I encountered one of those moments a few weeks ago that make you think about how in some ways mail ordered and online shopping is overrated. Now I am not going to abandon shopping from Rio Grande Catalog or online vendors. It is always good to remember your local hardware store.
I am currently setting up my studio to do cuttlebone casts. This means I had to buy a few new things like a crucible, binding wire and firebrick. The firebrick presented a problem. Firebrick is a brick that has been designed to withstand high temperature and is used in clay ovens and kilns.
The big problem with buying firebrick from online or from a catalog is that it is brick! That means it is heavy and the shipping cost is high. When I looked in the Rio Grande Catalog they didn’t even have firebrick listed. When I searched Ebay and Amazon the bricks cost from $14 to $17. Then the shipping was almost $10 per brick! With Amazon there are no discount option for having an order over $50 with this vendor, so full shipping cost was unavoidable.
At this point I was not very happy with the idea of dropping over $50 on two firebricks. Then I started thinking that most studios I have had worked at before, like Lillstreet and the one at Colorado College, had tables covered in firebrick. I doubt they were paying 25 bucks per brick.
That is when I called Kliendorfer’s Hardware & Variety Store (located at 1401 West Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington IN 47404, (812) 332-0487) a great local shop. Kliendorfer’s is an old school hardware shop and the staff can tell you anything you need about tools or building something. After they answered the phone, it took me a couple of attempts, they told me they had firebrick. I assumed it would be cheaper no matter what because of the lack of shipping cost.
After I drove there I asked one of the shop employee’s to help me. He guided me through the maze of merchandise to the little box of firebrick. I asked him the price and he told me $2.75 per brick!!!!! So after buying two bricks with taxes it was under $7. That is a lot cheaper then over $50.
Just remember when buying things for your studio always check with local hardware stores. You might end up saving a lot of money. In addition I got to hold the brick in my hands and didn’t have to wait 5 to 10 business days for it to arrive in the mail.
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