I'm not sure if this is common knowledge among metalsmiths, but I just ordered a boat load of silver and thought I would share this time saving tip.
Sanding the scratches and nicks out of your silver after it has been shoved around your bench top is a huge hassle, and a waste of precious time. To prevent this, I prep my metal right after I receive it to eliminate unnecessary sanding.
First, I glue cheep sketching paper to each side of my silver sheet while it is still pristine and scratch free. I use rubber cement because it stays on while you cut out your projects, and then removes easily without having to burn it off. Then, after applying the paper to the first side, cut off the excess with a razor blade. Make sure to get a very close cut, or the paper will peel when you're sawing out your projects.
Once the first side is done, then I do the same to the other side.
Now that the sheet is protected, in one corner of the metal I mark the gauge of the sheet, the price per inch, or per gram that I paid, and also the invoice date- in case I need to reference back to any other information. Then when I'm ready to use my silver, I draw my pattern right on the protective paper. Quick and easy, and no heavy sanding!