Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

JMS Designs studio advise

Hello I am looking for some advice/assistance. I have the opportunity here in the next couple months to get “re-set” up better, and more efficiently. Although I have strictly done hand fabrication for the past couple years . I would like to prepare for the possibilities(s) down the road to increase my technique’s, equipment, knowledge and tools. At the moment I have been using my standard jewelers bench and tools, a soldering station that is set up horribly,. A polishing station that is set up directly next to my metal forging/shaping area, hole punch , dapping station, books-learning reading material, ultrasonic and cleaning area… “All of this is set up on the same dual level bench smashed together to make what I have been able to do possible. (UGLY, Cross contamination Yuck) There was barely enough room to squeeze into the jewelry studio and get into and in between my soldering station, bench, polishing station, etc…!) YIKES. I also use an ancient 40+ year old Guesswein G-70 rolling mill that I found from a retired jeweler that I will never be able to find replacement parts for… that I had drilled and attached to my kitchen countertop, haha
If you have the desire to make something happen, then you make it happen. So for the past couple of years that is what I have done.
But Now I am putting myself into a position where I have cleared everything out of my current studio room as well as the “new(ish)” secondary potential work room/area. I am desperately looking for any advice on a more professional/efficient jewelry studio layout, blueprint, etc.
I live in Boise ID and although I have spoken with many local jewelry stores and jewelers, I have not received the warmest of greetings and or offers for assistance from these local avenues. I get it, we all work hard at what we do. We don’t want somebody coming in to our craft and saying “I want to know everything, give me all of your trade secrets now…”. But that is not me. I began smithing myself due to watching some good friends of mine who are amazing artists (and I got the bug:). I then took a couple classes in community college in OR. When I moved to Boise I set up a room in my home into my jewelry studio. After that I moved back to OR to attend and graduate from the American Jewelers Institute. Worked in my disaster area for a couple of years. I am an old man who got a late start, but really, Who Cares… Now I am just trying to get set up for many more years in this fun, challenging, awesome jewelry metalsmithing industry.

Here is the dimensional area of what I have to have to work with. I at the least need to get a proper soldering station area set up. Obviously my bench/flex shaft/tools area. Dapping and forging (metal pounding) area. Rolling mill with stand (and plenty of room to use it),area. Polishing machine, final polish steam area. Ultrasonic /cleaning area. Books, learning materials, drafting drawing area.

Main studio room #1= 112” wide. 107” long. 96” tall. So sq. footage of room= 83.22ft. squared
Secondary studio room #2= Second room 115” wide. 126” long. 97” tall. So sq. footage of room= 100.63ft squared

If you have any advice, ideas, or have been in the same position yourself and remember what it what it was like to want/need to improve your working area, but just not be sure where or how to start please don’t hesitate to get ahold of me. Any advise will be greatly appreciated. Also If you live here in Boise ID and would be able to come physically view the space(s) to get a hands on view of what I am trying to work with, that could be awesome. Here is my contact info

Jason Sheehan
JMS Designs
IG: jmsdesignsco

If you took the time to read all of this, thank you so much simply for that. I appreciate your time.

Hopefully one day I can move onto expanding my equipment and skillset. (I.E. wax work, jewelers bench improvement, magnification machine, grs systems, generator, casting equipment-kiln- centrifuge/vacuum casting, burnout, lazerwelder, etc…) lifetimes of things to learn and lots of specialized classes and techniques and hours/years of practice to get there…

Previous photos might help communicate. Current pics of equip and space would definitely help
Regards RLW

1 Like

Hi Jason,

I have a couple of suggestions.

One is to look through the many bench exchange photos on this site. Many show peoples entire shop or at least part of it. That will definitely give you some good ideas that you can use.

Second, I have always done this for a living, usually with other goldsmiths as employees. I’ve also moved my shop 7 times over my career, enlarging it and then reducing it. Each time I’ve set up a new shop I try to think about work flow and grouping things that are used together in the same place. Like around the sink are all the things that use water and are involved in the same tasks, cleaning gadgets (steamer, sonic), electroplating equipment, masking and oxidizing stuff, magnetic tumbler, towel for polished pieces, tissues and baggies for packaging finished product. Like that. It is also good to try to separate and contain polishing, also helpful to buy one of the enclosed polishing hood and better dust collecting systems (like Quatro sells), that will really help keep the dust down in a small shop.

When I have worked alone I like to set up the shop like the cockpit of a plane. So I have minimum motion to get what I need to work. It’s sort of a natural, organic way to organize your work space and it’s always evolving. I am always modify it a little bit. In fact, even after doing this every day for 40 years, I’m in the middle of a long shop remodel right now.

Hope that helps?


I might be able to help you out with your creating an organized efficient work space.
First have a look at My Small Bench.on the bench exchange.
My work space has evolved over a time. .
As a starting point, It is organized around what I am involved in doing most of the time and the tools used to accomplish that.
Feel free to contact me directly.
My email is


1 Like


An other thought on workspace organization.

