Also, I wear Optivisors to see- a # 5 lens for general and a #10
for setting stones. Of course these have a tiny focal length which
has me all hunched over my work, trying to see it properly Any
suggestions as to optics?
There are 2 questions here. First one is the ergonomics.
Ideally, your back must always be straight. If one has to bend, it
should be for short periods of time. Experience shows that these
conditions exist when bench pin points to the middle of the chest.
When you change blade in the sawframe and have to compress it, the
handle should rest against the middle of chest bone. That implies
that all the work is done on the pin, and not on the bench top. If
one is not trained to work like that, it may take time to get used
The one problem with such body position is soldering. Soldering
requires more room than bench pin can supply, and surface should be
level. I solved this problem by adding another shelf to my bench, for
soldering. The shelf is retractable, so it is out of the way all the
time, except when I solder. I do not know if it’s clearly visible on
my videos, but that is what I do. I am not aware if anybody makes
such benches, but modification is quite easy, so it is not a big deal
to add this feature to any bench, with sufficient height.
Another question is proper magnification, which is directly linked to
ergonomics. When I was younger I used 1.75 magnification, now I use
2.25. I am not sure of the lens numbers. I use the same magnification
whether I do general work, or set stones. I guess I am going to hear
from setting microscope users, but the tendency to use higher
magnification for setting is trying to solve problem with less than
optimal solution. One does not need higher magnification, one needs
to see without reflections from stone tables. For ages, goldsmiths
lightly brush oil, or rub some beeswax, and dust with talcum powder.
Than, powder gets brushed off, and one has perfectly revealing
surface, which shows each and every detail, without strong
Another detail, is that when working with white metals, is to shade
your lamp with a piece of transparent yellow film. It is not
necessary for gold, because of its natural color. Human eye sees the
most details in yellow light.