Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Benchmate System


#1

Hi everybody: I have been seriously considering purchasing the
benchmate system and am now at the humming and hawing stage. I
am looking for comments from people who are using the system, or
have in the past used the system. I want to know if the unit is
as great as it looks!!!

Thanks to all
Cary James
Cary James Designs
P.O. Box 336 Manuels, Nfld
Canada
A1W 1M9
a69rmv@plato.ucs.mun.ca


#2

I have been using the benchmate system about 7 years now and
swear by it. All my benches have the plate to attache the
benchmate. When i change benches i just move the benchmate. Great
piece of equipment. If you decide to buy one go direct to GRS. I
also use the soldering station. Frank


#3

Cary - go buy it and don’t look back. It’s an unbelievably good
system and I wouldn’t consider working without it! You will
never regret it, and I’ll guarantee that! Mike.


#4

HI: I have a deluxe system, some of it is very functional, some
parts are only used for special projects, Overall it is a great
time saver and space saver on the bench, just remember that you
will dedicate a drawer for the parts. I have found it to be very
versatile and worth the money, saves the hands.
Ringman John Henry


#5

Hi Carey, The Benchmate system is better than it looks! I have a
bone problem in my wrists, and the Benchmate has allowed me to
continue earning a living in a profession that requires intensive
hand work. My system is five years old, and works as well today
as when new. I would never hesitate buying anything made by
G.R.S. Mike


#6

Cary, That depends what you use it for.I himed and hawed for
years and finally bought one about two months ago.Iam a bench
jeweler and bought the full package.The only thing I did not
like was the soldering station it had too small of a surface area
for my needs so I upgraded to the larger one for thirtyfive
dollars US.If you are left handed you need to specify when
ordering so the hand rest comes on the side you need it on.The
ring clamp is great for stone setting and saves alot of time and
hand strain.The soldering station is good too but you might have
to tweak it to make it level so anything that will roll will not
roll off into your tray.It comes with some tweezer like holders
that allow you to solder in the ring clamp which I have yet to
use and a plate wich I smeared dopp wax on and is very useful for
setting and holding flat backed objects.The bench pin is a bench
pin but it is nice to be able to slip it off and get it out of
the way when need be.So I would recommend it as a good product.

J. Morley
Coyote Ridge Studio


#7

I bought one a few months ago and I love it. I use it for
setting stones and I use it along with a microscope, which has
improved my work ten fold.] Brian


#8

Dear J. Morley: just read your email about benchmate system- you
can solder with the benchmate using the steel ring clamp? That
is way too cool. Has anyone done this? If it is possible I
want the system NOW.

DeDe


#9

I have also had the benchmate system with soldering pad for
years now. Can’t imagine working without it. The only
disadvantage is the change over from solder station to bench
pin, sometimes I will have something ready to solder and a
customer will come in with a simple request that needs a bench
pin. I have a second bench in the shop I use for those
occasions. Other than that it is a great system to use.
Janine in Redding CA.


#10

Hi Cary, I bought my benchmate system about two years ago and
still love it. It has made so many operations easier - especially
easier on my body since the equipment and various attachments do
a much better job of holding things than I do. It’s one of the
smarter tool purchases I’ve made over the years, I was only
sorry I waited so long. Michelle

Sumiche Handwrought Jewelry
Creating what you want in gold, platinum and silver
http://www.efn.org/~sumiche


#11
   I want to know if the unit is as great as it looks!!! 

I got a Benchmate …hmmm… seven? years ago. One of the best
things I have ever done for myself. I only use the benchpin and
ring clamp. The soldering board and tweezers I never use. I have
no doubt that the ring clamp has saved a lot of cartilage in my
left knuckles.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
Maryland’s first JA certified Master Bench Jeweler
http://www.goldwerx.com
manmountaindense@goldwerx.com


#12

Hello Cary James- Absolutely yes, get the Benchmate if you can
afford to or when you can. You will be amazed at how easy certain
rather difficult jobs can be using this tool. The price seems
high, but for the quality of tool you’re getting and it’s myraid
of uses, it is money well spent. You’ll be very pleased with it!
Where is Jonathan Didde, anyway? Ricky Low

*discaimer- I am not employed by GRS, receive no consideration
from them in return for my opinion, and also I’m not connected
with them in any way.


#13

Hello Cary,

In a word,yes. I have been using the GRS benchmate system for a
few years. It is a great time saving device and most of all it
helps improve the quality of your work. I use and recommend the
inside ring clamp as well as the standard ring clamp. I also find
the GRS Magnablock (I purchased mine long before my benchmate)
useful for more than engraving. Another useful tool is the
Foredom Allset stone setting guide. I find that I use this tool
more than I ever thought that I would.
A satisfied customer.

