I have several suggestions on this topic some of which I use and some
than I have considered using.
First and most importantly is neatness!!! Keeping a clean bench
and shop greatly reduces the time that you will spend looking for the
many small pieces that we have to work with everyday. I travel around
the country and have witnessed first hand the horrendous slop of many
workshops. I am amazed that some jewelers often have to look for
minutes to find the stone or the tool that they just set down, let
alone one that went flying. I would argue the time it takes to be neat
is far less than the time and aggravation you will spend looking for
If you use a flash light always lay it on the floor. This will
produce a very long and visible shadow of anything that is possible to
see. Similarly if you lay your head on the floor you can scan the
entire floor in just one look!!
I have considered putting a plexiglass wall around the top of my
bench. This might be a great option if your bench is not against a
wall or if it is difficult to see behind your bench.
Between these top to suggestions I will tell you that it very rarely
takes me more than 3 minutes to find a piece or stone that I have
dropped. Good luck, Don Fernandes