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Bench Organizing


I’ve been trying to keep a more organized bench. Unfortunately, this
doesn’t come naturally to me like it may for some of you and there
are so many little tools to file in the course of a day it is a
daunting task to really work neatly. So, I would like to hear about
some of the things you folks may be doing to keep yourself organized,
or maybe you have come up with some gadgets that I could emulate.
Thank you, John Caro


John: I found a simple organizational trick that works for me. I took
thick brass tubing and cut it into 5 inch pieces and glued about 3
dozen of these tubes around the ledge of my bench. My small files, saw
blades. picks, and endless other tools fit nicely into the tubes so
at the end of the day instead of putting most of tools away in drawers
I just put them into the tube holders. This trick impressed all the
other bench workers in my studio. I look so organized now (a great



I try to do a “clean up” of the enitre studio every couple of weeks
or so. There are times when I can’t find something that is “directly
in front of my nose!” Sheesh, I hate that!

I try to put tools back where I got them (I have various stands to
put various tools on.) And I have a few little cabinets with lots of
drawers for stones and such, but those little drawers end up atop my
work bench as I work.

I cannot imagine anyone who “works” with a totally clean and neat

Trying harder to be neater . . .


John, I have a 15 inch wooden turntable to organize cutting burs on
my work bench. Either place the sets of burs on the revolving table,
or, as I eventually did: Section and drill 1/8 inch verticle holes
partially through for numerous burs and types of burs. Mine has 7
circular rows of holes with the outer row being 12 inches in diameter
and having about 60 holes roughly 5/8 inches apart. The inner row is
6 inches in diameter and also has 60 holes roughly 1/2 inch apart,
leaving a space in the middle of the turntable for other collectibles
such as packs of drills. That figures to 420 holes. It takes about 2
hours to layout with dividers and drill. Total cost for the turntable
is about $19.00 at a furniture store. R Wooding



“A neat bench is the sign of a sick mind” a quote I heard somewhere
in the past 25 years at the bench. I use magnetic tool strips to hold
burrs and other small steel tools. I use a piece of flat aluminum bent
in a shallow u shape and screwed to the top edge of my bench to hold
my pliers. I use a plastic revolving burr stand for burrs and several
plastic boxes and holders designed to hold small items. I still have
to straighten and clean my bench at least once a week to survive and
I work off two benches. One for wax and one for metal. If I had three
benches ( which I used to use) I would have even more space to keep
organized. The ever present delima. Keep a neat bench or get some work
done. My bench is always a mess. Frank


Hey Gang, I am a total saver of every little usable tidbit so
organization is tough for me too. The best thing thats helped me at
my bench is a little piece of 1/4" plywood that’s only 6" wide by the
length of my pan. I lay it like a shelf over the end of my bench pan.
I have drilled a bunch of holes on the left edge that I drop often
used polishing/sanding bits into for quick locating. The mandrel end
drops down into my bench pan and they lay flush on the top of the
board so I can see them easy. Amazing, I even seem to put them back
since they are so easy to get to. The little shelf space is a great
layout area too.

Now if I could only think of something to help my kitchen…

t.lee in Minnesota waiting for the snow gods to bestow blessings


John, There is order in Chaos.Revel in your dishevelment.Let your
creativity be unencumbered by order and others views of how a jewelers
bench should appear.I have read that (and Iam sure this information
came from minds much more organized than mine)people who’s desks and
workplaces show a bent in the direction of total disorder are far more
creative than those who bend in the direction of order.Like you I too
was led astray but I saw the light and embraced my habit of not
putting burrs in their assigned seats.Besides I know where everything
is!Let the threads unwind. Happy Trails

J Morley
Coyote Ridge Studio


One of the guys at work came up with a neat idea recently. He took
the third hand that comes with the benchmate and attached it to the
underside of his bench top, just to the left of his bench pin, near
the edge. He used a two sided screw to screw into the wood of the
bench and then thread on the end of the third hand. That is such a
particularly nice third hand that with its three joints it folds up
neatly under his bench top, and pulls out over his bench pin just as
easily to hold whatever he is soldering. He uses it in place of his
regular spring tweezers that he used to slip under a block. This he
can better position for whatever soldering procedure he is doing. On
Friday I bought everybody a double sided screw because we were all so
envious. Mark


I think that this is an idea from Murrey Bovin or from Oppi, but I
did it so many years ago I forgot who actually thought of it. I took a
16 inch length of 1/4 inch copper wire (a brass or steel rod would be
o.k. instead), bent the ends in to zee shapes and then hammer/anvil
flattened the bottoms of the zees so that they would give a good
resting surface. I drilled holes in the feet thus made and screwed the
whole thing into an empty spot on the front of the bench, looking like
a little towel rack. So it now the 20 most needed pliers are all hung
there in a row right in front of the bench.