Timothy A. Hansen
@Timothy_A_Hansen
http://home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft


#14

Frank: Per your recommendation, and others’ I have looked at the
Benchmate system in the Rio Grande catalogue. Question 1: Do you
know if their system actually made by Rio or are they just
distributing GRS? Question 2: if it is made by RG vs. GRS, do you
or does anyone have comments on how it compares to GRS’ system?
Question 3:What does GRS stand for and do they have a website?
What is their address and phone? I have some carpal tunnel and the
discussion to date about this system on this site has convinced
me to make the investment but I want to be sure I am getting the
best product. Thank you all in advance. Shael Barger dakotah
designs


#15

Cary, If you are doing much stone setting, channel, brite
cutting, pave, bezels or any thing where you need the piece
held securely then this is the deal for you. I have been using
a bench mate for over 5 years and it is great. The basic ring
clamp that holds the shank is not as valuable as the one that
holds the ring from the inside. If I was to order a new one I
would try to get it with only the inside ring holder, but last
time I checked you could not. The Graver Max is a great
compliment to the bench mate system also. I have the two handed
soldering station and it is another invaluable tool. if you are
making a living making jewelry or repairing jewelry then you
will icrease productivity and pay for the system in no time.

good Luck

Ray


#16

Hi Gang,

   HI: I have a deluxe system, some of it is very functional,
some parts are only used for special projects, Overall it is a
great time saver and space saver on the bench, just remember
that you will dedicate a drawer for the parts.

Here’s an idea I use to store mine when not in use.

Cut a piece of 3/8 inch thick metal, wood or plastic to the size
of the Benchmate mounting plate that’s screwed to the bench. Mount
the new mntg plate at a convenient spot (I mntd mine under the
bench lip that goes around the top of the bench). Hang the
Benchmate from this second mntg plate when not in use. The extra
parts; pin, solder tweezers, etc., still need to go in a drawer.

I’ve also made extra angled pieces that mate with the mounting
plate attached to the bench. These are added to many other tools
that are used from time to time. They are placed on the bench
mntd plate when needed. When not in use, they’re stored on other
plastic mntg plates under the bench edge.

Dave


#17

Although at first I resisted, I now recommend the Benchmater
system highly.

I am profoundly committed to the traditional way of making
jewelry…totally by hand, using old tools and old techniques. I
learned to solder with with a foot bellows at a European-style
cut out bench with a leather catch “net” under my solid bench
pin. I learned to sharpen gravers by hand and to seat stones
with an Archimedes drill, using burs that I made myself…the
whole nine yards. (By the way, that drill is still the most
accurate tool around for what it does.)

When Ed Friedman, our senior instructor showed me the Benchmate,
I thought it was just another gimmick created by somebody too
lazy to learn “the right way.” But he raved and I respect his
opinion so we installed one on the instructors bench. I liked it
and then I got one for my bench. Now we have them at all 15
stations in the studio and we suggest that students bring their
own bench pin.

As mentioned by others, GRS is a very innovative company that
puts out high quality products for jewelers. This versatile
system is very clever and sturdy. The different attachments
offer a wide range of station types right under your nose, where
you want them. The one and only drawback I find is that the
bench pin, because it is attached to the bracket, now sticks out
farther than I would like, but by cutting it back, its location
is improved.

I would suggest that you get a mounting bracket for each
accessory you purchase, and attach these to a board mounted
vertically along the outside of your bench or somewhere else
convenient. One gadget goes in the business position on your
bench while the others wait patiently in their brackets until
called into service.

The larger soldering station is better. The two 3rd hands are
non-recoiling and work great. You can use the ring clamp as a
soldering fixture, by installing the steel holder that is
supplied. The ring, or whatever it is you are working on, goes
in the holder and then another component, like a new prong, can
be set up in the 3rd hand and moved into contact, precisely
where you want it. Once in position, the entire assembly can be
rotated without dislodging the parts. Pretty cool!

I like the sturdy black vise that is available, and found it
especially useful for heavy duty filing.

The inside ring holder is terrific for stone setting or
florentining the outside of rings. That and the ring clamp are
sturdy enough to hammer onto. In fact, the ring clamp also comes
with a shellac plate that can hold things for engraving. When
set up the ring clamp and shellacked item can be rotated as if
in an engraving block.

I am sure that many of us have found other useful applications
for the Benchmate. I even suspect that some of you who have
found innovative new twists on old techniques are lurking
quietly on this site. Let’s hear from you with your own
discoveries.

Alan
Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
San Francisco
e-mail: alan@revereacademy.com
web site: http://www.revereacademy.com


#18

To anyone interested in the Benchmate System, it is manufactured
by the:

GRS Tools Division
Glendo Corporation
900 Overlander Road
P.O. Box 1153
Emporia, KS  66801
800-835-3519 or 316-343-1084
Fax  316-343-9640
e-mail to glendo@valu-line.net
website: http://www.glendo.com

Mike


#19

Brian, What power microscope are you using? I have been using a
8.5x that is a Russian made student scope. Stereo vision and
great optics. About a 4 inch focal length. best part I only paid
$89 for it. I have been using it for about 4 years and you are
right, the quality of my work has zoomed. Frank


#20

Cary, I have had my benchmate for around two years now. If I had
to give it up, I think I would prefer to learn a different trade
than to relearn how to work with out it. It takes a little
getting used to and minor modifications make some of the
attachments work better, but all in all it is a great system. I
don’t even know if I could find my old ring clamp and third hand
thingies anymore.

Good luck, Jim