with soutwestern motifs. (All those stamping punches we have in the studio with the southwestern motifs came from IJS.) They're also a very good source for silver, especially large section wire. Their tool selection tends towards the simple and rugged, but I can't see that as a problem. Transit time about 3 days via ground.
New York City. I've only dealt with them in person, at tradeshows, but they have a wide variety of metal shapes and chain, as well as a very wide range of patterned sheet. They also stock reactive metals (Titanium & Niobium) and pewter.
They've been around for years, and the east coast types swear by them.
Philadelphia, PA. I haven't dealt with them in years, but they were, and probably still are, a very good source for metals, as well as general tools. They also stock bronze sheet & wire, as well as pewter.
The only reason I haven't bought anything from them lately is that I'm on the other side of the country. They've been around for 100+ years, and are a fixture of the east coast scene.
Providence, RI. They have a website. I've seen it. I just can't find it at the moment.
Specialty supplier of pewter, they'll do anything from very thin, to the 1/8" slabs I used for the early spinner vases. I've used them for years for my pewter, and I suspect they're where most of the other suppliers are getting theirs. Their pewter is actually tin and antimony, if I remember correctly. Modern pewter contains no lead.
National Suppliers of Other Useful Tidbits
(This is a catchall category for non-jewelry suppliers who nevertheless have useful stuff)
Miami Lakes, FL
Small parts stocks...(wait for it)...small parts. They really cater to the scientific and R&D fields, but they're a great supplier for miniature nuts & bolts, as well as all sorts of other oddball stuff like sieve cloth, ruby bearing balls, miniature hinges, small tap & die kits, and the like. It's definitely worth paging through their PDF catalog. They're not cheap, and they can be beaten for price on generic sorts of supplies, but they're the only supplier for some of their more esoteric items, especially the miniature nuts & bolts.
American Scientific Surplus
This is definitely my sort of store. An eclectically random assortment of scientific castoffs and cutouts, you never know what they'll have. I've seen everything from Sherman tank parts, to Jacob's ladders, to stereo microscopes, to Russian weather balloons. Imagine a science museum giftshop's closeout store. On steroids.
They seldom have anything that a traditionalist would recognize as being jewelry related, but they have all sorts of things that the scrounger in me has put to work, both as tools, and in jewelry pieces.
Just browse their catalog, and let serendipity club you over the head.
MSC is the Rio Grande of the machine-tool and industrial supplies biz. They have everything, they have it in stock, and they ship right now. They're not always the cheapest, but they're usually pretty competitive. Their website is good, but make sure you get 'the big book'. Their hardcopy catalog is terrifying. It's about 4 inches thick, hardbound, with 500,000+ items. They have tools for tasks you've never even conceived of.
Along with their little brother Enco (below) they're one of the major places I get the more 'industrial' of the supplies we use in class, like the screw-machine length (short) drill-bits that work so well for the precision drill. They're also a great place to get tools to make other tools, or to get parts to fix tools. (They don't stock specific spares, but they do have bearings, screws, and other things that can be used to fix serious tools.) Definitely worth knowing what they have, and pondering how their stock might assist you. Anything from small screws, to the lathes to make the small screws, they have it.
The 'lite' version of MSC, they stock a more limited range of less expensive machine tool supplies than MSC, although they're both owned by the same holding company, and mostly ship from the same warehouses. (The closest shipping point to us is in Fernley, NV. Generally 1-2 days ground) Cheaper than MSC generally, but they don't have the high end stuff. Their sales flyers are worth reading when they show up. (Daily, it seems.)
National locations. Closest shipping point: LA
McMaster-Carr is sort of like a cross between Small Parts and MSC. They're a serious industrial supplier, and they have everything. Their stock tends more towards the sorts of supplies that university 'mad scientist' shops would need, rather than the machine-shop supplies of MSC, but there's a lot of overlap. Their website is good, which is useful, since it's the only way to do business with them. They have a hardcopy catalog that's more frightening than MSC's, but it's absolutely unobtainable. They won't send it out to just anybody. Make that they won't send it out to anybody. A current McMaster catalog is the holy-grail of tool geeks. (I don't even have one.) Since the advent of the web, they're much easier to deal with, since you don't need the sacred catalog. They're very responsive to web orders, but that's really how they want to deal with you. Note that they don't even list an 800 number. If McMaster doesn't have it, it may not exist.