I try to shop locally as much as I can. It doesn't always work out and Ebay is my friend, but I do look locally first!
I don't weld, unless one weekend course counts, but some of the stuff needed to make beads can be found in welding supply shops. For some weird reason there are several of those in Whitehorse. Apparently there's a lot of welding going on in this town!
Most of those suppliers have not been terribly helpful to me, with one notable exception--Yukon Explosives. I've spent alot of money there recently and probably will again--although not for awhile since I bought enough stainless steel welding rod today to make mandrels for at least a year!
I don't know the two guys' names that I've been dealing with, but I like them both! They never make me feel like I disturbed their day and more importantly, they never make me feel like a dumb girl--even when I'm asking dumb questions! For that reason alone, the next time I need more tools or my hubby needs more safety gear, I'll be heading back to Yukon Explosives.