My friend and I were both doing our kitchens at the same time…
I did mine from a very organized work shop.
To my mind his shop was a great big mess.
Both projects came out fine.

To me this was a learning experience.
A person tends to work best in in a space they are comfortable in.

In the end what counts is the enjoyment from doing stuff and what is accomplished in the doing…
Jason you used the word fun, me too, having a lot of it, working with silver & stones.



Thanks you rwade1, mpandfamfamily & woodpath2, for your thoughts, ideas and responces. I appreciate any and all feedback!
rwade1= pictures right now will do no good because everything in my house is in the midst of remodel and completely in demo disaster mode. Even the old jewelry studio room & the second (possible) new studio space room are filled with crap for my remodel and a complete mess… “welcome to remodels right… Haha”. Also my entire life / all jewelry tools supplies are locked up in a POD until I finish remodel and can start moving back in, so getting a pic of everything and “current” set up is now impossible. My concern/opportunity here is I potentially have the ability to almost double the space I have been working with. I am just unsure how to set it up efficiently for future success & growth…? Let me see what I can find though?

mpandfamily= Yes, I have been overlooking this resource I have in front of me…?! I have been scouring the internet for ideas, while physically going out and trying to network with the local community and other jewelers to look-ask-see for advise and guidance. But most of what Ive accomplished I have had to do on my own, so I don’t know why I am expecting this next step to be much different…? (Not to be to negative, obviously people in the Ganoskin community are reaching out to me to be helpful:). I absolutely understand your view on the importance of a strong POS (Point Of Use System) in set up and operations zone of a workspace! I am in full agreement, this is how I was able to get 2 rooms worth of equipment, tools & supplies into 1 small room and create a functioning workspace for the past 3 years. Problem: clustered mess, chaos, overly congested (to minimal room), improper set up (leading to potentially unhealthy /dangerous working standards), etc… sounds like you know the drill. I run a older Contenti double shaft insulated cabinet polishing machine, so material “blowout” is not that bad. having it directly touching my polishing compound- wheels, touching my metal planishing area, touching my disc cutters, touching my vice, touching my books, ultrasonic, etc… Haha Not so good.
I admire the fact that you have been working in the craft for so long. lots of struggles, trials, and triumphs to be had in your lifetime I am sure! Honestly I would love to find a great stone setter, goldsmith, fabricator, etc to work with/under. I have been looking here in Boise ID for a while now? My skills don’t seem to be up to par for the “big dog” shops or independent jewelers. Trust me Ive tried to apprentice under local “master” jewelers? And the local art communities don’t feel the need to include me either? (Perhaps I am just to old and grouchy…? It’s like I’m an artist right haha) I know there are “tons” of awesome schools and classes available everywhere, Rio rande, Ganoskin masters, GRS, GIA, KU, CCOA, and tons of independents. I could study under my former instructor Jason Chandler “Owner, Portland Jewelry Academy” for years, he is an amazing talent and a great man… But I live in ID and its to hard/expensive to try live and work/learn in 2 places at once.
I guess I should just stop “cry babying” about mentally fixating on “the perfect” set up. Finish my house remodel and start the whole process of re creating a new silversmithing studio with excitement and vision instead of frustration and doubt. I have depresion/bi-polor/OCD mental issues that challenge me. I can tend to concentrate on “Do it once, Do it right” to much sometimes in life and in my smithing. There is a lot of truth to that mindset though. Thank you for your time and advise.

woodpath2= I appreciate your offer to possibly be of assistance in a future set-up? I will defiantly check out your profile My Small Bench on the Orchid bench exchange. Thank you for your email as well, I may be sending you some questions here down the road… I appreciate your time and kind words Mike.

To all who who even read this thread, none the less reply Thank you for your time. Its much appreciated. I completely deleted all social media and personal websites of mine about 2 years back now? (ish). I completely lost my mind and almost my life… I guess that’s one of the ways I handled it. But im back, I will post some work on the Ganoksin Orchid jewelry community whenever it is I can start making some again.? Haha. Getting there, one step at a time. If anyone wants a brief look at some of the work I have done in the past just check out my newish Instagram page. I have not recreated a Facebook account or another business website yet. Stay awesome everyone, thanks for all your help!
JMS Designs
Instagram: jmsdesignsco

1 Like


Hi, Jason. I’m in a similar situation with my work space. I am planning on making some changes which will require me to move heavy things around. I have measured out my space and everything I that takes up floor space. I laid this out on big graph paper. I cut pieces of grid paper for items like my bench and chair, soldering table, pounding table, and storage cabinets, then put doubled up tape on the backs of these pieces so I could move them around. This has really helped me think about where things should go and how much room they take up.

I think the first thing is to figure out where you want your bench to be - if I had a window like you do, that’s where I’d locate mine. After that, I’d figure out how close you want your soldering to be in relation to your workbench. I like to get up and move around, so my soldering takes place on the wall opposite, and I have a kitchen vent over it for ventilation. These things will stay in their same location in my case, but in yours, you can put them anywhere that makes sense.

