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Building your own bench


#1
    I, too, need a bench.  I am considering having one made by a
friend who is an excellent carpenter.  Does anyone know where I can
access a set of plans for a bench? 

I don’t have plans but I’ll share my approach to building one’s own
jeweler’s bench that might help.

Firstly, let me say I find many of the commercially offered benches
to be good value. If a well-built solid wood traditional bench is
what you want; lots of drawers, cutout with trays, frame and panel
construction, then consider a full-featured bench from Otto Frei.
Yes, it’s a chunk of cash up front but if you amortize its worth to
you over a couple decades or so, I doubt there’s a better deal.

I wanted to try something different (and no doubt idiosyncratic) and
for not a lot of money, so I built a very simply constructed bench
from solid oak cut-offs from the scrap bin of a local lumber
supplier. My total cost for wood was around twenty to twenty-five
dollars. The threaded rods and nuts from the local Home Depot added
another ten, as I recall. I designed it around the top, a big 20" by
44" plank of solid red oak about 2 1/2" thick, cheap because of two
knots in the underside. The idea was to make a rock solid and stable
structure that fit me and my needs and allow for easy changes and
additions.

The incredibly strong truss rod construction, steel rods running
through grooves in the legs and stretchers, allowed me flexibility in
height; you can easily shorten the legs and rods or add longer ones.
I shortened my bench height 6" after buying my microscope. Also, only
butt joints are needed; no complicated mortises and tenons and only
rudimentary tools. In fact, you could have the pieces milled and cut
to length. Then you’d need only to bore a few holes, hacksaw a few
rods, and tighten the nuts.

I wanted the stretchers (the cross members between the legs) and the
top edge to support six GRS mounting plates, and I wanted a till (or
bin) between the stretchers to hold larger and heaver attachments out
of my way but in easy reach. In addition to my Benchmate and
engraver’s block, I make all manner of things to attach to the GRS
plates: shelves, small kiln controllers for fusing/granulation and
enameling, a sweeps tray, and so on. The only thing I plan to add
anytime soon is a riser with a few shallow drawers and a pliers rack.
More scraps and ‘shorts’ from my slowly dwindling lumber pile.

As I’ve built most of my shop furniture using this technique (truss
rods and compression members), from my large joiner’s bench (which
nicely holds my rolling mill and drawbench), to my anvil stand, to
the small but sturdy walnut & maple repousse bench, I strongly
recommend anyone with the skills, tools, and time to give it a shot.
Or if, like Donna, you know someone that can undertake it for you,
draft your own requirements for space, ergonomics and other features,
rather than using a one-size-fits-everyone plan, have them make a cut
list and just do it. It’s just wood. It doesn’t have to be perfect,
but you’ll get likely something very close to what you want and need.
It’s not rocket surgery.

Here’s two pics of the jeweler’s bench and one earlier long shot of
my atelier before shortening the legs, dropping it from collarbone to
plexus height.

http://home.comcast.net/~d.j.barnett/JBench1.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~d.j.barnett/JBench2.jpg
http://home.comcast.net/~d.j.barnett/Atelier-1.jpg

Anyway, that’s what works for me. Hope it encourages someone else.

David in Florida


#2

Howdy everybody, I’m wondering if anyone has any good specifications
on building there own simple jewelers bench, I know it would be
simpler and probably worth my wild if i purchased one but I’m a
metal arts student thus i don’t have much money and just want
something easy i can build for my home studio for small projects
until i can obtain the money for a quality one, using my computer
desk is killing my back.

Michael w.
Cripticcorp.net


#3

Please go throught the archives. you will find your answers.

Wish you the best and there is no greater comfort than sitting on
your own bench.

Regards
Kenneth Singh


#4

Michael,

I recently built myself a couple of benches, one of which was a
jeweler’s. My design was simple, but it has proved to be very solid.

