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Jewelers Bench


#1

I am going to buy a Jewelers Bench. The ones I have been looking at
range from $200 to $325 for a single station bench. I would like some
input on what some of you are using, what you like/dislike about them
and if you like it where did you get it. Thanks

Gary Parks @Gary_Parks
Grover Beach,Ca


#2

Gary, I have always built my own, they are not complicated and can be
made with fairly simple tools. Tim Mcreigh (spelling?) has a nice
design in the back of one of his books (the Complete Metalsmith I
think). The ones I build are similar and cost about $75.00 for
materials and take 3-4 hours to build. Mark


#3

Gary, This is perhaps not for everyone; but if someone in your family
or friends can do simple woodworking consider building your own. I
bought a pallet of white oak “seconds” from the local sawmill (about
half a ton) for $50. I didn’t plane the lumber, just cut it to size,
and copied the pictures in the tool catalogs. The bench is perfectly
sized for me, height and width, and the spot it fits into. The arm
rests swing in and out instead of sliding in which is just great for
me, and it has 10 (2 vertical banks of 5 each) of the stacking plastic
drawers from Walmart, so I wouldn’t have to do the fine cabinetry work
for drawers. The result is a $75 bench that is fitted and tailored to
my needs, looks like it was built in the 1800s and will likely outlast
me. Thanks.

Jim Marotti
Lancaster, TN


#4

Dear Gary,

Since you live so close by, you might want to come by my shop and see
how we are set up. I don’t use a jeweler’s bench…I made mine out
of a butcher block kitchen table that I bought at a Pier One store
many years ago. I am of the opinion that since you cannot get all of
the things that you need into most benches that you are better off
having a simple basic bench along with cabinets that are on castors
and positioned next to the bench. When you have too many things
stuffed into drawers they rapidly descend into chaos and you,
seemingly, cannot find what you want when you need it. Keeping
organized is one of the most daunting challenges of jewelry making.
Furthermore…keeping organized is not a static thing; you have to
keep working at it and experimenting…there’s always a better way !
We are open from 8 'til 3 weekdays…drop by anytime ! Ron at
Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA. ( 2141 Tenth St.)


#5

Gary:

I built a bench from plans in Tim McCreight’s book, Practical
Metalsmithing. Pegboard for the back, 2x4’s for the legs, and
various plywood and fir for the drawers, top, etc. It has worked
pretty well, but doesn’t match the furniture in my living room, where
it sits. Last year I got an old watchmaker’s bench for $50. It has
a lot of character, and is pine, stained dark, so it matches the
antiques in the room fairly well. I have had to add a sweeps drawer
and a hole for the bench pin (reinforced). The only problems is that
the new bench is a good bit smaller than the large one I built, so I
am having to figure out which tools to put away out of the sweeps
drawer. I think in the end things will be better organized. The
store bought benches are fine, but make sure the one you buy is
sturdy enough. Also, you can never have enough room if you are a
tool freak like me. If you are short on cash and handy, you can go
one of the routes I did.

HTH,
Roy


#6

My main requirement for a bench is that it be high enough to keep the
back straight as possible while working. My bench measures approx
40" from the floor to the top of the bench. When looking for my
bench, I found the “one size fits all” designs just didn’t suit me,
so I had mine custom built to my specifications. I wasn’t too keen
on the idea of ordering something and finding out it wasn’t exactly
what I wanted, and then paying shipping to return it, as well as the
shipping to get it to me for the tryout. It turned out to be no more
than buying one from the suppliers, and I got what I wanted.

Made with 3/4" marine grade plywood with a solid 4x4 leading edge for
the (larger than normal) top for pounding, attaching the pin,
drilling holes for mandrel and arm rest, etc., it isn’t something I
would necessarily want in my living room on display, but it has
served me well for over 20 years. Burn marks, gouges, scribbled
phone numbers and “important” assorted notes that mean nothing to me
anymore, crayon “drawings” from the kids over the years, all give my
bench character, not to mention the stories they “tell”.
Wouldn’t trade my bench for a “truck load” of fresh ones.


#7

I recently purchased one($275). From my experience, buy one you
see, touch, feel, sit down at, and take with you. I bought one from
a dealer(with great sales pitch) at a wholesale show and all he had
was a picture. It came in with many of the joints broken apart. I
waited a few weeks for it so rather than ship back (and forth) I
decided to re-connect (glue, screw, bolt) back togather. Fortunately
the wood was good and not badly damaged. It is a little high for me
(better than low) and now, I wish I had more drawers. All in all the
free shipping for buying at the show was NOT worth it. I buy a lot
of supplies through the mail & web but, won’t buy anything that big
anymore. Good Luck, Regis


#8

I am working on a “bench” which I have’t finished yet. I am making a
box appx 24-inches wide, 12-inches deep, and 11-inches tall. The
11-inch height, plus that of the kitchen table, or any regular height
work table, equals 40-inches. This miniature bench brings the size
down where it is more practical to build. I am putting in full-width
drawers, which are really just boxes on runners. The top will be
heavy, probably two layers of 3/4-inch ply with a 6-inch square plate
through bolted in the center of the front edge to re- inforce the
bench pin hole. When I get closer to completion, I be
glad to share what I have done.