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Jeweler's Position


#1
So many times I find myself crawling around examining every square
inch of floor and counter space with no success in finding that one
little piece. All the while the gremlins are laughing because they
are hiding the piece. Then weeks later while I'm down again looking
for another dropped piece, a piece from long ago will be there right
under my chair where I'd looked and looked for it in vain. 

Annette, You are not alone. This head-down, posterior-up posture is
called “The Jeweler’s Position” and it is well-known to anyone who
solders, sets stones, or otherwise tempts Murphy. I long ago gave up
on finding dropped pieces immediately unless they were cooperative
enough to start a small and unobtrusive fire. I know that in a day
or two those “lost” items will appear magically in plain sight. A
year or two ago on Orchid I put forth the theory that there is a
"Jewelers’ Dimension," as yet unexplained by science, where small
items like you describe hide until some unknown force rolls them out
into clear view. Anyone have a better explanation?

Rick Martin
MARTIN DESIGNS


#2

There is a better explanation! It is the work of the Bench Gods! They
demand that we give them a set amount of attention each day. Usually
60 cumulative minutes minimum. Then there is the God of Gravity but
the Buffer God is the most malevolent one of all. It helps to have a
simple world view.

I have been known to keep and old class ring in the corner of the
bench top. Each morning I would drop it on the floor, walk around,
then pick it up and return it to the bench top. This usually let me
have the morning free from chasing parts. Hey it worked for me!

Remember, the smaller the stone the further they fly. Has something
to do with surface area and wind resistance. Velocity may have
something to do with pieces entering the “Jewelers Dimension.” This
is true of findings too.

On a less serious note, make a loop of masking tape. Roll this around
on the offending floor and you will usually pick up those little
stone you lost last month. You will also be able to hear the floor
laughing if you listen closely.

My friends wonder why I sit at the bench chuckling to my self.

Good hunting!
Bill


#3
. . . there is a "Jewelers' Dimension," as yet unexplained by
science,  where small items like you describe hide until some
unknown force rolls them out into clear view.  Anyone have a better
explanation? 

Yes. Cats!!! A couple of years ago, I laboriously fabricated a
perfect gold step bezel and then, while polishing it with flex shaft
tools, got careless and off it went. I searched over and over again
… on my hands and knees … with a flashlight … using a paint
brush to collect and sift through dust … and finally with a broom.
No luck. Around 1 a.m. I gave up and went to bed.

Around 2 a.m. when I was trying to sleep, I heard a clinking sound
coming from the front of the house. (My studio is in the dinette area
off my kitchen which in turn connects to the dining room.) I jumped
out of bed and ran for the dining room where I found my cat playing
soccer with the step bezel. I sure slept well after that!

Beth


#4

Hello Orchidians,

 So many times I find myself crawling around examining every square
inch of floor and counter space with no success in finding that one
little piece. All the while the gremlins are laughing because they
are hiding the piece. Then weeks later while I'm down again looking
for another dropped piece, a piece from long ago will be there
right under my chair where I'd looked and looked for it in vain. 
Couldn't resist commenting.  We've all scrabbled around on the floor

trying to find the landing spot of that flying stone or carefully
fitted gold piece! Yes, used the flashlight and paint brush tricks,
went to the nylon hose-covered vacuum wand, but eventually broke down
and moved things out. (Ugh, that kiln is heavy!) It’s amazing what
turned up. Has anyone done a statistical study of the relationship
of the inaccessiblity of the landing spot to the small size and great
value of the flying piece? Sounds like a grant opportunity to me!
:wink: Judy in Kansas, where fall is wonderfully fresh and the leaves
are beginning to turn.

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936


#5

The first thing I did in my new studio was to put in wall to wall
carpet. Both to cut out the bounce factor and save my knees. Crawling
around on concrete is hard on joints. I am really glad I did. Got very
low nap in a dark charcoal that would show metal and stones. Every
surface is accessible. Anything heavy is at least slightly evaluated.
I vacuum every week corner to corner. It has cut the hunting time down
with a very successful find rate. Sue


#6

All small stones and useful metal pieces are equipped with cloaking
devices and maneuvering thrusters. They will not be easily tracked
and will often go in the opposite direction that they would be
expected to. Also, they will find any crevice to hide in-under a
floor molding, in pants cuffs, pockets, bench peg drill holes. I have
even found a 1/2 pointer nestled in an eyebrow and others embedded in
my chair wheels. for other options see: laundering socks and finding
keys – also finding anything in my wife’s purse.


