bought the entry-level rio grande workbench. The slots for the ring Mendel do not fit ring mandrels. I don’t know what kind of bench pin fit in the bench pins slots. and most importantly, above the sweeps drawer there is a nice pull out shelf with a half circle pulled out, which I think that I should be able to work on. It is not supported when you pull it out and it tips right into the sweep drawer. please help.
Regarding the ring mandrels, try inserting them with the point side in the hole.
the pull out shelf, which is a double shelf, with top one being cut out in a half circle, above your sweeps drawer is meant to hold tools for easy access…it is not meant to be pulled out all the way, but rather only a little bit, to reach tools, and pushed back out of the way when neccessary.
regarding the bench pin slot…it is possible you may have to modify the size of your bench pin “tang” to fit into the slot (if it is too big/ wide) (with your jewelers saw)
also, if too small in height, you may need to add a wedge of wood or paper to get the pin snug
conversely, you could get a GRS dovetail mounting bracket and bench pin holder for flexible use…it can accommodate accessories purchased in the future
Is this the jeweler’s bench that you’re talking about?
If so, didn’t it come with a bench pin? It says that it does in the description. If you didn’t get a bench pin and it’s supposed to contact Rio Grande customer service. I’m sure they’ll send you one.
This bench has two holes for a ring mandrel. The larger one is to insert the ring mandrel from the handle side. The smaller one is to insert the ring mandrel from the tapered side. It does suck when these holes don’t match your ring mandrel size!
I have a different bench, but that happened with me. To make my ring mandrel fit I reamed out the hole with a big, coarse flex shaft cylinder bur. It wasn’t the most efficient way to do it, but it was what I had that day and it worked.
My woodworking friends have told me that it’s hard to make a wide hole be wider in wood with a drill bit and that it’s usually easier to drill a new hole. Most larger wood drill bits have a way to keep a wider drill bit centered. If the hole is already drilled then there’s no way to keep the drill bit centered and it messes up the hole. That’s why I ground my hole to make it fit my ring mandrel.
Julie explained the what the double shelf is for. Just a storage area.
This is a nice bench. Think of this process as customizing and fine tuning the bench to be make it work for you and be yours. Most of us do that. I think you’re going to be very happy with it and make many wonderful things! Reach out if you have more questions!
I bought one of those benches years ago. It was not sturdy enough to support the kind of work I do making very heavy forged and fabricated bracelets. This was an error on my part, not the bench. I discovered that it did make a great fly fishing fly tying bench…Rob
Being Mr. Pennypinch, I built a bench from the plans in Tim McCreight’s Practical Metalsmith. It worked well and I used it until I found an old watchmaker’s bench with lots of drawers somewhere and retrofitted it with a couple of trays that look like those on the Rio bench and a slot for a bench pin. Now that I have a boomstand microscope, I may outfit it with a gizmo like the Benchmate that allows me to move my engraving ball higher than the bottom of the tray, but lower than the bench pin. -royjohn
There has been some good advise given here.
It is important to customize the bench to your needs. Adding a quality bench vise is a good idea. Mine comes in very handy. A set of soft Jaws for it is good too.
The is an excellent book about bench customization:
[The Jeweler’s Bench Book](The Jeweler’s Bench Book https://a.co/d/4BVU56G)
I looked everywhere for that book, and it seems to be completely unavailable anywhere! Must be very good!
Try this link which suggests a few others:
That helps! stuller seems to have it.
I think you want Tim McCreight’s Complete Metalsmith book. I found a copy on Abebooks.com. Tim publishes at Brynmorgen Press now so this must be an older copy.
Published by Davis, 1991
Used - Softcover
US$ 3.75 Shipping
Spiral-bound. Condition: Good.
Thank you for that, but that’s a different book. I have that one. The one mentioned above is a book about the actual benches, and not about the metalsmithing.
It is harder to find second hand but as I approach building my second version of my bench I might buy it.
Ah, you are so right. It is a different book. My trusty old bench will have to last me the rest of my days.