Art Supply Warehouse ASW sells conventional art supplies, paint in tubes, cakes and sticks, but so many brands. They have the lowest prices I’ve found. This is where I buy most of my brushes, especially Winsor & Newton Series 7. Egg tempera painters note: If you find yourself manually pointing your brushes, get Series 7s and keep your fingers clean, and oil painters: I’ve found nothing that remotely compares to the performance Series 7 miniatures.
Budget Casting Supply Make a pattern out of wood, pack it in sand, remove the pattern, and fill the resultant void with molten scrap aluminum. How cool. BCS makes available, in small lots, materials that are normally sold in industrial quantities.
The Complete Sculptor I found this site while looking for open weave fiberglass mesh to reinforce my gesso painting grounds. They’ve got it, and much more. They sell a relatively affordable vacuum chamber and pump.
Digi-Key While I was looking through some of my old papers I found a single printed page. It was one-half of a Digi-key catalog from the 70’s. Oh how far they’ve come. Their latest catalog is over fifteen hundred pages. Every three months they send a bigger one. They ship any of the half million different items they stock the day you order. They sell electronic stuff.
Kremer Pigmente Kremer is a German company. They distribute to the US out of NYC. They probably have the widest selection of painting raw materials anywhere. They have historical pigments including ultramarine made according to Cennino Cennini’s fifteenth century recipe, and every modern pigment. Besides pigments, they carry about every substance imaginable to stick them to a surface, except egg yolk and spit.
Lindsay’s Technical Books Lindsay specializes in reprinted, out of copyright. technical books. Many of the books are of mainly historical interest. Some are just qwerky, like the, I Just Love to Fart, book. Most of Lindsay’s offerings, however, have useful information unavailable elsewhere. These books can teach you to: build a steam engine, build a log home, distill liquor, make soap, run a metal lathe, or even build a practical metal lathe out of old pots and pans. Not all of the books are old. Lindsay has spawned a cottage industry of individuals writing idiosyncratic how-to books. The most successful of these is Dave Gingrey’s series; Build Your Own Metal Working Shop From Scrap.
McMaster-Carr Mechanical stuff. Lots of it. Hardware, gears , bearings, motors, etc. I don’t know all that they carry because they won’t send me a catalog, but their on-line catalog and ordering system is great. Whatever I order arrives at my doorstep the next day, UPS ground.
Parts Express This is a great source for the home-brew audio enthusiast. They have parts for vacuum tube amplifiers, including transformers and Russian tubes. They carry hundreds of different loudspeaker drivers and every enclosure accessory. Check out the Dynavox drivers. They are French designed, Taiwan built, knock offs, of Danish Dynaudio speakers. They are half the price, sound great, and once in a box, only your hairdresser will know for sure.
Production Tool Supply I haven’t purchased from PTS on-line. Their headquarters is located nearby on Eight Mile (yes, that Eight Mile) in Warren, Michigan. Their slick quarter hectare showroom is a machine freak’s dreamland. Legendary marques like Bridgeport, South Bend, and Clausing abound. They sell every cutter, drill, Abrasive, measuring device and, well, tool, imaginable, both US and imported. They are the only source I know of for the diamond grinding pins I use to route my toned gesso painting grounds. Their web site requires that you register as a business to order. Don’t be intimidated. Painting is a business. Sign up and they will send you their beautiful 1600 page catalog, which you will need, because they don’t seem to have one on-line.
Realgesso Max, who presides at Realgesso is passionate about his panels, and judging by the many unsolicited testimonials I’ve read on on-line painting forums, so are his customers. Gesso is powdered stone and glue applied to a wood panel. It's the traditional surface for the egg tempera paintings that dominated before the late renaissance. Egg tempera requires a rigid support. Acquiring and preparing suitable wood panels was expensive. As oil supplanted egg tempera, painters exploited the flexibility of oil paint to use ephemeral, but much less expensive, canvas. Sad really. Employing modern engineered wood panels, gesso is now price competitive.
Sinopia This was the first on-line source of dry pigments and “raw” painting materials I used. They have been a joy to do business with. I’ve purchased and reviewed several of their book offerings.
Small Parts Just what the name suggests, they carry hardware, mechanical assemblies, tiny plumbing supplies for laboratory work, precision tools, and most importantly metal shapes in brass, copper, stainless, even titanium. They carry a good selection of stainless steel screens in various mesh sizes. These may be useful for mixing or grading home made pigments.
Stone Sculptors Supplies I stumbled upon this site while looking for another. Though I don’t sculpt, I’m envious. Take a chunk of stone, and remove everything that doesn’t belong. The result lasts forever. So at odds with the minutia in which we painters engage. As well as tools, SSS sells interesting stone blocks.
United States Plastic Everything plastic, sheets, shapes, tubing, bottles and 2000-liter tanks. Located on Interstate 75 in Lima, Ohio. Whatever I purchase gets to me, in Detroit, the next day, UPS ground. Every order comes with an evangelical tract written by Dr. R. Stanley Tam, the company founder.
Wholesale Tool Wholesale Tool’s headquarters is three miles from Production Tool Supply’s. It is as funky as PTS’s is slick. The showroom is concrete block, their machines are Chinese, the inventory is not as comprehensive, but they are my first choice. They are slightly cheaper than PTS, but mostly, they are more fun to deal with, and I can imagine someday actually owning one or their machines. They have a conventional on-line ordering system, but get their catalog anyway.