Oh, yes, another thing, unrelated. Pegboard is really great. All the
walls of my shop not covered with shelves and cabinets are covered
with pegboard.



I take 2 inch PVC pipe, in 4, 6 and 8 inch lengths, put a cap on the
end, fill the tube 2 inches deep with #7 lead buckshot, tap it for a
minute or so to settle the buckshot, then cover the top of the
buckshot with doping wax. I have tubes for files, picks, sanding
sticks, micrometers, etc… They are bottom weighted so the dont
topple over, and I can move the ones that I’m using to the front and
push the others out of the way. I sand the bottom of the caps to make
them really flat as some of them have raised letters that causes them
to wobble if not sanded. You can use larger diameter tubes and caps
for larger items if necessary and a rubber band will 'organize’
groups of tubes that are used together frequently.



Here are 3 bench organizing ideas I can put up for everyone:

  1. On a standard type bench with 3 drawers on the right, screw your
    stone ring sizer(roller) to the bottom(largest) drawer VERTICALLY
    where a drrawer pull would usually go. It puts the tool right to hand
    when you need it w/out taking up benchtop space-and it makes a nifty
    drawer handle the rest of the time.

  2. Remember those metal typing paper stands we used to stand up paper
    we we typing from next to our(gag)typewriters? Turn it around and
    lay it down on its’ side bend the bottom 90degrees down(halfway
    across) and drill a couple holes in it. Screw it into the left
    upright on your bench a few inches down and you have a great
    plier-tweezer rack that will last longer than you will that
    conveniently bends toward you right next to (but not in the WAY of)
    your pan. I even clip my locking tweezers to the outside and use
    refrigerator magnets to hold notes or renderings or reminders where
    I’ll HAVE to look at them under my pliers-and the pliers never fall

  3. HOME DEPOT, LOWES, ETC. sell nifty ball bearing drawer slides
    (real smooth running & strong) that you can screw to the outside
    uprights of your bench to mount a free-standing shelf to. I’ve seen
    two setups w/this: A) a flat shelf that slides out-this shelf had two
    pieces of wood-one mounted to the slide amd a second attached to the
    first w/a piano hinge cut to length so it could be folded up flat
    when not in use. The one I saw had two of those round stepped
    lazy-susans for burrs on it. B) the other one I saw had a piece of oak
    stair-tread mounted securely to the slide at a 45degree angle up and
    out with the rounded bull-nose edge on top and was around 20 inches
    long. the jeweler had drilled it with around 250 holes for burs,
    flexshaft wheels, needle files, and gravers… Anyway maybe some of
    you can adapt these ideas to your own use. CYA!


I had a similar idea, but mounted the GRS tweezer on top of the bench
by cutting off the bolt head, drilling through the bench top and
using a wing nut on the underside. I also took one of the round swing
away bronze soldering stations that Gesswein sells and bolted a GRS
soldering tweezer near the pivot point. Putting it on the underside of
the bench is a really neat idea, though. Rick


John, I have been reading the threads here as it unwinds and have seen
some very interesting tricks to keep tools organized. I myself, well
my bench often times looks like a tornado hit it. BUT I know where
everything is, avery time I look for it. Yes I do have general spots
for everything, and when I put something back, it generally ends up in
the same spot. Some of my tricks for organizing things are, yes the
plier hanger, I took a coat hanger, made a rack and screwed to the
front of my bench, on the side of the top drawer. Another thing I did
was I took an old saw blade tube, threw out the top, keeping the
bottom, I took it and taped it to my flex shaft stand that is screwed
to my bench. This is has been home to my new saw blades for years.
When you break a blade, just grab another one from the tube… Also I
took old crucibles and I put things like solder, and general findngs
that multiply over the years, in them. I have a bench with a staorage
drawer across the top, and of course a catch pan, I sectioned off the
top drawer into 4 sections so that I could organize things it it. The
bench I use for my wax modeling, that is another story… evrything
has a place and gets put back in it’s place when I am done. That would
take antoher year to describe that bench… Like I said, the tornado
look to my bench has a way of sticking around, but I know where
everything is… And besides, who has the time to keep your bench
clean all the time… when would you work??? lol Good luck, Marc


To organize (I use the term loosely) my hammers, pliers, and large
files I have a set of stacking wire shelves that sit on my bench.
The hammers and files lay on the shelves and I hang the pliers
through the wire mesh. The shelves are the plastic coated kind that
you find in the closet organizing section of the home improvement
store. - Deb


Hmmm, good idea, Rick. I have a Frei custom bench with the deep
cutaway, and mount the GRS slide mounts to my left and right, as well
as the one in the center. I keep the swiveling solder station to my
left for assembling more intricate parts and then have my main solder
station in front of me. To my right, I generally keep the GRS vice
mounted. This is not to say my bench is organized in any recognized
sense of the term (grin). Cheerio, Mike.


