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Jo Haemer - my custom bench


#1

My bench that I so love. It’s a cross between a watchmaker’s bench and a jeweler’s bench.
John Vesowaite at West Coast Findings made these beauties from a pattern that my sweetie Timothy W. Green received from on of the old craftsmen he apprenticed under. Ronald Reimer was a master watch maker and used to build these benches in a car port. We have three of them. They weigh a ton.
My bench has drawers aplenty and I especially love the pliers drawer. There is even one drawer that is a paper file.
I have a slide out tray for soldering, one for wax carving and layout, one for platinum and one general duty tray for my sweeps.
I have a GRS bench pin and a thick flat brass bench pin for delicate saw piercing. The top and front of my bench about 2 ft square has a heavy brass plate bolted on. It works as a combo bench block and fire block to keep me from setting my bench top on fire. My torch is an very old turn of the 20th century brass NCG 42 torch. Fits my hand like a glove. We use natural gas and oxygen in our studio. Note the pipe insulation on my hand piece for my my arthritic hands. It’s nice and soft and easier to hang onto. Missing from the photo is my Khron water torch. I am in the process of repairing it.
To the left of the bench is a partial view of my silver smthing hammers and stakes with Tim’s old athletic socks on them to protect their finish.


#2

That’s a pretty cool’ bench Jo. I’m slightly envious.

I used an old NGC torch exactly like yours for decades. I still have two of them (one still has most of the black enamel in the logo) and enough parts to build a third except for the body. When my local welding supply house was clearing out their old inventory, I bought out all the parts they had for those things. The one item I got that proved to be really worthwhile were the knobs. They tend to be a little fragile at the threads at the top and I promptly broke two right after getting the new sets. I switched over to using a Mini-Torch about 20 years ago when I started in a different shop. They insisted that my old hose wasn’t just properly broken in, they were afraid it was broken down, so I got a new hose. I found that the NGC was very difficult to use with the stiff new hose so they bought me a new Mini-Torch. Works pretty good.

If you need a knob or anything for that torch and can’t find it, let me know. I might be up for a trade if you need to get rid of one of those old benches.

Dave


#3

Could we all get by without Altoid tins?

Don


#4

Oh my… Sigh. I am definitely envious!
Sharon


#5

No kidding! I love those tins. Not as cool as some of the old Rolex tins I have from watchmakers but still so very handy.


#6

" I might be up for a trade if you need to get rid of one of those old benches."Ha! Nice try Dave. I’m gonna be buried with mine:-)


#7

How basic (not to imply lacking in any way or thing) and compact!
To me, it does resemble the “professional” workspace I’ve seen in some small old walk-in shops that do watch repair and jewelry.
I’d like to know about the hexagonal thing holding burs etc. on the desktop. Is that homemade?
Thanks a lot for sharing!


#8

O.K. no one has mentioned the elephant in the room, so I will. I mean, it is a very nice bench & all, and everyone has Altoid tins, it is hardly worth mentioning, but how many people have a lobster hanging over their bench?

Does the hanging lobster have a story? Does it have a name? Inquiring minds would like to know. :relaxed:

Regards,
Neil A


#9

Your setup is amazing!


#10

There has been much discussion lately about build or buy. You wouldn’t still happen to have the plan and, if so, would you mind sharing?


#11

Barbara- The hexagonal burr rack is from Stuller. Tim and I both have and
love them.

-Jo


#12

Ha! I t was left over from an art car I had. The Swamp Mobile. A 78 Toyota
Corrolla that I just gave to OPB last year. When we donated it it was
covered with painting of bog Iris, trees etc. The hood ornament was a 3 and
1/2 foot long rubber alligator. It was also covered with frogs, snakes
crawfish etc.
I paid $2100 for it back in 1982. Most reliable car I ever owned. When we
donated it, it was still running like a top. When cockroaches rule the
world that motor will still turn over.
Below is a photo taken at the annal Houston Art Car Parade a few years ago.


#13

We gave the plans to John Vesowaite at West Coast Findings. He still makes
and sells them. We had a student who is a talented maker and he just took
photos and measurements of ours and built his own.
-Jo


#14

You, Jo Haemer, have obviously lived a very full life! :slight_smile:
Mark


#15

Thank you very much, Jo. I appreciate your reply. I’ll check Stuller.
Wish I could be up there with you (instead of “stuck” – for various reasons – in Mill Valley).Barbara


#16

That’s so funny, I thought I was the only one who used them!