Hi Friends, I don't know if this is dragging out a subject too long,
but a couple of thoughts. I noticed from the BenchExchange photos
that at least a couple people here have the same bench I do. The
first real jeweler's bench I've had the pleasure of owning. It was
really affordable... something like $230 from Rio Grande, plus
shipping. It came crated on a truck, and was very easily assembled.
Three drawers on the right, pull out arm rests, slide out tool tray
and a metal lined catch tray. With a price like that, I would really
have to think twice about taking the time to build my own.
Now for the cutout question. I think the more traditional/European
benches have a full semi-circle cutout, which has always seemed a bit
excessive to me. The bench I bought has a cutout, but it is more of a
half-oblong, if you get my meaning. The center of the cutout is
straight across, so it isn't as deep. That also makes it a breeze to
mount the BenchMate mounting plate, which is a "must-have" in my
book. I think this cutout configuration is ideal because it gives you
the advantage of the cutout, but not at the expense of a great deal
of bench top real estate.
P.S. I just checked the Rio tools catalog, and the bench is on the
top of p. 115 - US $260.95. Standard disclaimer... no affiliation,
just a satisfied customer.
For what it's worth,
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans' Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)