My cutting list was:

  • 4 legs of 3"x3" pine

  • 6 horizontals of 4"x1" pine

  • 3 diagonals of 4"x1" pine

  • 3 sheets of marine plywood laminated to give ~2" thickness for the
    top

  • Oak lipping (I used several thin strips to allow me to build up
    the thickness on the cut-out curve

Make a three-sided frame by screwing and gluing the horizontals to
the outside of the legs. The diagonal pieces can then be cut to fit
between the horizontals. Screw and glue them as well.

Once the top has been laminated and cut, use some brackets (either
wood or metal) to securely attach it to the frame.

Mine is very, very solid, and it only cost around 80UKP to make (and
about five hours of work).

Jon


#5

Michael,

There are wonderful, illustrated directions for doing exactly what
you want in Tim McCreights “The Complete Metalsmith.” Additionally,
this is a book that should be on the shelf of every metalsmith - one
of the clearest, “cut to the chase” books around. If you can afford
the Pro edition, go for it – it has a lot of additional info, is
hardbound, and comes with a CD with the entire text of the book (plus
2 others) and all of the metals calculators you could ever wish for.
But if you can’t yet afford the Pro edition, the regular one is just
fine!

And the key to it all is… SPEND THE MONEY ON A GREAT CHAIR. It
will make all of the difference in the world. You can do with a
really yucky bench if your chair is well-suited to the task.

Enjoy and good luck!
Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


#6

Michael,

I build benches all of the time for my shop, some are sitting
regular chairs, some are sitting on bar stools and some are standing
up to. They range from wood to used meat racks to steel tables. I
build them to my needs and each one is a specialty area.

Jerry


#7

There are simple instructions for building one in the back of The
Complete Metalsmith. Some people have made a second hand purchase
work by taking an old desk and putting it up on blocks. The
alternative is to sit on a really, really, really low chair.

Elaine
Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#8

Build Your Own Basic jewelers Bench
By Tim McCreight

This bench has been designed so it can be made from easily available
materials without sophisticated woodworking equipment. People with
woodworking skills might use these ideas as a point of departure…

Complete Story:

Build Your Own Advanced Jewelers Bench
By Tim McCreight

This sophisticated bench costs a little more and is a bit more
difficult to make than the one on the preceding page, but the extra
effort will be repaid by years of efficient work. Use this pattern
as a starting point, but feel free to make changes to suit your
individual needs…

Complete Story:

Enjoy
Hanuman


#9

When I made my current bench I bolted one edge to the wall & bolted
one 6 inch wide foot to the floor. This is a large bench over 3 feet
wide & 5 feet long. Total rigidity, with only one foot for things to
hide behind. It has proven very satisfactory!

Mark Chapman
Pictures are available please send me a private e-mail.
@whitewolf


#10

Try the Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight, available online or at
your library, at the least if they do not have a copy by loan. Some
have made do with a used old wooden desk (heavy duty) or look at

for ideas. Most, but by no means all used a conventional bench. More
than one looks like a converted wood working bench or a composite. If
it works, that is all that maters, I suppose an ideal layout depends
on what you are doing, or mostly so. In any event it is worth wile to
see what others have done in this regards. Moreover if it works no
argument is legitimate.

Best regards.


#11
There are wonderful, illustrated directions for doing exactly what
you want in Tim McCreights "The Complete Metalsmith."  Additionally,
this is a book that should be on the shelf of every metalsmith - one
of the clearest, "cut to the chase" books around.  If you can afford
the Pro edition, go for it -- it has a lot of additional info, is
hardbound, and comes with a CD with the entire text of the book (plus
2 others) and all of the metals calculators you could ever wish for.
But if you can't yet afford the Pro edition, the regular one is just
fine!

Yes, Yes, and Yes…
Whichever you can see to have…buy…!