#7

I used to think that the only reason that I couldn’t find things that
fell on the floor was due to the fact that the shops I’d worked in
were set up without taking into consideration that one would have to
find little tiny things that fell on the floor all the time. There
were cracks, holes, dark corners, etc. Well, I finally built my shop
with a consideration to that effect. I made the cement floor as
smooth as glass and lacquered it with the perfect 50/50 gray, not too
glossy, not too flat. I caulked the moldings and trim. I calked the
seams in the bench. I arraigned furnishings so that the entire floor
could be swept without having to move large fixtures out of the way.
The room is so seamless that it makes your ears pop when you close the
door without having a window cracked a bit (this is not hyperbole, I
really did seal it air tight). Well, the upshot of all this was as
follows. . . .

Things seem to be even HARDER to find than they were in all those
leaky, sloppy shops of the past. The knees of my pants are wearing
out from doing the “jeweler’s prayer”.

Yep, there’s evil afoot here, and I’m thinking I’ll have to have that
shop exorcised before I get relief. I do have a horseshoe hanging
over the door, curving up, of course, but it apparently isn’t enough.
You can’t win this one folks, it’s an ongoing battle at best.

Chagrinned in Michigan, David L. Huffman


#8

Bill’s post reminded me of a noneffective technique I often resort to
when looking for a dropped element. I dig around in the scrap box and
drop a similar item with the hope that it will go to the same place
the first one did and I will find them both!! It usually disappears
also and it has never helped me find the first one but I always try
this as a last resort. I then get up and leave the area altogether.
After a short walk during which I’m muttering to myself how i can’t
believe that once again something has utterly disappeared ,I will
quietly sneak up on my bench and begin looking again in hopes that it
hasn’t seen me coming and had time to hide. Annette


#9

This all reminds of a story from early in our shop history. My
partner had designed a ring for a customer who had three old mine cut
diamonds (about one third carat each). She was putting them into
bezels on the top of the ring. We called the customer to come in and
take a look for a final approval before we set the stones. When the
customer came in my partner put the ring on the customer’s hand, put
the three diamonds into the bezels and then said: “Don’t move your
hand because the stones are loose in there.” Of course the first
thing the customer did was to flip her hand over to look at the back
of the ring. One of the diamonds hit the floor. We started looking
everywhere for it. In the middle of it some other customer comes in
the store and joins the search. After futilely searching for awhile
the new customer suddenly leaves the shop, while we continue on our
quest. Both my partner and I went into the bathroom and stripped
down. Nothing. The customer who the ring was for goes home and strips
down. Nothing. Aha we think, the other customer who left so abruptly
must have found the stone and stolen it. Fortunately, the customer
had owned more than the three old mine cuts she had originally given
us so she gave us another to work with, and we gave her some discount
on the piece for the loss, we just went ahead and finished up the
piece. Eight years later, one of our gofers was cleaning up the back
room and decided to sweep under our safe. Lo and behold there was the
stone! How it ever made its way into another room and then remained
safe under our safe for 8 years (which we had cleaned under
previously) is a complete mystery.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140
617-491-6000
@spirersomes
www.spirersomes.com


#10
  Eight  years later, one of our gofers was cleaning up the back
room and decided to sweep under our safe.  Lo and behold there was
the stone!  How it ever made its way into another room and then
remained safe under our safe for 8 years (which we had cleaned
under previously) is a complete mystery 

I do think stones have access to a parallel universe or something
like that. A few years ago, I had just finished cutting a 12mm
marquise Jade for a special job I was doing. I walked out of the
shop to the front of the store to show my wife. As I was handing it
to her, I dropped it. I watched it bounce off the slanted front
display case I was standing at and hit the floor between my feet.
About three hours later, we finally found the stone. It was under
the case I was standing in front of. It had taken a football bounce
when it hit the floor at my feet and jumped over the kick panel
through a 2" opening. I didn’t even know the opening was there. My
wife discovered it and ask if I though it could have gone under
there. I was absolutely sure that it hadn’t but to make her happy, I
tipped the case back and here it was. Stones can find the damndest
hiding places. Don