Finally, another bench that looks like a hurricane warning.

I have decided that there are two types of people. One stacks
vertically. Towering papers everywhere, pegboards to the sky and
lots of stuffed bookcases. This is my partner.

I on the other hand, am the horizontal type. I have a bench, a desk
right behind me with a book case and can breeze in the studio and
cover both teaching benches in about four minutes. My bench is
stacked, my desk looks like Oldevai Gorge and I tend to work in a
space no larger than my bench pin. When this gets covered up, I stop
and clean everything. It takes exactly one day to get completely
covered up.

I’ve given up cleaning and given over to the creative process. The
only part of my “stuff” which stays uncovered and at the ready is my

Someday I’m gonna take a picture of how I actually create and what my
cyclone of a bench looks like. And it keeps people off my bench!

Karen Christians
10 Walnut St.
Woburn, MA 01801

Current Artwork:


Hi Folks,

  A cheap hand towel rack (elongated U LI) screwed
  to a shelf makes a great pliers rack, and they come in all



I have a couple of work benches setup That work pretty good
for me…I’m about 6’3" tall and prefer my benches at a much
higher position… So that when I’m Sawing out a model (or
Something) I can keep my back straight. I can Lean On the top
of the bench and relax /think / browse…I use 2 benches made
from tall , mutiple drawer heavy duty cabinets ($50 at a yard
sale).A comfortable chair with rollers gets me between the 2
benches and the computer station. One Bench is used for
soldering And pickling with a small oven range hood ducted out
the chimney.The other bench is where all the cutting
,Sawing,Stonesetting and Model assembly is done.Having tons of
easily accessible storage space is a Crucial Part of keeping
the bench tops clear for working.Believe me when i say that my
bench… as clean as it looks … turns into a metalic debri
field for 2 or 3 days at a time before taking an hour or 2 to
straighten it all out again.All of this is set up in a basement
with full casting facilities. I have since moved into a 4000sqf
factory space… The machine shop in my Garage was really
getting my wife a bit Mad !!! All these pictures are viewable
on my website under “workshop” for those who have not been
there before. Hope this helps some of you . Daniel Grandi


I can’t say I have a “bench” to work at; instead I created a space in
the equipment room where I had access to natural gas, water, and
electricity. This is my dungeon. I built deep shelves against the
wall for work & storage space and mounted lighting to the bottom of
the shelf right above my “bench.”

The back of the hollow core door for the room is beside my work space
and is great for mounting things. By nailing or screwing wood strips
to the solid frame along the sides of the door, I have a stable base
onto which is screwed a silverware basket salvaged from my old
dishwasher - pliers hang over the front edge and other tools are held
in the places where utensils used to go. Another strip of wood has
hooks mounted on it for hanging things like saw frames, ruler, etc.
The rest of the surface has tech sheets stuck to it with “Stik-tac.”

“Stik-tac” is that pliable gum-like stuff which is sold for mounting
posters on walls without using thumbtacks or otherwise damaging the
surface. It’s really useful for temporarily putting small objects on
vertical surfaces. Press some Stik-tac on the side of a pencil, file
handle, drill bit, ANYTHING small, and press it against the wall,
table leg, wherever. It will stay where you stuck it indefinitely.
Heavier object? Use more Stik-tac… within limits, of course.
Stik-tac is easily removed from the object and is very reusable.
Your imagination is the only limit for finding new uses. I have
little gobs of Stik-tac stuck all over and jam things like drill bits
or saw blades into it for quick retrieve. Of course its intended use
for holding paper is useful too. This has been a most enlightening
thread. Really enjoyed seeing the Burgess bench. Thanks to all.
Judymw Judy M. Willingham, Consumer Pollution Prevention Specialist 237
Seaton Hall Kansas State University Manhattan KS 66506
(785)532-5418 FAX (785) 532-6944


Some shots of our jewellery studio

The lime tree and the grape vine in early summer - November 1999
We built this little studio in 1986

A snapshot of the jewellery benches in use no clean-up was done
for the photo (as you can see) Ruth and I share this
triangular-shaped double-bench

The soldering and melting area propane/air burner for anealing,
oxy/propane for melting powder flux for soldering, copper-phos
de-oxidiser for melting


B r i a n A d a m J e w e l l e r y E y e w e a r
@Brian_Adam1 ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND Ring-Making on the steps of the Museum JAM Jewellery Events