Ok, OK, I haveta…
McCreight is into PMC/Silver clay, also…
Guru he is…

HUH…!
He does metal…I’m a stone guy, but you have to have balance…

Besides, you get these stones accumulating, because you have to look
at them…

Well, sooner or later you have to do something with them……

BTW…Wisconite Orchidians…
The Milwaukee Public Museum has a Pearl display (aka special show)
running through 5/26/05…

The amethyst necklace knocked me flat…and there’s a Montana
sapphire and pearl brooch that stopped me dead in my tracks…

Honker Siberian Amy…? Yeah, it had pearls, too…

Lifetime experience…
Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)


#12

What is the proper height of a bench I have an adjustible Alvin
table I am going to use until I can afford a proper bench again. I
should remember this measurement but cannot. Having a brain moment
in the burgh lol

Teri
America’s Only Cameo Artist
www.cameoartist.com


#13

One word of advice that I just learned myself. When you sit at your
bench your chair should be high enough to make the top of your
thighs angle slightly down from hip to knee when flat footed. (think
marble rolling slowly down, not fast). I have just started physical
therapy for a lower back injury and my therapist says sitting at my
bench which was only a few inches shorter then normal has made it
worse. I am getting a few bricks to put under the legs to raise it
about 3 to 4 inches this will make you sit straighter and not strain
the back muscles.

my two cents, Jerry


#14
 When you sit at your bench your chair should be high enough to
make the top of your thighs angle slightly down from hip to knee
when flat footed. 

Jerry, in addition to getting the bench hight right you might try a
"Movin’ Sit" wedge from Gymnic the company that makes inflatable
physical therapy balls. In addition to better sitting posture the
top of the cushion moves with you eliminating friction.

http://www.neatinfo.net/equipment/movinsit.html (one of many
venders)

If you need more science based back and PT info contact me off line.

Marty


#15
      And the key to it all is.... SPEND THE MONEY ON A GREAT
CHAIR. It will make all of the difference in the world. 

That’s for sure…and I like mine with wheels on! I think the
ability to zoom around to all three workstations of my shop (and to
pick up stuff I drop on the floor without having to scoot a
non-wheely chair) has about tripled my efficiency. Plus, the height
of the chair is adjustable, so I can use it at any of the stations; I
drop it down low for piercing or wax carving, and raise it higher for
soldering or machining on the drill press.

I got it at a Staples for about $30 (on sale?). It’s paid for itself
many times over.

Cheers,
Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com
In NW Florida for now, where it’s easy to get excited over workshop ergonomics


#16

my chair won races round my office, 0mph-60mph in “speed of light”,
no turning signals or back-up “beep-beep”, it cost about $300.00. so
comfortable I actually fell asleep in it!

arm rest tilt, height, lumbar support, tilt seat, the whole 3.3
meters…(9 yards)…big mailing tomorrow for my “Manual”…come on
Orchid you’re missing on a great learning setting book.

For those who were interested, this book is cheap, saw one for over
$80.00 just on Pave’.:>(

Gerry!


#17
And the key to it all is.... SPEND THE MONEY ON A GREAT CHAIR. It
will make all of the difference in the world. 

Correct, “It will make all of the difference in the world.” I was
having problems with neck and shoulder pain. I thought that I had a
good chair, it had some adjustment and wheels that made moving
around simple. But that wasn’t adequate to deal with the various
positions that we have to sit in during different tasks. I happened
to be walking by a furniture showroom and went in for a look. What I
found was the Aeron Chair, designed and manufactured by the Herman
Miller Co., a company with a long standing reputation for excellence
in design. I tried it out. It had all of the adjustments needed
including; height, tilt with tilt lock, adjustable lumbar support,
individually adjustable arms with both height and in & out swing,
and more. The seating surface is a high tech mesh so there is no
heat buildup, a problem with most chairs. Shortly after starting to
use this chair my neck and shoulder pain was gone.

We all spend much of our day sitting at a bench, computer, desk,
etc. This chair is adaptable to all of these tasks. I’m sure that
there are other chairs that are equal to it. Do yourselves a favor
and invest in a high quality, well designed chair. The usual, no
connection with the manufacturer, just a satisfied customer.

Joel

Joel Schwalb
@Joel_Schwalb
www.schwalbstudio.com