If you have space in your bathroom you might consider it a “clean zone” where you clean stuff, run your tumbler, and keep packaging and shipping supplies. Someone else mentioned this I think.

You might check out The Jeweler’s Studio Handbook by Brandon Holschuh for a nice, compact workshop layout. His has running water in the same space but yours being across the hall is no big deal. That is where mine is, too, and I just keep a small tub of water which I change out daily (or more) near my soldering setup.

Tim McCreight’s The Complete Metalsmith includes patterns for making a basic bench, advanced bench, and pounding table, if that’s something you need.

Wishing you all the best with this great remodel!

Owner, Nancy Lee Designs


Thanks Nancy5= Nancy Lee Designs
I have already done this in my head a thousand times… But obviously that is not working for me:) Haha
Graph paper with movable parts is a great concept. I may just have to incorporate this idea! My only issue with this is I did not measure anything in my studio before packing everything away. (Long story short) I ended up having to move everything out of my house in roughly a week…primarily by myself as well. The internet is a great tool thou, im sure I can google my jewelry bench dims and a couple other things. I use Tim McCreights “The Complete Metalsmith” all of the time when In the studio. Also a tiny little spiral bound text called “The Jewelers Bench Reference” is quite a helpful little guy. (I will need to review Mr. McCreights chapter(s) on a “pounding/forging table”. I was using the same table for polishing, pounding, cleaning, book storage, flexshaft attachment tools, book storage, stock, etc…
So funny you bring up the soldering area - jewelers bench “in front of the window area” subject. Part of my plan is to finally put a safe and functional ventilation hood and soldering area in front of those windows. Its makes the most sense for that area + I have window access to incorporate as well. But man, I would love to have my bench be able to have a window view. I have been toiling with this one. I have never had my work bench and soldering station directly next to each other? It does not seem safe to me? But that could just be me, I know some jewelers literally soldier directly at their bench…? My bathroom is tiny & after remodel will be nicer (but still tiny). I do, and will have to continue to use it as my “clean area”. Gross to some but the sink and bathtub are tools of my trade… Haha What I defiantly could do is try and find a way to squeeze an ultrasonic/ cleaning tool /tumbler mini bench or something in there? It would be tight, but it would make the most sense for sure. Great idea.
Packing and shipping supplies can go almost anywhere in the house for now. I own my business but really still only do enough “sales” to make it a glorified hobby, so sales aren’t flying out the door yet… My day job still pays my mortgage and bills.
Thanks you so much for your well wishes and positive thoughts! I found you on IG and your work is beautiful… Good luck with your move as well. We can perhaps swap some post chaos move pics when done:)

1 Like

After 40 years working in retail stores, including my own for a time, I recently “retired”.

What that means is that I turned a much smaller space (storage and laundry room) into a very tight jewelry trade repair shop.
In the past when setting up a shop I used the graph paper and cut outs method, but this time I made cardboard cutouts of the floor space each tool requires, and worked in the empty room.

As mentioned above, 1 emphasis I insisted on was on placing my bench in front of a window.
My bench, torches and laser are the heart of what I do, so that space, the Quatro polishing system and a very tiny bar sink and small countertop set up were what I placed first.

After 3, now going on 4 months of doing a growing business in trade repairs, my shop is still evolving, and growing, within this tiny space.

I am beginning to find ways to stack, and, or store tools so that they are close by, but may need to be shifted forward to use. This will continue to evolve until the new shop fits me, and my ever changing needs.

My advice is decide what tools and stations everything else must support, and set up your most bare bones requirements first, and then begin to add.


Ringdoctor, you know someone who seems to have done a good job of going up, to fully utilize a small space posted some pics in the bench exchange under, Patty’s Little Bench with old tools. Might find some inspiration and she has some cool tools as well!


If you send me the drawing or space for the shop with ceiling height and placement of windows and doors . I would be happy to help you layout the shop.

Andy the Tool Guy

Director Tools Business

800-877-7777 Ext 4194

Andy_Kroungold= Thanks for the advise and offer for help. While doing some internet research, I came across quite a bit of your tutorials. It appears you do quite a bit of work with or for Stuller if I am correct? That is awesome. They have always seemed like a great company, I have personally not done business with them yet.

Soldering area / Bench area: jewelry studio (main)= double window is 27” off of the floor. The width of the two windows is 62” wide & 53” tall. There is 14” of space from the ceiling to the top of the double windows.
The dimensions of the total room are= 112” wide. 107” long. 96” tall. So sq. footage of room= 83.22ft. squared.

Second room (new)= window area also a double window. 27” from floor to bottom of windows. The double windows are 62” wide & 53” tall. There is 14” of space from the ceiling to toe top of the windows.

If you have any ideas or advise, I am all ears. The thread above has detailed information about the rest of the possible available room I will have to use. Or not use? Thanks to everyone again for your time.

Jason Sheehan
JMS Designs
IG: jmsdesignsco


Thank you fro your kind words, Jason! I look forward to seeing those “after” photos when you get your space all set up. Which will likely change once you start using it and discover brilliant work-arounds to help your flow of work.

Best wishes!