John, Organizing your tools is not just a matter of having a place for
everything and everything in its place. It requires putting tools in
an order that is meaningful to you, the person who uses them. There
is no set pattern to organizing your bench. Each jeweler should
arrange their tools in a manner that is logical to them. This
arrangement will be dependent upon:
The types of tools used most frequently
The type of work most often preformed
The personal mannerism of the jeweler
Position tools in a manner that requires little, if any, extra
movement in order to retrieve them and put them away. For example: A
plier rack can be mounted on the front edge of your bench centered in
the path your hand moves to begin work. Then when you move your hand
from its normal resting position to work at your bench pin you can
pick up a pair of pliers on the way. When work is finished you can
put the pliers back on the rack as your hand moves away from the
bench pin. If the rack is properly placed the pliers are picked up
and put away with out effort.
Often jewelers make the mistake of organizing like tools together.
For example, all pliers hang together on one rack. This is a big
mistake. Pliers used everyday are mixed together with ones you do not
use often. This makes it harder to find the ones you need. In
addition, pliers that are seldom used take up valuable space near the
bench pin. Then, tools that are used everyday are relegated to a
drawer or stored further away making them harder to get to.
A better alternative is to have two smaller racks for pliers. One
near the bench pin for pliers used everyday and a second rack placed
further away, on the side of the bench for example. The same applies
for all types of tools. Place the tools used most often closer to
your bench pin, where you do your work. Place the other tools further
away, still within reach but not quite as conveniently.
Arrange setting burs in order of size in your bur block. Then write
the millimeter size of the bur on the block, this makes it easier to
find the correct size bur and to put it away.
Buy some retractable key chains. (The kind you clip on your belt)
Attach these to the side of your bench or under the bench top and
place small tools such as the flex shaft key or “Mark-A-Size” on
them. Then you can easily find the tool and when you are finished
using it just let go and it will put itself away.
The back corners of your bench are harder to reach and tend to
collect stuff. By placing a “Lazy Susan” there helps keep it
organized and makes it easier to get to the items.